British chef Gordon Ramsay became a household name in the UK thanks largely to his fiery outbursts on TV cookery programmes such as Hell’s Kitchen and The F Word. Beginning in 1993 Ramsay established a number of restaurants in London and Glasgow before turning his attention to the international scene. His first restaurant outside the UK was Verre which was set up at the Hilton Dubai Creek in 2001. Its appearance in the United Arab Emirates not only enhanced his own reputation on the world stage but firmly established Dubai on the world map of culinary destinations.
Famous British Chefs in the Kitchens of Dubai
When Verre closed in 2011 its head chef was Jason Atherton who had worked under Gordon Ramsay. He returned to London and set up Pollen Street Social which was awarded a Michelin star in its first year. In 2015 Atherton returned to Dubai to set up Marina Social in the Intercontinental Dubai Marina. Ramsay himself returned to the Dubai scene in 2015 when he set up the informal Bread Street Kitchen in Atlantis The Palm which serves a range of traditional British dishes.
Another recommended venue for classic British fare is The Scene on the 4th floor of Pier 7 at Dubai Marina. It is run by Simon Rimmer who has been a popular TV personality on several programmes which he has co-hosted with Tim Lovejoy including Something for the Weekend and Sunday Brunch.
Another British chef who has enjoyed significant success in Dubai is Gary Rhodes. Rather than dipping in and out of Dubai as many celebrity chefs choose to do, Gary moved permanently to the city in 2010 to run his businesses. He is the owner of Rhodes W1 (Grosvenor House) and Rhodes Twenty10 (Le Royal Meridien) which are both located in the Dubai Marina district.
With such a vast selection of restaurants to choose from celebrity-status is no guarantee of success in Dubai as the Naked Chef Jamie Oliver discovered. His first two Italian eateries didn’t last long although he’s back in business at Jumeirah Lakes Towers with Jamie’s Pizerria.
Celebrity Indian Chefs in Dubai
More than 200 nationalities of people are represented on the streets of Dubai in a city whose total population is only around 2.5 million. As such the selection of ethnic food offerings is quite breathtaking. Whilst simple street food is available at local establishments on the streets of Deira and Bur Dubai on either side of the Dubai Creek there are some excellent restaurants which have taken classic regional cuisine to a whole new level. Some examples of these are the Indian restaurants in Dubai which are amongst the best in the world.
Atul Kochhar was the first Indian chef to earn a Michelin star which he achieved at Benares Restaurant in London. Atul became a well-known chef on television shows such as Masterchef Goes Large and Great British Menu before he set up Rang Mahal in 2012 in Dubai’s JW Marriott Marquis Hotel. Another Michelin-starred Indian chef who has had a strong influence on Indian cuisine in Dubai is Vineet Bhatia who opened Indego by Vineet (Grosvenor House) in Dubai Marina. Curry enthusiasts should also look out for his latest venture called Indya By Vineet located at Le Royal Meridien Beach Resort & Spa.
More Superstars of the Culinary World
Aside from the celebrity chefs who have made a name for themselves on British television there are some veritable superstars of world cuisine plying their trade in Dubai. One of these is the Japanese celebrity chef Nobu Matsuhisa who is well known in the USA for his TV programme called Iron Chef America. Such is the popularity of his fusion of Japanese and Peruvian cuisine that he has been able to establish a worldwide business empire which is represented in Dubai by Nobu Dubai. Located in Atlantis The Palm since 2008 this ever popular Japanese restaurant serves the chef’s signature dish of miso marinated black cod.
No foodie city worth its salt would be complete without representation from some fine French restaurants. The hugely talented French chef Yannick Alleno earned three Michelin stars whilst working at Hotel Le Meurice in Paris. In 2010 he opened Stay Restaurant at One & Only on Palm Jumeirah which consistently offers one of the top fine dining experiences in Dubai. Fellow countryman Pierre Gagnaire offers Michelin-star quality cuisine in a more informal environment at Pierre’s Bistro & Bar which overlooks Dubai Creek from the InterContinental in Dubai Festival City.
Other esteemed eateries run by celebrity chefs include the following:
– American chef David Myers is a well-known TV personailty in the USA who is fondly called the ‘Gypsy Chef’. He runs Bleu Blanc and Basta in the Renaissance Downtown at Business Bay.
– The best in Italian cuisine is served at Social in the Waldorf Astoria at The Palm. The inspiration behind the venue’s fine dining is German chef Heinz Beck.
– The famous American chef Tom Keller who has amassed seven Michelin stars from three of his US restaurants runs the Bouchon Bakery at The Beach, Jumeirah Beach Residence (JBR).
– The Four Seasons Resort on Jumeriah Beach Road is home to Jean-Georges Dubai which is the sophisticated dining offering of celebrated French-American chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten.
– Other British chefs in town include Nathan Outlaw who runs the Al Mahara seafood restaurant in the Burj Al Arab whilst Tom Aikens runs Pots, Pans and Boards at The Beach, JBR.
– The Dubai Opera restaurant in Downtown Dubai is run by English-born Australian chef Sean Connolly and is most popular for its steak-and-seafood menu.
Best Time to Visit Dubai for Foodies
The best time to visit Dubai is between the months of November and March when temperatures are hot but not unbearable. Most restaurants remain open throughout the year serving as a major attraction for the expat community and tourists alike. One caveat to this is the holy month of Ramadan when Moslems fast between dawn and dusk and it is prohibited to eat in public during daylight hours. During this month (dates vary) some restaurants will close or operate limited opening hours although many tourist resorts will remain unaffected. If you’re planning on dining at specific venues during your visit it’s well worth making enquiries about their opening hours during Ramadan before booking your travel dates.
A couple of events worth looking out for are the Dubai Food Festival in late February and the Taste of Dubai in March. The former includes a Restaurant Week when diners can eat at some of the city’s top restaurants at discount prices whilst the latter includes cooking demonstrations by some of Dubai’s best known chefs.
Around 150 airlines offer flights to Dubai from around the world including daily services from London and other major European capitals. The city’s international airport is located just 20km north-east of the Jumeirah Beach tourist area and is well connected by public transport. Otherwise visitors can pre-book private or shuttle bus transfers from Dubai Airport with Shuttledirect.
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