As if hosting Expo 2020 Dubai weren’t big enough, the UAE is also celebrating its 50th birthday on December 2 this year. Melding both concepts together – in a premium dining series fittingly called Jubilee Gastronomy – is cookbook author Flavel Monteiro or, as I like to refer to him, “the chef whisperer”.
Monteiro, who lives in Dubai, has curated a list of some of the most famous names in the culinary world to go to Expo and put together a one-off meal for 30 discerning guests at a custom-made site at Al Wasl Plaza, operations for which will be overseen by Naim Maadad, founder and chief executive of Gates Hospitality.
And what a line-up of chefs it is.
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Chefs at Expo 2020 in October
The Jubilee Gastronomy Chef’s Table begins next Sunday with John Buenaventura, executive chef of Hilton Abu Dhabi Yas Island. The Filipino chef and former culinary director at Cuisinero Uno specialises in Mediterranean cuisine and has also done much to promote his country’s traditional dishes.
On Tuesday, October 12, enjoy a meal put together by Gal Ben-Moshe, the chef behind the Michelin-starred Prism restaurant in Berlin, who walks the line between eclectic fine dining and Levantine cuisine.
Next on the list this month are Kim Joinie-Maurin of French Riviera fame on Wednesday, October 13, and on Thursday, October 14, Vineet Bhatia, who runs Indya by Vineet in Dubai as well as heading the Michelin-starred Rasoi franchisee.
Award-winning female chef (still a rarity in the upper echelons of the culinary world) Kamilla Seidler will be on deck on Saturday, October 16. The chef heads Lola in her native Denmark, and was named the best female chef on Latin America's 50 Best Restaurants list in 2016.
The rest of October features three local chefs – Giovanni Papi from Armani/Ristorante on Sunday, October 17; Francesco Acquaviva from Social by Heinz Beck on Sunday, October 24; and Saverio Sbaragli from Al Muntaha on Saturday, October 30 – and Thomas Buhner, the German chef behind La Vie who has been lauded with a staggering three Michelin stars over his 20-year career, on Tuesday, October 19.
Chefs at Expo 2020 in November
Next month brings with it meals prepared by eight international, award-winning chefs and five local names. The latter head up the kitchens at Armani/Hashi (SK Choi, Sunday, November 14); Masti (Prashant Chipkar, Wednesday, November 17); 21grams (Uros Mitrasinovic, Sunday, November 21); Cinque (Giuseppe Pezzella, Wednesday, November 24) and Roka (Libor Dobis, Sunday, November 28).
Diners can sample a meal on Tuesday, November 2 by Catalan chef Paco Perez, an alumnus of famed Spanish restaurant El Bulli, who helms Miramar restaurant in Llanca and Enoteca restaurant in Hotel Arts Barcelona.
Chef Jordan Bailey, owner of two Michelin-starred Aimsir in Kildare, Ireland, will be at Expo 2020 on Tuesday, November 9, followed by Rohit Ghai, the India-born chef behind the UK’s Kutir restaurant in Chelsea, on Thursday, November 11.
Up next are Turkish chef Fatih Tutak (Tuesday, November 16), a regular name on Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants list; Christian Sturm-Willms (Thursday, November 18), who serves Japanese-Mediterranean fusion food at Yunico in Bonn; and Manish Mehrotra (Tuesday, November 23), who heads Indian Accent in New Delhi and New York – a restaurant that last month made it to the 51-100 list put together by organisers behind the World’s 50 Best Restaurants, the only place from India on that list.
The last two names for the month are Nico Burkhardt (Thursday, November 25) and Alfredo Russo (Tuesday, November 30), both of whom run restaurants with a Michelin star each. Burkhardt is the chef patron of his eponymous restaurant in Germany, while Russo helms Dolce Stil Novo in Italy.
Chefs at Expo 2020 in December
The last month of the year brings with it the crown jewel of the Jubilee Chef’s Table series: a 50-hands dinner on the UAE National Day on Thursday, December 2, put together by 25 top chefs including Bhatia, Russo and Chakall. Further details for this event are yet to be disclosed, but we hear it’s by invitation only.
What us regular foodies can look forward to this month is a menu by Chakall, who’s also brought Al Lusitano restaurant to the Portugal Pavilion at Expo 2020. The celebrity chef will be part of the Jubilee Chef’s Table series on Wednesday, December 1, followed on Tuesday, December 7 by master chef Heinz Beck, who has a litany of culinary awards (including three Michelin stars for La Pergola) and restaurants everywhere from Europe to the UAE.
Hungry for more? Head to the site on Tuesday, December 14 for a meal by Italian chef Cristina Bowerman of Glass Hostaria fame, or on Tuesday, December 21 for one by Paolo Casagrande, another three-Michelin-star-restaurant holder from Spain.
From the local restaurant scene, Monteiro has roped in Christian Goya from Kayto on Sunday, December 5; David Parolin of Fogueira Restaurant on Wednesday, December 8; Francesco Guarracino of Roberto’s on Sunday, December 12; Ashish Kumar of Kinara by Vikas Khanna on Wednesday, December 15; Beatrice Segoni of Pierchic on Wednesday, December 22; and Wasala Mudiyanselag of Miyako on Sunday, December 26.
Book a meal at the Jubilee Chef’s Table
Each international chef will put together a paired four-course lunch (from Dh795) and a premium nine-course degustation menu for dinner (from Dh2,500), while the local chefs do a nine-course tasting menu for dinner (from Dh795).
Bookings are essential, and can be made by contacting 04 317 7120 or firstname.lastname@example.org.