UAE at 50: meet the 25 chefs creating Expo 2020 Dubai's gold-inspired menu

The 50-hands dining experience will take place in Jubilee Gastronomy to celebrate UAE’s 'Year of the 50th'

The chefs whipping up a storm for UAE's Year of the 50th at Expo 2020 Dubai. Photo: Jubilee Gastronomy
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Dubai may be known for it luxury culinary creations, but a glitzy new one-off dining experience is all set to raise the stakes.

Jubilee Gastronomy, which recently opened its doors at Expo 2020 Dubai, will be hosting a 50-hands dinner on December 2.

The exclusive event – there's only room for 50 guests – will have some world-famous chefs working with local talent to create nine courses in celebration of UAE’s Year of the 50th.

And in keeping with the Jubilee theme, the menu, priced at Dh1,500 per head, will be inspired by gold.

“Dubai is known as a city of gold, and the 50th anniversary is known as golden jubilee. It’s something to be proud of for the UAE, an anniversary of who we are. I believe it’s the greatest time to do this,” explains Dubai cookbook author Flavel Monteiro, the man responsible for bringing the chefs together.

A lentil risotto, garnished with gold, will be served at the exclusive 50-hands chef dinner at Expo 2020. Photo: Jubilee Gastronomy

Monteiro promises that the gold won’t be all that glitters on the plate. “We don’t want to go overboard. The gold element is going to subtly be added in – it could be with gold flakes or dust. We are going to let the dishes speak for themselves,” he says.

If you’re wondering what’s on this glittering menu, it will be a blend of various cuisines. "Aubergine journey goes three ways", for example, is a dish that will have the humble vegetable cooked with Indian, Greek and Italian influences, while the butter chicken donburi, with a stuffed crispy tortilla, will feature the famous Indian dish with a Mexican twist.

Some other dishes you can find on the versatile menu include a lentil risotto (an Italian-Indian hybrid), miso-marinated black cod with grilled octopus on a creamy linguine for a Japanese-Italian flavour, golden sea bream with porcini mushrooms and yakiniku-style beef fillet with fresh wasabi. A three-layered kulfi with sesame, cardamom, pistachio and raspberry tuile will end the meal on a sweet note.

The creativity of the dishes all boils down to the diversity of its chefs who hail from countries around the world. These include chefs from some of Dubai’s finest hotels and restaurants, such as: Jumeirah Beach Hotel’s executive sous chef Bon Cheang, Ce La Vi star Howard Ko, Giovanni Cortese of Roberto’s, Uros Mitrasinovic of 21 Grams, Armani/Ristorante's chef de cuisine Giovanni Papi, Masti’s Prashant Chipkar, Social by Heinz Beck’s Francesco Acquaviva, Roka’s Libor Dobis, Fogueira Restaurant’s David Parolin, Mythos Kouzina & Grill’s Ilias Kokoroskos, Stars N Bars’ Nigel Lobo, Senor Pico’s Monica Tellez, Taiko’s Schilo van Coevorden and Carnival by Tresind’s executive chef Vinu Raveendran.

There will also be some international names such as Vineet Bhatia, who runs Indya by Vineet in Dubai, Alfredo Russo who heads Michelin-starred restaurant Dolce Stil Novo and chef Chakall who brought Al Lusitano to the Portuguese Pavilion at Expo 2020.

Not only do the chefs differ by cuisine, they also come with varying years of experience and skill sets. So, what is it like, getting some of the biggest names in the culinary world to work together?

Monteiro explains that too many cooks don’t necessarily spoil the broth – at least, not when the chefs and organisers know what they’re doing.

A three-layered dessert with sesame, cardamom, pistachio and raspberry tuile - done in colours of the UAE flag - will end the meal on a sweet note. Photo: Jubilee Gastronomy

“It needed to be a good mixture of culture, cuisine and creativity. Once I determined this, then the rest was easy, getting them to work in groups of three or four. In the end, it all goes back to the chefs. They need to trust you and you need to trust them.”

The aim of getting different chefs to participate goes beyond creating some ingenious culinary combinations: it’s also about fostering collaboration from talent around the world.

“You have amazing chefs from India, Japan, Italy, working together. They all respect each other and they’re coming up with great ideas,” says Monteiro.

Meanwhile, grouping the chefs has also been done in such a way so that they can learn from each other.

“We have Michelin-starred chefs working with some new kids on the block. Everyone has got something to learn from each other. The whole idea of this dinner is to bring people together.”

An idea very much in line with the overall goal of Expo 2020 Dubai, and worth its weight in gold.

The 50-hands dining experience takes place on Thursday, December 2, from 7pm. It's priced at Dh1,500 per head and will be held at Jubilee Gastronomy, Media Centre, Al Wasl Plaza, Expo 2020. Reservations can be made on 04 350 9223

Scroll through the gallery below for pictures of some of the one-off dishes coming to Jubilee Gastronomy:

Updated: November 11, 2021, 10:56 AM