There are only two months left of Expo 2020 Dubai and if you haven’t yet eaten your way around the 192 country pavilions, then perhaps a nine-course degustation menu from the world’s best chefs will whet your appetite.
This February, four Michelin-lauded guest chefs are flying into Dubai to prepare a special one-off menu giving diners a taste of their famous restaurants from around the world.
The premium dining series at the Jubilee Gastronomy Chef’s Table at Expo 2020 is curated by award-winning cookbook author and publisher Flavel Monteiro.
The Dubai resident has enlisted some of the most famous names in the culinary world to put together one-off meals for 30 discerning guests at a custom-made site at Al Wasl Plaza, operations for which are overseen by Naim Maadad, founder and chief executive of Gates Hospitality.
The February line-up is bound to get taste buds tingling ...
Nordic Italian fusion by Nicola Fanetti
Restaurant: Brace, Copenhagen; one Michelin Green star
Date: February 1
Chef Nicola Fanetti is making waves across the culinary world with his Nordic Italian fusion at Brace restaurant.
“We have created the first Italian cuisine that has its roots in Nordic gastronomy,” says Fanetti, who grew up in Northern Italy. “We have fused Italian techniques, traditions and memories, with only local ingredients.”
Sustainability is also a key focus for Fanetti, who was awarded a Michelin Green star for his eco-friendly efforts.
“It is not just a trend,” he explains. “It is a philosophy that we adhere to in our private lives which has led to recognition in the kitchen.”
At Expo, diners can expect a menu of Brace classics.
“One of the dishes that we will present is our linguine with Sicilian red prawns,” says Fanetti. It’s a cult Brace dish that fully represents us in terms of sustainability and zero waste.”
A chef’s journey with Faycal Bettioui
Restaurant: Zur Krone, Germany; one Michelin star
Date: February 8
Chef Faycal Bettioui is one of the few Moroccan chefs to earn a Michelin star, as well as the only Moroccan to currently hold the title in Europe.
“I feel a huge sense of pride in the star, not only as a Moroccan chef but also as an Arab chef,” says Bettioui. “For me, it automatically comes with the responsibility to inspire others, wherever they may be or come from.
“There are still so many ideas to explore and dishes waiting to be created and I hope that I can encourage others to use their unique lens, follow through on their ideas and stay true to themselves.”
For Bettioui, the plan for Dubai is simple. “I want to give each guest an insight into what we do at the Krone in Germany,” he says.
“The menu and my style of cooking reflect my journey over the years, starting with growing up in Morocco, the influences from my time spent in the US and now displaying my skills in Germany.
“And when the work is done and dusted I want to see Burj Khalifa up close.”
Plant-based dining with Rodrigo de la Calle
Restaurant: El Invernadero, Madrid; one Michelin star
Date: February 15
Famed for his revolutionary use of vegetables, Rodrigo de la Calle has spent more than 25 years in the kitchen and hopes that he will be remembered as “the precursor of green cuisine in Spain”.
The experimental chef began cooking with vegetables in the early 2000s, at a time when they were considered little more than a lacklustre side dish.
“Nobody understood how in the midst of the boiling point of molecular cooking I was betting on vegetables,” says de la Calle. “But little by little, everyone is becoming aware that we have to eat better and take care of the planet.
“Now everyone talks about sustainability and I started talking about it more than 20 years ago.”
At Expo, diners can expect an inventive plant-based menu from de la Calle.
“It is a big responsibility to present the best of our cuisine,” he says. “I hope that people stay with the concept of eating an haute cuisine menu but without meat and fish – that is our challenge.”
Down at the farm with Gert De Mangeleer
Restaurant: Hertog Jan, Belgium; three Michelin stars
Date: February 17
Belgian chef Gert De Mangeleer made culinary history when his Hertog Jan restaurant became the first to earn three Michelin stars in less than five years.
The restaurant, which first opened in Bruges and then moved onto the site of a working farm in Zedelgem, was hailed for its revolutionary farm-to-fork menu, with De Mangeleer rolling up his sleeves and mucking in with the harvest.
“Vegetables, herbs and flowers took a prominent place on the menu,” says De Mangeleer. “As guests were eating, they could literally see what was happening in the garden.”
Despite the restaurant closing in 2018, De Mangeleer has continued to elevate homegrown produce through his Hertog Jan*** Restaurant Group, launching a variety of unique catering concepts, and diners at Expo can expect a dynamic seasonal menu.
“If you really focus on seasonal products, you also follow the flow that nature creates,” he explains.
“The coming and going of seasons and accompanying products makes it exciting and always brings new creativity.”