For the past four years, Argentinian sociologist and professor Eloisa Martin has been researching Emirati cuisine, studying how it has been preserved over the years and how it has evolved along with the development of the UAE.
Martin will this week share some of that knowledge when she hosts Contemporary Emirati Dinner in Dubai.
The intimate dinner, in partnership with BreakBread, the digital platform which curates home-cooked food experiences, will be held at Pekoe Tea & Bread Bar in AlSerkal Avenue. It will combine traditional and contemporary cooking techniques and feature "some unexpected ingredients".
"This dinner is a call to learn to recognise the traditional flavours, but also to play with food and make it your own," says Martin, who teaches at UAE University. "Especially in a city like Dubai, where you have infinite options of food from all over the world, Emirati restaurants seem to be relegated as a tourist attraction we visit exclusively when we receive guests from abroad."
The six-course dinner, developed by Martin, will feature dishes such as jasheed taco, the traditional fish and rice dish that will be served in a corn tortilla; and dates cake and gahwa semifreddo, a dessert that combines the flavour of dates and Emirati coffee.
"This is not a dinner as you would have in an Emirati home, because I could not dare try to replicate the subtle, but complex, choreography that involves Khaleeji hospitality rituals. This is just an Argentinean home cook, who has studied Emirati food and wants to share what I have learned, because I fell in love with its flavours and the delicate sophistication of its simplicity," she says.
Martin, who runs the Instagram account @EmiratiFoodStudies, has has participated in a number of events in the UAE and elsewhere to share her knowledge.
In June, she appeared on the Spanish show Con Sabor y Saber (With flavour and knowledge) on the DW channel to cook chicken machboos and talk about Emirati food and culture. She also hosted an Emirati dinner at Berlin hotspot Atelier Culinario.
"This dinner is an invitation to enjoy and engage with Emirati culture through its food, to make it part of your experience of living in the UAE," says Martin.
Contemporary Emirati Dinner will take place on Thursday at Pekoe Tea & Bread Bar in AlSerkal Avenue, Dubai. It costs Dh295 per person and starts at 8pm. Reservations can be made on breakbread.com.