Jason Atherton to show 'unseen side' of food and farming in Dubai on British TV

The chef is also gearing up to launch Row of 45, his third restaurant at Grosvenor House

British chef Jason Atherton is working with Dubai Tourism on a cooking show that will highlight the emirate's restaurant and agricultural sectors. Photo: Jason Atherton
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British viewers are about to see a side of Dubai “they did not know existed”, says celebrity chef Jason Atherton of his coming cooking show on the UK's ITV network.

Premiering on July 8, Dubai Dishes will have 10 episodes, and will see the British restaurateur explore the city's local food scene.

“It is a cooking show but showcases a lot more than that. It will touch upon the very best of Dubai cuisine, from the chefs to the food, as well as the local culture,” Atherton tells The National.

The show will highlight how the emirate has evolved over the years, adds Atherton, who has worked in the UAE for more than two decades. He began his Dubai stint at Gordon Ramsay's Verre, which was one of the first international-chef-led fine-dining ventures in the country.

Since then, Atherton has charted his own culinary success. He owns 17 restaurants across the globe, from London and New York to Singapore. His most recent Dubai venture, City Social, opened at Grosvenor House in February this year.

His connection to the city, where he met his Filipina wife and got married at a church in Jebel Ali, makes Atherton a fitting ambassador of Dubai's gastronomic potential, which he has always championed.

“Dubai has so much more to it – the depth, culture, talent and regional reach, it all serves to be recognised,” he says.

To further drive this point, the show will feature several local chefs and dining venues that are making international strides, including the Orfali brothers, whose Jumeirah restaurant, Orfali Bros Bistro, has been lauded as the best restaurant in the Middle East and North Africa by the World's 50 Best group.

Renowned chef Howard Ko of Ce La Vi will also make an appearance in the show, says Atherton.

Atherton and his guest chefs will present about 40 dishes over 10 episodes, showcasing the diversity of the restaurant scene.

Another highlight of the series is how it's going to show Dubai's budding agricultural scene, which has come to support the local restaurant industry in recent years.

“Sustainability is so much better. Dubai has built actual farms in the desert, meaning produce is much more accessible,” says Atherton.

“It just shows a different side to Dubai; it isn’t just shiny and bling, it has a thriving economy and really does take food seriously.”

Atherton's next adventure

The chef is also getting ready to open a third venue in Dubai Marina.

When launching City Social and Tokyo-inspired speakeasy 7 Tales earlier this year, Atherton told The National a third spot was in the works, and that it is “probably the most ambitious restaurant I've ever opened”.

Shedding more light on the venture, the restaurateur reveals it will be called Row of 45, and will be located on the 45th floor of Grosvenor House, above City Social and 7 Tales.

The restaurant will have only 22 seats, and offer a tailored dining experience, says Atherton, adding that it will offer “local products and a first-class experience”.

No opening date has been confirmed.

Updated: June 13, 2023, 7:31 AM