Home cooking is back in style thanks to the stay-at-home situation much of the world finds itself in. And if you want to really style up your cooking, look no further than Come Together: The World's Finest Chefs, an e-book that features 140 recipes put together by 84 award-winning chefs from 31 countries.
The tome is free to download and, in addition to the recipes, includes a brief biography on each chef and deliciously vibrant images of the dishes they are describing. Come Together has already been downloaded 136,000 times across the world.
The concept is the brainchild of author Flavel Monteiro, who has published several culinary books, including Coffee Absolute Gastronomy, which was launched at Massimo Bottura's Dubai restaurant Torno Subito last year.
Monteiro took on the “formidable task” of putting his latest project together in less than three weeks. As he notes in the foreword: “It was the evening of March 23 when as I was watching news footage … I saw people all around me who were taking shelter in their homes against this invisible enemy [Covid-19] and my colleagues in the restaurant industry suffering. I was inspired to find a way for all of us to … connect as one in a celebration of something that we can share: great food!
"My goal was to put [this book] together and publish by Sunday, April 12, an Easter celebration if you will. This labour of love was made possible by incredible individuals and features the finest chefs … from Brazil to Australia, who are featured on La Liste, The World's 50 Best Restaurants, Asia's 50 Best Restaurants and with a plethora of international awards. We have indeed Come Together."
Meet the chefs
Among them, the 18 female and 66 male chefs helm restaurants that have garnered 50 Michelin stars and are spread out over six continents. From Spain’s Elena Arzak and Japan’s Yoshihiro Narisawa to Norway’s Mikael Svensson and India’s Niyati Rao, the list is impressively varied.
In fact, Arzak, who runs her eponymous restaurant in the city of San Sebastian, was one of the first people to respond to Monteiro – “within 12 hours,” says the author. She has also written an introductory note, in which she says: “Food feeds the soul. It binds families and communities. And never more so than in unsettling times like these. The kitchen has always been a place to gather, to nurture, to share. Cooking for others in times of crisis is a show of solidarity. The simple act of sharing food builds memories that stay with us forever. Now is a time to come together and be generous with our knowledge.”
The UAE is no stranger to celebrity chefs, many of whom own or run restaurants here. Based as he is in Dubai, Monteiro was able to rope in several chefs based in the country, some of whom include Heinz Beck of Social by Heinz Beck; Vineet Bhatia of Indya and Indego in Dubai; Reif Othman of Reif Japanese Kushiyaki; Francesco Guarracino of Roberto's Abu Dhabi and Dubai; Craig Best of Hell's Kitchen; Jean Winter of Jean's Private Kitchen; Colin Clague of Ruya; Tim Newton of Opa; Junior Nadje of Rue Royale; and Raymond Wong of Seafire Steakhouse, among others.
12 recipes to try
Given the international variety of flavours, some ingredients may be hard to come by, so here we’ve put together a suggestion of recipes by UAE chefs that residents should be able to whip up.
Seafood lovers can seek out chef Gurracino’s smoked cuttlefish tartare that comes with a flavour punch of coffee and lime, while chef Jean Winter of Jean’s Private Kitchen has put together a dish she calls A Fishy Mix, with prawns, calamari, white fish and clams.
Vegetarians can whip up chef Bhatia’s almond-crusted vegetable tikkis, while lacto-ovo vegetarians will enjoy chef Best’s ravioli of five herbs, with wild mushrooms, roasted tomato coulis and herb oil.
If you’ve always wanted to try your hand at Middle Eastern cuisine, look no further than the falafel recipe put together by chef James Knight-Pacheco of ME Dubai. For a touch of the exotic, look to chef Othman’s Instagram-worthy caviar cone or cured Wagyu and truffle ponzu.
Meat lovers can satiate their streak cravings with Waldorf Astoria chef Luigi Vespero’s grilled beef tenderloin recipe or Hilton Dubai chef John Buenaventura’s buffalo adobo short ribs.
End on a sweet, sentimental note with a dessert that pays tribute to Italy – Heart for Italy – put together by chef Francesco Acquaviva of Social by Heinz Beck. Chef Beck, known as the “master of gastronomy”, himself has shared his renowned lobster medallions, loin of lamb and recipes.