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Gal Ben-Moshe, the owner of the Michelin-starred restaurant Prism in Berlin, has flown into the UAE especially for Expo 2020 Dubai.
However, the Israeli chef will only spend two days in total at the world's fair, because he has one job — to cook an exclusive nine-course meal for 30 guests, at the Expo's Jubilee restaurant.
“It's quite overwhelming — it's great fun, but there's a lot to do to prepare,” said Chef Ben-Moshe, who is known for his modern Arabic style of dishes and was awarded his Michelin star in March 2020.
“I don't think you can walk into Expo without your jaw dropping 10 times, this place is spectacular. You can't go anywhere without being in awe.”
Chef Ben-Moshe's last visit to Dubai was for the Gulfood trade fair in February, which felt like the antithesis of the lockdown that had been introduced in Germany to mitigate the impact of the second wave of the pandemic.
“I remember it looked to me like a foreign planet — suddenly being with people, going out to restaurants, getting served food by waiters,” he said.
“We take so much stuff for granted — it felt quite emotional.”
Shortly after feeding 30 people, Chef Ben-Moshe must return home to run his restaurant, and he regrets his flying visit to Expo 2020 is so short.
“I haven't had time to go into the pavilions — I would have loved to,” he said.
“I'm not a typical Israeli. Expo is an opportunity to see places that you will not normally see. So, I have a lot of Palestinian friends and I think for me to go to the Palestinian pavilion would be something that is almost obligatory, if I had the time.
“And one of my dreams is to cook Lebanese food, or even just to visit Lebanon, so I guess going to the Lebanese pavilion is kind of like a close second.”
Camel's milk and honey
Chef Ben-Moshe is the first of dozens of Michelin-starred guest chefs who will be visiting the world's fair over the next six months to cook for the Jubilee Gastronomy Chef’s Table.
International chefs will prepare a four-course lunch (from Dh795) and a premium nine-course degustation dinner menu (from Dh2,500), while renowned local chefs will create a nine-course tasting menu for dinner (from Dh795).
The dishes Chef Ben-Moshe will be preparing are rooted geographically in the Levant and use locally sourced ingredients with a Mediterranean twist.
These include milk and honey — a dish created using camel's milk custard, honey ice cream, Earl Grey tea and black truffles, and grouper cooked with unripe grapes and local grains, served with roasted leeks and a spicy, chilli sauce prepared with local shrimps.
Next up this month are Kim Joinie-Maurin of French Riviera fame on October 13, and on October 14, Vineet Bhatia — who runs Indya by Vineet in Dubai, as well as heading the Michelin-starred Rasoi franchisee — will cook for a lucky few.
Bookings are essential, and can be made by contacting 04 317 7120 or firstname.lastname@example.org.