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Sun 27 Nov 2016 05:11 PM

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Dubai 'not ready for Michelin' says Vineet Bhatia

The Michelin-starred chef said more growth is needed

Dubai 'not ready for Michelin' says Vineet Bhatia
Vineet Bhatia.

Dubai is not mature enough to have earned its own Michelin restaurant guide, according to Vineet Bhatia but it has the potential to be ready in a few years, the Michelin-starred chef added.

“Dubai has a way to go but what it has achieved in the past 15 years, it can achieve the same in the culinary scene in the next three years,” he told an audience of industry peers and media at the Dubai Future Accelerators event last month.

“I was asked by Michelin four years back, is Dubai ready for a Michelin Guide? And I said no, it’s not. If you ask me now if Dubai is ready for a Michelin Guide, I’d say no - and it has a way to go. Dubai still has to grow. But it is growing very rapidly; ask me the same question in three years’ time and I might say yes, it’s ready for it,” he added.

Bhatia made the comments during an audience Q&A after a panel discussion about the future of food. Back in August, Caterer Middle East posed the same question during the seventh annual Caterer Middle East Head Chef Survey and discovered that nearly two-thirds of respondents believe now is the right time for the emirate to get a Michelin Guide.

Prior to this, Michelin Guides international director Michael Ellis said in March that it is “only a matter of time” before the first stars are awarded to restaurants in Dubai.

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Sam 3 years ago

You've got to be insane to think any of the current crop of Dubai restaurants come near to the sort of level required for a Michelin star. Quality of food, innovation and service all need to improve quite drastically.

Unless of course the guide wants to crack in to a new market and hands out stars for quick commercial gain.

Fentoni 3 years ago

Very true Sam, why would a top Chef who has a choice of working in Tokyo, Paris, London or New York with access to the best food markets and the most talented kitchen & restaurant colleagues move to a city with under 2.7M people to get a Michelin Star? If Dubai double in size then just maybe there would be a top Chef willing to permanently relocate if he though he could get the staff and availability of the very, very best fresh seasonal ingredients.

WHJ 3 years ago

@Sam. You need to go out more often. La Petite Maison and Zuma in Dubai are on San Pelligrino World's Best Restaurants list. Also, there are Michelin starred chefs who have restaurants in Dubai such as Pierre Gagnaire and Heinz Beck (both 3 Michelin starred).
The reason why there are no Michelin starred restaurants in Dubai, or Delhi, or Sydney...etc is not because there are no good restaurants, but because Michelin does not have an edition in these locations.

Bob 3 years ago

@WHJ a Michelin starred restaurant, and a restaurant with a Michelin starred chef's name attached to it are two very different things !!

The standard here is nowhere near as good as a true Michelin star restaurant anywhere else. Just from the quality of service alone - never mind getting onto the food, the ingredients, the creativity....

Terry Adams 3 years ago

I live in Abu Dhabi, and the best indian food here is in industrial zone - Mussaffah- at Arab Udipi restaurant - where 4 of us have a meal for AED120 only... it's not greasy or oily and service is great--1 vote for 1 Michelin star

In Dubai- I actually enjoyed the Indian Buffet at IMG World of Adventure- for the first time they had al the dishes I love and amazing chef .. - I vote for 1 Michelin star again

WHJ 3 years ago

@Bob. Yes, we've already established the difference between a Michelin starred restaurant and a Michelin starred chef. No need to state the obvious!!

Telcoguy 3 years ago

Not for him!!! Especially if it is in Dubai. Then it is better than anything else.

Dubai offers great value for money in some restaurants, specially Indian and obviously Arab food. And it also offers wannabe traps (I would consider Zuma one btw) that attract the kind of people, well that kind of people.

You can find Michelin starred restaurants in Madrid that are less expensive than some mid level Dubai restaurants and the food has absolutely nothing to do, check Lua for example (full disclosure, I know the chef/owner, friend of a close friend)

You can not find that in Dubai, specially delivered in such straightforward manner. The audience is not there.

In the meantime I will be enjoying Lima awesome gastronomy. Truly mind blowing. Maybe some people should travel more and get a better understanding of where things stand

TonyTiger 3 years ago

Earning a Michelin star is an honour for an establishment and its chef.

All you can eat buffet at an amusement park is not Michelin worthy. there is a strict checklist that has to be met.

flavour, decor, atmosphere, service.

not food by the bucket, children running around screaming and waiters that don't scan tables.

TonyTiger 3 years ago

the biggest obstacle standing in the way of recognition such as michelin in this part of the world.

Service! Service! Service!

you can import ingredients, decor, chefs, etc.

the only core element is service, you can import service staff, but you cannot instill passion to serve in a specific manner and protocol.

in the west, people work for tips + minimum wage. if he/she drops a plate or misses an order, you're fired.

in this part of the world, you raise your hand for 15 mins to get the check or ask for something. that is not Michelin-worthy.

if staff make a mistake, it's too expensive to send them back home, so they stay, or move to reception or work as valet drivers or gardeners.

Telcoguy 3 years ago

I spent some time in Northern Spain, there are great, amazing Michelin starred restaurants there, population is not so much an issue methinks
However keep in mind that being starred brings a whole set of issues (much higher costs) to the point that some restaurants rather return the star