By Robert Willock
Premier restaurant guide official says Dubai is now one of the most exciting dining cities in the world
It is “only a matter of time” before a Michelin Guide is published in Dubai and the first Michelin stars are awarded to the region’s best restaurants.
That’s the promise from Michael Ellis, international director of Michelin Guides, who was visiting Dubai as part of Michelin’s sponsorship of the Global Restaurant Investment Forum (GRIF) 2016.
“It’s been of great interest for me to come to Dubai,” he said, speaking to Arabian Business sister title Hotelier Middle East. “The city has changed enormously since I was last here 20 years ago. Today’s Dubai is nothing like the Dubai of 1995. It’s now one of the most exciting dining cities in the world.”
Ellis revealed: “We are looking at Dubai [for a Michelin Guide]. It’s one of the reasons I’m here. Dubai is an emerging market, and we want to see what’s going on. We’re a mirror of what’s happening in the restaurant industry.
“It’s only a matter of time before we launch a Michelin Guide here,” he pledged.
When challenged about whether Dubai needs a Michelin Guide, Ellis said: “Arguably there are many places with great food where we’re not present. But in the cities where we’ve gone recently, for example Hong Kong, where we’ve been for eight years, the arrival of the guide and our standards has enabled the culinary scene to set the bar higher.
“We bring our inspectors’ point of view. It’s something for chefs to shoot for. And it gives an international spotlight to the city’s fine-dining scene.”
Michelin is launching new guides in four cities this year: Singapore; Seoul in South Korea; and two as-yet-unnamed places in the US.
“We’ve been brought to these cities by governments, tourist boards and local industry. We don’t go anywhere without financial partners,” said Ellis.
Ellis reminded GRIF delegates that the Michelin Guides exist to create value for the Michelin brand, the main activity of which is tyres.
He added that the company already has a presence in Dubai, as the headquarters for its Africa-India-Middle East (AIM) region are based in the Jebel Ali free zone.For all the latest gourmet news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.