Is Dubai ready for its own Michelin Guide?

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Lima Dubai showcases the next generation Peruvian dining.
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Marina Social restaurant at InterContinental Dubai Marina.
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Dubai-based critics say the time has come for the city to be recognized for its fine dining.
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Presentation complements taste.
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Rumors have been swirling that Dubai is set to get its very own Michelin rating system.
Updated 14 March 2017

Is Dubai ready for its own Michelin Guide?

Dubai is a foodie’s paradise. From delectable fine dining to scrumptious street-food offerings, you can eat your way around the city and still find space for dessert. So what is missing? A Michelin Guide of course.
Rumors have been swirling that the city is set to get its very own Michelin rating system, sparked by comments made by Michael Ellis, international director of Michelin Guides, at the Global Restaurant Investment Forum last year. Ellis said his company was on its way to creating a guide specifically for Dubai, but remained tight-lipped on the details.
Michelin stars are awarded to restaurants of outstanding quality in what is known as the Michelin Red Guide, with one star awarded to restaurants with very good cooking in their category, two stars for restaurants with excellent cooking, and the coveted three stars going to restaurants with exceptional cuisine. Michelin awards and retracts stars annually based on visits by their anonymous inspectors, whose grading methodology is a closely guarded secret.
The prestigious French guide actually began as a handy guidebook for Michelin tire customers in France in 1900. It was the brainchild of the Michelin brothers, who sought to “provide motorists traveling through France with all the useful information to supply their automobile, to fix it, where to sleep and eat, and which means exist to communicate, by mail, telegraph or telephone,” according to Christie’s auction house, which put a set of guides under the hammer in 2016.
Fast forward to the 21st century, and food buffs the world over may have spurted out their soup in shock when two street-food hawkers in Singapore became the world’s first such eateries to gain Michelin stars. Hong Kong Soya Sauce Chicken Rice And Noodle, and fellow street-food stand Hill Street Tai Hwa Pork Noodles, were awarded one star each in the Michelin Guide Singapore.
The push eastward is relatively recent, as until 2006 Michelin’s country guides only covered Europe. The hot question now is whether the cultural and culinary melting pot of Dubai is next on the list. It is home to eateries headed by a slew of Michelin-star chefs, but the city is yet to boast a restaurant with a sparkling star of its own as they can only be awarded in places where Michelin Red Guides are published.
Although Michelin declined comment, telling Arab News they do not remark on potential development strategy, one Dubai-based restaurant critic and writer thinks the time has come for the city to be recognized for its food chops.
“The food and beverage industry in Dubai has well and truly come of age in the last two years or so. There have been noises about how vibrant the restaurant scene here is for a long time, but it’s only now that it has acquired a gravitas that’s worthy of recognition by the likes of Michelin,” Sudeshna Ghosh told Arab News.
Ghosh points to the emergence of original, high-quality, home-grown concepts, and a shift away from restaurants being run by hotels, as reasons behind the uptick in excitement over the local food scene. “However,” she cautioned, “it’s important to note that it’s early days, and it will take some time before there’s a critical mass of restaurants that offer a Michelin-quality experience comparable to, say, New York or Paris.”
The industry insider tips her head to several Dubai-based restaurants that she thinks are strong contenders for a star. “Play, and the sister venue The Experience, are definitely strong contenders. Zuma, the only venue on the World’s 50 Best list, is also a definite. Apart from that, I’d say some that are worth looking into are Tresind/Carnival by Tresind; Hakkasan; La Petite Maison; Novikov; and Aseelah, which serves up Emirati food.”
Meals or wheels? The relationship between the tire company and the guide
You would be surprised to find out that the renowned Michelin restaurant guide actually started as a road atlas for Michelin tire customers in France in 1900. At the time, road trippers were in need of a guide that could point out the most appealing restaurants on their route, and tire manufacturer Michelin was happy to oblige.
The first edition saw almost 35,000 copies printed, and contained useful information for motorists, including a list of hotels, groceries, bakeries, hardware stores and instructions on how to fix and change tires.
In 1931, ratings featured the current system of three stars for the first time, with the definitions becoming clear and definitive in 1933. One star indicated a good place to stop on your journey, and was awarded to a very good restaurant in its category. Two stars meant excellent cuisine, indicating dishes of outstanding quality worth a detour. Three stars were awarded to a restaurant worth a special journey, where diners could expect to eat very well.
Although production of the guide was suspended during both world wars, the 1939 edition of the guide was reprinted by the US military in 1943, just before the June 6 invasion of Normandy the following year, as it was deemed the most up-to-date map available to the armed forces.
Michelin-starred chefs’ restaurants that Arab News recommends
• Tom Aikens’ Pots, Pans and Boards

More of a casual and rustic spot, this eatery, located in The Beach @ JBR, has a good selection of meat, fish and chicken options that arrive in, you guessed it, pots, pans and boards.


A #hearty #breakfast before anything else Thank you for sharing this awesome snap @celinxoxong

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• Gordon Ramsay’s Bread Street Kitchen
This restaurant at Atlantis, The Palm offers British cuisine with a relaxed, family friendly vibe.


Pop in and see for yourself who is the real @gordonramsayrestaurants #yorkieoff winner ... #teambsk @gordongram #yorkshirepuddingday

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• Yannick Alleno’s Stay
Although this is on the fancier end, with a strict dress code and no children under the age of 9 allowed, the food is more than enough to delight you at this One & Only The Palm eatery.

• Jason Atherton’s Marina Social
Marina Social dubs itself a celebrator of “de-formalized dining,” and offers a contemporary British-Mediterranean menu. It is located in the InterContinental Dubai Marina.

• Virgilio Martinez’s Lima
Peruvian chef Martinez replicated his famed restaurant in London in the heat of Dubai in the City Walk complex, and is credited with bringing the cuisine to the world’s attention.

• Gary Rhodes’ Rhodes W1
Rhodes was awarded a Michelin star for a restaurant in London in 1996, and has since brought his brand of British cooking to Dubai’s Grosvenor House.

• The Croft by Darren Velvick
The Croft was inspired by Velvick’s own childhood upbringing in a rural country village and is the home of great English cuisine in Dubai.

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Tired of feeling tired? Sleep deprivation exacts health toll in Saudi Arabia

According to a 2016 report from the not-for-profit research institute Rand Europe, sleep deprivation was directly related to lower productivity. (Shutterstock)
Updated 18 March 2019

Tired of feeling tired? Sleep deprivation exacts health toll in Saudi Arabia

  • More than 1 billion people globally are believed to suffer from sleeping disorders for different reasons
  • According to the Sleep Cycle report no country achieved an average of eight hours sleep on a regular basis even though the recommended range of sleep for an adult is seven to nine hours a night

DUBAI: People in Saudi Arabia and the wider Gulf region are known for their love of evening socializing and late-night drives. What is less well-known is the high price being paid for this nocturnal lifestyle.
A 2015 report from the app Sleep Cycle placed Saudi Arabia second - after Japan - in the list of the world’s five worst countries for average sleeping hours.
In recent years medical universities in the Kingdom have chosen March to raise awareness about sleep disorders and the impact of sleep deprivation. Since 2008, March 7 has been observed as World Sleep Day by the World Sleep Society “to raise awareness of sleep as a human privilege that is often compromised by the habits of modern life.”
Insufficient sleep has been linked to the development of several chronic diseases and conditions including hypertension, diabetes, depression, obesity, depression and cancer. Even so, the demands of modern society keep shortening the time available for rest.
More than 1 billion people globally are believed to suffer from sleeping disorders for different reasons.
According to the Sleep Cycle report no country achieved an average of eight hours sleep on a regular basis even though the recommended range of sleep for an adult is seven to nine hours a night.
The findings of a 2006 case study involving Saudi primary school students, from Dr. Ahmed BaHammam, Dr. Eiad Al-Faris and others at the Sleep Disorders Center at King Saud Medical University, were revealing.

The sample comprised 511 boys and 501 girls aged between 5 and 13. Results showed that daytime fatigue, at 37.5 percent, was the most prevalent sleep problem, followed by bedtime resistance at 26.2 percent and co-sleeping with parents at 12.4 percent.
Dr. Irshaad Ebrahim, medical director of The London Sleep Centre in Dubai, said mental disorders, including anxiety and depression, physical illness, lifestyle and age were major causes of sleep deprivation.
“Among them stress and lifestyle - particularly excessive use of smart devices - or long and odd working hours are something that disturbs sleep most these days,” he told Arab News.
He added that an average person spent about one-third, or approximately 27 years, of his or her lifetime sleeping, which is surprising given that the science of sleeping has only recently started getting attention.
A 2016 study from King Fahd Medical City revealed that 41 percent of Saudis suffered from some kind of sleep disorder. Ahmad Al-Badr, director of the sleep center, said the rate of sleep disorders in the Kingdom was the same as in neighboring countries.
The study, involving participants with the average age of 34, concluded that 55 percent of those affected were women, who are typically bigger victims of sleep deprivation compared to men.
But it appeared that the marital status and education level of participants had little to no effect on sleep deprivation. The study revealed that more than half of the participants slept less than six hours every day, mostly late at night.
It also revealed that people without jobs suffered from insufficient sleep more than working people. Diseases such as high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes have adverse effects on sleep.
According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the major disorders that cause sleep-related difficulties are insomnia, narcolepsy, Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS) and sleep apnea.
Al-Badr said patients with sleep deprivation and sleep disorders needed medical help, for which more awareness and counseling was necessary. “It also needs more training for workers in the health sector,” he told Arab News at the time of the study’s publication.
There is a shortage of sleep medicine specialists in the Kingdom and in the Gulf Cooperation Council, said Ebrahim. “The number of trained and qualified sleep medicine specialists in the Kingdom is reportedly 19 physicians located in a few hospitals in three major cities. This number is extremely low.” It is less than 5 percent per capita compared to the US.
“We need to reach out to the other specialties to demonstrate the importance of both theoretical and practical training in sleep medicine for trainees to be able to diagnose, treat and refer patients to sleep specialists if needed. In addition, it is hoped that medical schools will provide adequate education in sleep medicine.”
Dr. Sunil Vyas, a specialist at Aster Medical Hospital in Dubai, said lack of sleep should not be ignored as an urban lifestyle phenomenon. Every second patient he sees suffers from sleep deprivation, he said. “There are authentic reports that more than 50 percent of the UAE population suffers from at least one or more sleeping disorders, which is on a par with the global average in developing countries. This needs immediate attention,” he told Arab News.
“According to the (Sleep Cycle) report findings, short sleep duration was more prevalent in females. Obesity, hypertension, diabetes mellitus, depression and asthma were among the most common medical problems reported due to lack of sleep.”
In 2017 Dr. Siraj Omar Wali told Arab News that insomnia clinics were needed in Saudi Arabia to help tackle the negative impact of sleep disorders.
Wali, a director of King Abdulaziz University Hospital’s (KAU) Sleep Medicine and Research Center, urged the establishment of treatment centers in the Kingdom.
Wali, who had been speaking at a course and workshop dedicated to sleeping disorders, said that a KAU study found that one in every 10 men and one in every 15 women suffered with obstructive sleep apnea, which relates to breathing problems during sleep.
But lack of sleep is not just a health issue. The cumulative effects of sleep deprivation affect a country's economy.
According to a 2016 report from the not-for-profit research institute Rand Europe, sleep deprivation was directly related to lower productivity, which resulted in a significant number of working days being lost every year.