From world firsts to rare nods, chefs of Dubai’s Michelin-starred restaurants celebrate big wins

From world firsts to rare nods, chefs of Dubai’s Michelin-starred restaurants celebrate big wins
The chefs of 11 Woodfire, Torno Subito, Tresind Studio, and Armani/Ristorante all gained one star. (Supplied)
Short Url
Updated 29 June 2022

From world firsts to rare nods, chefs of Dubai’s Michelin-starred restaurants celebrate big wins

From world firsts to rare nods, chefs of Dubai’s Michelin-starred restaurants celebrate big wins

DUBAI: From the world’s first unlicensed restaurant to be awarded a Michelin star to one of the rare Indian eateries to get a nod, Dubai is now home to a host of Michelin-starred dining spots.

Arab News caught up with a number of the restaurants’ chefs to find out how they plan to celebrate and whether this means the heat in the kitchen is about to get hotter.

The chefs of 11 Woodfire, Torno Subito, Tresind Studio, and Armani/Ristorante, which all gained one star, described how it felt to be internationally recognized after it was recently announced that 11 restaurants in Dubai received a Michelin star — nine places won one star, while two restaurants received two stars.

11 Woodfire’s chef Akmal Anuar

 

 


The restaurant, located in Jumeirah, is the first unlicensed eatery to win a Michelin Guide star.

Its chef Akmal Anuar described the achievement as “huge.”

He said: “For me being Muslim, and to achieve this and to be on stage with everybody else, proves that nothing is impossible. I feel overwhelmed. I am very, very happy.”

Anuar plans to celebrate the milestone with his team next week.

“We will shut down one day and buy a cake. We will sit down, have a motivational speech, and get ready for the new era. This (win) wasn’t just me; it was my team. They all worked very hard for it,” he added.

11 Woodfire offers dishes such as black Angus steak, jumbo prawns with brown butter, Japanese eggplant, and Chilean sea bass, while priding itself on being committed to zero waste and following sustainable practices.

Torno Subito’s chef Bernardo Paladini

 

 

 

 


Chef Bernardo Paladini’s intention with Torno Subito, located in the Palm Jumeirah, was “to have fun and to open an audacious Italian restaurant with great food, quality ingredients, and vibrancy.”

He said: “In all honesty, this completely caught us by surprise. We really did not expect it and it is a result of four years of hard work. I feel elated, excited, and proud. I still cannot believe it.”

The chef gave credit to his team and pointed out that the award was not just for him, but for the hardworking staff that helped him on a daily basis.

Being a Michelin-star restaurant will not make Paladini change the concept of his eatery, or the prices.

“We will stay true to the roots of Torno Subito and maintain the restaurant’s identity. Pressure is good and we are very conscious of what it means to have a Michelin star and will do everything to maintain it,” he added.

Paladini’s recommendation to diners is to try the restaurant’s tasting menu which includes all of its signature dishes such as cocktail di gamberi, rock lobster roll, and Japanese beef.

Being an internationally recognized cook, the chef’s top tip for amateur cooks was to experiment. “Everyone can cook good food, but when you are able to show emotion and passion in the food, this is what makes all the difference.”

Tresind Studio’s chef Himanshu Saini

 

 

 

 


Not many Indian restaurants have Michelin stars and that is what makes Nakheel Mall's Tresind Studio’s chef Himanshu Saini proud.

He said: “It feels surreal. Being among the few Indian restaurants in the world to have a star is a great feeling. We strive to break perceptions and showcase Indian food with a different perspective.”

The recognition has fueled up the chef and his team who now feel motivated to work harder. He wasted no time and immediately celebrated the award with his team after the Tuesday awards ceremony event at the Dubai Opera.

Talent may be important for chefs, but Saini pointed out that hard work beats it. “Work hard because that is the only way you can evolve as a chef,” he added.

He noted that the bar of expectation from his diners had now been raised.

“It is a good thing because it only motivates us and keeps us on our toes to keep evolving,” he said.

Tresind Studio has previously won the art of hospitality gong at the inaugural Middle East and North Africa’s 50 Best Restaurants 2022 awards by The World’s 50 Best Restaurants.

 

 

Armani/Ristorante’s chef Giovanni Papi

 

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by GIOVANNI M. PAPI (@gsupapi)

 

Armani/Ristorante restaurant is at Dubai’s Armani hotel.

The eatery’s chef Giovanni Papi said he feels “extremely proud and emotional as a Michelin star is a dream that each chef chases.

“We knew that Armani /Ristorante was invited for the Michelin guide revelation but (weren’t) sure about the outcome for our restaurant. But I feel confident that we are delivering the outstanding service and culinary experience at Armani/Ristorante all the time,” he told Arab News.

The restaurant, which dishes up modern Italian cooking in a luxurious atmosphere, is known for its signature dishes such as agnolotti del plin, a pasta typical of the Piedmont region of Italy, fish dish filetto di scorfano and agnello al mirto, a lamb dish.

If you plan to book a table at the newly crowned Michelin-starred restaurant, the chef suggests the signature chlorophyll risotto and Sicilian red prawns, along with the Armani/Ristorante La Sfera dessert.

 


London Halal Food Festival opens its gates to 18,000 visitors

London Halal Food Festival opens its gates to 18,000 visitors
Updated 28 September 2022

London Halal Food Festival opens its gates to 18,000 visitors

London Halal Food Festival opens its gates to 18,000 visitors
  • With 150 vendors, festival showcases 25 cuisines from around the world
  • Festival’s mission is to help support halal SMES

LONDON: The Halal Food Festival returned to the UK capital this year for its sixth edition with 25 cuisines on offer at more than 150 stalls.

At least 18,000 people attended the two-day event, which ran from Sept. 24-25 at London Stadium in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.

The scale and scope of the festival mean London now hosts one of the largest specifically halal food gatherings in the world, according to organizers. 

Kevin Jackson, director of Algebra Festivals, launched the festival with his partner Waleed Jahangia seven years ago. 

“We created an event that would put food at the heart of the community. There’s no better way of sharing culture than through food,” he said.

After two years of the COVID-19 pandemic, organizers have invested heavily in infrastructure, transforming the festival into an experience that goes beyond food.

The event featured a VIP lounge, shopping stalls, live entertainment, cookery theater, picnic area, kids play area, mechanical bull and fun competitions. 

One of the highlights was a live demonstration by NHS doctor and former “MasterChef” winner Dr. Saliha Mahmood Ahmed. 

Using bread dough to teach women how to examine themselves for early signs of breast cancer, Ahmed aimed to overcome cultural taboos that contribute to low cancer awareness among the Muslim community in the UK. 

The new additions reflect the growing view that halal is more than just about food but is a lifestyle, too. 

Jackson recalled that when he and Jahangia launched the festival, most Muslim events in London were held in community centers or school halls. 

But the London Stadium event shows the Muslim community now has access to some of the most renowned venues in the capital. 

The festival has also evolved into a cultural melting pot, with both its cuisine and its foodies coming from around the globe. 

“We’ve got people from Manchester, Birmingham, people who came on a day trip from Paris yesterday. We’ve got people from Spain. We’ve got people from Scotland. This is such a big event for the Muslim community that they travel for miles to come to it,”  Jackson said.  

Chef Fatima El-Rify of Mama Hayam reported positive feedback from visitors tasting her Egyptian cuisine. 

“They didn’t know what it was completely. They knew a little about kosheri, but now they have a really strong idea. They’re coming back for more. They’re bringing their friends. They really love kosheri and mahshi, so that’s really good.” 

She added: “I think there is nowhere else in London that you can try all these different cuisines and just have this ease of it all being halal.” 

The festival also features the timeless and the contemporary, from Jordan’s traditional Anabtawi Sweets to London’s Lola’s Cupcakes.

Apart from catering to Muslim visitors, it aims to provide an international platform for the halal economy, while helping to nurture halal small and medium enterprises. 

“We’re building business relationships. The traders all trade with one another. The suppliers, our partners here, Tariq Halal, are providing products for our exhibitors,” Jackson said. 

Founder Shahin Bharwani of Mocktail Company, which sells non-alcoholic beverages,  said that she was fortunate to have been able to exhibit at the Halal Food Festival in 2016 within months of launching her business. 

“It was brilliant in terms of being a startup to get the brand exposure needed at this type of event.” 

Festival vendors reflected on the halal industry’s growth in the past decade. 

Bharwani said: “There’s so many variations of businesses here, particularly the food. Years ago you could never imagine halal tacos hell or gourmet burgers, that type of thing, so to have those kinds of halal options now is amazing.” 

Co-partner Abid Haider of Proper Burgers said that the event “just keeps getting bigger and bigger.” 

With the industry now worth billions, the London festival is part of a growing movement placing halal on high street.

 


Christie’s Dubai to exhibit rare Islamic and Mughal finds

Christie’s Dubai to exhibit rare Islamic and Mughal finds
Updated 28 September 2022

Christie’s Dubai to exhibit rare Islamic and Mughal finds

Christie’s Dubai to exhibit rare Islamic and Mughal finds

DUBAI: Set to take place from Sept. 28 to Oct.3, Christie’s Middle East and North Africa has announced a new exhibition open to the public of a selection of important works of art from across a number of forthcoming auctions taking place at Christie’s Dubai.

The exhibition, taking place in DIFC, will showcase a selection of top lots, including paintings, works of art and carpets.

One of the highlights at the exhibition includes works from "Art of the Islamic and Indian Worlds including Oriental Rugs and Carpets" auction.  The first item is an exceptionally rare 17th century Royal Mughal Pashmina carpet, from 1650's Northern India. Another piece of interest is a work from a group of Iznik pottery from The Victor Adda Collection – a collector based in Alexandria in the early 20th century.

Also included in the collection are a number of important Old Master and European paintings. These include Sir Anthony van Dyck's "Portrait of Henrietta Maria." In 1632, van Dyck was appointed as ‘Principal Painter’ to King Charles I of Britain.  

A number of equestrian paintings, including a work by French artist Theodore Gericault and a racing scene by British master Sir Alfred James Munnings, are being showcased, reflecting the region’s considerable passion for horsemanship in all forms.

“This carefully curated selection of important works on exhibition at Christie’s Dubai reflects the discerning taste of collectors across the MENA region, who appreciate the very best quality, artistry, and extraordinary craftsmanship represented by these works across categories.  It is a great honor to be able to showcase these works in Dubai for the first time,: said Arne Everwijn, Director of Business Development Middle East and North Africa, in a statement.


Singer Kylie Minogue to headline a New Year’s Eve gala dinner in Dubai  

Singer Kylie Minogue to headline a New Year’s Eve gala dinner in Dubai  
Updated 28 September 2022

Singer Kylie Minogue to headline a New Year’s Eve gala dinner in Dubai  

Singer Kylie Minogue to headline a New Year’s Eve gala dinner in Dubai  

DUBAI: Australian pop sensation Kylie Minogue is set to headline a New Year’s Eve Gala Dinner at Dubai’s Atlantis, The Palm. 

Minogue will take to the stage in the lead-up to hotel’s 2023 countdown, entertaining guests with anthems such as “Can’t Get You Out Of My Head,” “All The Lovers” and “The Loco-Motion.” 

Her performance will be followed by fireworks and pyrotechnic displays. 

This year’s gala dinner theme is titled “A Night With The Stars.” 

Minogue first performed in the Middle East at the resort’s grand opening back in 2008.

The music sensation has sold more than 80 million albums worldwide and in 2020, made UK chart history becoming the first female solo artist to claim number one albums in five consecutive decades.  

Minogue has multiple awards and accolades to her name, including three BRIT Awards, two MTV Music Awards and a Grammy Award. 

Timothy Kelly, the executive vice president and managing director of Atlantis, said in a statement: “We are incredibly excited to welcome the return of Kylie Minogue to Atlantis, The Palm for a spectacular New Year’s Eve performance.”

“As the leading entertainment destination in the region, our New Year’s Eve Gala Dinners have become legendary, with Kylie joining the likes of rock band KISS in 2020, and Robbie Williams in 2021. We no doubt that 2023 will be another exceptional moment and can’t wait to give our guests one of the most memorable New Year’s Eve of their lives,” added Kelly. 


Tunisian model Ameni Esseibi shows off sleek style at Paris Fashion Week 

Tunisian model Ameni Esseibi shows off sleek style at Paris Fashion Week 
Updated 28 September 2022

Tunisian model Ameni Esseibi shows off sleek style at Paris Fashion Week 

Tunisian model Ameni Esseibi shows off sleek style at Paris Fashion Week 
  • The 24-year-old, considered the first plus-size model in the Middle East, is a staunch advocate for inclusivity and diversity in the fashion industry

DUBAI: Tunisian model Ameni Esseibi made her international runway debut this week by walking for French label Victor Weinsanto at Paris Fashion Week. 

“Mama, I made it to Paris Fashion week,” she wrote on Instagram, sharing a picture of herself on the runway. “This is just the beginning.” 

Esseibi, who was the only Arab model participating in the fashion show, went on to thank the Arab Fashion Council, a non-profit organization representing the fashion industry in the Middle East and North Africa that named the Dubai-based model as its new ambassador earlier this year.

“Thank you so much Arab Fashion Council for helping make my dream come true and Victor Weinsanto for believing in me,” she wrote. 

Esseibi walked down the runway in a multi-colored dress which she paired with pearl white satin gloves. 

The 24-year-old, considered the first plus-size model in the Middle East, is a staunch advocate for inclusivity and diversity in the fashion industry.

Esseibi has worked with a number of esteemed brands including Jean Paul Gautier and H&M and has featured in the pages of multiple publications. 


French Algerian model Loli Bahia hits the runway in Paris 

French Algerian model Loli Bahia hits the runway in Paris 
Updated 28 September 2022

French Algerian model Loli Bahia hits the runway in Paris 

French Algerian model Loli Bahia hits the runway in Paris 

DUBAI: From Milan to Paris, French Algerian model Loli Bahia has been gracing the runways for renowned luxury labels this month. 

This week, the catwalk star modeled for French luxury fashion house Yves Saint Laurent at Paris Fashion Week in a show set against the backdrop of a twinkling Eiffel Tower.

Guests, including K-Pop star Rose of Blackpink, trickled into the venue under brooding clouds as night began to fall, stopping for selfies in front of a huge, flowing water fountain, while crowds lined up on the esplanade overlooking the venue, The Associated Press reported.

Designer Anthony Vaccarello presented the summer collection of sleek evening wear that featured dramatic 80s shoulders, column silhouettes and hoods.

The model shared a close up of her Yves Saint Laurent look on social media. (Instagram)

Bahia emerged from the dark, wearing a sheer floor-length black dress with a turtleneck as she made her way slowly down a broad set of stairs before marching around the fountain. 

Her look was accessorized with chunky gold bangles, large earrings and one-toed heels. 

Other looks in the fashion show included 90s designs infused with the glaringly 80s capuches that came in muted or caramel tones — hues also reminiscent of that era. 

Hoods formed the base silhouette of many pared-down ensembles, which contrasted with statement gold earrings or large wooden bracelets, just like the ones Bahia wore. 

Heavy open wool coats and regal trenches, which caressed the floor, created a rectangular window frame through which to see the pants in some clever fashion theater.

The house founder turned the capuche into one of his most iconic styles – originally inspired by the tubular sheath donned by dancer Martha Graham for her 1930 choreography “Lamentation.”

Paris Fashion Week kicked off on Tuesday. Saint Laurent and Dior are among some 107 brands showcasing Spring-Summer 2023 collections.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by (@runway.icons)

Last week, Bahia modeled for Italian luxury label Versace during Milan Fashion Week alongside part-Arab models Gigi and Bella Hadid, Imaan Hammam and Nora Attal. Emily Ratajkowski, Paris Hilton and Irina Shayk were also among the models who walked the runway. 

Bahia wore a hot-pink dress with a short bridal veil.

Bahia, who is signed to Women Management Paris, made her runway debut in 2020 at Louis Vuitton’s Fall 2021 show. She would go on to star in the Parisian luxury house’s advertising campaign for Fall 2021.

She has also featured in campaigns for Saint Laurent, Courreges and Max Mara in addition to starring on the cover of Vogue Italia.