Costas Spiliadis, Nobu and Mich Turner tell us about their new restaurants
The Greek chef wants to change perceptions of his national cuisine
With his new restaurant at Atlantis The Royal, Costas Spiliadis is continuing his life’s work, bringing Greek cuisine to new levels.
As one of the venues that hosted guests for the resort’s Grand Reveal party, Estiatorio Milos has already had the chance to iron out any kinks. Not that Spiliadis was overly concerned.
Speaking to Gault&Millau UAE, he said: “The essence of what I’m doing lies in being able to bring in the very best products, and these are very perishable things, so not only do you have to bring them here but you have to bring them very quickly and in a way that preserves the quality of the products.
“Your fish must be very, very fresh. But so far, I think Dubai has proved to be the easiest place to ensure we can get all of these ingredients – possibly, I think because it is part of the culture of Dubai to be open to what the world can offer. So, I’ve found it to be very accommodating, not just in terms of the flights but in terms of the process.
“Of course, there are strict rules in place around importing, but if you obey the rules, it is very easily achieved here.
“We have also imported a lot of the materials used in the restaurant. The type of marble we use on the floors comes from a mountain next to Athens that has provided marble for many great things in the world, including the Parthenon. The wood comes from 200-year-old sustainably kept oak forests in Denmark. Everything we use, from our food to our physical environment, is of extraordinary quality.
“The environment is very minimal, but every ingredient and material used is telling our story. And in that minimal but extraordinary environment, there are three things I would like to see being the main protagonists of my story every night – my tomatoes, my fish and my customers.
After 14 years in Atlantis, The Palm’s Avenues, Nobu now has two new outlets at Atlantis Dubai
With more than 50 restaurants around the world, it’s unlikely Nobuyuki Matsuhisa is intimidated by much. He launched his first restaurant in Lima in 1973, but it was with the opening of Matsuhisa in LA in 1987 that he rose to fame, attracting the attentions of Hollywood, and business partner Robert De Niro. Together, the pair created Nobu, which today has 14 hotels across five continents in addition to the restaurants. In Dubai, he has a new outlet in Atlantis The Palm’s former Royal Bridge Suite, as well as the first Nobu by the Beach at Atlantis The Royal.
The same things drive him now as when he first started, he told us.
He said :“My passion comes from my mum and my grandma, growing up. They made good food for every meal and they cooked with real balance and heart. Then I started training as a sushi chef, where the only equipment you are allowed is a knife, a chopping board and ten fingers. I’d learned to cook with heart and with ten fingers comes your heart line. Using my heart is my basic philosophy.
“Today, it is easy to get produce all over the world, but sometimes, you use the same product and whether you cook just with technique or you cook with heart, the result is completely different.”
Despite being so experienced, new openings still excite Nobu. He said: “It doesn’t matter if it’s a big or small project, it’s the teams who make it exciting. I haven’t changed my philosophy since I was a kid. I like to do my best and I don’t play games with our business. But for me, the key is not about business but about how many people we can make happy.”
The baker to the stars discusses couture, cakes and creating magical moments.
After making cakes for the British royal family, Madonna, Paul McCartney and more, few people could have been more perfect for such a high-profile opening as Mich Turner.
With her Little Venice Cake Company, she is now making her mark in the UAE. With a full-on stint in the kitchen prior to Atlantis The Royal’s Grand Reveal, Turner was more than ready for the opening of her latest outlet.
She told Gault&Millau UAE: “I think, when you work and create anything with your hands, the endorphins that are released bring happiness and a sense of wellbeing. You feel great, you want to do more and for me, that’s what cake making and baking and decorating has always been for me. And while other chefs are creating food that fuels, that’s sustenance, with cake, you’re putting on the make-up. It’s your favourite party dress. It’s for happy occasions. So you are bringing pleasure into people’s lives and, for me, that’s always been a joy.
“I spent four years in a lab coat becoming a qualified food scientist, so I also understand the technical side of working with ingredients, how to get the best out of the physical chemistry of food. But that’s then uninhibited by my creative explosion, which is constantly fuelled by fashion and couture style, jewellery, nature, architecture, all of these elements that come together to inspire new designs and marry the most indulgent cakes with the most beautiful artistry.”
Part of the experience in Dubai is the private consultation for big cake projects. Turner told us how that works.
“The service and the experience that Little Venice Cake Company will offer in Dubai is threefold,” she explained. “We have our everyday cakes that will be available every day, ready to take away for you to enjoy at home. We then have our curated selection of signature cakes that you’ll be able to order and customise with 48-hours notice – here, we’ve thought about the different celebrations, the flavours and the profiles to ensure that we offer something for everyone.
“And then we have our couture service, where customers come to the Royal consultation room and enjoy the couture cake tasting plate to see how all the flavour options marry together, so that as we are designing your cake and we’re talking through all the details, you can start building up the flavours of the cakes that will actually be served. So guests are being invited into the inner sanctum, which hopefully instils the credibility and the authenticity of our brand, our prestige and our heritage.”
Source: Hotelier ME