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Meet Jason Atherton, Celebrity Chef and ‘Dubai Dishes’ Star

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By Niamh Walsh on 17th July 2023

Prepare to embark on a culinary adventure as celebrity chef Jason Atherton unveils the flavours, traditions, and hidden gems of Dubai's thriving food scene in this exclusive interview

Step into the mouth-watering world of Dubai's culinary landscape, as we sit down with the esteemed celebrity chef and star of the hit series Dubai Dishes, Jason Atherton. Known for his mastery in the kitchen and captivating on-screen presence, Jason Atherton has taken the culinary world by storm, showcasing the rich flavours and diverse cuisines that thrive in this vibrant city.

In this exclusive interview, he shares his inspirations behind creating the series, his immersive experiences in Dubai's local food scene, the unique offerings of his latest restaurant venture, and the unforgettable moments captured while filming Dubai Dishes. Join us as we unravel the culinary journey of a Michelin-starred chef and explore the essence of Dubai's rapidly growing foodie hub through his eyes. Get ready to tantalise your taste buds and delve into the captivating world of Dubai's culinary culture.

What inspired you to create the "Dubai Dishes" series and explore the culinary culture of Dubai?

I wanted to peel back the layers and reveal the true essence of Dubai's culinary scene. It's not just about luxurious hotels and high-end restaurants; it's a rich tapestry of diverse cuisines, from Persian and Iranian to Egyptian and European, spanning everything from mouth watering street food to exquisite fine dining experiences.

How did you immerse yourself in the local food scene when you first moved to Dubai in 2000?

I threw myself into the heart of the local food culture, immersing myself in the vibrant streets and seeking guidance from the locals themselves. Exploring the bustling street food spots, chatting with passionate food enthusiasts, and getting a glimpse into the local culture helped me truly understand the flavours and traditions of Dubai.

Can you tell us about your latest restaurant, City Social Dubai, and what makes it unique?

City Social Dubai boasts a menu that fuses modern European ingredients with the tantalising flavours of Japanese cuisine. It's an exciting collision of culinary worlds, resulting in a truly innovative and unforgettable dining experience that challenges traditional boundaries.

What made you decide to collaborate with the local food stars of Dubai in their kitchens for the series?

Highlighting the local talent in Dubai was essential to me. I strongly believe in supporting and promoting homegrown talent. Collaborating with these gifted individuals not only added depth and authenticity to the series but also shone a spotlight on the incredible culinary prowess brewing right here in Dubai.

Can you share some highlights from the series, such as memorable dishes or experiences you had while filming?

Exploring the vibrant new fish market and engaging with the local suppliers was an eye-opening experience. Additionally, delving into the rich culinary heritage of the Bedouin culture in the desert left a profound impact on me. These encounters, coupled with the delightful dishes crafted by talented chefs, created unforgettable memories throughout the series.

Atherton in the Dubai desert
Atherton in the Dubai desert

As a Michelin star chef, how did you incorporate your expertise into the recipes featured in the series?

The discipline and precision instilled by being a Michelin-starred chef naturally permeate into every aspect of my culinary creations. From meticulous plating to pushing the boundaries of creativity, my expertise ensures that each recipe showcased in the series is a culinary masterpiece.

What are some unique regional flavours or ingredients that you discovered during your journey across Dubai's culinary culture?

The mind-blowing variety of spices found in Dubai is incredible. Each one carries its own story and brings a distinct character to the dishes. Additionally, the assortment of fish species available in Dubai offers a remarkable range of flavours and textures to explore.

Dubai Spice Market
Dubai Spice Market

How do you think the "Dubai Dishes" series will contribute to showcasing Dubai as a fast-growing foodie hub to a wider audience?

The series not only serves as a captivating window into Dubai as a remarkable destination, but it also highlights Dubai's emergence as a global culinary force. By showcasing the diverse flavours, talents, and vibrant food culture, we aim to position Dubai as a premier food destination, capturing the attention and appetites of food enthusiasts worldwide.

What are your hopes for viewers who watch the series? Do you have any recommendations for them to experience Dubai's culinary culture themselves?

I hope viewers will be fully immersed in the series, armed with notepads and a hunger to learn. Take notes, soak in the culinary journey we present, and then venture out to experience Dubai's culinary wonders firsthand. Discover the hidden gems, meet the passionate individuals behind the scenes, and allow yourself to be enchanted by Dubai's captivating culinary backwaters. Bon appétit!

Aerial view of Dubai
Aerial view of Dubai

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