ID cards and Michel Roux in Dubai

<em>The Insider</em> caught up with Michel Roux at the Festival of Taste for a quick chat as some much-needed advice before looking at the curfew on Palm Jumeirah.

The insider, The Knowledge

A fair point
Yes, we’re relieved that the ID card deadline has been extended for Dubai’s expats until 2010. But what we’d also like to ask is for their online survey about the usefulness of the website to be adapted. Currently, it reads: ‘What do you think of EIDA’s new website?’ The three possible answers are as follows: ‘excellent’, ‘good’ or ‘fair’. Good to see no negative options at all on there.

Some of you may remember that last year London’s World Travel Market (WTM), with ‘official premier partner’ Abu Dhabi, encouraged those in the industry to plug into the ‘pink travel market’.This surprised us, considering homosexual acts are illegal in the emirate. We were even more startled to see that exactly the same thing has happened again this year, with Abu Dhabi-sponsored WTM’s announcement that, ‘An amazing £47.2million is being spent on gay and lesbian honeymoons.’ Intriguing.

You’re grounded?
Only in Dubai would they give an entire development a 4pm curfew, give out parking passes to the people living there, and think it all entirely normal procedure – as they did during Atlantis’s launch party last weekend. What’s more, traffic was apparently not allowed through the trunk tunnel straight after the fireworks, as it was filled with smoke from the explosive show. We’re guessing most of The Palm’s residents don’t actually have to work, so we’re sure they didn’t mind.

Stirring the Roux
Chef Michel Roux was in fine form at Festival of Taste recently, joining one group for a couple of glasses of fine malt whiskey. No topic was too taboo for the Frenchman. ‘Gordon Brown is a s***,’ he said of the UK prime minister. ‘He shook my hand at a dinner once and came around 20 minutes later to shake it again, but I wouldn’t. “We already did that,” I told him.’ Ouch! He also recalled making a soufflé for Queen Elizabeth II. ‘She asked me to cook it again two months later, but I couldn’t, because rhubarb wasn’t in season any more.’ And he revealed he’s bought property in Dubai, in the rather modest Jumeirah Lake Towers. ‘It’s just an investment,’ he told us.

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