British celebrity chef Richard Phillips shares a few words with Time Out ahead of his trip to the UAE
How did you first get involved in Taste of Dubai?
It came through my agent. She was asked by the organisers if one of her clients would be interested and she knows that I’m a true advocate of Dubai. I love it out here and she knows I like doing live demonstrations – I do an awful lot of it in the UK. They said, ‘How do you fancy it?’ and I jumped at the chance.
What are you going to be up to during the event?
A bit of everything, really. We’ve got two defining areas: one’s a chef’s theatre and the other is a cookery school. For the cookery school I’ve chosen two dishes to create each day, which hopefully people will really fall in love with: they’ll love the look of them, the taste of them, and they’ll go home and recreate them – that’s my plan. They’re a little more simplified than the dishes I’d usually recreate in the restaurants, though that’s because I’ll be teaching amateur cooks. On the flipside, we’ve got the Chef’s Theatre, where I’ll do some more intricate cooking, things along the line of the dishes I’d serve in my restaurant, Thackeray’s – one of four venues I own in Kent in the UK.
Do you see Taste of Dubai becoming a regular thing for you?
It depends if I’m asked to come back! I have no qualms about returning to the UAE on a regular basis. It depends if Dubai likes me! If I go down well with the public, then I’m sure I’ll get asked back next year. If I enjoy it and they enjoy it, I’ll be back.
Okay, so the golden question is whether you have any plans to open a restaurant out here…
Dubai has always appealed to me. I would love to bring my expertise out to the city; I think it has some amazing restaurants and some wonderful hotels. Could I bring something out here that isn’t here already? Yes, I believe I could, and I think it would be something great for the locals, expats and tourists all to enjoy. Somebody’s got to come up with the right offer for me!