Celeb chefs flock to Dubai

Atul Kochhar and Eric Lanlard in the city this week

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This week Dubai is looking a little like the culinary equivalent of Hollywood, with visits from notable chefs and plenty of celebrity news. Atul Kochhar, the Michelin-starred chef behind Rang Mahal by Atul Kochhar and Zafran restaurants will be in residence at the former venue until Friday August 23. In town to keep an eye on the restaurant and recipe development, chef Atul will also be taking part in a special meet and greet, three-course dinner at Rang Mahal on Wednesday August 21.

Also in Dubai is Eric Lanlard, the French patisserie chef whose cake creations have graced TV shows as well as the weddings of Madonna, Claudia Schiffer and Elizabeth Hurley. Now, Eric is in Dubai this week to launch his new cookbook Chocolat as well as the revamped afternoon tea at Sultan’s Lounge in the Jumeirah Zabeel Saray.

If you’ve now developed a hunger for celebrity cooking, Silvena Rowe continues to grace The H Hotel with her Ottoman mezze creations. From iftars to after work, this time it is for a Tuesday evening deal of unlimited grape and Turkish mezze served at the table.

Not enough, still ravenous? Yes, we’ve already had a French dessert, but we’ve saved the main course until last. Jason Atherton, a former protegé of Gordon Ramsay and the original incumbent of the executive chef title at Verre in Dubai has since claimed Michelin stars in his own right and plans have recently been announced for a comprehensive, global expansion of new restaurants by Atherton, from Shanghai to Sydney. And news has hit that Jason will be returning to Dubai, opening a restaurant with the name Dubai Marina Social and Social Room, currently planned to open at the end of 2014.

And since the original founder Antonio Carluccio is quite the celebrity in the UK, there is also news from Carluccio’s in Dubai. The chain has just closed the Dubai Mall branch for an extensive renovation and currently plans to reopen the venue on Wednesday September 18. Carluccio’s has also announced that it is bringing in a new brand chef, Italian-born Maurice Maffeo. While Maurice was more recently brand chef for Italian chain Strada in the UK, we hear this move marks a return to the Carluccio family, since chef Maurice previously worked as chef de partie, back in 1989 at Antonio’s original eatery The Neal Street Restaurant in London.

Finally, this season we’re noticing the start of a trend for Asian-style happy hours. First it was the ‘yin-yang hour’ at Blue Jade, offering Japanese beverages and Miyagi oysters until the end of this month. Next month, Hakkasan’s Ling Ling Lounge is offering beverages alongside Asian bar snacks such as crispy tiger prawns with pandan leaf.

Until next week, bon appétit!

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