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12 extraordinary chefs in Abu Dhabi

When visiting Abu Dhabi, you’re in for a gastronomic treat. This fast-paced city is known for its vibrant dining scene and is home to a number of talented chefs from around the world. Explore a variety of exciting and exotic cuisines, with each dish being a creative concoction bursting with flavour.

These 12 extraordinary chefs are making waves in the Abu Dhabi cuisine scene…

Chef Kunal Kapur – Namak, Dusit Thani Hotel

Indian celebrity chef Kunal Kapur is a restaurateur and media personality known for hosting MasterChef India and Junior MasterChef India. His cookbook, A Chef in Every Home, aims to inspire everyone to explore the hidden chef in them. Kapur’s restaurant, Namak at Dusit Thani, is a progressive Indian eatery with a global reputation. A dish you have to try is the Oops, I Dropped My Chaat! Kapur has taken the traditional Indian chaat (a savoury snack full of flavour but usually lacking in presentation) and reinvented it with a colourful, playful twist.

Chef Tom Aiken – The Abu Dhabi EDITION

At the age of 26, Tom Aiken was the youngest British chef ever to be awarded two Michelin stars. He is the author of three cookbooks (Cooking, Fish and Easy) and is well known for his former Tom’s Kitchen brasserie-style group of restaurants in the UK and Istanbul. As the inspiration behind the new menus at The Abu Dhabi EDITION hotel, Aiken channels his culinary ethos of making the most of local ingredients to ensure the highest-quality dishes. We recommend the Market Green Earth Burger – a kale-and-spinach-infused brioche bun topped with a juicy burger, sundried tomato and aquafaba mayonnaise relish, grilled portobello mushrooms, avo and piquillo peppers, and an aubergine relish.

Chef Eber Villalobos – VaKaVa, Jumeirah at Etihad Towers

Jumeirah at Etihad Towers is home to a variety of exciting restaurants, one of which is VaKaVa – a unique concept space by celebrity chef Richard Sandoval. This gorgeous Latin-American restaurant offers a delectable menu created by head chef Eber Villalobos. His Ceviche Huachinango – a fresh fusion of sea bass, sweet potato, coriander, leche de tigre and red onion – will delight your tastebuds. Got a sweet tooth? Try the La Bomba, a chocolate ball smash filled with tiny tidbits of fresh berries, dulce de leche, brownies and fudge.

Chef Christian Buenrostro – Four Seasons Hotel Abu Dhabi at Al Maryah Island

Chef Christian Buenrostro has a true passion for food, particularly Asian flavours and how they perfectly infuse with other global cuisines. He often says, “I’m a chef from Mexico, but I’m not a Mexican chef.” At the helm of everything flavourful at Four Seasons Hotel Abu Dhabi, Buenrostro has an eye for detail across all areas of the kitchen. His Raw Vegan Pizza is pure gastronomic glee. The base is a blend of butternut squash, flaxseed, lime juice, oregano and basil leaves, topped with a tasty tomato sauce and herby, semi-dried tomatoes. Delicious!

Chef Ando Takashi – Tori No Su, Jumeirah at Etihad Towers

With over 40 years of cooking experience, chef Ando Takashi is a master at traditional Japanese kaiseki cuisine. Hailing from North Japan, Takashi learnt his cooking skills as a young boy in his grandmother’s kitchen. He is Chef de Cuisine at the authentic Japanese restaurant Tori No Su at Jumeirah at Etihad Towers and has created the most delicious Takoyaki (octopus) dish, completely unique to the hotel. Takoyaki sees tempura batter, cabbage, pickled ginger, Japanese spring onion and octopus expertly brought together, cooked in a Takoyaki pan and drizzled with Japanese mayonnaise.

Chef Antonio Lopez – Teatro, Park Rotana Abu Dhabi

Looking for exquisitely crafted cuisine packed with flavour? Head to Teatro at Park Rotana Abu Dhabi, where head chef Antonio Lopez has created a number of mouthwatering signature dishes. From Thai to Indian, Japanese to Italian, Lopez’s eclectic menu will satisfy all palates. The salmon nori Passion Torch dish – where Lopez adds the finishing touch with a blow torch – is a must.

Chef Ibrahim Osbay – Sahha, Grand Hyatt Abu Dhabi

Turkish chef Ibrahim Osbay is passionate about great-tasting comfort food with a distinctive Mediterranean twist. As head chef at Sahha restaurant at Grand Hyatt Abu Dhabi, Osbay brings his Turkish flair to every dish on the menu. We highly recommend the Lamb Shank with Orzo Pilaf. Osbay marinates the lamb for 24 hours before slow-cooking it in a hot oven for three hours in a rich sauce of olive oil, red pepper, garlic and onion, after which it is placed on a bed of orzo pilaf and topped with toasted almonds and peanuts.

Chef Le Thi Mau – The Park Bar & Grill, Park Hyatt Abu Dhabi Hotel and Resort

If it’s traditional Vietnamese cuisine you’re after, then you have to visit chef Le Thi Mau at the Park Bar & Grill at Park Hyatt Abu Dhabi Hotel and Resort. Mau delights in creating exotic, flavourful dishes from her native country. The Crispy Crab Cakes are a highlight, as is Mau’s childhood favourite – Steam Buns with Slow-cooked Beef Short Ribs. A taste explosion of mayonnaise, hoisin sauce and tender beef topped with fresh strips of carrot and cucumber, and coriander leaves.

Chef Lee Kok Hua – Hakkasan, Emirates Palace

Master of Chinese and Cantonese cuisine, chef Lee Kok Hua has cooked in award-winning kitchens around the globe and today is head chef at Hakkasan restaurant in the iconic Emirates Palace hotel. He is passionate about his craft and believes that a chef’s work is not just about serving a meal that is technically perfect, it’s also about creating and sharing passionately. Hua recommends you try his signature feast, the Stir Fry Black Pepper Rib-eye Beef – flash-fried rib-eye beef in a spicy pepper sauce topped with stir-fried onion, spring onion and garlic.

Chef Mohammed Farouq – Kamoon, Khalidiya Palace Rayhaan by Rotana

Hailing from Aleppo, Syria, chef Mohammed Farouq has loved cooking since he was a 12-year-old boy learning from his professional chef father. Farouq is a specialist in Arabic fare, and hopes to preserve this distinct cuisine. Farouq prides himself on having perfected the Arabic grill. “It’s the spices you add to it, and most importantly, the timing,” he says. Head to Kamoon at Khalidiya Palace Rayhaan by Rotana, where you have to try his delicious Kebab Rayhaan – one of the most unique dishes in the restaurant.

Chef Rohan Patil – Parmigiana, Sofitel Abu Dhabi Corniche

Indian chef Rohan Patil has been perfecting Italian cuisine for many years now at Sofitel Abu Dhabi Corniche’s Italian restaurant, Parmigiana, where he’s the executive chef. If you haven’t yet tasted his glorious Marble Lobster Ravioli, we suggest you do. Patil says the secret to a good ravioli is the dough. This exquisite, fresh-flavoured dish is finished off with sea bream and lemon-and-orange zest.

Chef Simone Federici – Mare Mare, Jumeirah at Saadiyat Island Resort

Chef Simone Federici grew up in Abruzzo, Italy and always knew he was going to be a chef. At 17 he was recognised by the National Federation of Chefs as one of the top three young chefs in Italy. Also a qualified sommelier, Federico is now chef de cuisine at Mare Mare at Jumeirah at Saadiyat Island Resort, where he delivers the home-cooked flavours of coastal Italy to the UAE.

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