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Interview: Enrico Bartolini on Dubai dining and launching Roberto’s brunch

Bartolini helmed a Michelin-starred restaurant when he was just 29 – one of the youngest chefs in the world to do so

Born in 1979 and originally from Castelmartini in Tuscany, Enrico Bartolini started making his mark in the culinary world in the kitchens of Paolo Petrini in Paris and  Mark Page in London before returning to his native Italy to work under Massimiliano Alajmo.

Aged just 29, he was at the helm of Le Robinie restaurant in Italy’s Oltrepò Pavese, when it was awarded a Michelin star. This was to be the chef’s first of many brushes with the Michelin Guide as he went on to simultaneously hold four stars across his restaurants, including two for his eponymous restaurant at the MUDEC, the Museum of Cultures in Milan.

A culinary advisor to Dubai-based homegrown concept Roberto’s, Bartolini’s next move is to oversee the launch of the DIFC stalwart’s new brunch.

Connecting Travel:You’ve worked in cities across the globe. What initially attracted you to Dubai and your role as culinary advisor at Roberto’s?
Enrico Bartolini: For me Dubai is a magical and cosmopolitan location, I had the opportunity to discover the city, the people, and their generosity through Roberto’s; through this I was able to showcase my ideas.

CT:How has Dubai’s culinary scene advanced during your time here and how can it progress?
EB: In the past few years, I’ve witnessed huge evolution to the quality and variety of the main products. I strongly believe the fine dining scene has more potential. I would like to see a more sustainable approach to the dining experiences.

Roberto's recently celebrated its 10th anniversary The Roberto’s terrace overlooks Dubai’s iconic skyline

CT: How does Roberto’s stands out from other Dubai restaurants?
EB: Roberto’s is not only food; it is a host of lifestyle experiences. Roberto’s has 10 years of legacy, it remains adaptable to an ever-changing market. It’s a very special place to me.

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CT:Brunch is a Dubai institution – what will the Enrico Bartolini Brunch bring to the scene? 
EB: Brunch is a way to find comfort during one of the special meals of the day. Our objective is to create extraordinary dishes using my own unique preparation methods. We’ve created an indulgent dining experience paired with an exclusive selection of Italian fine wines, crafted drinks and outstanding entertainment.

Enrico Bartolini BrunchThe Enrico Bartolini Brunch

CT:The inaugural MENA’s 50 Best restaurants list will be announced in February. What effect do you think this will have?
EB: To be listed, it highlights the great work of the restaurateur. It comes with great importance and a huge responsibility. MENA’s 50 Best improves the gastronomic culture of the regional industry and I do believe restaurants will benefit as much as the clients.

CT:You experienced incredible success at a very young age. Anything else that would you still like to achieve?
EB: My dedication started in the kitchen but my focus and passion is the journey of experience. When I’m surrounded by likeminded people, it gives me the recipe to create a successful team and I’m proud to drive them forward and be their captain.

The Enrico Bartolini Brunch costs AED450 for the non-alcoholic package, AED695 with Champagne; 1pm to 5pm Saturday and Sunday; Roberto’s, Gate Village, DIFC; +971 4 386 0066; reservations@robertos.ae; for more information, visit www.robertosrestaurants.com 

 

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