Paco Pérez receives standing ovation after nine-course degustation in Dubai

A benchmark in culinary excellence is set at Expo 2020 Dubai’s flagship restaurant

It’s considered an honour to share a kitchen with a chef from a Michelin-starred restaurant – but following Paco Pérez into the kitchen at Expo 2020 Dubai’s Jubilee Gastronomy restaurant could prove daunting for any chef. Pérez received a standing ovation from both diners and colleagues after last night’s nine-course degustation.

Part of a series of dinners curated by gourmet publisher Flavel Monteiro, and hosted at Jubilee Gastronomy operated by Dubai-based Gates Hospitality, Pérez’s performance and the applause he received has set a benchmark.

On first inspection, Pérez’s menu carried ingredients that could easily divide audiences

Not everyone enjoys pigeon, and sea cucumber, which bears only a passing resemblance to the vegetable in shape, is a muddy-coloured, leathery-skinned marine animal. Displaying his abundant skills, Pérez made the aesthetically challenged ocean critter look appetising on the plate, cutting the flesh into pasta-like strands, and dressing and seasoning it with dramatic black garlic.

Paco Perez caviarPérez’s ‘Judia Patata Caviar’ – potato with caviar

Other beautifully presented ensembles included freeze-dried mashed potato that evaporated in the mouth like a cloud, topped with a generous dollop of caviar; red mullet that yielded like butter beneath the knife, and ‘Rice in a Boat’, an historical dish recalling a humble seaweed-laced boiled rice that sustained fisherman trawling the Mediterranean.

The menu was an absolute triumph

Each course was paired with premium champagne, wine and port, and the service was impeccable.

At the end of the meal, Pérez went around tables to humbly thank guests for their patronage and pose for photos with fans new and old. Pérez is well known by foodies around the world, having previously worked at the iconic El Bulli restaurant for five years during the Nineties, going on to establish restaurants of his own. Two of them – Miramar in Llançà, and Enoteca Paco Pérez in Hotel Arts Barcelona – have two Michelin stars each.

In times of restricted travel, the opportunity to sample the culinary skills of award-winning international chefs, such as Spain-based Pérez, is undoubtedly one of the main draws of Expo 2020 Dubai. In the coming months, more acclaimed chefs will follow in Pérez’s footsteps, serving tasting menus to showcase their talents in the region. Diners are in for a treat if the standards set by Pérez are maintained – which is no easy feat in a foreign kitchen.

Word’s 50 Best and Michelin-starred restaurant chefs cooking at Jubilee Gastronomy include:

  • Gert de Mangeleer of Hertog Jan in Bruges, Belgium (three Michelin stars)
  • Thomas Bühner of La Vie in Osnabruck, Germany (three Michelin stars)
  • Paolo Casagrande of Lasarte in Barcelona, Spain (three Michelin stars)
  • Jordan Bailey of Aimsir in Kildare, Ireland (two Michelin stars)
  • Heinz Beck of La Pergola in Rome, Italy (three Michelin stars)
  • Vineet Bhatia of Zaika and Rasoi, in London, UK (one Michelin star each)
  • Mikael Svensson of Kontrast in Oslo, Norway (one Michelin star)
  • Gal Ben Moshe of Glass in Berlin, Germany (one Michelin star)
  • Alfredo Russo of Dolce Stil NovoinTuscany, Italy (one Michelin star)
  • Jitin Joshi of Beneras and Gymkhana in London, UK (one Michelin star)
  • Sujira Aom Pongmorn of Saawaan in Bangkok, Thailand (one Michelin star)
  • Manish Mehrotra of Indian Accent, New Delhi in India (No18 on Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants 2021)

International chefs’ menus will be served at Jubilee Gastronomy on Tuesdays; prices range from AED295 for four-course lunches to AED3,500 for dinner with limousine transfers and a cocktail reception. For more information, visit expo2020dubai.com/en/plan-your-visit/where-to-eat

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