Interview with Chef Michael Mina: Middle East has some of the best flavours, spices, and cuisines

Sponsored: Chef Michael Mina on Mina Brasserie, the inspiration behind his restaurants, and the F&B scene in the Middle East.

Founder and Chef Michael Mina began his epicurean journey in 1987 at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park and went on to later establish his company, MINA Group, which operates 30 renowned restaurants across the globe. His must-visit dining venue at Four Seasons Hotel DIFC, Mina Brasserie, stays true to his culinary creations with brasserie-style sharing plates throughout its delectable menu.

In an exclusive interview, we speak to the award-winning celebrity Chef Michael Mina…


How does it feel to be back in Dubai; and what’s the best part about having a restaurant in this city?

It always feels great to be back in this magical city. Dubai is unlike any place in the world and is constantly growing and changing so it’s always exciting to be back here and to see what’s new. That’s the best part of having a restaurant in Dubai, you have to continually stay on top of your game and challenge yourself to be better, bolder, and more creative. As a chef, it’s a lot of fun.

Describe the emotions you wish to evoke in diners who walk into MINA Brasserie and what can they expect from their dining experience.

When diners walk into MINA Brasserie, we want them to feel as though they are guests in our home. We hope that they are comfortable and feel the genuine warmth and hospitality that our team provides. And of course, they can expect a delicious meal.

Where do you draw inspiration from and how do you pass that on to your 40+ kitchens?

I take inspiration everywhere I go. With as many restaurants across the US and Dubai, I do a fair amount of travel and along the way, I take in the sights, sounds, flavours, and ingredients of each place. I’m lucky to have a great team around me that also travel to visit our various restaurants and we share experiences, ideas, and feedback. We use all of that together to shape the best possible dining experiences for our guests.


What are your thoughts on the F&B scene in the Middle East?

Being Egyptian, I am probably a little biased, but I think that the Middle East has some of the best flavours, spices, and cuisines. The region has an incredible history and in cities like Dubai you are able to experience the incredible juxtaposition of the old and the new, and that includes in dining styles and experiences. The region is attracting more and more food-savvy guests and with that, the food scene has really exploded to meet that demand.

What does the year 2023 hold for Michael Mina?

2023 is going to be an exciting year for me and, MINA Group, as a whole. We have a big year ahead of us with some new restaurants opening in new markets for us that we are really excited about.

You have a passion for evolving legacy recipes. What is the oldest dish on the menu at MINA Brasseries that you’ve been perfecting as the seasons go by?

A classic MINA dish on the menu is the caviar parfait. The first time I made it, it was for my wife on our honeymoon. Over the years, I have refined that original recipe and presentation and it’s become a MINA staple, served in all of our restaurants and loved by all of our guests. I think it’s pretty close to perfect.

Describe your cooking style and how has being born in Cairo influenced it?

I love using bold flavours in my cooking and I love the flavours, beautiful spices and ingredients from the Middle East and Egypt that I grew up eating.  I try to infuse them in my cooking where I can whether it’s by putting a spin on a traditional Egyptian dish or by letting the incredible products and spices shine on their own.

 Your trip to Dubai features a release of new culinary creations, inspired by your Middle Eastern heritage. What fresh ingredients and dishes can we look forward to at MINA Brasserie? 

Yoghurt! Yoghurt has been a popular food in the Middle East for thousands of years and is commonly mixed into a sauce to serve with meats or some appetizers. In addition to this, herbs from the region tend to blend brilliantly with contemporary and western-inspired dishes. Expect to taste hints of Za’atar and Sumac! Lastly, we like to mischievously add crispy Falafel crumbs in dishes where they are least expected.

Here are some of the new dishes to look out for on our menu:

Falafel Tuna 

Falafel (Mina mum’s recipe), tuna, cucumber and tahini sauce

Herb Chicken 

Creamy Orzo, smokey tomato, crispy onion, grain stew

Marinated Lamb Chops, 

Barley, pomegranate, broccolini

Veal with Sage Polenta 

Marinated veal chop, mushroom friccassa, sage polenta, fried sage

Call +9714 506 0100 or book online. Visit Instagram or the website.