Four of Dubai’s top chefs battled it out in a mystery box cooking challenge yesterday, in a bid to be crowned the BBC Good Food Middle East Chef of the Year 2018.
Held at The Emirates Academy of Hospitality Management, the four chefs earned their places in the contest through gaining the highest number of public votes in the BBC Good Food Middle East Restaurant of the Year Dubai and Abu Dhabi categories.
The finalists were: Alexandre Szkaradkiewicz – Bleu Blanc by David Myers, Eric Jung – STK, Luigi Vespero – Galvin Dubai and Roberto Segura – Waka.
The four chefs battled it out using the same set of ingredients, provided by Invest Northern Ireland, plus pantry staples, to present a three-course meal to the judging panel.
The judges were: Karl Devlin, business development manager, Invest Northern Ireland, Michael Kitts, director of culinary art, Emirates Academy of Hospitality Management and Stephen Wright, director of culinary, Marriott International Middle East & Africa.
The ingredients inside the mystery box gave the chefs a real taste of freshly sourced Northern Irish produce. Many of the starters on the day of the competition focused around the Glenarm Organic Salmon, while all four of the mains featured Kettyle Irish Foods’ lamb as the star of the show.
“Congratulations to all of the chefs that participated,” said Stephen Wright during the judges’ conclusions. “There were some really interesting uses of the ingredients demonstrated in the dishes, and some excellent cooking across the board.”
Commenting on the process of picking the winner – which will be revealed at the BBC Good Food Middle East Awards on November 27th at the Ritz-Carlton JBR, Michael Kitts say that while there were a combination of factors that led to their decision, “consistency across the three dishes” was the key.
You can still place your votes in the BBC Good Food Middle East Awards 2018 until Thursday 8th November by clicking here. The winner of the Chef of the Year contest will not only take home the title, but will also win a 3-night stay at the Mövenpick Resort & Spa Jimbaran Bali!