Dubai chefs you need to know

Fantastic chefs and where to find them
There’s no shortage of A-list international chefs expanding their global empires in Dubai, but the city’s real culinary stars are the many award-winning locally based chefs. Behind the scenes, in the kitchens of cool homegrown eateries, these magic-makers are wowing Dubai’s discerning diners day after day. These are the names you need to know for an authentic culinary experience in the emirate.
1

Izu Ani

Gaia

Izu Ani

Gaia

Savour magical Mediterranean flavours

Think of Dubai’s most talked-about restaurants and chances are, you’ll come across one by Izu Ani. The enigmatic chef spent time in London, France and Spain before setting up in Dubai and quickly gained recognition as the opening head chef of La Petite Maison. He moved on to open the ever-popular La Serre Bistro & Boulangerie. But there was much more to come for the chef who’s become a household name in the city.

In 2017, he opened The Lighthouse in Dubai Design District (d3), followed in quick succession by IZU Brasserie in City Walk, Carine at Emirates Golf Club and Gaia at the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC). While they all shine for its exemplary menus, Gaia is the latest talk of the town thanks to its refined Greek-Mediterranean flavours and upmarket taverna setting.

Contact details
Gate Village 4, DIFC
+971 4 241 4242
2

Nick and Scott

folly

Nick and Scott

folly

Try modern European with a twist

They may be two separate people, but Nick Alvis and Scott Price are so joined at the hip that most of their fans have long forgotten their last names. These Gordon Ramsay protégées cut their teeth at Claridges in London and Verre in Dubai, before opening the homegrown restaurant Table 9 and Taste Kitchen, a chain of casual cafes.

In 2017, they opened their most successful venture yet – folly by Nick and Scott. The picture-perfect restaurant at Madinat Jumeirah offers an interesting contemporary European menu, with each dish using no more than a handful of ingredients. Not one to rest on their laurels, they unveiled The Lion by Nick & Scott in 2018, and Verve at Dubai Media City in 2019. We can’t wait to see what this power duo serve up next.

Contact details
Unit 27, Souk Madinat Jumeirah
+971 4 430 8535
3

Reif Othman

Sumosan Dubai

Reif Othman

Sumosan Dubai

Feast on fine Japanese fare

After six years building the formidable reputation of Zuma Dubai as its executive head chef – securing multiple awards and a regular spot on the World’s Best Restaurants list – Reif Othman departed in 2015 to launch his own venture. The result, PLAY Restaurant & Lounge, opened to wide acclaim.

Othman then cooked up a storm at F1 legend Flavio Briatore’s Billionaire Mansion, where he helmed the Japanese restaurant Sumosan. Since then, he's been surprising discerning gourmands with pop-up culinary experiences across Dubai, collaborating with other star local chefs and select venues to create special menus and themed dinners.

Contact details
Taj Hotel, Business Bay
+971 4 510 3100
4

Colin Clague

Ruya

Colin Clague

Ruya

Embark on a culinary adventure

Having served as Zuma’s executive head chef in both Dubai and London, this Isle of Man native shares Othman’s pedigree – as well as an illustrious trajectory in the Dubai dining scene. From working in the pre-opening team at Burj Al Arab to opening the beloved Ivy Dubai, launching award-winning and much missed restaurant Qbara and taking the executive chef spot in Jean George’s first Dubai kitchen, Clague has played a significant role in the evolution of Dubai’s restaurant industry. 

Not surprisingly then, his latest venture was awaited with bated breath by the city’s gastronomes, who haven’t been disappointed with the contemporary riffs on Anatolian cuisine that Clague creates at Ruya. The brand new restaurant in Grosvenor House Dubai Marina boasts beautiful views, a chic setting and delicious insights into the flavours of regional Turkey – showcasing Colin’s signature subtlety and devotion to fresh, authentic ingredients. 

Contact details
Ground floor, Grosvenor House, Dubai Marina
+971 4 399 9123
5

Himanshu Saini

Tresind

Himanshu Saini

Tresind

Taste the best of New India

This young chef may have just dived off the starting block, but he has already earned plenty of accolades for his innovative interpretations of Indian cuisine. After training in fine dining in New Delhi and briefly in New York, Saini moved to Dubai to open independent restaurant Tresind in 2014. With clever use of molecular gastronomy, he presents mind-bending twists to classic Indian dishes without compromising the integrity of the flavours.  

Such was the success of the concept that Saini soon opened a sister venue, Carnival by Tresind, where nostalgic Indian flavours are turned on their heads with a light-hearted, playful touch. Saini is adept at bringing surprise and delight to Dubai diners – such as when he introduced miracle berries to the city’s menus – and with his Gaggan-esque propensities, it’s likely he’ll continue to impress. 

Contact details
Tresind, Level 2, Nassima Royal Hotel, Sheikh Zayed Road
+971 4 308 0440
Carnival by Tresind, Burj Daman, Dubai International Financial Centre
+971 52 242 4262
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