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Christmas 2017: UAE chefs list their best dishes

We ask the UAE’s top chefs what must-try dishes are on their festive menus

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The beef cheek bourguignon from BQ comes from Aussie cows that have been grain fed for 270 days
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Maurice Fitzgerald
Executive Chef, Anantara The Palm Dubai Resort

Brined roast turkey

“We will offer this on the Christmas day at Bushman’s Restaurant and Bar. It’s a fine process where we brine the turkey first and then slow-cook to ensure that the meat is moist and succulent with a flavoursome, tangy citrus cranberry reduction. The outcome is a perfectly cooked turkey, which is tender and flavourful.”

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Francesco Guarracino
Executive Chef, Roberto’s Abu Dhabi

Polpo cacio e pepe

“It is a simple, yet special dish, slow-cooked for three hours, then roasted at 400 degrees in our Josper oven, so that it comes out crispy. This is served with artichoke on the side with a drizzle of salmoriglio and lemon juice. We top it off with a cacio and pepe sauce. You will always find this dish during the festive season in Italy.”

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Chettiar Raymond
Complex Executive Sous Chef, Le Méridien Abu Dhabi

Green pea, cuttlefish, ricotta, gnocchi soup

“Inspired by Italian homestyle recipes, this wintery soup, available at Pappagallo restaurant, will be your absolute favourite during the sweater season. We’ve added an exciting festive twist to the presentation of the dish, serving it on a plate decorated with torched pine tree branches.”

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Nigel Lobo
Head Chef, Eloquent Elephant, Taj Dubai

Foie gras and beef cheek pâté en croûte

“This is a very traditional festive dish highlighting our signature slow-cooked beef cheeks. To provide richness we added foie gras, which helps to accentuate the complex flavours and create a smooth and melt-in-your-mouth paté. This is served with vanilla pear chutney and lightly pickled girolles.”

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Venu Saddanapu
Pastry Chef, Sheraton Abu Dhabi Hotel & Resort

Glazed figs with five spice-infused sabayon

“Available at Flavours restaurant, this decadent treat — layered with fig compote, sabayon and sugar-glazed fig garnish on top — is inspired by our childhood Christmas memories.”

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Diego VArgas
Executive Chef, Lima Dubai

Duck with foie gras foam, apple purée and green melon

“For this showstopper, the duck is sous vide for several hours in a home-made marination that ensures the meat is delicate and tender. The apples are confit for two hours to extract the flavours and combined with cinnamon, cloves and star anise. The foie gras is cooked for 45 minutes in sous vide bags to get a soft texture and combined with duck stock and cream to create a light fluffy foam. This is plated and then garnished with fresh slithers of green melon and served with a reduced special duck sauce.”

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Cornelia Suehr
Chef de Cuisine, BQ French Restaurant and Bar, The St Regis Dubai

Beef cheek bourguignon

“Instead of a traditional turkey, this festive dish features Pure Black Angus Onyx from Australia’s New England that has been grain fed for more than 270 days. The beef cheeks are grilled in Josper and then braised for 12 hours. Accompanied by a myriad of festive ingredients like parsnips and Brussel sprouts, the dish is also served at the table smoked with applewood chips, creating a sense of drama and opulence.”

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Andrea Russo
Executive Chef, Vivaldi by Alfredo Russo

Caprese salad

“A traditional and simple Italian salad, Caprese salad is prepared by layering up tomatoes, sweet basil and sliced mozzarella with a touch of salt and olive oil to intensify all the rich flavours. It’s an antipasto for all occasions but a must-try during the festive season as the base colour of the dish is red, symbolising luck in Italian culture.”

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Iroshan Wijewardana
Executive Sous Chef, Al Forsan, Bab Al Shams

Hand crack pepper trio with fleur de sel and fresh herbs marinated Wagyu roast

“This succulent dish is stored in brine and sous vide for 48 hours to make it tender. It is then cooked in a Josper to retain the moisture in the meat and make it crispy, a perfect dish to enjoy during the festive season.”

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Thomas Gaa
Executive Pastry Chef, The Meydan Hotel

Christmas stollen bread

“A highlight at our festive afternoon tea at Millennium Lounge, Christmas stollen bread is inspired by the traditional Christmas market in Nürnberg in Germany. Using natural ingredients and a traditional handmade process, this takes at least five days to prepare until it is ready for consumption.”

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Saleh Jalis
Chef de Cuisine, Mijana Restaurant, The Ritz-Carlton Abu Dhabi, Grand Canal

Kebab karaz

“To add a Christmas spin to a classic Arabian dish, we will serve Kebab karaz, a lamb kebab, with cherry sauce as an alternative to the cranberry gravy. Rich in flavour, this dish offers a sweet and sour taste complemented with local spices to perfectly balance the aromas. The cherry sauce is cooked for hours to emphasise the natural flavour of the fruit.”

 

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