Tucked away in the Four Seasons Resort Dubai, Folia homes a green harbour of plant-based excellence that truly echoes the phrase ‘food for thought’. Celebrity Chef Matthew Kenney has used his avant-garde and progressive vision for the future of food to construct a new menu; the plant-based dishes are the tour-de-force of the culinary sphere. Chef Matthew Kenney tells us: “We realize that what we are doing isn’t normal, and that’s ok. We’re here to help expand people’s minds and bring more plant-focused cuisine to the mainstream. We want to sur- prise and delight, and that’s what we aimed to deliver with the new menu at Folia in Four Seasons Resort Dubai.”
The new menu is intricately sculpted to send your palate on an explosive wave of assortment, whilst the plating is executed like a ‘do not touch’ work of art, bringing doses of guilt when eager to devour. However, after one bite, the apprehension swiftly vanishes. An immersive experience of serenity and jubilance is delivered at Folia, the Latin translation meaning ‘from the leaves’. The forest-like interior adds to the healthy and opulent outing. The tempting menu makes decision making tense which is why it was imperative to find out what Chef Kenney would recommend: “If I had to pick, and it’s hard because the menu was very carefully curated, I think it would have to be the watermelon poke. It’s so bright and citrusy and also refreshing. It’s very appropriate for the climate in Dubai and is a wonderful starter for any of the entrées.”
Chef Kenney is known for crafting the future of food, and now, the masses who once patronized those choosing a greener lifestyle are now embracing it. Anyone who is still sceptical is in luck by having innovators like Chef Kenney to showcase the virtuous significance of it, he says: “We wish to bring innovative plant-based cuisine to Four Seasons Resort Dubai at Jumeirah Beach. It is our hope that Four Seasons guests will try and experiment with our food even if they are not completely plant- based themselves. The mission expands beyond that, working with global brands such as this allows us to truly reach a wider audience and help change the future of food.”
To the meat eaters that can’t comprehend the thought of going to a plant-based restaurant and arguing that it should not cost the same as venues serving meat dishes, Kenney answers, “I can’t quite understand why anyone would believe that. The amount of work and the imperative for everything to be extremely fresh is much higher in a plant-based restaurant. Food costs are actually much more than they would be in your standard restaurant. I know this from owning my own restaurants throughout the years.” Chef Kenney is educating us all on the power of plant-based food, through his restaurants, books and through his online and in-person school, “The Food Future Institute, teaches students how to craft many of the dishes that you will find on the Folia menu, or different renditions of them anyway. Certainly, I hope that the menu inspires people to study with us but also to explore their own palates in a new way.”
Preserved lemon tahini. radish. tomato jam.
4 ripe avocados
2 tbsp. lemon juice
1/3 cup hazelnuts
1/4 cup sesame seeds
1 tbsp. coriander seeds
1 tbsp. cumin seeds
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper 1/2 tsp. sea salt Maldon brand
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Spread the hazelnuts over a baking tray and cook in a preheated oven for 3-4 minutes or until toasted.
Rub the hazelnuts between a clean tea towel to remove as much skin as possible. Place the toasted hazelnuts in the bowl of a food processor and process until coarsely chopped. Transfer to a large bowl.
Heat a medium frying pan over medium heat. Add the sesame seeds and cook, stirring, for 1-2 minutes or until golden. Add to the bowl with the hazelnuts.
Place coriander seeds and cumin seeds in a frying pan over medium heat, and cook, stirring frequently, for 1-2 minutes or until aromatic and seeds begin to pop. Transfer seeds to a spice grinder. Add the crushed spices, pepper and salt to the hazelnut mixture and mix well.
Cut the avocado into quarters, peel away the skin. Toss lightly in lemon juice and coat the avocado with dukkah mixture by sprinkling it over the avocado until completely coated.
Preserved lemon tahini
1/2 cup tahini
1/2 cup filtered water
1 tbsp preserved lemon puree 1 tbsp. Agave nectar
Blend until smooth
1 pounds ripe Roma tomatoes, peeled, cored and coarsely chopped
1/4 cup Agave
2 tbsp. lime juice
1 tbsp. minced ginger
1 tsp. ground ras el hanout 1/2 tsp. sea salt
2 tbsp. crystallised ginger 1 fresno pepper, stemmed, seeded and minced
Peel tomatoes, submerge in boiling water for 15-20 minutes until the skin starts to peel away.
Shock tomatoes in very cold water, peel away and discard the skins.
Combine all ingredients in a heavy medium saucepan, bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring often.
Reduce heat and simmer, stirring until mixture has the consistency of thick jam, about 1 hour 15 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning, then cool and refrigerate until ready to use.
2 cups mixed salad greens
1 cup quartered red radish
1/2 cup flflat
Add 2 tablespoons of lemon tahini onto the center of your plate, using the bottom of the spoon to spread it into a large circle. Arrange the salad greens and pieces of avocado on top of the tahini. Add 1 tablespoon or more tomato jam around it. Garnish with thin slices of radish and parsley.