Michelin chef Pascal Aussignac on Dubai F&B

The Michelin-starred chef says the UAE lacks high-end outlets in the 'French' sense of the term

Michelin-starred chef Pascal Aussignac handles four restaurants in London.
Michelin-starred chef Pascal Aussignac handles four restaurants in London.

Michelin-starred chef Pascal Aussignac has given London a slice of Southern French cuisine since 1998.

The 49-year-old chef, alongside partner Vincent Labeyrie, handles four restaurants in the UK capital that focus on cooking from the Gascony region in France: flagship restaurant Club Gascon, as well Cellar Gascon, Le Comptoir Gascon, and Le Cercle, Cigalon and Baranis.

On a recent trip to Dubai, Aussignac spoke to sister publication Arabian Business about the Dubai F&B scene and his future plans.

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You have several successful restaurants in London. Do you see yourself opening more in Dubai or the Middle East in general?
I do not have anything in the pipeline yet, but maybe after this trip to Dubai, opportunities will appear - I really hope to work here some time.

Some say that the Dubai F&B market is over-saturated with high-end dining outlets. What do you think of the market here?
I believe that there aren’t enough high-end outlets in UAE in the traditional - dare I say French - sense of the term. For me, it would be great to help develop more home-grown restaurant concepts in order to capture the attention of customers who seek a truly rooted culinary experience when they travel. To achieve this, the product offerings will need to be high-end, tying in heritage and a very good standard of cooking.

Do you think Dubai’s F&B market is ready to compete on a global level alongside international cities like Paris and London? 
I feel Dubai has great potential to be a major competitor on the international F&B market. I am no expert but I feel that the city needs time to develop a distinct identity, original concepts, and most importantly, to develop ways to attract high level talent – professionals who will be able to help to continue raise Dubai’s overall F&B standards.

What do you think Dubai should do in order to improve its F&B market?
As the saying goes, ‘Rome wasn’t built in a day’. Dubai is still young; continue to attract talent, encourage chefs to stay true to their beliefs and with that you will see a strong base emerge.

If you were to open a restaurant in Dubai, where would you locate it?
New interesting developments like The Dubai Canal. Other good spots right now also include Downtown and DIFC. We hope to work somewhere and only time will tell.

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