Dubai is not a premium fine-dining destination: Marriott VP of F&B

People now looking for experiences in restaurants, not silver service, says Christian Abell

Christian Abell
Christian Abell

“The days of Dubai being that premium fine dining destination is over”, Marriott vice president food & beverage, Middle East & Africa Christian Abell has said.

Speaking exclusively to Caterer Middle East, Abell said that customers are now more concerned about having a great overall experience than silver service, and not necessarily Michelin star quality food.

It’s a big change for former chef Abell who admits that when he worked in Michelin-starred restaurants in London all he “cared about was the food, nothing else.”

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He added: “I used to shout at the waiters, throw things, but frankly that has to change. We have to be about the whole experience to be successful now.”

Marriott’s F&B teams are now being told “you’re not a chef, you’re not a maître d, you’re an experience maker” according to Abell.

It’s in stark contrast to Jumeirah Group chief culinary officer Michael Ellis who has come into his role with the aim of reintroducing his group’s brands as fine-dining destinations.

Ellis has appointed three chefs from Michelin-starred restaurants to take over concepts at Burj Al Arab and told Caterer Middle East that it is “only a matter of time before Dubai does become, and is considered, a fine-dining destination.”

You can read the full interview with Abell in the August issue of sister publication, Caterer Middle East.

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