Last Bite: Adam Schop

Miss Lily's executive chef talks about Dubai’s dining scene, authenticity, and lion taming
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The New York-based chef, who is classically trained in French cuisine, was drawn to the global flavours of Caribbean food.
The New York-based chef, who is classically trained in French cuisine, was drawn to the global flavours of Caribbean food.

You’re based in New York. How often do you come to Dubai?

When Miss Lily’s first opened in Dubai in July 2016, I spent a healthy portion of time in Dubai helping to train the local staff to ensure the authenticity of the brand was delivered through the food. I am also on my way back now and can’t wait!

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How would you describe the food scene in Dubai?

Unparalleled. There are so many offerings, the mix of major brand names and home-grown ‘mom and pop’ shops is excellent and the quality of the food in Dubai is remarkable.

Why do you think Miss Lily’s has been so successful here?

It’s because of the team and staff who run it — from the kitchen staff, to the wait staff and reception. Every touch point makes the brand unique and has contributed to the success of Miss Lily’s in Dubai.

How authentic is the cuisine?

That is tricky. Authentic can have different meanings to people based their own memories of food irrespective of the actual quality. We have the approach of serving classic dishes from Jamaica and throughout the Caribbean. We certainly strive to honour and respect Jamaica’s culinary history so we import many of the Island’s signature ingredients and cook with the same techniques when possible. I would say, ask a Jamaican.

Is it easy to source the ingredients you need in this region?

Not all of them. Because of the many unique ingredients in Jamaican cuisine, such as scotch bonnet pepper, some ingredients are harder to source than others. The Dubai team purchases the meat and other staples locally but what makes the food truly Jamaican, the spices, have to be sourced from across the globe.

What are the standout dishes?

The slow cooked pimento short rib has been wildly successful, and of course our jerk grilled corn and world famous jerk chicken. If you haven’t tried these, you should.

What are the main differences between running the New York venues and the Dubai outlet?

Philosophically, they are run identically. It is an endeavour that relies so heavily on the people who work here. So, we deeply invest our efforts in our team, families, vendors, neighbours, and especially all of the guests that choose to enjoy Miss Lily’s. We are so grateful for all of the people that help make Miss Lily’s successful.

If you weren’t a chef what other career would you have chosen?

Lion tamer.

Are there any more restaurants planned for this region?

We are always on the lookout for any future opportunities.

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