Jason Atherton, the British chef behind the Michelin-starred restaurant Pollen Street in London, has called for fewer restaurants to be “squeezed” into five-star hotels in Dubai.
Atherton has the concept Marina Social in the city at the InterContinental Marina, and he believes that if Dubai is ever to compete with the likes of London and Paris in terms its culinary scene, it must focus on quality over quantity.
Speaking exclusively to Caterer Middle East, Atherton said Dubai “needs to shake the classic five-star trend of building hotels as big you possibly can and putting in as many restaurants as you can squeeze into the ground and first floors”.
He believes this leads to the hotels “having one successful restaurant and all the rest offering two for ones or all you can eat for $2.50. It’s crazy and it’s got to stop.
“All it does is completely ruin creativity in the market because it becomes about survival, not about creativity.”
The renowned chef also told Caterer that he believes a “relaxation on alcohol licenses for independents would help the restaurant scene flourish”.
Speaking from his own experience when he re-mortgaged his house to fund his first restaurant, Atherton said that doing so would give people the “guts to leave five star hotels and open their own businesses” and that it must be “embraced from every level, from street food all the way through to fine-dining”.
You can read the full interview with Jason Atherton in the upcoming issue of Caterer Middle East. Subscribe now at https://subs.itp.com/40-caterer-middle-east