Creating ‘destination restaurants’ more important than famous chefs say Michael Ellis

Jumeirah’s chief culinary officer believes quality beats celebrity
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Michael Ellis, Jumeirah's chief culinary officer.
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Michael Ellis, Jumeirah's chief culinary officer.

Jumeirah’s chief culinary officer Michael Ellis has said that the group is focusing on creating “destination restaurants” with high quality food and great atmosphere rather than relying on a celebrity name.

In a comment piece for sister title Esquire Middle East, Ellis said that “success and quality will always be more important yardsticks than any sensational headline or celebrity claims”.

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One of Ellis’s first big decisions after joining Jumeirah was to replace big named chef Nathan Outlaw at Burj Al Arab’s seafood restaurant Al Mahara, with a number of lesser known publically, but still Michelin-grade, chefs coming in from around the world to helm the hotel’s outlets.

Ellis told Esquire that the benefits of having these chefs in Jumeirah’s restaurants 24/7 rather than a celebrity chef who only appears irregularly include being able to develop and train the group’s internal talent pool.

However, Ellis admitted that he didn’t expect to see the complete death of the celebrity chef in Dubai due to the immediate exposure that such a name brings to the venue.

He said: “I can’t see that changing, particularly in an image-conscious, outlet-covered city like Dubai, where we have more than 18 leading chefs affiliated to venues at the last count.”

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