The signature cuisine of some great Italian chefs in Dubai
Our interviews with Andrea Migliaccio, Dario Cecchini, Alessandro Miceli, Beatrice Segoni and Niko Romito
Italian cuisine in Dubai: recipes reinterpreted with passion, a melting pot of authentic flavours that fascinate tourists from all over the world, elegant and modern settings. We entered the kitchens of great Italian chefs to discover the culinary creations and vision they have brought to Dubai from the Bel Paese. Let’s explore what they told us.
ANDREA MIGLIACCIO, OLIVO AT AL MAHARA (BURJ AL ARAB)
Born in Ischia in 1980, Andrea Migliaccio has been at the helm of L’Olivo, Capri Palace Hotel’s two-Michelin-starred gourmet restaurant, since 2011, but boasts important experiences and partnerships around the world: with Xavier Pellicer in Spain, in Paris at the Plaza Athénée with Alain Ducasse and at the Espadon at the Ritz with Michel Roth, alongside Antonio Guida at Il Pellicano in Porto Ercole, at the Eden in Rome and in Sankt Moritz in Switzerland at Badrutt’s Palace Hotel. Today, he also plays a prestigious role in Dubai, where he leads L’Olivo at Al Mahara at the Burj Al Arab, a pop-up of the Michelin-starred Olivo of Capri. “We decided to bring L’Olivo to Dubai because we were convinced that it would be a successful restaurant. This was possible also thanks to the support of ErmannoZanini, General Manager of the Capri Palace Jumeirah and, at the time, of the Burj Al Arab,” says the Chef. “I arrived in Dubai in March 2021 as Executive Chef, with the mission to re-establish the Ai Iwan and L’Olivoat Al Mahara restaurants and the Gilt cocktail bar. In Dubai you can find so many varieties of cuisine, we wanted to promote the Italian tradition through personalised service and the best ingredients, to create bold, intense but balanced flavours in each dish.” And he can make these dishes to the best of his ability thanks to trusted suppliers known in Dubai who are able to bring him oils from different regions, sea salt, canned tomatoes, anchovy sauce, Italian cheeses both fresh and mature, as well as fish, pasta and rice. The must-try dishes from his varied menu: “Without a doubt, the tuna tartare, avocado, marinated dates and mozzarella sauce; the lemon tagliolini with red prawns, burrata and oyster leaf; the blue lobster with fennel, apple and sea asparagus; and finally chocolate and olive oil”.
DARIO CECCHINI, CARNA (SLS HOTELS & RESIDENCES)
Dario Cecchini represents the eighth generation of a family of Chianti butchers. A craftsman who promotes quality, ethics and respect for animals, Dario lives and works in Panzano, a small village in the heart of Chianti between Siena and Florence. He has also brought his knowledge and vision of cuisine all the way to Dubai thanks to Carna by Dario Cecchini, flagship of the SLS Hotels & Residences in Business Bay. “My family has been butchers for 250 years, and I for almost 50 years now. In addition to Italian and Tuscan customs, I maintain the tradition of my family of butchers in trying to use the whole animal, from nose to tail, in the most correct way,” explains Cecchini, who together with Chef Paco, is very attentive to the sourcing of quality ingredients through his trusted suppliers. “For meats, we opt for those produced responsibly from local or certified suppliers, in particular we rely on Country Hill and Classic Fine Foods. Fresh on Table is our local supplier of choice for organic fruit and vegetables. For seafood, we rely on Fresh Express, and our cheese selection is curated by Wisk”. Among the dishes the Chef suggests we try: “Dario’s Steak Tartare, Beef Cannoli, Pumpkin Tart and of course the steak!”.
ALESSANDRO MICELI, AMUNÌ (JUMEIRAH EMIRATES TOWERS)
After 17 years in the UAE, where he was Executive Chef of Roberto’s Dubai and Bella Restaurant & Lounge, Alessandro Miceli gained such experience that he opened his new restaurant Amunì on the top floor of the iconic Jumeirah Emirates Towers. Modern, yet deeply rooted in a tradition faithful to its flavours, seasonality and ingredients, at Amunì guests can expect to feast on fresh fish, fine meats, market vegetables, pasta and more in an elegant atmosphere that sings of island summers by the sea. “When I arrived, Italian cuisine was being served in large hotels by a few Italian chefs, who mainly made pasta and pizza. Myself and other colleagues of mine have tried to make people understand that Italian culinary culture is much more, both in terms of recipes and products,” the Chef tells us, very proud of his achievements. “Among the many recognitions I have received, the one that makes me most happy is ITA 0039 | 100 % Italian Taste Certification, an initiative that rewards restaurateurs and chefs who support Made in Italy by purchasing as much as possible from the motherland.” Alessandro and his staff are constantly monitoring the quality and freshness of their products, to provide customers with only the best. Another dream will come true in his new restaurant: “I will have a licence to keep pork, which they don’t have in the DIFC area, so after 17 years here I will be able to make real amatriciana and carbonara!”
BEATRICE SEGONI, PIERCHIC (JUMEIRAH AL QASR)
After starting her career in fashion, Beatrice Segoni channelled her creativity and sophistication into the culinary world. Her passion for food and her skill took her from her characteristic restaurant in Porto Recanati to the renowned Borgo San Jacopo in Florence, where she worked for 14 years, and then to Pierchic in Dubai. “Every guest who tries my dishes realises that I cook with all my heart. Getting my cuisine accepted was not difficult, in the end I offer traditional dishes with high quality ingredients and few frills,” says the chef. Although making her cuisine known was easy, the same cannot be said for the search for quality raw ingredients: “The hardest work has been finding the right products. I had to seek out and try many of them. Today I have several trusted suppliers who buy many Italian products for me and this guarantees high quality”. Her menu never lacks the greatest classics: “I recommend that you don’t miss the eggplant parmigiana, mixed fried fish, veal in tuna sauce, handmade pastas such as plin di faraona and pappardelle with duck sauce, as well as fish all’isolana and, to finish, tiramisù or a nice babà!”
NIKO ROMITO, IL RISTORANTE - NIKO ROMITO (BULGARI HOTELS & RESORTS)
“When we opened in 2017, authentic Italian cuisine was still quite unknown. At the time, customers only knew the clichés, but we didn’t give up and when in 2022 Il Ristorante - Niko Romito was awarded two Michelin stars, we were all deeply happy.” This is how Niko Romito, a self-taught chef, deeply attached to his Abruzzo region, talks about Il Ristorante - Niko Romito in Dubai, part of a worldwide collaboration with Bulgari Hotels & Resorts. A gastronomic model with a strong personality, where the taste and elegance of Italian culture meet an innovative philosophy: “We have always chosen the recipes best suited to the culture, religion and climate of the area, but without mixing them with local flavours, because we want to present authentic Italian cuisine”. Behind the seemingly simple and recognisable dishes, there is a great search for the raw ingredients: “We always try to use fresh products such as meat, fish or vegetables whenever possible - if they respect the Italian flavour - and we select the best importers for Italian products, such as Parmigiano Reggiano or pasta.” The Chef offers a menu composed not just of great classics: “In addition to iconic dishes such as Spaghetti e Pomodoro or Antipasto all’Italiana (a selection of eight starters inspired by traditional recipes from Northern to Southern Italy), we always have several seasonal dishes such as Poached Egg, Potato Froth and White Truffle and new creations such as Potato Ravioli with Luciana-style Octopus Sauce or Lamb, Roast Potatoes, Mustard Cream and Black Pepper”.