The two Michelin-starred chef Philippe Etchebest has flown in from his native France to take over the kitchen of Burj Khalifa’s sky-skimming restaurant At.mosphere. He’s joined forces with the venue’s executive chef, Jitin Joshi, to present a duo of degustation menus: a three-course meal and a five-course feast.
Describe your degustation menus.
I would say typical French with a twist. I like to use a lot of spices and mix them with French flavours. I use many Thai herbs and lots of red, green, tandoori paste in sauces with ginger and lime.
In my restaurant I change the tasting menus every week depending on what produce I find in the markets and it’s important to keep things seasonal.
Is the storage of ingredients or the cooking process in any way affected at this altitude?
Yes it takes almost one and a half times as long to boil water!
What’s your top tip for amateur cooks wanting to perfect French cooking?
The most important thing is to cook from the heart. Experience and technique is, of course, important but it’s really about the person you share the meal with that counts.
Last year you were decorated with the French Order of Merit (chevalier de l’Ordre national du Mérite). What was that like?
Wow, it was a great honour. It symbolised a lot of hard work and my respect for the job, too. Everything I do is for French cuisine – it’s my work, my life.
After two Michelin stars, do you have your eyes on another one?
[Laughs] Well, yes, of course. Who wouldn’t want another one? But it’s not my main objective. The most important thing for me is that the restaurant is fully booked all the time and that my customers and team are happy. After that, it would be a nice surprise to have a third Michelin star, because it would be for my team.
At.mosphere’s degustation menu is available today and tomorrow. The three-course lunch costs Dh500 per person, the five-course dinner from Dh1,200. For reservations, call 04 888 3444 or visit www.atmosphere-burjkhalifa.com
Philippe Etchebest’s five-course dinner menu
• Amuse bouche Foie gras royale with mushroom persillade
• Starter Sturia caviar from Aquitaine, flan of bruccio cheese, tomato, green apple jelly, almonds
• Middle course Langoustine wrapped in steamed spaghetti, celery, raspberry vinegar, shellfish butter and coulis
• Fish Roasted hand-dived scallops, autumn vegetables and Alba truffle
• Meat Seared Challans duck, dates, lemon confit, cucumber, green and yellow mango with sour ginger duck jus
• Pre-desert Crème brûlée with spicy mandarin, orange, grapefruit and lemon salad
• Dessert Caribbean chocolate fondant, vanilla sablé with salt flakes and lime jelly