Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 22 November 2019

Gregoire Berger and Jean-Francois Piege to serve joint menu at Atlantis, The Palm

'We will both be creating classic French dishes, which is not our usual style,' says Berger

Ossiano’s chef de cuisine, Gregoire Berger, above left, will collaborate with Jean Francois Piege. 
Ossiano’s chef de cuisine, Gregoire Berger, above left, will collaborate with Jean Francois Piege. 

In a city that has no dearth of celebrity chefs helming high-end restaurants, it takes something rather unique to make a mark. Dining in the dark or on animated tablecloths focus more on the sensory aspect of the experience, and then there are meals where the spotlight is purely on the food – think gourmet ingredients, classic cooking techniques and artistic plating. Foodies who prefer the latter, may want to sign up for the latest luxury dining experience at Atlantis, The Palm on Thursday, November 7 or Friday, November 8 which combines the cooking prowess of not one, but two world-famous chefs.

Gregoire Berger and Jean-Francois Piege will serve a joint nine-course menu on both days. The former is chef de cuisine at Dubai’s Ossiano restaurant and ­represented the UAE at the Best Chef Awards 2019 (he was among the top 50), while chef Piege heads Le Grand Restaurant in Paris, which has two Michelin stars to its name.

“[It’s going to be] an ­exceptionally high-end experience,” ­promises Berger. “We don’t take shortcuts; we don’t do ­watered-down versions. Chef Piege is a two-­Michelin-starred chef and we have to match his standards accordingly. We will be producing a two-starred experience; classic Paris on a plate.” The evening will also have entertainment by ­Scottish singer and pianist Clarita De Quiroz.

This will be Piege’s first visit to the region. Other than being the chef de cuisine of Le Grand, he has also worked with the likes of Alain Ducasse and is a member of the jury on the French version of Top Chef. Suffice it to say, what he brings to the table (pardon the pun) will be exquisite. And, as Berger puts it, this is a chance to get a taste of Piege’s Paris restaurant without having to step on to a plane.

Foodies will get to sample his classic sweet breads and ­famous blancmange, which will be combined with ­Ossiano’s pear genesis dessert (presented as a pre-dessert). Other items to watch out for are beetroot cooked in sea lettuce juice, served with warmed caviar; and a blue lobster dish cooked in fig leaves. This collaboration is not designed for vegans and vegetarians, but the team is able to cater for most dietary restrictions.

“We will both be creating classic French dishes, which is not our usual style – our dishes are usually modern and cutting-edge. For us, returning to classic French dishes entails a more out-of-the-box approach as we are accustomed to avant-garde creations. This is not comfort food, but the pinnacle of fine dining,” says Berger.

A blue lobster dish by chef Gregoire Berger of Ossiano
A blue lobster dish by chef Gregoire Berger of Ossiano

The UAE is no stranger to chef collaborations and four-hands dinners – think Roberto’s chefs Enrico Bartolini and Francesco Guarracino; Tresind Studio’s Himanshu Saini and Deepanker Khosla of Haoma, Bangkok; and chef Nobu Matsuhisa, who has created meals with both Berger and ­Giorgio Locatelli. However, such ­experiences tend to be one-offs or limited to a handful of days in the year. Another one to look forward to is by Italian chef Locatelli, who will team up with 2019 MasterChef winner Valeria Raciti for a five-course menu being served on Sunday and Monday at Ronda Locatelli in Dubai.

The trend, concludes Berger, has a lot to offer – to both chefs and foodies, who get a chance to sample off-menu dishes. “Four-hands dinners are a great learning opportunity for the whole team. They are an invaluable way to learn from each other and exchange ideas so we can grow as chefs, while delivering something completely unique to our diners.”

Janice Rodrigues

The four-hands dining experience with Gregoire Berger and Jean-Francois Piege is at Ossiano, Atlantis, The Palm, on November 7 and 8 from 6.30pm to 10.30pm. Call 04 426 2626

Updated: November 6, 2019 07:30 PM

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