What attracted you to be a guest Australian chef at the Dubai Food Festival?
Dubai is a great international hub, a city on the move. It was exciting to be part of an international food festival and I got to go with my buddies!
What dish, delicacy or foodie experience did you most look forward to in Dubai – and how was it?
I love the labna, hummus and smoky eggplant – there is nowhere else that seems to make it as good.
What influence has Emirati spices and cuisine had in your own style of cooking?
I love using Middle Eastern spices – particularly cumin, fennel and sumac which I use a lot in my cooking. Also a big fan of purslane (green leafy plant) – I know it’s not a spice but I love it and you see it everywhere.
What produce did you choose to highlight in your masterclass recipes and why?
I wanted my classes to be fun, friendly and comfortable, which is what my food is all about. I chose chocolate because it’s indulgent and pretty much everybody’s favourite. I am also a big fan of Vietnamese and Chinese food, I used duck, fish sauce, coriander, chilli, ginger – delicious.
What was the best meal you ate in Dubai and where was it served?
At Ravi’s Restaurant in Satwa, serving Pakistani food. It was local and down to earth – it was recommended by a friend and I loved it; delicious.
Name your favourite place to enjoy a refreshing beverage in Dubai.
Burj Khalifa at At.mosphere Bar on the 123rd floor. It has such a great view across the city.
What is a must-do foodie experience for visitors to the city?
Bu Qtair as it has the best fried fish in town. It may have basic décor but is worth a trip for the taste.
What will be on your must-do-list for your next visit to Dubai?
I would love to do a desert safari, haven’t done this yet. I love the idea of a four-wheel drive through the desert and staying at a bedouin campsite.
Gary Mehigan in Dubai | Max Porechkin