Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine I would be moving to a foreign country to live, let alone a country in the Middle East. Over the 2009 Christmas and New Year’s holidays, my husband Roger and I discussed what we wanted the next part of our life to be like. He thought that before retiring, he would like to do one more airport project but only if he could find something very interesting. I half-jokingly agreed that would be fine but could he try for an exotic location? As usual, Roger came through and soon we were headed to Dubai in the United Arab Emirates. This blog is a recap of our "leap-of- faith" wanderings around the Middle East and beyond. We joyfully share these expat experiences.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Battle of the Chefs - Who is Dubai's Top Chef?

"Battle of the Chefs"
Nineteen at The Address Montgomerie
Ok. So I admit it! I am a rabid foodie – a person having an overly zealous interest in food.

I love Food! I love to read about it, I love to shop for it, I love to experiment with it, I love to cook it and I really love to eat it!

I love nothing better than to slosh around my kitchen trying out new dishes, new techniques and/or new ingredients. And God bless Roger for willingly eating the good, the bad and the ugly.

So when my friend Theresa Dommett invites us to Dubai’s “Battle of the Chefs. faster than Emerile Lagasse can say “BAM, I accept!”  

“Roger, we have another adventure!” I proudly announce. “We are going to watch the top chefs in Dubai battle it out in the kitchen and then we get to taste and judge their unique creations just like the Iron Chef on TV.”  Words cannot express his delight!

“Battle of the Chefs” is held at one of Dubai’s foremost restaurants, Nineteen at The Address Montgomerie, Representing the best culinary talent in Dubai, 16 chefs from the city’s finest hotels intensely compete all year long in monthly rounds of “culinary show-downs” to earn the honor of being named the “2012 Best Chef in Dubai.” 

Each Chef assembles his own top culinary team of one Head Chef, one Chef de Partie (a chef in charge of one area) and two commis (junior or apprentice chefs). Working with a staple of set ingredients, the culinary teams go “head-to-head” to create an imaginative and scrumptious three-course meal. The results are judged by the guests attending each month’s “face-off.” What a perfect recipe – take two creative culinary teams, stir in some fast paced competition, let it simmer a bit then invite guests to sample and judge the incredibly creative cuisine.  

Goat Cheese Salad 
In the end, Roger and I enjoy two rounds of competition. We join Theresa and her friends for the October challenge between Chef Praveen from The Address Dubai Mall and Chef Philippe from The Ritz Carlton Dubai International Financial Center.

They were challenged to create a salad using Goat Cheese, a Bouillabaisse and a Cheese Cake. The winner was Chef Praveen.

And lucky us, with friends Steve and Carole Ball and Tom and Deborah Murray, we find ourselves in choice seats at the“Grand Finale”competition. This final round pits Chef Gulshan Mohammed from The AddressMarina Mall Hotel against Chef Russell Ashley from The Address Montgomerie Hotel. These two extraordinary chefs have beat out the other 16 chefs to make it to the finals.  

Katie with Chef Gulshan (2nd from left)
and  his winning culinary team

The theme for the Grand Finale is a “Perfect Christmas Dinner.” The offerings  from both culinary teams were very grandiose but the judges declared Chef Gulshan  2012 winner.

By the way, he was our choice hands down!

Chef Gulshan's winning menu was:

Starter: Salmon Roll and Seafood Bisque, a salmon, crab and shrimp terrine served cold with a hot seafood bisque accompanied by creme fraiche and caviar topped blinis and lavosh

Main: Slow Cooked Goose Roulade with bacon, sage and chestnut stuffing served with creamy parsnips puree, confit leg of goose and foie gras rillet and date sauce

Dessert: Chocolate Fruit Cake with Chestnut Mouse and Trifle, a warm and mild spicy chocolate fruit cake in filo pastry with chestnut mouse, sherry and brandy trifle and vanilla espuma English sherry trifle

Deborah sums up the delicious evening, "What could be better than a December night under the stars with Katie and Roger while sampling delectable dishes made by dueling chefs? At the end of the evening we had the enviable task of choosing between a Yule log or a gingerbread plank and chocolate fruit cake. As they say "it is a tough job" but who better than us to do It!"   

The 2013 addition Of "Battle of the Chefs" is already underway with the first of the competition completed. Competitions will continue monthly until the finale on December 18, 2013. If you are interested in participating as a judge in one of the competition rounds, you can make a reservation by calling restaurant “Nineteen”  at +971 04 363 1275 or emailing nineteen@the  The cost is AED 295 including soft beverages and AED 395 including soft beverages and selected house beverages.   

(that would be Arabic for Bon Appetite!) 

Photo Gallery . . . 
October 17th competition 

The Merry Judges

Theresa & ???? Dommett



Grand Finale . . .  

Finalists Chef Russell Anthony from The Address
Montgomerie Hotel & Chef Gulshan Mohammed from
The Address Marina Mall Hotel with ????

The Setting!!!

Steve & Carole Ball

Deborah & Tom Murray


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. After study a few of the blog posts on your website now, and I truly like your way of blogging Dubai Desert Safari

  3. Those are wonderful pictures! You must have had such a good time and been treated to scrumptious dishes. I don't know whether to congratulate the chef or you!

    (I'm a bit surprised Chef Gulshan Mohammed could put bacon and liquor in his recipes. I haven't tasted bacon in 20 yrs, and I really miss it.)

    1. This really was one of the best times we have had since moving to Dubai. Don't be too surprised by Chef Mohammed's ingredients - everything is different in Dubai!

  4. What an amazing experience... and delicious to boot! You're one lucky gal.
    Anne :)

    1. I count my blessing every day! We are living in a dream!

  5. This comment has been removed by the author.

  6. This comment has been removed by the author.

  7. well, from my point of view, i would say that the chefs of Dhow Cruise Dubai are the best. the dinner of dhow cruise is so yummy and i have never tasted something like that.

  8. In dubai for Dinner Dubai Dhow Cruise is best place where you can have dinner on the Cruise..

  9. Musandam Dibba hmmmm Great work i love to visit again and again

  10. Dhow Cruise Dubai is best place to have dinner with your family and friends.

  11. Eating out is a popular past time in Dubai, namely because there are so many delicious options at restaurants in Dubai.

  12. The Whole Blog Is so Amazing and all the Blog Posts Are Amazing, the 4-year experience is expressed in a proper way, I loved It. Well, on behave of your experience I want to ask, do you have any suggestion on quad biking in dubai ?

  13. The way you create this blog is really very awesome i am very impressed i am creating my blog about quad bike in dubai so you have any suggestion and i also takes idea of your blog thanks for posting this wonderful blog