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58 Pastry & Baking
North America
today, half of the building projects are on hold, arrivals are way
off and the stock market has plunged 70%.
Once held up as the place to defy the credit crunch, Dubai is
now feeling it like everyone else. This is bad news for all the
celebrity chefs (Rhodes, Bhatia, Gagnaire, Locatelli, Santamaria,
Rostang, Ratsuhisa, Ramsey) who flocked to the UAE’s largest
city in recent years to open shop and expand their empires.
The general diagnosis is that in the short term, Dubai will
suffer like the rest of the world. However, considering how much
has been developed and the quality of the city with respect to
infrastructure, amenities and fiscal leadership, the consensus is
Dubai will emerge better and stronger from the global recession.
So why is Dubai so unique? Most the credit goes to the vision
of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum who realized
Dubai needed to be both a leisure capital and regional financial
hub. He is also the man who oversaw the development of Dubai’s
most authentic property: Madinat Jumeirah.
With most hotels in Dubai striving to achieve a modern look
of soaring elegance, each trying to top the next and omitting the
traditional culture and architecture, the Madinat Jumeirah does
everything but conform. It’s the only property in the city that
pays homage to the region’s traditions.
Translating to ‘Jumeirah City’ in Arabic, Madinat Jumeirah
is a vast resort showcasing classical Islamic architecture and art.
It comprises three hotels, a mall, and an entertainment district
– all of which are set amongst a series of artificial canals and
lush greenery.
As for the food? You guessed it. Over the top. With 44
restaurants, bars and a highly regarded conference and banquet
facility, the Madinat Jumeirah scoured the world to find the best
and brightest culinary talent. In Christophe Widmer, the resort’s
executive pastry chef, they luckily secured the services of a well
traveled Swiss pastry pro with the requisite big volume, large
property experience. He is also a passionate photographer and
ven Dubai isn’t immune to the current world financial
woes. Where previously there was talk of seven-star
hotels, air-conditioned beaches, and skiing in the desert,
Chef in Focus – International