Opening his new venue in Dubai at the Intercontinental Hotel, Dubai Festival City, Michelin Star Chef Pierre Gagnaire tells Catering News Middle East why he is not one to follow trends, but create them.
Overlooking the creek from the promenade level at Dubai Festival City, Chef Gagnaire’s new venture, Pierre’s Bistro & Bar is a chic venue in Dubai’s dining and nightlife scene, one that has an identity, not a concept, according to the Frenchman.
“Pierre’s is not a concept, it is a restaurant and a bistro with a bar. Our vision is to do something with good food and good service, not a concept but a real identity. There is nobody behind a concept but there is great team behind the identity,” he says.
“I have tried to create a venue with my cooking and that is the identity I would like the venue to have. I am obsessed with details, paired with simple cooking so if my name is on this restaurant, it must be my identity. Something casual and fun with good food, good music and a great atmosphere.
“When I came to Dubai 10 years back, there was nothing, and today there are customers and products from all over the world, Italian, French, Indian, you name it. It is a completely crazy market and it is growing, which means we have to keep growing with it too,” he adds.
Explaining the offerings at Pierre’s Bistro & Bar, Gagnaire says the menu is the result of the multicultural audience in Dubai.
“The Dubai market is its people. It is multicultural and this diversity really mixes things up in the dining scene,” he explains.
“We have a sharing menu with a hint of my French signature cooking style. When I began working for myself 40 years back I imagined the world as my audience, not a specific target market or region. My cooking style is always the same and never the same, both, as it involves real consistency on the plate and my attempt to connect with the country I am serving and products I am using.
“Once a guest steps into Pierre’s, we will cater our offerings for them. If someone is vegan or vegetarian it is not a problem, if they prefer different eating style, we cater to them accordingly, it’s all about building that identity with our guests. Moreover, since this is such a culturally diverse market, we have tried to introduce different flavours from all across the world, for example, the tandoori from India, wasabi from Japan and truffle from Italy.”
When conceptualising the menu, Gagnaire’s aim was to add something for everyone.
“There is no specific influence behind the menu, what I had in mind was introducing something from different parts of the world. It is not French or Italian or a specific cuisine, it is a mix,” he says.
The menu includes a mix of seafood, meat and vegetarian offerings including spaghetti flavoured with black truffle, farm veal rack and poached seabass.
Commenting on following trends in the market, Gagnaire says: “Usually by the time you want to follow a trend, it is too late and in this industry, which can be so creatieve, why would you want to follow others trends instead of creating your own. We must try to create these trends through our products. There are a few dishes on the menu that are a first for the city and our main goal is to introduce new products,” he says.
“I do not like putting my chefs in a jail, they come with a lot of experience and I would not want them to always follow the same recipes or dishes, they should create their own and keep evolving. This is also why we would never highlight a signature dish, instead we would highlight our menu to the customers,” he adds.
Located at a slight distance from the main city, Gagnaire says the challenge in the upcoming months would be to bring people to the venue.
“The area is not easy and we know that. Our focus is to bring people here and get their reactions,” he says.
“There will always be changes and additions to the menu offerings but in the first few months we will concentrate on the feedback. The restaurant business is like a boat, you put it in the water and steer it where the audience wants to take it.”