Luo Bing, executive chef of Five Hospitality’s first F&B venture, Maiden Shanghai, explains how the contemporary concept stands apart with a menu representing four regions of China.
Tell me about your career as a chef so far?
I started out as Sichuan chef at the Sichuan Minshan Hotel and progressed quickly to head chef and I also worked in a number of restaurants in China. My first taste of restaurant development was in Malaysia for two restaurants, the Emperor’s Delight and The SiuLaFan – I really enjoyed the creativity involved. I’ve also worked for Singapore Airlines, which was an amazing experience where I learned to efficiently cater for large groups.
What has been your career highlight?
Other than working at Maiden Shanghai, I loved my two years as head chef at Hutong, in London’s The Shard. The restaurant was consistently ranked in Time Out’s 100 Best Restaurants in London, which makes the hard work worthwhile. That’s the aim with Maiden Shanghai too!
What attracted you to the Middle East?
I have worked all over the world and had heard so much about Dubai. There is a large network of internationally recognised chefs and top-class cuisine and I really wanted to be a part of the market in the Middle East and experience this totally unique culture.
“The current menu is a very comprehensive representation of cuisine from the many different regions in China. It represents everything I feel was missing from the Chinese menus previously available in Dubai – true authenticity” – Chef Luo Bing
Why did you accept the role at Maiden Shanghai?
I accepted the role at Maiden Shanghai for the opportunity to do something different. Chinese cuisine is popular all over the world, but the initial concept of Maiden Shanghai, with the impressive décor, a great location and the chance to bring truly authentic Chinese cuisine to Dubai, got me very excited.
Please explain the concept of the menu?
Maiden Shanghai is founded on bringing authentic Chinese food to Dubai in a contemporary setting. I have travelled and cooked all over the world and I had the opportunity when creating this menu to bring everything I had learned together. The flavours and techniques were selected specifically to appeal to a wide variety of palates. Our menu features traditional Chinese dishes in a modern, sharing concept that combines flavours from four different regions; Cantonese, Sichuan, Shanghai and Beijing.
What’s your hero dish?
Maiden Shanghai’s hero dish is Bing’s Peking Duck – it is also my signature dish. It happens to be a personal favourite of mine and I take great pride in preparing it for clients at the restaurant. Other specials include pickled salmon, kung pao lobster, Chilean seabass and boom boom chicken.
What are your plans for developing the menu going forward?
The current menu is a very comprehensive representation of cuisine from the many different regions of China. It represents everything I feel was missing from the Chinese menus previously available in Dubai – true authenticity. We want to see the response from our customers before we start making changes to the menu.
What’s your view of the F&B scene in Dubai and the wider Middle East?
The market in Dubai is very concentrated and smaller than I was expecting. The high concentration of restaurants makes it extremely competitive, which is great because everyone has to constantly change and adapt to offer the very best to clients. The variety of cuisine available from all over the world is amazing, which adds a dynamic element to the F&B offering in Dubai.
What do you think of the other Chinese restaurants in Dubai?
There are several competitive Chinese restaurants already well established on the Dubai scene and Maiden Shanghai will shake it up with its authentic cuisine and amazing location.
How will you ensure Maiden Shanghai competes on the market?
The food on offer plays a very important part in how a restaurant competes in the market, however, it is not just about the food, it’s everything else on offer – the drinks, the location, the staff, the wait for your meal and the overall ambience of the restaurant. Maiden Shanghai ticks all of those boxes and more. I am already starting to recognise regular customers who enjoy the overall experience and food offering. As long as we continue to grow our regular customers, I am confident Maiden Shanghai will remain competitive. Furthermore, as the market changes we will continue to adapt and innovate to stay ahead of the competition.
What are your personal and career ambitions for the future?
As a chef, I feel I have already achieved so much in my career. I have travelled all over and learnt so much along the way about different types of cuisine and local techniques. I want to continue working with Five Holdings to grow Maiden Shanghai as the flagship Chinese fine dining restaurant and diversify the brand. I want to explore the opportunity of creating a sister brand to Maiden Shanghai that will focus on casual dining. This would offer a different type of Chinese cuisine to an untapped market for myself and Five Holdings.