On April 6, 2021, the live broadcast on Facebook was held with Nicholas Reina, Head Ched of the Bella Restaurant & Lounge located in the Grand Millennium Hotel in Dubai.
The Chef, from Milan, has had many experiences abroad in different countries such as Australia or England, which have favored his development both professionally and personally. Nicholas, in this live broadcast, spoke about his last experience in the Emirates and describes Dubai as a developing country where it is possible to find great opportunities.
He emphasizes the importance of bringing Italian cuisine abroad and transforming it enough to adapt to foreign palates as well. The key word is “innovation”, perhaps focusing only on three ingredients for the preparation of a dish, but expressing them at their best. In fact, according to the Chef the presentation is essential, but even more so is the taste, for this reason it aims at the maximum expression of the raw material it possesses.
In the future, the Chef is interested in importing Italian niche products to the Emirates, to use them in his kitchen and make them known abroad. He also tells us how his passion for cooking was born from an early age and describes his way of cooking today as an evolution of the past.
The biggest challenge is to bring Italian cuisine to the top, while still having non-Italian staff. I thought it was important to try to transfer my conception of tradition to my team, which is why we have invested a lot in personnel. In the management team are almost all our compatriots, in order to be able to carry out a completely Italian management and then instead there is my team in the kitchen and they come from all over the world. We can say that one of the biggest challenges is managing such a large team.
Furthermore, being in Dubai already at this level at my age is the greatest satisfaction.
We can say that we have two categories, the more traditional dishes for those who looking for more Italian foods and the contemporary ones for those who want something different. Even the latter are based on a few ingredients, worked with technique, gained during my experiences around the world. In fact, as I have already mentioned before, in the past I have worked in England in some starred restaurants such as Fat Duck or in Sidney in Australia at Lumi Dining. I think these experiences have matured me a lot and have completely changed my life. The Fat Duck is a world-famous place, we can consider it as a museum of cooking, it trained me mentally as well as technically, in fact outside my restaurant we find “question everything” which means “ask questions, ask yourself why, ask yourself how ”and if you can answer these questions, when you speak, an external person can easily understand that you are an expert and this brings confidence in you and it is a satisfaction. In Dubai, moreover, you shouldn’t create too imaginative dishes, because they tend to prefer their tradition and that is why I still try to make fusion cuisine always giving my best.
70-80% of the clientele is European, but in any case during Ramadan we also want to stick to the culture of the place, so I thought of combining southern cuisine with Arabic. I searched about how Arabs break fasting and I thought about creating this menu based on bread with dried fruit, soup and a single dish with rice and lamb, of which we have also created a vegetarian version, finally as a dessert a sour cherry ice cream made with camel milk. The bread with dried fruit will be produced by us, as we still do for traditional pasta and bread. Of course, this menu is only a proposal, as it will always be possible to order à la carte.
Let’s say that since we are in a hotel we have no problems serving alcohol, compared to an external restaurant, so we will continue to offer it even during Ramadan, also considering that many of our customers are European and therefore alcohol on the table is essential.
We already serve oil at the table, however we are absolutely open to trying as many products as possible, so we gladly accept samples.
We don’t have a huge card at the moment, but we’re looking to expand it. We also have a sommelier who often goes to Italy to try the wines to be included in our restaurant, so we are also opened to try new ones that we can add to the menu.
You can find the live registration on our Facebook page.