With Michelin tipped to launch a guide to Dubai in the near future and more focus on local produce and innovative gastronomy than ever before, the emirate’s foodie scene is constantly evolving. And leading the charge is Benjamin Wan, executive chef at award-winning Coya.
Wan first moved from the UK to head up La Petite Maison, a leading restaurant in Dubai, after an illustrious career in London that saw him working in several Michelin-star restaurants and under chefs such as Marco Pierre White and Alain Ducasse. Almost seven years later, he’s still a huge part of the ongoing boom within the Dubai culinary industry that encouraged him and his wife to make the move in the first place. At Coya, Wan’s team creates beautifully colourful Latin American cuisine, against the backdrop of Dubai’s skyline. His signature dish, Sea Bass Cazulela (grilled bass marinated in tamarind and aji amarillo, atop a Spanish rice base) is a key example of how the menu combines contemporary Dubai flair with international flavours.
Coya is located in the Restaurant Village next to the Four Seasons, home to acclaimed Turkish steakhouse Nurs-et (of #saltbae fame) and the casually chic café Jean-Georges Kitchen. More of Dubai’s very best eateries are sprinkled between Jumeirah and Dubai Marina, including STAY by Yannick Alléno, a six-star Michelin chef, and outposts by Jamie Oliver, Jason Atherton and Hakkasan.
For chefs and restauranteurs in Dubai, sustainability and provenance is becoming increasingly significant, just as much as the impressive location. Benjamin Wan’s go-to place is the Waterfront Market, which opened to replace the Deira Fish Market, one of the most iconic institutions in Old Dubai. Wan usually heads to the market as the sun rises, to snap up the latest produce as local boats land with their daily catches. Here, he also sources the best ingredients from around the world to bring his flavour-packed food to life back in the kitchen.
The market, perhaps, is emblematic of today’s dining scene in Dubai – multi-cultural, state-of-the-art and building on local heritage, with the freshest ingredients that are used in the most creative kitchens across the city.
From Peru for the hottest chillies to Japan for the freshest yellowtail, find out where chef Ben sources his ingredients from.
Ben teaches us how to prepare his signature dish, tuna tiradito, influenced by Japanese flavours and made with ingredients from both Peru and Dubai.
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