Every month we introduce you to a Belgian living in Dubai.
This month we had the pleasure of meeting Yves Bas.
Ask any Belgian expat what he misses most, and you’ll almost always hear: Simple, delicious, traditional Belgian food. This shouldn't be a problem in Dubai. Eating out you can always enjoy our traditional dishes at the Belgian Beer Café’s and Maison Mathis. And for eating in the comfort of your own home there is Yves Bas, a very well known face in many Belgian kitchens in Dubai.
When did you arrive in Dubai, and how did you end up here?
I was working in Hasselt for C Group by Dimitri Beckers in 2009 and the people of Creneau were building the Belgian Beer Café in Abu Dhabi at the Intercontinental at that time. The hotel had a hard time finding a chef, and they asked Creneau to look around in Belgium. So they contacted me, and I was interested, so I had a chat with the F&B director and by the end of August 2009 I was on a flight out to Abu Dhabi. Soon after, Creneau got the opportunity not only to build but also to operate a Belgian Café in Madinat Jumeirah, so they asked me to move there and open it as executive chef.
For the past 3 years I've worked with Marriott International and became Director of F&B/Executive chef at the iconic Sheraton JBR. Sadly, COVID-19 came and all our guests had to stay home instead of coming to the restaurant. I noticed that people were craving properly cooked comfort food at home, so I started delivering typical Belgian food in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. Now I run my own company ATELIER B.
Three new projects will be announced in the coming weeks, so you have the honour to know first. We will launch BOULETTE which will be all about meatballs, BAZAR D’HOMARD a seafood concept and ED CROQUETTE which is based on croquettes with all possible stuffing.
Yves, how does a guy from Kortessem in Belgium become famous in almost every Belgian kitchen in Dubai?
Probably because I opened several Belgian concepts in this region. In my almost 12 years in the UAE I was involved in 23 openings of restaurants and bars. Most of them were of course Belgian themed, but we developed other concepts as well such as Cargo, Cho gao, Blackgoose and more. After those openings I kept in touch with most of the people working there, so in most of these establishments the spirit of Chef Yves is still there.
What are the pros and cons of living here?
There are many pros and a few cons. First, the opportunities you get here if you have an entrepreneurial mindset. If you can dream it, you can do it. Famous words of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum and so true for Dubai! Second, as a foodie you find every possible type of cuisine in all different levels. And last but not least, the feeling of safety is one of the greatest things in this country. As a con I only have one statement: summer heath!
How did the culinary scene evolve during your years here? And what is typical about the Dubai restaurant scene?
Of course, the amount of restaurants and hotels multiplied many a time since I came here. I still remember we could open a place without any promotion, and you would have a queue to get in. Nowadays, you need a proper marketing plan and –budget to run any restaurant. The Dubai crowd isn’t so easy to please with openings of the most amazing, expensive and impressive places on a weekly basis almost. I also saw the birth of dark- and cloud kitchens which I do as well now and this is now even exceeding the figures of normal dining. However, I still believe that opening a good restaurant with a decent price strategy and ownership that is visible in the restaurant or bar will stay successful here.
Do you already feel the vibe of Expo 2020 Dubai in the city?
Of course! Being a hotelier for the past three years made me go with the vibe of expo as well. Literally everyone in our business is talking about and putting their efforts into this event. It will be the first big event worldwide to happen after these sad past year and a half.
What are your expectations fort his Expo. Will it be the success we all hope for?
It will be a big success, for sure! As you can see now the UAE is already back to normal for the most part with one of the highest vaccination rates in the world. Hotels and restaurants are doing well at the moment, so things can only get better and Expo 2020 will be the climax of this recovery.
For more information about Yves and his latest concept, click here.