Dubai, UAE - UAE property developer and fast-growing F&B specialist, The First Group, has appointed internationally-acclaimed chef Maria ‘Margarita’ Vaamonde-Beggs to head the entire kitchen set-up and menu creation at the world-first MasterChef, the TV Experience, which is slated to open at the new Millennium Place Marina, in Dubai, this April.
Venezuelan born Margarita has already begun menu development and staff training ahead of the opening of the ground-breaking restaurant concept, which will accommodate 180 covers including terrace seating with a capacity of 60.
Based on the hugely popular MasterChef reality television series, the restaurant will introduce a world-first dining experience to Dubai. The restaurant follows a landmark deal signed last year between The First Group and Endemol Shine Group, the global content creator, producer and distributor behind the hugely popular MasterChef international TV series.
MasterChef, the TV Experience, will introduce guests to the talents and recipes of contestants and champions from various global series of MasterChef. With over 60 local adaptations broadcast in more than 200 countries, MasterChef is the world’s most successful cookery television format. MasterChef was created by Franc Roddam.
“Our entire objective has been to keep the entire experience focused on the food our culinary stars will create, while offering a casual and comfortable deformalised dining atmosphere without excess trappings,” said Duncan Fraser-Smith, Vice-President of F&B, The First Group. “With food creativity and skill being the cornerstone of the concept, Margarita brings unmatched experience and talent to her latest role in spearheading the entire culinary set-up of Dubai’s most exciting venue opening of 2019.”
Margarita’s outstanding expertise spans 12 countries, including Venezuela, the USA and the UAE, with career highlights being relaunching of the Four-Season Hotels and Resorts Buenos Aires, Argentina; launching Catch Dubai as Sous Chef; transferring to Catch LA as Executive Sous Chef; and returning to Dubai as Executive Sous Chef for Morimoto to work alongside the legendary Masaharu Morimoto.
“Margarita’s brings impressive culinary skills, artistic flair and creativity inspired by a global career of satisfying diverse guest demographics and cultures to MasterChef, the TV Experience. This is a powerful combination for Dubai, where menus have to satisfy multiple tastes and preferences,” explained Fraser-Smith. “Margarita will be the ultimate decision-maker in which dishes, created by global MasterChef contestants and champions, will have residency in the new menu.”
Guests arriving at MasterChef, the TV Experience, will instantly feel in familiar surroundings with the restaurant’s quasi ‘industrial’ interior design - complete with a dedicated drinks bar - inspired by the recognisable setting of the TV series. Food will be served on classic white ‘casual’ china with sturdy, yet lightweight, cutlery ensuring the focus remains firmly on food.
“Dining at MasterChef, the TV Experience, will be an entirely immersive experience,” said Fraser-Smith. “It will establish an emotional connection, through food, and nurture a passion for cooking at all levels of expertise across all ages and cultures, which is vital in a cosmopolitan hub such as Dubai.”
Contestants and champions from the worldwide series will share their stories and experiences with guests through signature dishes served during short-term residencies at the restaurant.
The First Group will work with Endemol Shine Group to grow the MasterChef, the TV Experience, concept worldwide in coming years. “The fact Dubai will launch the brand to the world is a truly significant moment in the city’s restaurant evolution,” added Fraser-Smith. “It is an extension of an iconic brand that will further enhance Dubai’s reputation as a global dining destination – in yet another ‘you saw it here first’ culinary coup.”
The restaurant is another milestone development for The First Group, which aims to introduce up to 40 original and world-first dining concepts to the UAE by 2021. The Group recently debuted three highly-original F&B outlets in its new TRYP by Wyndham Dubai hotel in Barsha Heights. Local, the hotel’s rustic social eating house, features a laidback Mediterranean and gastro-pub inspired menu; the poolside bar, L!QD, serves delicious tapas and lifestyle-focused cocktails in a chic, Ibiza-inspired al fresco environment, while the exciting and original BarBary harks back to the decadent era of 1920s Paris.
“We are committed to developing unique, fun and interesting F&B concepts unlike anything else in Dubai. This ethos is encapsulated in all of our openings to date and will be re-emphasised with MasterChef, the TV Experience,” concluded Fraser-Smith.
About MasterChef, the TV Experience:
MasterChef, the TV Experience, is set to debut in the UAE in April 2019 at Millennium Marina Place in Dubai Marina. Based on the international hit television series, the restaurant will introduce a world-first dining experience to Dubai that will showcase the talents and recipes of MasterChef series contestants from many of the 60 worldwide territories where the programme has been adapted.
Offering indoor and outdoor dining experiences, MasterChef, the TV Experience, is a collaboration between Dubai-based The First Group and global content creator, producer and distributor, Endemol Shine Group.