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Sunday, October 24, 2021

Michelin-starred chef works with no-alcohol approach at MIA’s new IDAM restaurant

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Not every world-renowned chef appears to be grumbling about Qatar’s cultural sensibilities.

It took 18 months, but famous Frenchman Alain Ducasse has come up with a menu that seems to do fine dining justice – without any alcohol. 

Last month, the Michelin chef presided over the opening of IDAM at the Museum of Islamic Art, his first restaurant in the Middle East.

Among his signature dishes is braised camel, a meal that takes six days to prepare. Ducasse explains the philosophy of the meal, and the restaurant’s French-Mediterranean cuisine, to Bloomberg:

“When we go somewhere, we don’t impose: We propose. It’s a dish that the locals really like. It’s like braised spare ribs, but there’s no red wine. There’s no wine in anything. The jus that results from the braising is a natural jus from the meat itself and the vegetables that accompany it.”

The chef’s approach is markedly different than some of Qatar’s other five-star restaurant owners.

‘Turn-off’

Last month, during a visit to promote his two restaurants at the St. Regis Doha, Gordon Ramsay blasted the alcohol ban on the Pearl, saying he did not expect it to endure.

Ramsay was the first Michelin-starred chef to open a restaurant in Qatar with Maze, which he shuttered due to tumbling sales after eateries at the Pearl were prohibited from selling alcohol.

I think the legislation in terms of operating restraints – going out for dinner and not being allowed to have a glass of wine – I think it’s one turn-off for any local,” he said. “We had to make sensible commercial decisions – you’re not going to run that restaurant and look stupid and lose thousands on a weekly basis.”

Arguably, Ducasse knew from the get-go that IDAM would be alcohol-free, while the rules for Ramsay may have changed mid-game. 

Still, it will be interesting to see how Qatar’s foodies react to his take – and his menu.

Thoughts?

Credit: Photo courtesy of IDAM on Twitter

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