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“MasterChef, the TV Experience” restaurant to open in Dubai

Diners can immerse themselves in the MasterChef TV experience by taking part in the Mystery Box Challenge or sitting close to the action as the kitchen gets orders ready.
From left: Duncan Fraser-Smith of The First Group with Frances Adams from Endemol Shine Group.

The world’s first “MasterChef, the TV Experience” restaurant will be open in Dubai at Millennium Place Marina from April 30. The restaurant is the result of a landmark deal between Dubai-based property developer The First Group and Endemol Shine Group, producer and distributor of the popular MasterChef reality television series.

MasterChef won the Guinness World Record in 2017 for being the most successful cookery television format.

Elaborating on the record, Frances Adams, Endemol Shine Group Director, Brand Strategy told BroadcastPro ME: “We have reached 60 territories and we are on air in 250 different markets. Basically, you can watch MasterChef on TV everywhere in the world except two countries — North Korea and Papua New Guinea.”

The two teams worked with 30 winners across three countries to create the initial menu for the restaurant.

“We engaged in extensive roundtable sessions with the winners and looked at various recipes that would be feasible to deliver within a restaurant. We have identified 130 winning recipes, of which 25 are now on the menu,” commented Duncan Fraser-Smith, Vice President Food & Beverage for The First Group.

Both Adams and Fraser-Smith commented that they have had to revise recipes slightly to ensure they can deliver a dish within 30 minutes of an order but the restaurant’s head chef clarified that even if an ingredient is dropped, the origin of each dish and its story will be strictly maintained.

In the meantime, the restaurant has a few surprises in store for viewers wanting to immerse themselves in the TV experience, Fraser-Smith revealed.

“Diners will have the opportunity to be part of the Mystery Box Challenge with a small twist. It is our signature dish and sort of a reverse Mystery Box Challenge. We will bring the mystery boxes to our diners with 10 ingredients in them and the diner may choose five. It will be the chef’s job then to cook a dish within 35 minutes and there will be a clock ticking there for all to see. The ingredients will differ based on days, weeks and seasons and the recipes will vary. I believe something like this will genuinely create new memories for diners and help personalise their experience while also challenging our chefs to be creative,” added Fraser-Smith.

For those who want more of the action, the open kitchen concept offers diners the flexibility to sit closer to the action and watch the drama unfold as orders pour in and the kitchen responds, recreating some of the pressure that the contestants feel while battling for the top spot.

While Endemol Shine Group hopes that the restaurant concept will create greater interest in the UAE for the MasterChef show, the two teams also hope to bring winning chefs from the global MasterChef series to the restaurant including champions from MasterChef Australia.

“The Australian version airs here just after it has aired in Australia giving us sufficient time to fly in a winner and that’s on the cards. We are in talks with Fox about this as these unique touches will add greater meaning to their dining experience,” Adams commented.

Although not wired to serve as a studio, the restaurant is also large enough to accommodate cameras, lighting and other gear should they choose to do a MasterChef shoot in the restaurant, commented Fraser-Smith, adding that there has already been interest from MasterChef Europe and Asia to film one of the challenges in the Dubai property.

In the meantime, the MasterChef restaurant concept has also piqued the interest of investors from Singapore and China, Fraser-Smith revealed, adding that The First Group will work with Endemol Shine Group to take the concept to other cities worldwide in the coming years.