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Meet the new chef

By Silvia Radan (AROUND AND ABOUT) / 12 January 2013

Le Méridien Abu Dhabi has just placed chef Patrick van Velzen in charge of its 14 restaurants, cafes and bar. The new executive chef, of Dutch origin, will be reviewing the outlets’ menus and come up with some fresh ideas - perhaps some Dutch pancakes may be flying about the kitchen!

The 43-year-old chef arrived at Le Méridien with some pretty impressive culinary baggage that grew with his world cooking travels. It all started with some French cooking under the guidance of world-renowned chef Joel Robuchon.

fter a significant experience at the two-Michelin-star stylish high-class Dutch restaurant De Hoefslag, at the age of 25, chef Patrick van Velzen was already head chef at acclaimed one-Michelin-star restaurant Klein Paardenburg in Ouderkerk aan de Amstel. Two years later, he took over the restaurant, inspiring his clients with edgy, intuitive and trend-setting recipes.

Patrick is able to combine the simplest and most familiar ingredients — seafood, fish, vegetables — presenting them in new and inventive ways. His signature dish is the much-imitated scallops soufflé with caviar and Noilly Prat Vermouth, but he is also famous for deep fried farm eggs with Pata Negra and Hollandaise sauce, proving that Michelin-star food need not be complicated and fussy.

His popularity grew even further after having taught the stars how to cook in the acclaimed TV program “Cooking with the stars” on RTL4. He has been described as a “charismatic listener” and his food revolution is all about pleasing the clients, paying attention to their tastes and designing his recipes according to their preferences.

“You will never find a chef for everybody so my aim is to listen to clients and please them. I want my restaurants to be social hubs, where clients feel connected to each other through some of the dishes served, and through excellence in both cooking and service,” he said.

Upon arriving here, chef Patrick said that it was the “mixed ethnic culture” and fusion of different menus and cuisines that has allured him to Le Méridien Abu Dhabi and the Middle East!

Mezzaluna cooks up 
a new art show

Swiss Art Gate UAE, in cooperation with Emirates Palace, is planning a new exhibition this month, The Orchestration of the Human Mind, created by German artist George Classen.

It will hang in Emirates Palace’s Mezzaluna restaurant — now a regular exhibition venue for Swiss Art Gate — starting on January 22 January. The exhibition runs until March 2 and is open to the public daily from 12.30pm to 7pm. On display are twenty artworks of the German artist. George Classen’s world of art is dominated by a profound knowledge of classical music and antique history, whereas he is transforming his inspiration in endless variations of design and colour by connecting acoustics and visual perception. By doing so the reproduction of the obvious is avoided.

“George Classen’s dedication to his two passions, art and music, and his positive attitude towards all beauty in life and life itself, according to his motto ‘set your own rules and adhere to them’ makes his art as an adventure through mind,” described an art critic once.

Meticulously executed drawings lead into powerful lines and keep the beholder in tension to discover more and more interpretations.

“For me George Classen is the Versace of the contemporary art scene. His paintings remind me of magnificent compositions and they fascinate the viewer,” commented Angelo Visigalli, a Tokyo-based art collector.

Mezzaluna diners will enjoy the delicious use of colour and texture in the works of art garnishing the walls. The exhibition is meant as a perfect pairing with the vibrant Italian cuisine created in the lively kitchen of Mezzaluna.




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