Miss Lily's in DubaiThursday, September 30, 2021
“The recruiter tasted my food when I was the sous-chef at the Spanish Court Hotel in Jamaica... And so commenced the headhunt and the beginning of my culinary journey in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).” Executive Chef Richie Richards, Miss Lily's Dubai, UAE
Since 2016, Executive Chef Richie Richards has allowed patrons to find him through flavourful excursions in Dubai's first Caribbean restaurant, Miss Lily's. The St Catherine native started his culinary journey with agriculture. His dad was a mechanical engineer during the week and a farmer on weekends. “I would go to the farm with my dad and help tend crops and livestock. At first, I thought it was punishment. All my friends would be watching cartoons and playing while I had to be with my dad,” Richards explained. But earth and agriculture taught the easy-going chef his first culinary lesson. “I found a new appreciation for farming, planting crops, tending to them, reaping and cooking fresh vegetables with my mother, and that sparked my interest in the culinary arts.”
Today, Miss Lily's and its patrons are recipients of that knowledge.
Miss Lily's is a Caribbean franchise restaurant that originated in the heart of downtown New York City with international outposts in Negril, Jamaica; and Dubai, UAE. Dining here is an experience in itself. From the time you enter the venue, it's like you're no longer in Dubai. You are transported back to Jamaica with the décor, Jamaican staff and, of course, the food. Miss Lily's is an island vacation in the middle of a busy, scaled-up, cosmopolitan city.
It's the Jamaican victory song for honest, tasty food. The menus draw from the diverse roots of the island and offer modern renditions of cultural specialties like jerk chicken, escoveitch fish, oxtail and curried goat. Expect a compulsory seasoning of Scotch bonnet peppers and fiery jerk spices. Top-selling items include jerk chicken, ML Burgers (extremely popular with locals), chicken coco bun sandwich, jerk corn and pepper shrimps.
Dubai is a melting pot of culture and food. Ninety per cent of the population are ex-pats. Naturally, the culinary landscape is a tapestry of wild and wonderful ingredients, styles and languages.
Through Richard's city adventures around the architecturally advanced city, he has determined that, for the most part, cooking methods, spices or ingredients seem familiar. But there are also stark differences. “Jamaica is this beautiful tropical island in the Caribbean, and Dubai is a growing metropolis in the middle of the desert,” he notes.
For the time being, the pandemic has put a temporary halt on Dubai's hospitality. With government restrictions in place, Miss Lily's is now focused on delivery concepts making food mobile and accessible to all patrons. No pandemic can stop Dubai's unofficial culinary ambassador, who proudly serves his country in this part of the world. He is at home with the spirit of the city. “Out of many, one people. Dubai captures our motto perfectly,” he beams.
To find out more about Miss Lily's in Dubai, please visit the website www.misslilys.com/dubai/
Address: Sheikh Zayed Road, 5th Floor,
Sheraton Grand Hotel,
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Contact: 971 4 356 2900
— Bridgett Leslie is an internal auditor by day and a media correspondent by night. She is passionate about Caribbean flavours and the community around this culinary cuisine. She is currently finishing her undergraduate studies in Gastronomy at Le Cordon Bleu.