Giuseppe Pezzella, Head Chef at Cinque in FIVE Palm Jumeirah and Trattoria by Cinque in FIVE Jumeirah Village, launched his career at 14 years old back home in Naples, Italy. Having trained in an array of Michelin star restaurants in Italy and Japan, he speaks to The Pro Chef Middle East about unveiling a new restaurant during a pandemic and the outcome.
Of all your career highlights to date, which one are you most proud of?
I have been in the culinary industry for 14 years now and it has given me many cherished experiences, so it’s too difficult to choose one! My most recent career highlight is opening two concept restaurants in Dubai, both with curated menus – Cinque, a signature restaurant in FIVE Palm Jumeirah (we won BBC Good Food Best Italian Restaurant in 2018) and the recently opened and more rustic Trattoria by Cinque in FIVE Jumeirah Village.
Tell us about some of the standout dishes on the menu.
No Cinque experience is complete without trying out some of the favourites! If you are looking for the ultimate ‘Only in Dubai’ moment, try the Gold Sheikh Burrata topped with 22 karat gold and served with balsamic glaze, rocket and Datterino tomatoes. One of my personal favourites is the spaghetti granchio e limone di Amalfi (Gragnano spaghetti with king crab and Amalfi lemon). You cannot visit Cinque without trying the tempting risotto, shiitake e taleggio (risotto with shiitake mushroom).
Are there any particular ingredients you’re enjoying working with?
I am fond of working with shiitake mushrooms these days. As a versatile ingredient, it goes well with many Italian dishes. I can always play with flavours, add shiitake and the outcome is always magical.
Any special menus or plans in place for the near future?
For those spending New Year’s Eve in Dubai, guests can enjoy a five-course set menu al fresco. Stunning views of the hotel and pool make it a special dining experience. In the New Year, we will be launching a truly unique and modern dining experience with Chef Giuseppe’s Table. Diners can savour a delectable eight-course set menu of contemporary Italian dishes fused with Japanese influences along with grape pairings. It will be a small and intimate culinary affair and a must-try for Italian cuisine lovers and those looking to try something different.
How do you see the world’s culinary landscape developing at present?
I think we are going to see a tremendous boom within the culinary industry and things are going to pick up massively in the future – even now we are starting to see some small changes. At FIVE, we worked on opening and launching Trattoria by Cinque. I think people all over the world miss going out, eating and socialising and I believe in turn they will appreciate dining experiences with new concepts. People are not only looking for great food, but they also desire complete immersive dining and that is something the culinary world can offer. I can see a great trend of restaurants offering a real journey once each guest steps into the venue starting with the ambience to the venue design inspired by the restaurant’s history, to the ingredients and cooking style implemented and of course, the service.
A chef who inspires you the most.
Joel Robuchon – he is famous for being “Chef of the Century” by the guide Gault Millau in 1989 and awarded the Meilleur Ouvrier de France (France’s best worker) in cuisine in 1976. He was awarded 32 stars across restaurants in 13 cities. I admire his passion, dedication and relentless work to perfect every dish. My goal is to receive my own Michelin star and seeing so many great chefs worldwide is such an inspiration.
What is your go-to meal when cooking at home?
I am a big lover of Asian food. Having spent time in Japan, I really like mixing things up. So, stay tuned for a new concept in 2021!
Favourite restaurant in Dubai.
Currently, I like Greek cuisine and there are plenty of good ones from casual to more formal dining. Gaia in DIFC, has stunning aesthetics and vibes and is probably one of the best in Dubai. I love how Chef Izu brings out the best of Grecian culture with his signature cooking philosophy of “simplicity with great flavours”.
Cinque at FIVE Palm Jumeirah
Open daily from 12:30-4pm | 7pm-12am
Trattoria at FIVE Jumeirah Village
Open daily from 6:30-11am | 12:30-3:30 pm | 6:30-11:30pm
For more information, contact +9714 455 9989 or fivehotelsandresorts.com.