Behind The Scenes with Chef Nicolas Lucky 13 at Crowne Plaza Dubai

This week is no ordinary week in the digital world of CitiSpi as you will see our social channels taken over by our good friends at Crowne Plaza Sheikh Zayed Road, perhaps one of Dubai’s most iconic hotels. Many seasoned residents of this city have fond memories of this five-star establishment, which was first opened back in 1994. We have chosen to take a closer look at its many restaurants this week and were lucky enough to spend some time with Executive Chef Nicolas Herbault as he showed us around the hotel’s 13 different food and drinks outlets and told us a bit more about what brought him to where he is today.


Hailing from Central France, close to the renowned wine region of Sancerre, chef Nicolas gained an interest in cooking from a very young age thanks to his father and grandfather, who both sported chef whites in their professional life. Nicolas’ first experience of cooking was in his father’s own restaurant in France, and the heritage of his native cuisine still travels with him wherever he goes today.


Although he counts five years on his Dubai clock, it’s only for the past five months that he has spearheaded the culinary direction at the Crowne Plaza on Sheikh Zayed Road. Like many other members of the team, he strikes us as very young for such a paramount position. After all, running the day-to-day operations of just one kitchen seems daunting, never mind managing 120 members of staff across 13 kitchens catering to a variety of different international cuisines. It was only a few years ago when Nicolas was first offered the opportunity to step up from head chef at a single establishment to Head Chef of a group of restaurants. He immediately felt right at home with the increased responsibility and added commercial element and hasn’t looked back since.


When chef Nicolas first joined Crowne Plaza five months ago, there were two restaurants that presented a particularly exciting challenge to him: Chamas Churrascaria and Sakura, seeing as this was his first time working with Japanese and Brazilian cuisine. Today he still spends some time studying the foreign glossary necessary to master Japanese cuisine and has fallen in love with the simplicity and freshness of this famed far Eastern culinary style. He won’t however reveal to us which of the 13 restaurants he holds closest to his heart, but instead maintains a humble and diplomatic approach of not keeping favourites.



Speaking of the future, chef Nicolas tells us to keep an eye out for the many exciting activities happening at the Crowne Plaza over the festive season this year, including a permanent Christmas market, complete with a Christmas tree, and daily performances by 15 of the hotel’s own members of staff.


If you ever bump into Chef Nicolas at any of Crowne Plaza’s many restaurants, we reckon you will be as blinded by his radiant personality and warm persona as we were. His calm and centred demeanour means he’s slightly less fiery than most chefs, but with a burning passion for his trade and for his workplace. A passion which can be enjoyed in every single plate of food served at the iconic Crowne Plaza Hotel Dubai.