As one of the most recognised figures in the F&B industry in the UAE, Chef Timothy Newton has taken the lead for some of the most beloved restaurants in the country.

After moving to Dubai in 2010, he kickstarted his career in this part of the world at La Petit Maison (LPM) and later joined the Demind team, in order to bring years of invaluable experience to the table.

Today, you will Chef Newton casting a careful eye as the Demind Executive Chef over the kitchens of Bagatelle, OPA, Myrra, La Niña and more, where his knowledge and expertise have seen him create an outstanding repertoire of dishes renowned throughout the region.

With years of culinary experience, he has created an outstanding repertoire of dishes renowned throughout the region.

Emirates Woman sat down with the chef to discuss his journey and what inspired him to lead this F&B group.

Can you talk us through your career history?

Well, it has been quite a long journey. I started cooking at 16 years old which prepped me to then move into my first real kitchen at the age of 18. A year after I moved to Paris where I attended culinary school and opportunities took me everywhere around the world – from California, and London to Australia and last but not least Dubai.


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Where does your love for food and cooking come from?

I grew up in a small town in the States and like many, we do not have a lot of options around. I think cooking was a way out, we all develop a dream when we were young and I believe it was my ticket to explore the world from a professional and personal perspective.

What eventually brought you to Dubai?

In 2009, I was in London working at Terroirs which lead to me landing an opportunity to move to Dubai in 2010 to open the acclaimed La Petite Maison in DIFC as an Executive Sous Chef. Three years later I joined the Demind team and since then we’ve been making history together.

What are the hero dishes, in your opinion, at OPA and Myrra?

The hero dish at OPA is definitely the Mixed grilled platter, It’s an amazing representation of a traditional mouth-watering Greek feast and it’s at a great value, it’s a best-selling dish for us, especially since OPA is all about those group gatherings and meal sharing – Myrra’s hero dishes are the calamari Kalamaki and the Paella fideau, each represents the Greek and Spanish cuisine. The Paella in particular always wins our guests’ hearts, we receive amazing feedback which we’re very proud of.

What is the inspiration behind Myrra and OPA?

The inspiration behind Opa was to bring a slice of Greece to the heart of Dubai, people usually escape to the Greek islands to experience the culture, amazing food and most importantly the vibrant entertainment. I would like to believe we managed to create this idea we had in mind and keep it at the top of people’s choices for four consecutive years. As for Myrra, we wanted a more laid back relaxed setting by the beach where we can bring Greek and Spanish cuisine to life and make it more accessible to diners. Both deliver high-quality food and top service.


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On the opposite end of the spectrum, what are the milestones?

The major milestones in my career have varied. I think moving to Dubai was definitely a major step in my life because It opened up a lot of doors for me which ultimately led me to where I am right now – and joining Demind group definitely was a turning point for me from working on Bagatelle to opening OPA and taking the brand globally, building Myrra and our latest venture La Nina.

La Niña is the most recent restaurant added to your portfolio – tell us more.

La Niña is a modern Iberian and Latino concept. Again we wanted to do something different in Dubai, and bring a new touch to the fine dining scene in the city and i think we achieved that big time. The food is a mix of classic dishes brought up with modern techniques. A lot of our ingredients are imported from South America, it was really important for us to bring authenticity to the concept that diners can relate to and so far we’ve had amazing feedback and response from guests.


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What do you see next for both the Greek restaurants in the emirate?

I have big expectations for both Myrra and OPA, I think they will continue to thrive and push the boundaries. Opa will soon be offering new dishes and traditional Greek shows to keep the guests entertained especially since we have a lot of regulars which we always take into consideration – as for Myrra, will focus more on the food element and drink options, we’ve recently revamped our beverage menu – our head of bar from Bagatelle recently moved to Myrra to give our drink menu a new elevated touch.


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How does the F&B industry differ here from the rest of the world?

The competition in this region is tough, especially in Dubai. I think as a restaurant the first thing you need to check off your list is good consistent food and service and even that doesn’t mean success. Especially after the pandemic, we’ve seen a shift in the dining scene in the UAE so it’s really important to set yourself aside from your competitors, identify your niche and aim to always be at the top of your game and resist the noise around.

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