Frankie Yang Tao, Executive Chef at Mott 32, talks to Emirates Man about the culinary evolution in Dubai and how important it is to blend traditional cuisine with modern techniques.

What do the first 30 minutes of your day look like, your morning routine?

The first thing I do every morning is cook breakfast for my daughter so I can spend quality time with her before the busy day ahead. I like to try different recipes and make a variety of dishes (she is a massive foodie). I then check guests’ feedback based on their experience from the night before and share their comments with my team, so we are constantly improving.

Talk us through your career.

Since I was a child, I have been deeply influenced and inspired by my family. I always wanted to explore and experiment with food. My grandparents are experts in cooking. Every Chinese New Year, we prepare a table full of dishes presented with different styles, tastes, and colours, which makes me admire the culinary process and inspires me deeply. I have been working in Dubai for 17 years (since 2006) and have experience cooking in various luxury hotels. My cooking style is not limited to Chinese food, as I am also experienced in Asian and European cuisine. From 2012 to 2016, I participated in the chef cooking and carving competition held at the Emirates Salon in Dubai. Such valuable experiences constantly inspire my process and have expanded my expertise. I am fascinated by the catering industry, and always treat my work with passion to keep the motivation going.

How do you bring a contemporary approach to fine Chinese dining?

I use a variety of cooking techniques combined with modern seasoning and take a lot of time sourcing the freshest ingredients from sustainable producers both local and abroad to maintain the quality of the food. However, what makes Mott 32 really stand out as a concept is its ability to marry traditional cuisine with modern culinary innovation.

As the brand’s eighth global branch, what sets Mott 32 Dubai apart?

Mott 32 Dubai is committed to providing customers with a unique and fashionable food experience, offering a standard of true Chinese cuisine that does not exist anywhere else in Dubai. The interiors are impressive, and we have an open-air terrace with views across Bluewater Island, JBR, Palm Jumeirah and the Ain Dubai (it is one of the highest restaurants in the world). Our traditional menu is in line with the brand’s culinary creativity, where we use familiar and bold flavours of Mott 32’s signature gastronomy through adapted versions of its classic dishes. The menu concept is consistent yet wide in its offering but of course, we have adapted iconic and traditional Chinese dishes to fit the local palate of the Dubai market. For example, we do not feature pork on our menu. Some may say this is a challenge being a Chinese restaurant, however I believe it is an opportunity to showcase the versatility of the cuisine and how it can be adapted in a skilful, yet exciting way. By replacing pork with alternative ingredients, it allows us to experiment with new delicacies and flavours, while still respecting the culture.

Tell us about the concept of Mott32 Dubai.

Every Mott 32 celebrates the culture and food of modern Hong Kong with a fusion of traditional and culinary innovation. It brings a menu inspired by Cantonese, Szechuan, and Beijing cuisines, and yet also showcases some of the famed restaurant’s own signature dishes. Our food aims to bring the best from the past, with honoured recipes passed down from generations to generations. The location of Mott 32 Dubai adds to its magnificence. Nestled on the 73rd floor of the Address Beach Resort, the Sunset Hospitality Group has made the whole dining experience so unique by incorporating culinary excellence, an energetic ambiance, and impeccable service all into one. Our culinary team has also been hand-selected by me, with most of our team members coming from other Chinese restaurants and 5-star hotels in the region. I truly believe we have introduced a completely new chapter of Chinese dining to Dubai’s restaurant scene.

Having been in Dubai since 2006, how have you seen the culinary industry evolve in the region?

In recent years the hotel and restaurant scene, as well as the increasing importance of sourcing sustainable produce from local farms and suppliers, have all contributed to the development of Dubai’s ever-expanding F&B industry. Simultaneously, there is an on-going need for fresh cooking exhibitions and large-scale food festivals. Most of the participants are professional chefs and culinary experts, which promotes the multicultural development of global tastes and deepens the depth of local culinary culture. The city’s culinary scene continues to evolve as society’s tastes and interests in food change and diversify. Dubai is definitely one to watch for all chefs around the world and now, we are seeing the rise of prestigious culinary awards, such as the MICHELIN Guide Dubai and Gault & Millau. After only four months of operations, I am delighted that Mott 32
Dubai is already the recipient of one toque in the Gault & Millau UAE 2023 Guide.

It is the world’s first luxury Chinese restaurant to expand from the East to the West, what makes it a pioneer in the Chinese fine dining scene?

“Mott 32” pays homage to 32 Mott Street in New York, where the city’s first Chinese convenience store opened in 1891. The store served as the nucleus for what is now a vibrant Chinatown in one of the most dynamic cities. It brings the American Tang cuisine style back to Hong Kong in the form of high-end Chinese food and as a result, the menu design is simple and elegant. The unique collection comprises drinks, snacks, appetisers, and dishes from around the world. The name alone is classic. When it comes to Chinese food, few places can compare to Hong Kong. Whether it’s the best char siew or Peking duck, classic Cantonese cuisine or innovative cuisine, these restaurants can always satisfy all needs with outstanding dishes, with the highest quality of hospitality and beautiful surroundings.


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What are the hero dishes?

We have created an ethical menu which offers Chinese dishes with Western cooking techniques and elegant presentation. Some of the diners’ menu favourites include the Applewood Roasted Peking Duck (which takes 48 hours to prepare), Truffled Mushroom Lettuce Cup Appetisers and Chilled Chicken with Szechuan Pepper and Chilli Sauce. Main courses include the signature Smoke Black Cod, Crispy Triple-Cooked Wagyu Beef Short Rib and Kung Pao Lobster are a must try. Guests also enjoy our selection of dim sum freshly made daily and plant-based signatures for those looking for a more sustainable approach to eating.

How is Mott 32 Dubai different from its counterparts in other countries?

We firstly implement the same quality of dishes and service as all Mott 32 restaurants globally. With its expansion to Dubai, we try to evoke the city’s energy and creative passion within our dishes and culinary style and have also curated signature cocktails and mocktails that are reflective of Dubai’s lively ambiance, such as the Fujian Negroni, Hanami, and Forbidden Rose.

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