Pioneering ENIGMA with Quique Dacosta

15 Dec 2015
3 min read
FOUR finds out more about the Palazzo Versace Dubai’s exclusive and pioneering ephemeral restaurant, ENIGMA, from the opening guest chef himself, Quique Dacosta…

What are your earliest memories of being interested in food?

My introduction to the culinary world is not based on culinary interest, but rather on the place where I began working to help my family. Amidst the pots and pans, books came into my possession that became an inspiration.

What would you say has inspired your cooking the most?

People are what inspire me the most. When I was starting, the thoughts and work of certain chefs was a source of learning and inspiration. Over time, I found another source of inspiration in art. Right now, I look for it inside myself.

Describe your culinary style…

I’ve never been good at defining myself, but I can say that I am committed to getting to know my environment, researching to keep moving forward in a solid fashion; an evolutionary attitude, always trying to innovate and create new dishes. At the end of the day, what I do is establish dialogues with the language of my very work itself.

How did you feel when you were invited by the Palazzo Versace,Dubai to be the first chef to appear at their new dining concept,restaurant ENIGMA?

It was a source of honour and pride for me and my team to take on this challenge. For a company such as Versace to believe in our work to start up this project makes us very happy. This is just one more example of how cuisine dialogues with many different disciplines and sectors.

What does the idea behind the ENIGMArestaurant mean to you?

Enigma poses a challenge to the chef and his team. This shows that they believe in the work we have carried out up until now, and what we will be able to do. We accept the challenge, with the understanding that everything we do at Enigma will have an aura of mystery and magic, every day. Within this framework, we will be implementing our DNA and our way of understanding cuisine today.

Do you think that this is the way forward in fine dining?

There are several ways. I do not believe we reside in a dogmatic world where everyone takes the same path. Plurality is enriching, and I believe that cuisine is broad enough for many different concepts and forms of expression.

What makes the ENIGMAconcept so special in your opinion?

Many of us chefs will go through Enigma, each one of us with our own style and story to tell. Each one of us will leave a mark in the same place and on the palette of many Dubai residents and visitors from other parts of the world seeking out unique experiences in the city. A different restaurant in a city open to the world, where a top-tier culinary selection will be offered.

What are you most looking forward to about your chef residency atENIGMAat the Palazzo Versace Dubai?

I hope to seduce diners and leave a positive memory there. Carrying out this concept will definitely teach us many, many things.

What are your most indispensable ingredients?

I have no indispensable ingredients for cooking. In this regard, I believe that the methods and processes are just as important as the ingredients. However, I’m very much a result of my environment and its products, which I also consider to be the best and I have always based my discourse on them.

Can you tell us a bit about what you will be doing during yourculinary chapter at ENIGMA – any hints at what might be served to guests?

Our selection will be growing over these three months. We will go with the flow in the environment and the people, cooking with soul to show what we are and how we have grown. And we will continue to grow and learn! Especially, there will be lovely surprises.

What would you say has been the most memorable moment in yourculinary career so far?

There have been some beautiful moments. We met some challenges that were theretofore unreachable, such as obtaining three Michelin stars, national culinary awards, or being named the best restaurant in Europe on two different occasions. When I was invested as Doctor Honoris Causa in Fine Arts, it was magical for my expression as chef.

But there is something I remember as being very special, the day I purchased my restaurant in Denia. Not because I had become an owner, but because I removed the barriers that were keeping us from moving forward. As of that day, we felt free.

What is your guilty pleasure?

Popcorn at the cinema…

Find out more about Chef Dacosta


Palazzo Versace Dubai

Culture Village

Al Jadaf

Dubai 128431


+971 4556 8805