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An Aussie and a Kiwi have joined forces to cook real, honest food at one of Dubai’s most beautiful residential hotspots
Jesse Blake, 30, and Kate Christou, 32, are the chef team at Lowe, a cutting-edge eatery that just opened at KOA Canvas, the stylish residential complex and work hub near Al Barari. Kiwi Jesse and Greek/Australian Kate met while working in Melbourne restaurant Cumulus Inc. six years ago and have brought their kitchen synergy to this new homegrown concept. EDGAR met the kitchen duo.
Tell us about your first meeting in Melbourne.
Kate Christou: I was working in the upstairs restaurant and Jesse was working downstairs so we didn’t have much to do with each other but we’d see each other in the hallway. We started to work together and it was a very sociable team with a late night culture. We’d sit and eat together and go out. We worked very long hours and all became friends.
Did you sense a professional chemistry?
KC: Definitely. I’ve worked with people where we’ve had a mutual understanding about flavours and a friendship comes from that.
How do you start a restaurant concept like Lowe from scratch?
Jesse Blake: It starts with a piece of paper. I have several battered old notebooks filled with ideas: things I’ve eaten in the past, things my mum used to make, something I see on TV – I write it down and develop an idea of the dish from there.
How many of these ideas are so weird that they never see the light of day?
JB: Quite a few! Here’s one: [opens notebook] lemon soda battered lychees. ‘The fruit is cooked tempura style in a batter made with lemon fizzy drink, served on top of custard, so the softness combines with the crunch.’
KC: We really like food with texture.
JB: We don’t want our food to be one dimensional in the mouth. We don’t just want soft-soft-soft; we want soft and crunch. It makes eating more enjoyable because every bite is different.
How often do you eat out?
KC: We eat out more than anyone should – our life revolves around food. But it’s great because we get so many ideas and learn what things we like and what things we don’t.
You both look pretty trim considering you spend so much time in restaurants.
KC: Yeah, we exercise a lot and we work a lot so we’re always on the go. A lot of chefs use cream and butter to make food taste good, but we don’t do that. We like lighter, healthy dishes. We want people to feel good after eating our food.
What research have you done on the Dubai restaurant scene?
KC: We’ve been trying to eat out as much as possible here. We’ve had great service, and the food has been really good. La Petite Maison was very good; Tomo served great Japanese food; Rang Mahal was excellent.
How’s the menu looking at Lowe?
KC: The menu is done; it will be seasonal as much as possible and the menu will probably change every two months. We’ll figure out what ingredients are here and what we can grow because we want to have a kitchen garden. We’ll also have a dry-aged room so we can create something unique.
Finally, the name Lowe – where does that come from?
KC: It’s an old Scottish word meaning a ‘warm light emitted by fire’. It fits with how we try to cook naturally – no foams or molecular gastronomy.
JB: Lowe also means ‘to feel strong emotions’ or ‘glow with excitement about a person’, and that’s how we want people to feel in our restaurant.
END OF INTERVIEW