When dining in the world’s highest restaurant, At.mosphere on Floor 122 of Burj Khalifa, the experience is more luxurious than most. The cuisine outshines the incredible views, and the time spent at the restaurant and lounge exceeds the venue’s superlative stature. Leading the team behind those lofty culinary pursuits is Jerome Lagarde, bringing more than 20 years’ experience in Michelin-starred and fine-dining restaurants to the Dubai highlight.
French national Lagarde’s philosophy focuses on using unique, high-quality produce from around the world in interesting, intriguing preparations to showcase complex cooking techniques for a unique experience. He honed those concept development and innovation skills first as a student at Pardaihlan Auch Culinary School and then through trainee positions at the Michelin-starred L’Hôtel de France in Auch and Le Hittau in St. Vincent de Tyrrosse.
His career took him around the globe, with positions at eateries and hotels in Los Angeles, Miami, Kiev, Thailand, Sydney, Hong Kong and Singapore. He spent four years as executive chef at China’s first-ever 3-Michelin-star restaurant, Sens & Bund, in Shanghai.
Today he matches the sky-high location of At.mosphere with his culinary confections, offering contemporary European cuisine in a full à la carte menu for lunch and dinner. Specialties include prime cuts of beef, organic poultry and seafood.
Outside of the kitchen, Lagarde enjoys golfing and spending time with family. The keen rugby fan can also be found cheering on his sons, both rugby and football players.
WHAT THREE GO-TO INGREDIENTS ARE ALWAYS IN YOUR HOME KITCHEN?
My all-time go-to ingredients have to be Espelette pepper, which is now an integral part of Basque cuisine; olive oil; and fresh pasta. Espelette pepper brings an exceptional touch with its mild heat and smoky-sweet flavor and can come in handy for a variety of dishes.
WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE SEASON FOR COOKING, AND WHY?
Spring/summer is my favorite because of the wide range of fresh fruits and vegetables in supply. It opens up doors for experimentation, providing a more varied spread and the opportunity to associate them with meats or fish and for desserts.
ASIDE FROM YOUR CURRENT POSITION, WHAT’S THE BEST JOB YOU’VE EVER HAD?
Before entering military service, I used to play first division rugby. My rugby club found me a job for four months as a wine salesman. At that time I had no knowledge of wine, and I don’t drink it, either. The funny part was that when I sent my gas expenses, my boss almost had a minor heart attack — I was selling while driving around in a gas-guzzling sports car provided by my club!
WHAT’S THE FIRST MEAL YOU EVER COOKED?
I cannot be absolutely sure about this one, but one meal comes to mind. It was a purée mousseline — of dry potato flakes with milk. But to date, I like to see every dish I make as my first — it gives that right mix of excitement and anticipation.
AT.MOSPHERE BURJ KHALIFA
1 Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Blvd.
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
tel 971 4 888 3828
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