Matthew Kenney Opens 3-Story Pop-Up in Dubai to Showcase Plant-Based Food
Chef Matthew Kenney will showcase four of his plant-based dining concepts to three floors of the Expo 2020 Dubai, a world exposition that boasts the planet’s most impressive human innovation for the last 170 years which lasts until March 31, 2022. Kenney’s plant-based achievements will be featured across The Sustainability Pavilion, Terra, emphasizing the environmental and individual health benefits of his vegan foods. The chef will highlight the innovations made within the plant-based market, specifically in the fine-dining sector, and its significant strides.
“In recent years, there has been so much attention on the benefits of plant-based living—not only for our health but also for the environment. It’s all about cooking healthy, sustainable dishes by using clean, organic, and unprocessed ingredients to create vibrant dishes,” Kenney said in a statement. “We are excited to be part of Expo 2020 Dubai and look forward to continuing creating innovative dishes that are familiar to everyone, but with an innovative spin.”
Terra will feature three levels of sustainability achievements and innovations with Kenney’s plant-based contributions located on each level. The ground floor will host Veg’d – a fast food concept that Kenney first launched in March. The chef took over a closed Del Taco location in California to create his fast-food pop-up concept.
The Dubai counterpart will replicate the original location’s menu, complete with burgers topped with Veg’d signature sauce. Other menu items will include veggie and tofu bowls, specialty desserts, and breakfast staples such as burritos and sandwiches that feature JUST Egg’s vegan egg replacer. To accompany the JUST Egg vegan egg replacer, the restaurant also offers tempeh bacon, vegan sausage, smashed tater tots, and vegan cheddar.
At the next level of the Sustainability Pavilion, guests can visit Kenney’s Mediterranean and Middle Eastern establishment XYST. The restaurant specializes in comfort food including savory tarts, soups, sandwiches, and more, and come nighttime transforms into a cocktail bar that provides an extensive menu of small tapas that include kofta, vegan halloumi, stuffed peppers, flatbreads, olives, and falafel.
Finally, the Terra rooftop will host MUDRA, a 360-degree experience that combines plant-based cuisine, design, art, and a view. The lively restaurant presents a menu of housemade pizzas topped with signature vegan cheeses, providing a shareable style menu. Other offerings include kabobs and sushi dishes – ranging across several cuisines. The restaurant will provide spectacular views of the exposition, an open kitchen, and an extensive vegan cocktail list to meet any customers’ tastes.
Beyond the three levels of Terra, Kenney’s food truck concept M.A.K.E will travel across the entire Expo. The food truck will offer smoothies, noodle bowls, sandwiches, and more for guests that need a quick, plant-based meal.
Kenney’s appearance at the Expo 2020 Dubai is not the chef’s first plant-based effort within the region. The celebrity chef partnered with the environmentalist and Saudi royal family member Prince Khaled bin Alwaleed to introduce plant-based menus to two Four Seasons Hotels in the Middle East.
The two plant-based advocates debuted Kenney’s “Folia” concept to Dai Forni and Sinotoho, introducing vegan fine dining options to two of the top hotels within the region. The move intends to promote plant-based eating and sustainability across the region and the world, drawing attention to the importance of a plant-based future.
“The Folia concept for Four Seasons is an incredibly exciting moment in the transition to a more sustainable future,” Kenney said. “Creating menus that are seamlessly interwoven into the fine-dining that already exists at the property is a project that we enjoy, and to be working with the team in Kuwait is a dream come true.”
The plant-based concept just arrived at a third Four Seasons in the region. Folia brings a six-course plant-based experience to the Four Seasons Hotel Riyadh at Kindom Centre in Saudi Arabia. The vegan menu will feature specialized dishes such as Cacio e Pepe, Macadamia Chevre Beetroot, and Lasagne. The lasagne will be complete with pistachio pesto and macadamia ricotta.
“On a personal level, the launch of Folia for Riyadh Season is truly the biggest moment in our collaboration with Chef Kenney to date,” Prince Khaled said in a statement. “KBW Ventures is proud to present innovative, healthful dishes, curated by a culinary master in my hometown, Riyadh, as part of the Kingdom’s celebration of hospitality and entertainment.”
Within the United States, Kenney’s plant-based influence is rapidly expanding. The chef recently partnered with vegan retail giant PlantX to develop the XMarket. Following the acquisition and partnership of Kenney’s New Deli concept, PlantX launched its in-person retail storefront featuring the vegan New Deli menus. PlantX just opened its fourth location in San Diego to join its stores in Canada and Venice, California.
“MKC (Matthew Kenney Cuisine) and PlantX are fully aligned in our collective mission to offer whole, plant-based alternatives to the general public," Kenney said in a statement. "Along with our retail and eCommerce initiatives, we are committed to investing in and developing innovative products that bring a sustainable and healthful change to the culinary landscape."