The Dhow a Chef Built sails through Emirates Palace’s Grand Dome


Hand-made dhow set to be one of the largest National Day tributes in Abu Dhabi

uae-flag-boatAbu Dhabi: With National Day fast approaching, Emirates Palace has outdone itself creating a full size dhow replica as an artistic and cultural tribute to the UAE on display in the Grand Dome of the Palace on December 2nd. The dhow measures an astounding 14m long, 3.3m high and 2.3m wide dhow, and it took Artist Chef Jagath Pereira working full time for 35 days to complete it.

Emirates Palace asked Pereira to create a dhow. Despite not knowing how to do it, he accepted the challenge. He says, “I never say no because I love to learn new things, and I am fortunate that Emirates Palace gives me all the resources I need to build special projects, such as this dhow. It’s an honour to build a special tribute to a country that has given me and my family so many opportunities.”

Apart from not knowing how to build a boat, Pereira faced other logistical challenges. He had to build the dhow sturdy yet still light enough to disassemble, move through the hotel and then reassemble. So, in addition to wood, he utilised lighter and less traditional building materials, such as intricately sculpted Styrofoam blocks, chiselled with repurposed kitchen utensils as tools.

“To my knowledge, this is one of the largest National Day tributes ever made in Abu Dhabi.” Pereira adds, “It would take years and a large team of people to build the seaworthy equivalent, so I am proud of this dhow tribute, and I can’t wait to share it.”

This National Day, Visit Emirates Palace’s Grand Dome to see the dhow a chef built.

About the Artist Chef: Jagath Pereria:

Artist Chef Jagath Pereira is Emirates Palace’s in house artist. Pereira first took his creative inclinations into the kitchen learning his craft in Colombo’s Oberoi Hotel in his native Sri Lanka. The beautiful food he prepared was perhaps the first exhibition of his talents, but it wouldn’t take long before his canvas became much larger than a dinner plate.

In 1995, Pereira moved to Abu Dhabi. Prior to his appointment at Emirates Palace, Pereira took a position in a smaller hotel where he began to showcase his talent on larger projects building creative decorations for major events.

At Emirates Palace, Pereira has a dedicated studio space where the hotel allows his creativity to blossom. Whenever the hotel wants to create something remarkable, one of the first meetings is always with Pereira. If he doesn’t have the tools to match his vision, he makes them. If he can’t find the materials he needs to build his vision, he gets creative and repurposes items, and if he doesn’t know how to do something, he learns it. Jagath Pereira is a modern day Leonardo da Vinci. There is nothing this Artist Chef cannot create, and Emirates Palace is proud to have such a gifted artist on staff.