Many happy childhood memories for Elena revolve around food. From cooking with her beloved nan as early as two, she was preparing entire meals by the age of eight. Blessed with artistic talent, cooking and art go hand-in-hand for Elena and she uses both to express her creativity.
Since winning MasterChef Season 8 in 2016, she has been part of several charity organizations such as FebFast and Cancer Council Australia and is continuing her mission to inspire and educate to find sustainable healthy and flavor-rich ways of incorporating food into their lives. Elena would love to own a farm café, partnering with young people and the wider community.
She is currently hosting My Market Kitchen, a national television show featuring the freshest modern Australian cuisine. She also continues to do live cooking demos and promoting her healthy gluten free lifestyle on her website elenajoduggan.com
Prior to her Dubai residency, she will be participating alongside previous MasterChef Champions at the Global Restaurant Investment Forum (GRIF) in Amsterdam.
For her three-day Dubai residency, Elena’s all-inclusive approach to life will be reflected in a five-course flexi-menu where every course is adaptable to diners’ gluten-free or vegetarian requests and is priced for only aed329 per person inclusive of a welcome drink.
Kicking off with an amuse-bouche of Lavender Goats’ Cheese and Beetroot Relish with Aussie Dukkha, the five-course dinner features a treasure trove of traditional Australian flavours and ingredients.
A choice of starters reflects Duggan’s advocacy of using natural fruits instead of refined sugar in her cuisine. Guests can opt for Octopus and Mandarins (black olive crumb, fresh oregano, mandarin gel) or Textures of Strawberry (pickled, dehydrated and freeze-dried strawberries, strawberry gel, almonds, watercress, Yarra Valley Australian feta).
For mains, guests can choose from Roasted pumpkin and burrata (zesty pumpkin seeds, orange confit, sage pesto) or Duck and grapes (duck magret, Muscat grapes, verjuice, sunchoke hummus). The latter is the ‘older sibling’ of the masterful quail and grapes dish which helped Elena progress into the MasterChef Australia 2017 final.
Following mains, three of Elena’s favourite summer flavours in watermelon, pineapple and ginger – evoking memories of the Sunshine Coast in Queensland – form an amuse guile to cleanse the palate.
Finally, Duggan will regale diners with her famous Fig, Chocolate, Wattleseed and Macadamia dessert, which collects much-loved indigenous ingredients from near her hometown in Noose Shire.
During her limited-seat masterclass on Wednesday, 19th Feb at 5pm, Elena will demonstrate to cooking enthusiasts how to make one of her signature dishes, Duck and Grapes, which is the ‘older sister’ of the dish which helped Elena progress into the MasterChef Australia 2017 final. Priced at just AED 489 with soft beverages served throughout the experience or AED 649 with house beverages