The Best Address

Chef de Cuisine Célia Stoecklin

From an early age, Celia knew what she wanted to do: she aspired to become a chef. Endowed with a vivid imagination and a deep passion for handmade artistic works, she now channels all that creativity into her culinary creations. Embarking on her culinary journey at the age of fourteen, Célia initiated her career with a two-year apprenticeship at Le 7eme continent, a Michelin-starred restaurant in France. Building on this foundation, she honed her skills for two years in the renowned two-star Italian restaurant, Il Cortile, while simultaneously making a mark in two nationally recognized competitions in France.
Fueling her curiosity for learning, Célia then took on a pivotal role at the three-Michelin-starred restaurant, Guy Savoy, in Paris, followed by a stint at the Four Seasons Hotel George V Paris. These experiences exposed her to diverse kitchen environments, enhancing her techniques and culinary knowledge.

Crudo di branzino : sea bass carpaccio, lemon dressing, caviar

Venturing to Dubai, Célia joined the Jumeirah Group, contributing to the opening of French Riviera in Al Qasr Hotel. The restaurant, now showcased as one of the company’s Signature Restaurants, earned accolades in the very first UAE Gault & Millau Guide. Assuming the role of Head Chef at Fi’lia in SLS Dubai Hotel and Residences a year ago, Célia passionately expresses her love for sincere Italian cuisine with Mediterranean influences. Under her leadership, the restaurant earned the Bib Gourmand by the Michelin Guide 2023 and was listed in the Gault and Millau 2023 and 2024. With an impressive culinary background, shaped by her experiences with Michelin-starred venues and renowned chefs, Célia was nominated as one of the 30 best chefs under 30 in the Middle East within a year of her venture in the Emirates.

Grapes’ : Foie gras, grapes, red berries coulis

Shortly thereafter, she received the prestigious ‘Best Hotel Young Chef of the Year’ award in 2022 and was recently awarded ‘Pro Chef Of the Year 2024’. Célia radiates positivity, always maintaining a cheerful and optimistic demeanour. Her life philosophy centers around finding something positive in every situation, firmly believing in the human capacity to achieve greatness through perseverance and learning from mistakes. Known for her keen insight and attention to detail in creating innovative dishes, Célia has left an indelible mark on Dubai’s culinary scene. Her illustrious ten-year career is a testament to her hard work and passion, which continue to propel her forward. Enthusiastic, passionate, and devoted, she always dedicates the time and resources required for success. For Célia, making people happy and being a positive influence is a superpower. Her favourite quote reflects her philosophy: ‘A smile is a curve that sets everything straight.’

Mozzarella : buffalo mozzarella, roasted beetroot, raspberry dressing, rocket leaves, tomato and beetroot gazpacho

Do you have a favourite time of the year or set of ingredients that you look forward to working with?

My cuisine is very diverse, and I find inspiration in every season’s unique ingredient: from the beautiful white asparagus in spring, to the great variety of wild mushrooms in autumn and the delicious citrus fruit in winter. However, I do have to admit that I have a special emotional connection with summer. It’s a time that takes me back to my childhood, where I’d spend hours running through my grandpa’s garden, surrounded by the vibrant colors of ripe tomatoes, bell peppers and green beans. Oh, and let’s not forget the smell of my grandma’s freshly baked fruit tarts!

Sweet-light : roasted sweetbreads, raspberry sauce, crushed potato, green asparagus

What would you do if you weren’t a chef?

If I weren’t a chef, I believe I would work in event planning. Organizing and coordinating have always been passions of mine, both personally and professionally. I also enjoy working directly with guests, and I find great satisfaction in meeting their expectations. In my restaurant, no matter how busy I am, it’s essential to greet our guests and ensure they have a great culinary experience.

Bombolone : braised short ribs fried doughnut, scarmoza cream, oscietra caviar

Do your personal preferences influence the menu at all?

Definitely! Each dish on the menu reflects not just my own tastes, but also the collective creativity of my team. I wouldn’t feel proud presenting a dish that didn’t resonate with me personally in terms of flavour and aesthetics. As I’ve grown and evolved over time, so has my culinary style, along with the techniques and ingredients I love to work with. It’s all part of a journey that’s deeply personal and enriching. Without this connection, the dishes would feel empty and lacking in soul – they just wouldn’t feel like me.

Black cod mariniere : black cod, mariniere sauce, mussels, roasted potatoes, salicorni

What do you think is the most over-hyped food trend currently?

I believe the current surge in popularity of plant-based and vegan cuisine is remarkable. It’s not only a trend but a reflection of our awareness of food’s impact on health and on the environment. People become more conscious of their choices and eat more responsibly. The ‘lots of edible gold’ trend is one that i feel is over hyped these days. Using excessive edible gold foils on food seems to be more about justifying exorbitant prices rather than enhancing flavour or experience. I rarely use gold in my dishes, and when I do, it is more as subtle decorative touches and never as a selling argument.

Carpaccio di gamberi : red mazzara prawns carpaccio, elderflower dressing, strawberries, guacamole

When are you happiest?

I am genuinely a happy person, and I always try to find the good in any situation. Whether I’m in the kitchen, engaging with guests, spending time with my beloved ones, or enjoying the company of friends, each moment carries its own dose of happiness when approached with the right mindset.

Limone : yoghurt and lemon mousse, basil and mandarine gel, citrus sorbet (in Fi’lia menu right now)

When you’re not in the kitchen where can you be found?

One of my greatest joys in life is discovering new restaurants, bars, or any place that offers interesting culinary perspectives. So, you might find me enjoying lunch or dinner somewhere. Additionally, I’m passionate about sports like volleyball or swimming, which helps me balance out the tastings and indulgences that come with being a chef.

Linguine : linguine pasta, fresh carpet clams, cherry tomatoes, lemon

Where is your favourite place to dine?

The culinary scene in Dubai is booming nowadays, and I try to visit as many new restaurants as possible to see what the newcomers are cooking up. I enjoy discovering new interpretations of food and exploring trendy restaurants, but I also have some favourite spots that hold a special place in my heart. Depending on my mood and cravings, you can find me having my favourite ramen at Kinoya, some excellent Thai cuisine at Sticky Rice, or enjoying the cuisine of my mentor, Chef Kim, at French Riviera Beach when I miss home.

Olio d’oliva : Fernando Pensato extra virgin olive oil sorbet (served on our tasting menu at Fi’lia)

What’s your favourite takeaway or comfort food?

Sushi has a special place in my heart. Whether it’s after a long day at work or during my off time, sushi is always the first thing that comes to mind when I want to indulge in some comfort food. Japan is definitely at the top of my travel bucket list.

Trilogia : amuse bouche for our tasting menu: 1) The boot :tomato sablé, basil gel, parmesan cream. 2)’Riso al salto : crispy fried saffron rice, taleggio cream, pepper coulis. 3)Parmigiano

What makes the local food scene so exciting?

Being here for the last four years, I’ve seen firsthand how the culinary scene in the city has evolved at the speed of light. It’s been a joy to see a fusion of local and international standalone brands seamlessly integrate with the renowned hotel-owned restaurants and more traditional concepts. Without a doubt, this city has become the ultimate culinary destination, attracting top chefs from around the world like lately Anne Sophie Pic, Dabiz Muños, Martin Berasategui, Jean Imbert or Paco Morales, each bringing their own unique flair to the table. It’s truly an exhilarating time to be a food lover in this dynamic city!

Merluzzo : black cod, peperonata, rice stuffed capsicum, vierge sauce (in Fi’lia menu right now)

Which is the dish you’ve created that you are most proud of and why?

There is one dish I particularly love and cherish: it’s the ‘Pithiviers.’ This stuffed meat pie with foie gras, enveloped in puff pastry and accompanied by a rich red wine sauce infused with truffle, brings sophistication and indulgence – everything I like to deliver in my creations. Any occasion is good enough to eat one!

Parmigiano : parmesan tuile, potato and parmesan foam, olive tapenade

You’re having friends over for dinner tonight. What’s on the table?

For a casual dinner with friends, I would begin with some tasty small bites and canapés. Since I love cheese, I would definitely offer my guests a mix of artisanal cheeses from France, Italy, and perhaps even a delicious Manchego curado from Spain. For the main course, we could enjoy one of my homemade pasta recipes or, if the occasion calls for it, my oven baked seabass. To end the meal on a sweet note, I would serve either our Filia tiramisu or a simple yet delicious vanilla flan, which happens to be my partner’s favorite dessert.

‘Filetto’: Angus beef tenderloin, sweet potato purée, heirloom carrots, rosemary jus

Name your favourite city that has it all: food, culture, and nightlife.

Choosing just one favourite city is tough because I feel like there’s still so much out there to explore. But based on my past adventures, I would say Paris and Dubai hold a special place in my heart. Both cities offer an incredible mix of culinary wonders, rich cultural experiences, and vibrant nightlife scenes that always leave me wanting more.

Agnolotti : handmade ravioli stuffed with confit duck legs, nectarines, rosemary cream, chicken jus

Can you tell us more about the cuisine at your restaurants?

At Fi’lia, we take pride in serving authentic Italian cuisine infused with influences from France and across the Mediterranean. Our menu celebrates three generations of women: Nonna, Mamma, and Figlia. Each brings their own style – Nonna’s dishes are all about tradition, while Mamma mixes things up with a modern twist. To finish, Figlia’s creations are all about the new generation, blending innovation with tradition. Drawing inspiration from my travels throughout Italy, our dishes reflect the country’s diverse flavours and landscapes, marrying tradition with innovation.

Recipe of one the signatures dishes in Fi’lia -the Gamberi:

Vanilla Butter:

  • – 500 gr butter
  • – 2 pc vanilla pods
  • – 5 gr vanilla extract


  1. Slice the vanilla pods in half lengthwise and scrape out the seeds.
  2. In a mixing bowl, combine the vanilla seeds, butter, and vanilla extract.
  3. Mix thoroughly until the vanilla seeds are evenly distributed throughout the butter.


  • – 8 pc red prawns Argentinean
  • – 4 gr chopped parsley
  • – 100 gr vanilla butter
  • – Lemon juice, to taste
  • – Salt and pepper, to taste
  • – Espelette pepper, to taste


  1. Heat olive oil in a pan over medium heat.
  2. Add the red prawns to the pan and cook until they begin to color.
  3. Add the chopped garlic confit and thyme to the pan, and sauté briefly.
  4. Stir in the vanilla butter and continue to cook until the prawns are cooked through.
  5. Season with salt, pepper, Espelette pepper, and a touch of lemon juice.


  • 2 pieces grilled sourdough bread
  • Roasted almond crushed
  • Sorrel cress
  • Dill leaves
  • Lemon wedge
  • Espelette pepper
  • Maldon salt
  • Lemon zest








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