Matthew Dahlkemper

From butchering beef at a busy Chicago steakhouse, to developing the charcuterie program at a luxury Las Vegas hotel, to fashioning eight-course “FarmTable” tasting menus at a singular curated culinary experience in sunny Florida, Matthew Dahlkemper has really made his way around the American culinary landscape over his decade-long cooking career. So perhaps no one better to celebrate American classics at Four Seasons Hotel Dubai International Financial Centre. 

As opening Executive Chef, Dahlkemper guides the Hotel’s signature dining hotspot, Firebird Diner by Michael Mina, a culinary and creative collaboration with celebrity chef Michael Mina, who has seen success with restaurants at Four Seasons in Baltimore, Washington, DC, and Jackson Hole, Wyoming. 
The concept of Firebird Diner is casual, refined and timeless, set in a dynamic space with an open-air kitchen, views of DIFC, and a distinctive American air expressed in design details including vintage posters, a jukebox, and an artistic rendering of the front end of a Cadillac protruding from the back wall. Breakfast, lunch and dinner menus offer exciting takes on classic American diner favourites such as Steak and Eggs, Maine Lobster Pot Pie, “Chicken Fried” Wagyu Steak, and Fried Green Tomatoes with Remoulade – all made “bigger, bolder and more impactful,” as Dahlkemper puts it, through extravagant touches and the sourcing of finest ingredients. 

When Dahlkemper expressed interest in opening a restaurant, Mina Group took note. “I was expecting they’d move me to Los Angeles, but they offered me Dubai instead,” he recalls. “To me, it was a no-brainer. I’m still young. I want to travel and experience things. It’s an ideal situation.” 

The knockout job he does guiding the Hotel’s culinary operation reflects Dahlkemper’s character – and his passion. He got interested in mixed martial arts as a teenager and began taking instruction while still figuring out what he wanted to do with his life. His first competitive fight was in Chicago in 2009. The following year, he relocated to Las Vegas – “the fight capital of the world” – where, while working in restaurants, he began training with Wanderlei Silva – a.k.a., “The Axe Murderer” – who was then part of Ultimate Fighting Championship. 

“Mixed martial arts just kind of grew and grew for me,” says Dahlkemper, whose record in the cage was four wins and two losses over three years. He still loves the sport and is excited to train and compete again during downtime from the Hotel, even though “the level here in Dubai isn’t quite what it is in Vegas.” 

We wouldn’t even think about arguing with Dahlkemper about that.
Key Facts

Executive Chef


“Having a General Manager who understands the demands of the culinary operation and a Food & Beverage Director who used to be a chef is really huge. The level of support here goes a long way for me.”

Four Seasons Tenure

Since 2016

First Four Seasons Assignment


Employment History

Mina Group; The James Hotel, Miami Beach; The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas; Trump International Hotel Las Vegas; Alize, Las Vegas; David Burke’s Primehouse, The James Hotel, Chicago; Sofitel Luxury Hotels and Resorts, Chicago




Associate of Arts and Sciences, Culinary Arts/Chef Training, Kendall College, Chicago


English, some Spanish



Michael Mina
Michelin Star Holder


Matthew Dahlkemper
Executive Chef
5 stars - based on 250 reviews
Four Seasons Hotel,Podium Level, Building 9,Gate Village DIFC, Dubai
+971 (0) 4 506 0100 URL of Map Breakfast Hours: Every Day 7am � 11am Lunch Hours: Every Day 12pm - 4pm Dinner Hours: Every Day 6pm - 12am Late Night Hours: Thur + Fri 12am - 3am Categories: American , Steakhouse , Seafood Price Range: $$$ Yes