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WELCOME TO THE CLUB Minor Food Group unveils major expansion plans for The Coffee Club in the GCC

SHANGHAI NIGHTS In discussion with Luo Bing, executive chef of Five Hospitality’s first F&B venture, Maiden Shanghai

LAMB REINVENTED Food Source International speaks to a group of chefs about rejuvenating a Middle Eastern diet staple

Connecting F&B professionals with industry knowledge


Out the

Gate Naim Maadad, CEO of Gates Hospitality, one of Dubai’s most successful homegrown hospitality investors, is ready to take London by storm with the company’s first international venture

The region’s F&B leaders reveal what they need to secure a successful tomorrow

On the web Keep up to date with all the latest news, features and much more on our website.

10 What's Cooking?

August 2017 // Issue #031


16 New places

18 Talent

28 The business

10 //

WHAT’S COOKING? Catering News to host two major events in October; More than 2,000 exhibitors expected at first ever GulfHost; Dubai unveils plans for AED5.5 billion food park

16 //

NEW PLACES Ian West, 4-Front’s group general manager introduces Mr Miyagi’s Asian Street Food and Bar

18 //

TALENT Tony Jardella, head chef, Perry & Blackwelder Original Smokehouse says a stand-out concept is key to success

22 //

COVER STORY The region’s F&B leaders reveal what they need to secure a successful future

28 //

THE BUSINESS WELCOME TO THE CLUB James Bradbury, head of culinary at Minor Food Group unveils big plans for The Coffee Club in the GCC

August 2017 Catering NEWS ME


August 2017 // Issue #031

Contents Managing Director Walid Zok

30 //

CHEF FOCUS SHANGHAI NIGHTS Luo Bing, executive chef Maiden Shanghai, explains how the contemporary concept encapsulates the four regions of China

34 //

LAMB REINVENTED Food Source International speaks to a group of chefs about rejuvenating a Middle Eastern diet staple

44 //

CRÈME DE LA CRÈME The best-selling and latest dairy products available on the Middle East market

50 //

SPILL THE BEANS Dubai’s Freedom Pizza is ready to expand with its first franchised store in Sharjah, reveals founder Ian Ohan

Director Rabih Najm CEO Wissam Younane Group Publishing Director Diarmuid O'Malley Group Commercial Director Fred Dubery Group Editor, Hospitality Crystal Chesters Contributor

Marouane Al Mandri Art Director Aaron Sutton


Marketing Executive Mark Anthony Monzon Photographer

Hayder Al-Zuhairi

44 Chef Focus

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34 Roundtable

All rights reserved © 2014. Opinions expressed are solely those of the contributors. Catering News ME and all subsidiary publications in the MENA region are officially licensed exclusively to BNC Publishing in the MENA region by Catering News ME. No part of this magazine may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means without written permission of the publisher. Printed by Raidy Emirates Printing Group LLC


Catering NEWS ME August 2017

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E ditor's L ette r

Look on the bright side

T Crystal Chesters Editor

he cover line of this month’s issue could be easily disputed. As we head toward Dubai Expo 2020, is the future really bright for the F&B industry in the region? When Catering News gathered a panel of F&B professionals last month to set the agenda for our upcoming Big F&B Forum in October, we asked them that very question and some interesting concerns were raised. Firstly, innovation. With American franchises forming the bedrock of the restaurant landscape – not just in Dubai but across the GCC – is there space for entrepreneurship? And more to the point, can F&B entrepreneurs really afford to set up shop in this market? One of our panelists pointed out that a secondary site in Dubai can be double the price of a premium location in New York. With the creative minds relying on major investors and developers to support them, can their visions really flourish and be sustained? Another interesting topic raised was whether consumers travel to destination concepts nowadays, given that new neighbourhoods are popping up all over the place, offering stacks of restaurant and café options. For example, eight years ago, people would travel in droves to visit the newly opened Zuma Dubai and today the restaurant retains its legacy and still attracts big crowds, but if a similarly high-profile concept opened its doors now in Dubai, would

Our cover shoot took place at the recently opened Flow restaurant in Jumeirah Emirates Towers, a creative hub, offering small dishes designed for sharing, along with healthy snacks, salads and daily grab-and-go bites. The venue is also home to the region’s first milk taps, allowing customers to personalise their drinks and dishes.

it achieve the same success? Our panelists weren’t convinced. The market has changed, competition is rife and the consumer is king. As this evolves, operators and owners will be forced to look at value said the experts, particularly as the introduction of VAT looms. However, it wasn’t all doom and gloom. Several opportunities were highlighted, such as collaboration between entrepreneurs, investing in staff and training, recycling and more thoughtful sourcing of produce. In the run up to 2020, the experts agreed that they expect to see a big shift in the F&B market in the region. Closures will accelerate; however, a silver lining will appear in the form of opportunities for those that survive the storm. Underpinning almost all of the topics discussed, was a huge opportunity for better communication with and support from regional governments – particularly given that F&B forms a key pillar of their visions for the future. Our panel spoke on behalf of the entire F&B industry in saying they aren’t going anywhere. The future is bright, as long as the sun continues to shine over the Middle East and F&B operators work together to make changes for the better and get the support they need from governments. Enjoy the issue, Crystal

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Catering NEWS ME August 2017

W hat's cooking?

W hat's cooking?

P11: 2,000 exhibitors expected at GulfHost // P12: Dubai unveils plans for AED5.5 bn food park // P14: TripAdvisor teams up with Deliveroo //

What's cooking?

For all the latest News, Visit Follow us on Facebook for up-to-the-minute breaking news Read the latest edition on


Catering News to host two major events in October Catering News Middle East, a BNC Publishing title, will host the third edition of The Big F&B Forum and the second edition of its highly successful Leaders in F&B Awards on 30 October 2017. The double whammy of events will see the best and brightest in the F&B industry gather for a day of thought-provoking debate followed by a glittering awards ceremony in the evening. Crystal Chesters, group editor of BNC Publishing’s hospitality portfolio, commented: “We are delighted to be hosting another exciting edition of our Big F&B Forum and our second ever Leaders in F&B Awards in October, having enjoyed such a phenomenally successful inaugural event last year. “In 2016, both events saw unprecedented interest from the region’s leading F&B professionals, and we hope to build on this in 2017. We are hosting both events on the same date for the first time, with the objective of creating an extra memorable extravaganza of debate, networking and celebration.” Last year’s Big F&B Forum attracted more than 250 food and beverage professionals, who 10

Catering NEWS ME August 2017

witnessed a morning of panel debates and expert sessions tackling the key topics, trends and challenges impacting the F&B industry. British chef, restaurateur and author Gary Rhodes OBE took to the stage to discuss his views on the Middle East’s F&B landscape at the 2016 edition, and this year Catering News looks forward to shining the spotlight on another well-known industry VIP, with more details to follow shortly. Sponsoring The Big F&B Forum are some of the most prominent suppliers on the market, including Unilever, TSSC, Boecker, Pulsar Foodstuff Trading, Lavazza Eurocof-

fee, Debic and Emirates Modern Poultry. This year, some of the agenda topics up for discussion are: the need for more innovative brands and concepts; why limited and expensive real estate is hindering growth; talent, training and staff engagement; and sustainable sourcing. The full agenda will be announced in the September issue of Catering News Middle East. Taking place in the evening after The Big F&B Forum, is the second edition of the Leaders in F&B Awards, which returns with 18 categories, divided into nine restaurant awards and nine individual awards.

Sponsoring the event are TSSC, Emirates Modern Poultry, 1765 Gemini and Boecker, and more partnership opportunities are available. Nominations for the Leaders in F&B Awards are now open and will close on Thursday 21 September. For more information on nominations and full category details, please go to: . For enquiries about the Leaders in F&B Awards and The Big F&B Forum, please contact Crystal@bncpublishing. net and for sponsorship opportunities contact fred@ or Dom@

Wh at' s c ook i n g?

trade shows

More than 2,000 exhibitors expected at first-ever GulfHost

More than 2,000 exhibitors are expected to take part in the first ever GulfHost event in Dubai, which is taking place on 18-20 September at Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC). The event will be held alongside The Hotel Show as part of Dubai International Hospitality Week (DIHW), which will see three other shows also taking place – The Speciality Food Festival, Seafex Middle East and Yummex Middle East. Trixie LohMirmand, senior vice president, exhibitions and events management DWTC, said: “With world-leading trade events such as Gulfood playing a key role in bringing more suppliers and visitors to Dubai every year than any other annual food trade show in the world, Dubai truly is on the hospitality and F&B map. Hosting Dubai International Hospitality Week and co-locating five complementary shows adds yet another dimension of excellence.” More than 2,000 exhibitors will participate at DIHW, with GulfHost alone hosting 16

country pavilions and demonstrating the global importance of serving the region. Major countries include Italy, Spain, UK, France, Germany, Portugal, Turkey, Greece, China, Korea, Taiwan, India, Lebanon, Australia, Netherlands and Egypt. Also taking place during GulfHost, in partnership with the International Centre for Culinary Arts (ICCA) Dubai, is the Middle East Food Forum – a three-day conference enabling professionals from all facets of the F&B industry to gain insight into the opportunities, challenges and innovations of their trade. Sunjeh Raja, CEO ICCA said: “The Middle East Food Forum is a relevant platform to run alongside Gulfhost and we’re delighted to partner with this key trade exhibition. “Knowledge sharing is an important building block in the support and development of the industry, and our role in facilitating this complements the critical value GulfHost brings to the regional F&B industry."

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August 2017 Catering NEWS ME


W hat's cooking?


Emirates Golf Club to shake up F&B offer with new Jones the Grocer


Dubai unveils plans for AED5.5 billion food park Jones the Grocer is set to open a new branch at Dubai’s Emirates Golf Club later this year, Catering News has learned. In a statement, Jones the Grocer told Catering News: “We are pleased to confirm that we will be opening a Jones the Grocer in partnership with Emirates Golf Club later this year. Details about the restaurant’s location and offerings will be released in an official statement in the coming weeks.” The news came hot on the heels of the announcement that Le Classique, which had been operating for 29 years at Emirates Golf Club, would close at the end of July. Throughout last month, the venue served a special fivecourse ‘Au Revoir’ menu dedicated to chef François Porte, who opened Le Classique in the late 80s and served until his retirement in 2012. A spokesperson from Jones 12

Catering NEWS ME August 2017

the Grocer confirmed that the new branch will not operate in place of Le Classique, but in a separate space in Emirates Golf Club. The space previously occupied by Le Classique will house another brand, with details to follow shortly. Jones the Grocer announced in March that it will also open new locations in Dubai International Airport (DXB) Terminal 3, Mirdif 35 in Dubai and Flag Island in Sharjah. Each Jones the Grocer store features a contemporary café, offering modern Australian cuisine with an international influence. Established in 1996 with the launch of the flagship Australian store in Woollahra, Sydney, Jones the Grocer today has venues across Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Thailand, Qatar, Bahrain and the UAE.

Dubai Holding is set to launch a new AED5.5 billion food park at Dubai Wholesale City, offering all categories of food-related services including modern infrastructure and ancillary services. The objectives of the project are: to enhance Dubai’s position as a regional hub for food trade and re-export of foodstuffs, to facilitate access to new markets and global investments, and to support food security in the UAE. His Excellency Abdulla Al Habbai, Chairman of Dubai Holding, commented: “Dubai Food Park has been established to meet the growing demand from the food sector in the UAE and the region, triggered by population growth and the development of the tourism sector. “There is an increased need for specialised logistical services that ease supply chain costs, as well as for more dedicated spaces to accommodate the fastgrowing operations of food companies in Dubai.” Dubai Food Park was launched by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid

Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, in the presence of HH Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai. The 48 million ft2 project is located close to Dubai South and 10 minutes from Al Maktoum International Airport and the Dubai Expo 2020 site. It will provide a range of government services under one roof to help companies grow, reduce supply chain costs and foster innovation. These include customs, clearance, licensing, food safety and supervision. Dubai Food Park includes a central wholesale market that serves the retail, hospitality and food service sector, a logistics area, an area for complementary services such as packing, repacking, and processing, and a dedicated area for handling packaged goods. Employees' accommodation, hotels, financial services, and a centre for integrated government services and recycling organic waste, will also feature.

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The World’s 50 Best Restaurants celebrates 15th anniversary in Spain The World’s 50 Best Restaurants has celebrated its 15th anniversary by hosting a day of gastronomic discussion and celebration, presented by Miele, in Barcelona. The event brought together world-renowned chefs Ferran Adrià, René Redzepi, Joan Roca, Massimo Bottura and Daniel Humm, each of whom has had a restaurant at No.1 in The World’s 50 Best Restaurants over the last decade and a half. A special dinner was created by Ferran Adrià – whose restaurant El Bulli was the first ever No.1 in 2002 – at the Bravo24 restaurant in the W Barcelona hotel. Barcelona-based and former El

Bulli chefs created Adrià’s contemporary take on global tapas and produced a 2m-high cake to mark the occasion. Adrià commented: “I am delighted to have been part of this historic event alongside my fellow chefs. To be represented on The World’s 50 Best Restaurants list is a great honour for chefs and restaurants worldwide as it is a recognition of their artistic talent, skill and innovation. “The World’s 50 Best Restaurants creates unique opportunities for leading chefs to come together to celebrate and share our love of food and the dining experience.” As part of the celebrations,

each of the No. 1 chefs outlined his personal vision for the future of gastronomy at the special edition of #50BestTalks, hosted at Barcelona’s Antigua Fábrica Estrella Damm. Massimo Bottura of Osteria Francescana spoke about his non-profit, Food for Soul; Ferran Adrià discussed how the uncensored sharing of information on food, cuisine and culture with other chefs and gourmets will further the creative processes

both in and out of the kitchen. Daniel Humm and Will Guidara of Eleven Madison Park discussed the need to gain a deeper understanding of the past in order to move forward and grow as chefs and restaurateurs. Joan Roca touched on his desire to create a well-balanced working environment in the world of fine dining and René Redzepi explored his vision of a world where the next generation rediscovers and connects with nature.

August 2017 Catering NEWS ME


W hat's cooking?

Chefs unite for Pink Brigade breast cancer campaign The Pink Brigade is preparing to launch its 2017 campaign, which unites chefs across the globe to highlight the importance of early detection of breast cancer. Founded in 2014 by chef Robbie Stokes who lost his wife to breast cancer, The Pink Brigade has raised nearly AED200,000 to date through sale of personalised chef jackets and pink aprons supplied by A. Ronai. This year, The Pink Brigade has introduced a pink headscarf as part of its kitchen range. All sale proceeds from

the campaign are donated to The Pink Caravan, a pan-UAE breast cancer awareness initiative launched in 2011 to improve the lives of those affected by cancer.

La Marquise International opens Oman office

Professional equipment and ingredient distributor, La Marquise International, has inaugurated its new showroom and training centre in Muscat, Oman. The showroom

took almost two years to complete and occupies two floors of a new residential building. The company hosted an open day with its partners and customers, which included a tour of the facility and live cooking demonstrations. Professional ovens, such as the Merrychef e2s, were being showcased, in addition to ingredients from Te Reval, Maison Routin, MIA, MEC3 and Pellini. The La Marquise International office in Oman is open Sunday to Thursday, 9am till 6pm.

Modhesh World introduces food truck park Indoor edutainment destination Modhesh World at Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC), this year introduced an indoor F&B park with 23 food trucks. Food Park DXB occupies 5,500m2 of hall 1, DWTC, and features a soft play area and a cinema screen in addition to a variety of food options such as NKD Pizza, Hot Chips and Mr. Brisket. Money 14

Catering NEWS ME August 2017

can be uploaded onto a prepaidenabled keychain via a digital platform at the cash counter. Running from 20 June to 12 August in halls 1 – 6 of DWTC, Modhesh World is now in its 18th year.


TripAdvisor to feature Deliveroo listings TripAdvisor has announced that Deliveroo’s restaurant network will be integrated into its listings, allowing customers to order from 20,000 of Deliveroo’s restaurant sites spanning 12 countries. Deliveroo is the first food delivery service to integrate with TripAdvisor in the UAE, UK, Ireland, France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Belgium, the Netherlands, Singapore, Hong Kong and Australia. Bertrand Jelensperger, senior vice president, TripAdvisor Restaurants, commented: “Through this new partnership with Deliveroo, we aim to expand the influence of our 4.2 million restaurant listings by bringing TripAdvisor users access to food delivery services – both at home and on-the-go. “As TripAdvisor is already a highly effective marketing platform for restaurants, new offerings like food delivery further

increase the value of a restaurant’s listing. Whether reading reviews, reserving a table through LaFourchette or placing a food order through Deliveroo, our goal is for TripAdvisor to serve as a one-stop-shop for diners around the world.” By clicking the ‘Order Online’ button when browsing a TripAdvisor restaurant listing, consumers are brought to Deliveroo's online or mobile platforms to place an order. The terms and length of the agreement will not be disclosed. Will Shu, founder and CEO, Deliveroo, said: "At Deliveroo we're always looking for new ways to bring great food to people's doors. “We're excited to partner with TripAdvisor to make it even easier for our customers to order delicious food from the best local restaurants, wherever they are in the world."

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Alshaya to roll out 100 Blaze Pizza restaurants in Middle East US fast-casual artisanal pizza chain, Blaze Fast-Fire’d Pizza, has entered into an exclusive development agreement with the Kuwait-based M.H. Alshaya Co. to build and operate multiple Blaze Pizza restaurants across the Middle East and Northern Africa. The agreement will see the development of 100 restaurants in 11 countries including the UAE, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Egypt, and Morocco, with the first five restaurants scheduled to open in Kuwait and the UAE in 2018. The Alshaya agreement marks the first expansion of Blaze Pizza outside of North America and represents the largest development deal in the brand’s history. Mohammad Alshaya, executive chairman of M.H. Alshaya Co. commented: “Blaze Pizza is a very exciting and disruptive brand that fits nicely into our restaurant portfolio alongside Starbucks and Shake Shack. “With its simple approach to fast, authentic, customisable pizza, we see a tremendous opportunity to build Blaze into the dominant pizza brand in the Middle East and throughout the region.” The build-your-own pizza chain, known for its chef-driven recipes and casually hip restaurants, recently opened its milestone 200th restaurant. It has agreements in place to open more than 400 additional locations across the US, Canada, the Middle East and Northern Africa. The agreement with Alshaya includes the development of both traditional and delivery-only formats. Rick Wetzel, co-founder of Blaze Pizza said: “There is really only one ‘best way’ to take your brand overseas and that is to partner with Alshaya. “For some time, we’ve been receiving requests to bring our brand to the Middle East. Now that we’ve partnered with Alshaya, we’re happy to say that we will be there soon.” M.H. Alshaya Co. is a franchise operator for over 80 brands including Starbucks, Shake Shack, The Cheesecake Factory, P.F. Chang’s, Victoria’s Secret, Pottery Barn, H & M and Mothercare.



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18.05.17 10:37

New places

Mr Miyagi’s Asian Street Food and Bar Ian West, 4-Front’s group general manager introduces the company’s latest concept, Mr Miyagi’s Asian Street Food and Bar, which has just opened on Level 9 of Media One Hotel, Dubai Please describe the concept of the venue in your words?

Hailing from the streets of Asia, fictional sensei, Mr Miyagi, heads up an outlet like no other, bringing trinkets from his travels across Japan, China, Thailand and Vietnam that litter the walls and floor of this kitsch and eclectic new outlet. His iconic movie rival, Cobra Kai, is the aptly-named adjacent bar, brimming with unique drinks mixes, thematic hops, beer pong and live cabaret. The chimu – meaning ‘team’ in Japanese – is headed up by an experienced sensei master who leads his ninjas (waiters) in delivering a flamboyant and exciting programme of food, beverage and entertainment.

What are the signature items on the menu?

What’s so great about this menu is that it





Michelin-starred chef and cookbook author, Thomas Keller, is to launch the first of three Bouchon Bakeries outside the US in Dubai this year, as part of a franchise partnership with international retail franchise operator, M.H. Alshaya Co. The first Bouchon Bakery in the Middle East is scheduled to open its doors on Dubai’s JBR later this year, with further bakeries planned for Kuwait and other GCC countries. Keller opened the first Bouchon Bakery in July 2003 in California.

Yellow Brick Rd, a food truck that launched on Dubai’s Kite Beach in November 2016, has introduced sister concept, Churros by YBRD. Churros by YBRD serves the Spanish-inspired fried-dough pastry, Churros, with a number of fillings and toppings, such as Nutella, white chocolate, dulce de leche and homemade Oreo whipped cream. Churros by YBRD has been stationed at Truckers DXB at Dubai World Trade Centre, an indoor food truck festival taking place over the summer.

Pan-Asian restaurant, Cho Gao Marina Walk, has opened at InterContinental Abu Dhabi, offering signature dishes from Indonesia, Japan, Vietnam and Thailand. These include Thai roasted duck red curry with pineapple, grape and Thai basil; and Vietnamese banana blossom salad with chicken, shallots, toasted peanuts and chili. With 270 indoor and outdoor seats, the venue is divided into four dining areas – the main restaurant, a sushi bar, a lounge and an outdoor terrace overlooking the marina.



LOCATION: InterContinental Abu Dhabi OPENING DATE: 5 July

Catering NEWS ME August 2017

New places

draws inspiration from the Far East and Southeast Asia. Expect to enjoy traditional recipes of Japanese sushi, Vietnamese pho, Chinese dim sum, Thai curries and Filipino adobo that transport you right into the kitchens of old-school Asia.

What is interesting about the beverage offer?

We wanted to continue the street theme so hops are served up in cans, a cocktail list of strong and punchy serves was specially created in collaboration with the MMI bar academy and Barcardi and sharing cocktails come in bright buckets from our pop-up bars. Expect to be drinking from recycled soup tins, coconuts and plastic bags.

Who designed the interiors and how do they reflect the concept?

Everything in the outlet was handpicked and the majority of the antiques were sourced from street markets in Thailand and China. My favourite pieces are the neon signs we had specially created, the kaleidoscope tuk-tuk and our life-sized blossom tree, a feature piece that fills the lounge area of Cobra Kai. Don’t be sur-

prised to find larger-than-life bronze statues among funky neons, Chinese lanterns and multi-coloured wooden dining areas.

How will the venue compete in Dubai?

Mr Miyagi’s caters to a mid-end casual market with a focus on authentic street food and unique beverage offers typical of Asia’s party places, in a setting that provides the antithesis to the stereotypically glamorous and minimalistic high-end Dubai venues.

Opening date: 9 July Head chef: Ramon Muyot Restaurant manager: Melke Zedec Fun fact: Some key décor was sourced from the Asian jungle.




The 301-key Somewhere Hotel in Dubai’s Barsha Heights has opened #Somewhere Coffee Shop. The grab-and-go concept serves as a social hub and is connected to the hotel lobby. It offers freshly-brewed coffee, muffins, cookies, croissants and cakes. The venue features a 90m2 indoor space with rustic interiors seating up to 35 people, and an 80m2 patio, which seats 21. In addition to #Somewhere Coffee Shop, the hotel’s F&B offer includes Lebanese restaurant, Nay, and The Clavichord bar.

Ravioli & Co, an Italian trattoria, is set to open in August at Burj Daman in Dubai’s DIFC district. Specialising in fresh pasta made daily, the licensed concept is the creation of Khulood Khoury, from Jordan, and Greta Canevese, from Italy. In addition to fresh pasta, the restaurant will feature an in-house bakery offering focaccia, grissini and other Italian baked goods. Low calorie, gluten-free and vegetarian options will be available and there are plans to introduce a weekly aperitivo and cooking classes.

The Heart of Europe has launched La Playa Pop Up on The Beach at JBR, Dubai. The air-conditioned tent serves shisha and food from Claw BBQ throughout the summer season. Menu items include buffalo hot wings, nacho libre, Baja fish tacos, Texas beef brisket and burgers. Classic caesar’s, kale and cranberry and cobbs salads are some of the lighter dishes on offer. The venue also serves shakes, frozen coffees and juices in addition to 20 flavours of shisha.

LOCATION: Somewhere Hotel, Dubai OPENING DATE: 7 July

LOCATION: Burj Daman, DIFC Dubai OPENING DATE: August 2017

LOCATION: The Beach at JBR, Dubai OPENING DATE: 16 July August 2017 Catering NEWS ME



get fired up

Tony Jardella, head chef, Perry & Blackwelder Original Smokehouse believes that having a concept that stands out on the market is the key to success

Describe your first ever role in the F&B industry?

When I was 13 years old, I worked as a kitchen porter in the evenings and at weekends. I loved the job and was praised for my speed and work ethic. Within a year I had impressed my executive chef, Jacques Eza, a French chef who previously worked at the Savoy Hotel in London. He took me under his wing and taught me old-school cooking techniques and enrolled me in college, where I did an apprenticeship to become a chef.

Who has inspired you most in your career?

During my level three City & Guilds apprenticeship, my tutor, Bernie Pascoe, was a great inspiration. He was a well-known food critic in London, the owner of three 18

Catering NEWS ME August 2017

Work Experience Sept 2015 - Present: Head chef, Perry & Blackwelder’s, Madinat Jum eirah, Dubai Jan 2013 - Sept 2015: Exec utive chef, Yankees American Restaur ants, Cyprus July 2011-Dec 2013: Head che f, Artios, Cyprus

restaurants and a tutor at my campus. I went on to work for Bernie a year after I completed my professional cookery course – he inspired me to travel, see the world and to never stop learning.

follow the high standards set for them. Morale and making sure people get their say and input is important for any good team. Their ideas are an important part of sharing success.

How do you view the F&B scene in the Middle East?

What is the best aspect of your role?

Dubai is a tight market of restaurants, hotels and eateries. With hundreds opening each year, you can find almost any type of food quite easily. I think your concept is important as it defines what you are and why people should try your restaurant over the next. Equally important, is offering the best of the best in terms of food, service and guest satisfaction to create a good level of repeat business.

What is the biggest challenge of your role?

Normally the obvious answer here would be staffing, but I am truly blessed with a great team who are so eager to learn and

Developing the menu is the most fun part of my job. I love cooking up ideas over and over until we reach perfection and originality, then preparing these for staff and management teams for tastings. The menu at P&B is now the biggest it has ever been. Another aspect I love is the job satisfaction I get from serving customers with great feedback and teamwork.

What tip would you share with new staff starting out in the F&B industry in the region?

Take off your watch and don’t count the time. Hard work is always rewarded so try your best. I don’t mind if you make a mistake but you have to learn from each one.

Tale n t

Six Senses Zighy Bay appoints Two new chefs join team at exec chef Timothy goddard Dubai’s Amwaj Rotana

Six Senses Zighy Bay has appointed executive chef, Timothy Goddard. With more than two decades of experience in the industry, Goddard has held roles with Kingold Group Companies and Sofitel Hotels & Resorts. He has also worked with Michelin-starred chefs such as Michel Portos, Michel Roux, Nicolas Vianne and Christian Tetedoie. Goddard commented: “Six Senses is at the forefront of sustainable, nutritional and personalised hospitality; this is our DNA and what positions us as one of the most dynamic hotel groups in the world.”

Two speciality outlet chefs have joined the team at Amwaj Rotana Jumeirah Beach, Dubai. Overseeing JB’s Gastropub is Andy Zyla. Having been in the UAE for six years, Zyla has worked at The Westin and Le Meridien Mina Seyahi Beach Resort & Marina, Fairmont The Palm and The Address Montgomerie. Joining American-Japanese chain, Benihana, is W.A.P. Sanjeewa, who was the specialty outlet chef of Teatro Downtown Rotana, Bahrain for three years prior to relocating to Dubai.

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traders Hotel Abu Dhabi hires Executive sous chef

Shammi De Costa has joined Traders Hotel, Qaryat Al Beri, Abu Dhabi as executive sous chef. De Costa, from Sri Lanka, brings 18 years of hospitality expertise to the four-star property, including eight years working with Shangri-La Hotels & Resorts. His most recent role was executive sous chef at Shangri-La’s Barr Al Jissah Resort & Spa in Oman. He has also worked at Shangri-La Hotel in Singapore, Shangri-La’s Rasa Sayang Resort & Spa in Malaysia, and Shangri-La’s Villingili Resort and Spa in Maldives.

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O pinion

Scaling up for Expo 2020

Love Mansukhani, founder and managing director of Ribbon Consulting believes that scalability and adaptability are vital to every F&B concept as we approach Dubai Expo 2020

About the author Love Mansukhani is the founder

and managing director of Ribbon Consulting, which was set up in 2012. An accomplished restaurant developer, operator, and business manager with over 15 years of hospitality experience, Love’s diverse network of industry contacts and investors across the UAE has helped drive Ribbon Consulting to become the successful hospitality firm it is today.


s Dubai and the UAE prepare for Expo 2020, all hands are on-deck. Moving and shaking is going on all around us and the whole city is slowly starting to hum in excitement as we approach one of the largest Expos the world has ever seen. So, what does this mean for the hospitality sector in the UAE, particularly with regards to food and beverage? With the dawn of a new era of cuisines spreading across the world, there is less and less room for error. The hospitality industry is expanding globally and we are now catering for guests who are well-informed, conscious about what they eat, upto-date with market trends and who understand the difference between good service and great service. This forces restaurants to adapt and improve in line with the expectations of their knowledgeable clientele. With well over 9,000 restaurants in Dubai catering for 2.8 million people, the competition is exceedingly tough. Around every corner lies a string of restaurants and fast food outlets, not forgetting the abundance of hotels with their own ensemble of F&B. Despite how crowded the market is, 20

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The way forward is for investors to build concepts that do not require much space and which are more scalable, with smaller units over a larger geographical area” I believe there are still some underserved segments– particularly for fast-casual venues serving affordable, yet high quality food in comfortable, quick-service settings. Given Dubai and the UAE’s multicultural and multifaceted nature, it has become more and more challenging for single-unit restaurants to reach out to every type of clientele. Furthermore, Dubai’s rising property rental rates have made it harder for single, large-sized units to remain sustainable in the long-term, especially during economic downturns. The way forward, in my opinion, is for investors to build concepts that do not

require much space, and which are more scalable, with smaller units over a larger geographical area. Recent years have seen several brands being built around this business model and successfully so, regardless of the cuisine. More and more brands are focusing on becoming specialised concepts with smaller, adaptable menus and convenient packaging. Health-focused, and other lifestyle choices, are key values restaurant are trying to embed within their offerings, so that customers can eat there multiple times a week. Higher volumes versus higher margins is their value proposition. Since Expo 2020 is nearly on our doorstep, investors should look to develop scalable, specialised concepts and grow them gradually over the next few years. With Dubai as the launch platform, brands that set up a strong infrastructure, focus on making operations efficient, build brand awareness and execute a strong marketing strategy by the time Expo 2020 rolls around, will best be able to position themselves for franchising and global expansion.

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Ryan Hattingh, partner, Atelier EPG

Rebecca Viani, head of franchising, AWJ Investments

Abdul Kader Saadi, managing director, Glee Hospitality Solutions

Aijiro Shinoda, brand chef, Atisuto

Michael Kitts, director of culinary arts, The Emirates Academy of Hospitality Management

Nathalie Haddad, Farah Sawaf, Naim Maadad, founder, The Right Bite owner, Soul chief executive, Nutrition and Catering Communications Gates Hospitality Services L.L.C.

Stefan Breg, director of food and beverage, Europe, Africa and Middle East, Marriott International

Sergio Lopez, coowner Bull&Roo Hospitality and Investments

Sarah-Jane Grant, director, LXA

Dean Murphy, director of operations, Jumeirah Restaurant Group

A bright future The region’s F&B leaders reveal what they need to secure a successful tomorrow

Catering News brought together a group of F&B professionals at Flow in Jumeirah Emirates Towers, to set the agenda for the third edition of the Big F&B Forum, taking place on 30 October. Some of the key topics brought under the spotlight were the need for more innovation in terms of concepts and brands; limited and expensive real estate and the barriers this poses for the development of the industry, a need for a more engaged, better trained talent pool; and why the industry needs to procure produce at lower prices in a more sustainable way. According to the panel, more transparency and support from the authorities are requirements that underpin these topics, particularly given that food and beverage is becoming increasingly central to achieving the targets and objectives set out by regional governments. 22

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ne of the topics that came to the fore during the debate, was a need for more innovation in the F&B industry in the Middle East. With a host of franchised brands from the US, UK and Australia and a limited number of independent, creative concepts, the market is crying out for local entrepreneurship according to the experts. Sarah-Jane Grant, director of hospitality design firm LXA commented: “The same concepts are being replicated out of London but I think there’s an opportunity for local talent to create something unique for our market.” Stefan Breg, director of food and beverage, Europe, Africa and Middle East, Marriott International added: “This market has in the past, had a habit of offering a lot of brands that are the same – Americana brands and not enough entrepreneurs creating cool new things. I don’t think the market is set up for it very well, so how can we address that?” Even when restaurateurs do create their own concepts rather than bringing in franchised brands, too often innovation is lacking and the go-to solution is to imitate other successful concepts on the market, such as Zuma, says Naim Maadad, chief executive

of Gates Hospitality. “Everyone wants to do sushi, everyone wants to do Asian and that becomes a benchmark,” he comments. “We should all have our own locations, our own venues and really develop those for our audience rather than copying.” Major barriers to innovation according to the panel, are landlords and owners. Sarah-Jane Grant, director, LXA commented: “I think we really scupper the opportunities in this market for enterprise with the hold landlords have on entrepreneurs, so we need to see how we can mix it up again.” Maadad added: “We should never think we are owned by the landlord – this mindset needs to change.” However, sky-high real estate costs limit who can open a restaurant and where, meaning the most talented entrepreneurs may not get the opportunity to contribute to the F&B landscape, or if they do open a restaurant, they have to compromise their creativity. Ryan Hattingh, partner, Atelier EPG comments: “Rentals are prohibitive. We have been offering secondary sites that are double the price of what we’re paying in New York – this has to change.” He adds that landlords don’t have to

I think Dubai is going crazy in terms of the cost of living and there’s only a small percentage of people that dine out on a regular basis – how on earth can people afford it?” - Michael Kitts, The Emirates Academy of Hospitality Management lower their prices because there are investors and developers in the market who are willing to pay – after all, small investors can’t compete with the big governmentbacked developers who are bringing the world’s best brands into the market. However, according to Abdul Kader Saadi, managing director, Glee Hospitality Solutions, there is less competition for real estate than before, which could have an impact on pricing. “I think this was the case but not anymore. For every location, you may have had 10 people waiting, but now you’ll only have two. I think we do have entrepreneurs in the region but the cost of doing business is extremely high, which August 2017 Catering NEWS ME


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makes it difficult to survive,” he says, adding that restaurant closures are indicative of what’s going on in the market. “It’s starting; we’re going to see a lot more closures by December and it will take a year or two.” On a similar note, Hattingh warns of a “fall-out” in the coming years as less successful concepts close down in the midst of strong competition, however he be24

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lieves this could also provide opportunities. “I think there will be a huge shift in the market in the next two years, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing because the market is saturated and there aren’t that many consumers.” Dubai doesn’t have the population of the global cities it looks to compete with, such as London, Hong Kong and New York and only a small percentage of the popula-

tion can afford to eat out, say the experts. Farah Sawaf, owner, Soul Communications commented: “In the UAE, we think a concept that works in New York is easily replicated, but it’s not. We aren’t sitting on the same population, even if we have seven or eight million people, you have to look at your market segment. When you look at that you realise you’re not playing with a lot of footfall.”

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I think there will be a huge shift in the market in the next two years, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing because the market is saturated and there aren’t that many consumers” - Ryan Hattingh, Atelier EPG Michael Kitts, director of culinary arts, The Emirates Academy of Hospitality Management added: “I think Dubai is going crazy in terms of the cost of living and there’s only a small percentage of people that dine out on a regular basis – how on earth can people afford it?” High rents, utilities and visa costs are also having a major impact on value for money for the consumer. Breg commented: “Every meal in Dubai seems to cost $100. I think we need to look at value, particularly before VAT comes in.” A contributing factor is that ROI targets are too short-term, says Lopez of Bull&Roo. “I think patience is important for the operator and owner. F&B doesn’t have a short time period – you have to think long-term. Often people get greedy and want return on investment within 12

months.” With the cost of living soaring and the impending introduction of VAT, consumers are being more modest in their spending habits and so restaurants will have to become more affordable to survive. Glee Hospitality’s Kader Saadi says that Dubai restaurants are still being supported by a few big spenders, however Aijiro Shinoda, brand chef, Atisuto, says this is no longer the case. “People aren’t showing off now compared to five years ago – the big spenders aren’t around,” Shinoda comments. Grant of LXA adds: There’s a real opportunity – people will pay in the Middle East but we’re paying such inflated prices that if we can bring it to something more affordable, maybe that would motivate more people to eat out.” Another interesting point Grant made, was that many of the staff working in the industry don’t understand what good service is because they don’t eat out themselves. She commented: “I think a simpler option for investing in your staff would be taking them to a restaurant that’s good and showing them what good service is. You’ve got big salary gaps and these guys aren’t eating the type of food or absorbing themselves in the type of service that’s available in the restaurants where they work.” August 2017 Catering NEWS ME


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Maadad of Gates Hospitality added: “We need talent that actually understands the industry. A lot of staff don’t really engage.” Restaurateurs crave a talented workforce that will stay with and progress through the company, however, too often in the Middle East, staff are poached quickly and are difficult – and expensive – to replace. Because of the high costs of recruitment and rent, allocating enough budget to payroll is a challenge, so often staff are underpaid and demotivated, meaning service suffers. Lopez 26

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of Bull&Roo said: “If you invest in your staff and your training and want them to stay for a long time, someone else will come along and offer them double the salary for a promoted position.” Fast promotions also mean a skill gap can emerge at managerial level, which impacts the quality of service across the board. Kader Saadi, Glee Hospitality said: “Someone comes into the country as a waiter and 12 months later they are an assistant manager because people are poaching; because your

guy left you, you’ve had to promote out of desperation. Unfortunately, you can’t put a sign up asking for 10 waiters – it’s all imported labour and it takes time to train them.” One thing Rebecca Viani, head of franchising at AWJ Investments called for was more external training programmes for staff. “If there were training programmes available, we could send our staff – especially the managers or the people looking to become managers. We have an internal training department but we’ve got 800 em-

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ployees so there’s only so much we can do.” An opportunity Kader Saadi suggested, was introducing more part time staff, however some of the barriers are that they have to be on a parent’s visa and must have an NOC. Kitts of Emirates Academy also suggested that there are issues with millennials and “hard graft”. For Nathalie Haddad, founder of The Right Bite, having staff working their way up through the industry is the best way to create a sustainable talent pool in the region. “It’s

easier to work from down upward,” she said. “Here, restaurant owners and investors have studied the business but they don’t really know it inside-out. I think it’s important that we create a culture here that allows people to really learn the business.” The Big F&B Forum will take place on 30 October. For speaking, sponsorship and attendance enquiries, please contact The agenda for the forum will be unveiled in next month’s issue of Catering News Middle East.

Other key issues highlighted during the panel, include: • On good authority: The F&B industry requires more transparent communication and better support from governments on regulations, training, and opportunities for enterprise. • Success by design: A key aspect of the customer journey is design, but has this become less creative in F&B outlets? • Driving a hard bargain: Food trucks were a huge trend last year but operators have found rent and regulations to be prohibitive – how can we truly capitalise on the food truck opportunity? • Back to the future: We are seeing more closures and less competition for real estate – what will happen to rent costs in the run up to 2020? • Reaping the rewards: Will the Middle East get the Michelin Guide or a similar awarding body that can elevate standards and provide a benchmark for quality? • Producing the goods: The major suppliers have a market monopoly meaning prices are high and quality can suffer – how will this evolve? • Getting the green light: How can we reduce our carbon footprint as restaurateurs and consumers? • Stand and deliver: As the delivery market grows, what can restaurant groups do to capitalise on this opportunity, while minimising the impact on the environment and their brands? • Cleaning up: Food safety is important but this requires staff training and consistent regulations – can we improve this? • Healthy is wealthy: The government introduced legislation around use of the word ‘healthy’ – how can we continue to educate consumers and staff on the importance of healthy eating?

August 2017 Catering NEWS ME


T he Bu si ness

Welcome to the club James Bradbury, head of culinary at Minor Food Group speaks to Catering News about the company’s ambitious expansion plans for The Coffee Club in the GCC

Around 30% of the menu is tweaked to suit local tastes


ustralian cafe brand The Coffee Club has expanded rapidly in the UAE since it was first launched in 2015 at Abu Dhabi’s Yas Mall by Liwa Minor Food and Beverages – the joint venture company of local operator, Al Nasser Holdings, and publicly listed Thai firm, Minor Food Group. Today, the brand has 12 outlets across Abu Dhabi and Dubai and according to chef James Bradbury, global head of culinary, Minor Food Group, the target is to open 150 Coffee Club outlets across the GCC, with Oman, Qatar and Saudi Arabia the next locations in line. Bradbury also oversees The Pizza Company – which is set to grow in the region following the signing of a new franchise 28

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agreement earlier this year – Thai Express, Sizzler, Burger King, Grab Thai, and Poulet, however he believes The Coffee Club presents the biggest opportunity for expansion in the Middle East. He comments: “The Coffee Club is closest to what’s on-trend in the Middle East market rather than the other brands in our portfolio, and it’s the most casual form of dining we have without going into the QSR format.” The Coffee Club was first launched in Melbourne in 1989 and since then, more than 360 branches have been rolled out in Thailand, China, Malaysia and the UAE. While the offer is similar to that of QSR coffee shops – with a variety of hot and cold beverages, fast service and comfort-

able surroundings – The Coffee Club’s USP is its all-day dining menu, which offers a wide range of breakfast, lunch and dinner options and can be tweaked to reflect regional tastes. “We’ve adjusted about 30% of the menu to the Middle East, so we’ve added a pancake range specific to this market, which is now launching around the world,” says Bradbury. “We’ve added dishes that use local ingredients such as goats cheese, zaatar and items like labneh eggs and Arabian scrambled eggs and we have a big vegetarian section, which we don’t have anywhere else in the world.” With a background working in fine dining restaurants and hotels including Conrad Restaurant in Chelsea, Dish, and Food

The b usi n ess

James Bradbury, head of culinary, Minor Food Group

Chain by David Jones in Australia, Bradbury has developed a menu underpinned by classical techniques, but using equipment and operating platforms that ensure consistency. Bradbury explains: “The methodology and rationale behind the food is fine dining but the execution is QSR or casual dining. For example, our hollandaise sauce is a classical recipe, but we’ve adapted it to a QSR format. In the kitchen, we’ve developed a platform that allows the food to come out in a very consistent manner.” The key to consistency is controlling time and temperature using the right equipment, and this means the brand can be easily scaled up with an unskilled workforce. “If I standardise time and

temperature, it makes it very easy for the guys to cook because they don’t need to worry about these things. I’ve got the right equipment that controls that, which means I can pay unskilled cooks to make great food consistently and easily. It takes away the skill of cooking, which you would need a qualified chef to do. If you take that away, all they’re doing is dressing the food.” Another advantage of controlling all menu development at head office is that the menu items work within the system. “A normal chef loves to create, but if he created something for us he wouldn’t be able to put it into 50 outlets or 300 outlets – it needs to work on the platform and with the equipment and timings.”

If I standardise time and temperature, it makes it very easy for the guys to cook because they don’t need to worry about these things. I’ve got the right equipment to control that, which means I can pay unskilled cooks to make great food consistently and easily”

In addition to developing the menu for The Coffee Club, Bradbury oversees the menus across multiple brands in multiple countries and spends around 80% of his time travelling to keep up with new trends and opportunities. He sits within the brand team in Australia, is the master franchisee in Thailand and supports the franchisee in the Middle East market. While there are plans to introduce some new brands to Minor Food Group in the future, the focus for Bradbury and his team in the Middle East is firmly on expanding The Coffee Club. “There is lots of potential in the Middle East in Dubai and Abu Dhabi and of course Saudi Arabia and Qatar where we haven’t even started – there’s lots of room to expand,” he concludes. August 2017 Catering NEWS ME


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Maiden Shanghai first floor

Shanghai nights Luo Bing, executive chef of Five Hospitality’s first F&B venture, Maiden Shanghai, explains how the contemporary concept stands apart with a menu representing four regions of China


Catering NEWS ME August 2017

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Luo Bing, executive chef of Maiden Shanghai

Bing's Peking duck

Boom Boom chicken

Tell me about your career as a chef?

I started out as Sichuan chef at the Sichuan Minshan Hotel and progressed quickly to head chef and I also worked in a number of restaurants in China. My first taste of restaurant development was in Malaysia for two restaurants, the Emperor’s Delight and The SiuLaFan – I really enjoyed the creativity involved. I’ve also worked for Singapore Airlines, which was an amazing experience where I learned to efficiently cater for large groups.

What has been your career highlight so far?

Other than working at Maiden Shanghai, I loved my two years as head chef at Hutong, in London’s The Shard. The restaurant was consistently ranked in Time Out’s 100 Best Restaurants in London, which makes the

hard work worthwhile. That’s the aim with Maiden Shanghai too!

What attracted you to move to the Middle East?

I have worked all over the world and had heard so much about Dubai. There is a large network of internationally recognised chefs and top-class cuisine and I really wanted to be a part of the market in the Middle East and experience this totally unique culture.

Why did you accept the role at Maiden Shanghai?

I accepted the role at Maiden Shanghai for the opportunity to do something different. Chinese cuisine is popular all over the world, but the initial concept of Maiden Shanghai, with the impressive décor, a

great location and the chance to bring truly authentic Chinese cuisine to Dubai, got me very excited.

Please explain the concept of the menu in your words?

Maiden Shanghai has been founded with the objective of bringing authentic Chinese food to Dubai in a contemporary setting. I have travelled and cooked all over the world and I had the opportunity when creating this menu to bring everything I had learned together. The flavours and techniques were selected specifically to appeal to a wide variety of palates. Our menu features traditional Chinese dishes in a modern, sharing concept that combines flavours from four different regions; Cantonese, Sichuan, Shanghai and Beijing. August 2017 Catering NEWS ME


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The current menu is a very comprehensive representation of cuisine from the many different regions of China. It represents everything I feel was missing from the Chinese menus previously available in Dubai – true authenticity”

Mahjong Room

What’s your hero dish?

Maiden Shanghai’s hero dish is Bing’s Peking Duck – it is also my signature dish. It happens to be a personal favourite of mine and I take great pride in preparing it for clients at the restaurant. Other specials include pickled salmon, kung pao lobster, Chilean seabass and boom boom chicken.

What are your plans for developing the menu going forward?

The current menu is a very comprehensive representation of cuisine from the many different regions of China. It represents everything I feel was missing from the Chinese menus previously available in Dubai – true authenticity. We want to see the response from our customers before we start making changes to the menu.

What’s your view of the F&B scene in Dubai and the wider Middle East?

The market in Dubai is very concentrated and smaller than I was expecting. The high concentration of restaurants makes it extremely competitive, which is great because everyone has to constantly change and adapt to offer the very best to clients. The variety of cuisine available from all over the world is amazing, which adds a dynamic element to the F&B offering in Dubai.

What do you think of the other Chinese restaurants in Dubai?

There are several competitive Chinese taurants already well–established on Dubai scene and Maiden Shanghai shake it up with its authentic cuisine amazing location. 32

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resthe will and

The roof terrace at night

How will you ensure Maiden Shanghai competes on the market?

The food on offer plays a very important part in how a restaurant competes in the market, however, it is not just about the food, it’s everything else on offer – the drinks, the location, the staff, the wait for your meal and the overall ambience of the restaurant. Maiden Shanghai ticks all of those boxes and more. I am already starting to recognise regular customers who enjoy the overall experience and food offering. As long as we continue to grow our regular customers, I am confident Maiden Shanghai will remain competitive. Furthermore, as the market changes we will continue to adapt and innovate to stay ahead of the competition.

What are your personal and career ambitions for the future?

As a chef, I feel I have already achieved so much in my career. I have travelled all over and learnt so much along the way about different types of cuisine and local tech-

The market in Dubai is very concentrated and smaller than I was expecting. The high concentration of restaurants makes it extremely competitive, which is great because everyone has to constantly change and adapt to offer the very best to clients” niques. I want to continue working with Five Holdings to grow Maiden Shanghai as the flagship Chinese fine dining restaurant and diversify the brand. I want to explore the opportunity of creating a sister brand to Maiden Shanghai that will focus on casual dining. This would offer a different type of Chinese cuisine to an untapped market for myself and Five Holdings.

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Reinventing lamb

Catering News Middle East, Food Source International and Meat & Livestock Australia hosted a chef’s roundtable to discuss the opportunities for rejuvenating a classic Middle Eastern diet staple, with high quality products and better knowledge of origin, cuts and preparation techniques

Catering News Middle East, in partnership with Food Source International and Meat & Livestock Australia hosted a roundtable and tasting session to explore the opportunities for developing the lamb market in the Middle East with products that offer consistency, quality and sustainability. As part of the event, chef Tarek Ibrahim of Meat & Livestock Australia showcased a variety of preparations of Mulwarra Lamb from Australia.

Do you use Australian lamb in your restaurant? David Schaumburger: We use it in our

restaurant, mainly secondary cuts like shank, legs, shoulder and of course the rack of lamb. Liam Breen: We’ve used Mulwarra in the past. Most Australian lamb is in the upper ranking. Pasquale Sipone: We’ve used Mulwarra at some point in time and definitely could go back to it. 34

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How important is consistency when it comes to lamb? Pasquale: I’ve been using some Mulwarra

products from the beef category, and they have consistency so our customers can tell the difference – I think it’s the same thing with lamb. Sang Lee: We use Australian lamb rack. We sometimes have issues with it, but then we sous vide and add flavour to make it tender. If something isn’t consistent, we’ll fix it. Ryan Allen: Even portion sizes can vary. Sometimes you’ll get a rack or a shank that’s big and the next week it’s smaller. Angus Winterflood: I think the difficulty with lamb is seasonality. Generally, there are two breeding seasons in Australia and depending on when you process the lamb during that period, it will have different sizes. If you have a carcass weight within a set range, then you’re not going to have as big a range. Nick Meara: This is why it’s important to know your supplier and your brand. We’re all familiar with Australian beef and

Australian beef systems and we’re very developed as far as brands go. We’ve done a very good job on beef and we’re progressing with the lamb. We’ve been supplying lamb into this region for 50 years and we’re progressing further now into more high-end, consistent foodservice products. You’ll probably see in the next few years, a stricter specification that goes into these brands. Mulwarra are ahead of their time in doing that – working with size, age, particular breeds and sourcing from particular areas to get that consistency.

Do customers recognise different brands of lamb? Ryan: I don’t think customers know much about brands of lamb.

Pasquale: With beef, there has always been

a culture whereby you know the Angus, the Wagyu. In the future, we’ll come to know the breeds of lamb so we can specify them on our menus but lamb is very generic at the moment. David: I think customers are changing;

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(From left to right) Ryan Allen, head chef, Westlodge & Morah, JW Marriott Marquis Hotel Dubai; Pablo Domin, chef de cuisine, Restaurant Graze, La Ville Hotel, City Walk Dubai; Angus Winterflood, general manager, Food Source International; Nick Meara, business development manager, Middle East, North Africa & Europe, Meat & Livestock Australia; Ignus Terblance, sales executive, Food Source International; Kevin Schubert, sales executive, Food Source International; David Schaumburger, chef de cuisine, Chival, La Ville Hotel, City Walk Dubai; Pasquale Sipone, executive chef, Towers Rotana; Chef Liam Breen; Sang Lee, group executive chef, Solutions Leisure Group

restaurants are changing. We have an open kitchen so the guest can see what we put on the Josper and see the meat coming out – then they start to communicate with the chefs. Before, nobody was interested in this but now chefs are superstars.

Do you think lamb is less fashionable than other meats, like pork and beef? Pasquale: Maybe in western countries but

here it’s very popular. There’s an opportunity to develop and educate the market. Nick: You would think they would develop alternative cooking methods for lamb. A lot of lamb and sheep meat in this region is cooked traditionally in an Arabic style, with rice or different Arabic flavours. Pasquale: With beef, we have discovered all of these secondary cuts and the variety of things we can do. I’m sure we can explore the same thing with lamb so people will become more interested in it – they don’t need to have just the traditional roast or the stew.

Does lamb have as much potential as beef for innovation? Liam: I think beef will always be predomi-

nant, especially in this market with your August 2017 Catering NEWS ME


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FOOD SOURCE INTERNATIONAL Food Source International is a Dubai-based food import, export, marketing and distribution company dedicated to sourcing and selling a wide range of premium quality food products for the hospitality industry in the UAE and throughout the region. Established in January 2005, Food Source International has since developed a reputation as one of the premier meat import and distribution businesses operating in the UAE. Food Source International UAE E: T: +971 4 299 8829 Food Source International Oman E: T: +968 2455 2964


Catering NEWS ME August 2017

We’ve been supplying lamb into this region for 50 years and we’re progressing further now into more high-end, consistent food service products. You’ll probably see in the next few years, a stricter specification that goes into these brands” - Nick Meara, MLA tenderloin, your rib-eye. Globally, beef is more consumed. Pasquale: It depends how you present new things. Beef is more versatile so it’s how well those lamb brands can develop something interesting. If you have someone who has been eating lamb their whole life and you bring something new in a different shape, it’s going to be interesting to eat. It may not reach the same popularity as beef, but there’s definitely room for something new.

Liam: Beef also has that high grading sys-

tem –Wagyu nine plus, full bloods – whereas lamb is in a grey area. Angus: I would say that lamb is 30 years behind beef in terms of marketing and development, and that’s why all we have are brands to go on because you can trust their specifications. There is no industry-wide way to break lamb down in terms of marbling or grading. Pasquale: There is room for lamb to become the next beef on the plate – all we’ve seen before are stews, roasts or grilled lamb. Angus: Yes, definitely, and then you have to experiment with cooking techniques and cooking times.

What’s the most important thing for you as chefs when you’re selecting lamb? Pasquale: If you’ve got consistency it means you’re buying a quality product.

Sang Lee: And pricing, I think. In our

Asian and Australian concepts, we use different lamb. In the Australian one we use sous vide and for the Asian restaurant, we put strong marinades like soy and miso on

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it, so we don’t need really good meat. Nick: You could perhaps look at hind quarter cuts rather than the rack. Sang Lee: Yes, we talked to the owners about this because when we put the really nice lamb on the menu, the guest complains about pricing. Nick: Lamb pricing in the past 12 months has gone very high and that’s a global thing. A lot of things are driving that – supply and demand. Demand in some of our markets has grown considerably. Sang Lee: I don’t know that much about lamb so that’s why we follow the brands, but there are only a few. We use Australian lamb; we get it from Aramtec. Liam: Currently we’re using Welsh lamb but we’re going to change over because it’s way too expensive. Nick: It’s crucial to understand where they’re sourcing the lamb in Australia. Australia is a big country with different production systems so some of this lamb is coming from more arid, dry zones, so it’s dry grass-fed and some of them are from further south from greener pastures, while some of them come from improved pastures or oats – we grow our oats to finish

off a lot of sheep – and they all have a different fat content. If you’ve got a merino compared to a first or second cross sheep, it makes a big difference. With meat sheep, you get a much bigger muscle content on the frame. It’s important to understand your brand and ask these questions – is this a cross-bred and what part of Australia does it come from?

Do you use frozen or chilled lamb? Ryan: It depends on the cut. Pasquale: It’s always preferable to work

with a chilled product rather than a frozen one. Sang Lee: For secondary cuts, probably frozen, and the lamb racks are chilled. Ryan: With technology today, the freezing of the product isn’t what it used to be. For example, when you get fois gras, because of the way they freeze it nowadays, it makes no difference whether it’s fresh or frozen. Angus: Some of the heavier bone in cuts from lamb we find are better frozen. For example, with chilled short loins or shoulders there’s a risk of broken bags so the product can go off. Sometimes you’re better

MULWARRA LAMB Mulwarra Lamb is a quality, reliable and consistent premium product, produced using second cross lambs bred solely for meat production. All lambs are sourced from the pristine green pastures of Australia’s southern state of Victoria and produce quality cuts with an outstanding eye muscle on racks and loins. Mulwarra lamb is processed by two of Australia’s foremost establishments, with animals sourced directly from leading grower groups, which ensures a regular and consistent supply throughout the year. Mulwarra Lamb is packed under stringent quality assurance systems using the most advanced equipment, while foremost standards ensure the most accurate grading. Mulwarra targets a specific carcass weight range of 22-26kg and offers flexibility in packing according to market and customer requirements

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being safe and freezing it. In terms of the meat texture, it doesn’t make a difference – you’re going to braise it for a long time.

How important are sustainability and animal welfare to you, as a chef? Liam: Very important. Angus: People want to know how animals

are treated because this impacts the meat quality. Australia is leading the world in terms of handling stock, handling the product and making sure the animals experience minimal stress. A lot of farmers produce to kill but they care about their products and their animals, so animal welfare is a big factor. Nick: Animal welfare and sustainability means that you are in business for a long time. If you don’t look after your product it means you’re out of business, and farmers in Australia are very mindful of this.

What are the latest trends in lamb preparation? Sang Lee: At The Atlantic, we sous vide

the lamb at 60 degrees celsius for 55 minutes and then rest it for 10 minutes. Then we do a quick searing outside. Ryan: We braise lamb shoulders and do lamb rack on the grill. 38

Catering NEWS ME August 2017

With beef, there has always been a culture whereby you know the Angus, the Wagyu. In the future, we’ll come to know the breeds of lamb so we can specify them on our menus but lamb is very generic at the moment” - Pasquale Sipone, Towers Rotana Liam: I like the saddle the most – fatside-down, seared and butter-based. With fine dining, it’s starting to move away from old school cooking with sous vide, confit, different styles of preparation, different cuts – there are a million ways to do one thing now. Lamb tartare is amazing – realistically if something is fresh you can eat it raw. In Spain, you’ll see lamb tartare but here the market is still young. Pasquale: With beef, you can hardly tell the difference between primary and secondary cuts if you grill them in a certain way. It would be good to know if there’s something we can do with secondary lamb

cuts on the grill. For me, lamb should be done on charcoal on the grill so it’s quite traditional, but with other cuts like the leg we could look into stews or roasting, which are popular in this region.

Are Middle East consumers open to secondary cuts of lamb? Pasquale: This is up to how we present

them. There has been a lot of success with secondary cuts of beef so people have started to explore this. I don’t want to say they would also be impressed with secondary cuts of lamb, but they might be, depending on the texture and flavour. I think lamb is something that would be good for secondary cuts because of the flavours. Liam: It’s still a young and uneducated market. For example, if you try to introduce tri-tip or oxtail on the menu, people are scared of these things when really, they are some of the best things you can eat. With training, it’s not impossible. Nick: We sell racks and legs well in the domestic market, but we struggle to sell shoulders around the world. Ryan: I find that here the locals tend to eat more shoulder than leg. We’re going to start using the neck for one of our dishes.



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Everything you need to know about

G ulf H ost

Trixie LohMirmand, senior vice president, exhibitions and events management, Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC) answers all of our questions about the upcoming GulfHost – one of six co-located trade shows taking part at DWTC from 18 – 20 September as part of the first ever Dubai International Hospitality Week What is GulfHost and why is it being launched?

GulfHost is the Gulfood hospitality equipment and food service expo owned and organised by Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC). GulfHost is the first dedicated hospitality event of its kind in the Middle East and will take place on 18-20 September 2017 in Dubai. The show comes at a time when the industry is experiencing unprecedented growth across the region. GulfHost forms the cornerstone of Dubai International Hospitality Week, an initiative endorsed by Dubai Tourism & Commerce Marketing (DTCM) that comprises six co-located shows to enable the full spectrum of sourcing for every sector of the hospitality industry. These include DWTC’s established trio of niche food events – The Speciality Food Festival, Seafex Middle East and Yummex Middle East – and The Hotel Show and The Leisure Show, owned and organised by DMG Events.

What is the connection between Gulfood, GulfHost and Gulfood Manufacturing?

Now in its third decade, the Gulfood brand continues to support every link in the F&B supply chain thanks to its global connections, geographical advantages and unrivalled aptitude for increasing imports and exports. In line with an evolving marketplace, Gulfood has cultivated a cluster of distinct, complementary food 40

Catering NEWS ME August 2017

events hosted at key intervals throughout the year. As the flagship event, Gulfood takes place during a critical phase in the annual world harvest cycle and now trades under eight of the largest F&B commodity markets showcased in dedicated halls. Gulfood Manufacturing responds to the industry’s production, capacity and automation challenges by staging the latest ingredients, processing, packaging and logistical F&B solutions relevant to every line of business. As the need to create unique and memorable guest experiences intensifies, GulfHost is where hospitality trend insight and purchasing will come into its own through the region’s largest ever showcase of restaurant, bar and café solutions in one place.  

Who should visit GulfHost and what can they expect to find?

GulfHost delivers full spectrum solutions for the food services buying community – whether for global hotel chains, caterers, fine dining restaurants, quick service outlets or independent coffee shops, and whether you are the developer, specifier, in procurement, or an owner. It’s a show that provides access to the latest in innovations, products, services and trends to help improve efficiency and maximize profits, whatever the size of the business. GulfHost is an exceptional platform for connecting with industry-leading suppliers from around the world, and visitors are able to pre-schedule on-site meetings through the convenient online meetings

programme. This is an excellent means of securing special deals on new products ahead of your competition.

What are some of the features being showcased at GulfHost?

There are a number of show features that provide additional and exceptional value for the industry. Thanks to our strategic partnership with the International Centre for Culinary Arts (ICCA) Dubai, these key events will take place during the show: • Restaurant Development Conference: Powered by ICCA and the Middle East Food Forum (MEFF), the Restaurant Development Conference provides knowledge from over 75 global, regional and local industry speakers on six key topics. These are: innovation, disruption and sustainability; financing; franchising and feasibility; design and branding; operations, training and outsourcing; marketing and growth in digital. • Chef Education: This valuable education and training feature will focus on the “Technology of Tomorrow” and will include certified workshop sessions on cook and chill techniques; sous vide cooking; chemistry smoking food; food cost and waste management; and versatility in the kitchen. The application-focused workshops for chefs will be powered by ICCA – Electrolux Worldchefs Team and supported by over 40 student chefs of the ICCA.


As the need to create unique and memorable guest experiences intensifies, GulfHost is where hospitality trend insight and purchasing will come into its own through the region’s largest ever showcase of restaurant, bar and café solutions in one place” • GulfHost Innovation Awards: The GulfHost Innovation Awards will recognise the innovators and disruptors championing new techniques, products and technologies within the hospitality industry, and will be judged by an ICCA-curated panel of restaurant consultants and experts. • World Cuisine Summit Chef ’s Corner: This culinary arts platform enables accomplished chefs to showcase their gastronomic and artistic skills, and will provide experiential inspiration for professionals.

What are the key areas of focus and who are the exhibitors at GulfHost?

There are three key areas of focus at the show – back of house, front of house and bar and counter. Back of house exhibitors will be showcasing commercial kitchen equipment, systems and solutions – from ovens to fryers, extraction hoods, smokers, refrigerators, cold-rooms, dishwashers and appliances. Exhibitors include international leaders such as Ali Group, Alto Shaam, Manitowoc, Middleby Corporation, Rio International and TSSC. Front of house encompasses layout, design, finishes, lighting and tableware among other factors, with exhibitors to include RAK Porcelain, A. Ronai, Hatco Corporation and Venus Hotelware. The Bar and Counter area will include coffee machines and accessories and fit-out so-

Trixie LohMirmand, senior vice president, exhibitions and events management, Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC)

lutions for cafés and counters. Exhibitors addressing these elements at GulfHost include: Ascaso, Cimbali, Infrico and La Marquise, among others.

How does GulfHost mesh with Seafex Middle East, The Speciality Food Festival and Yummex Middle East, all happening under one roof at the same time?

The shows complement each other well, offering visitors the convenience of sourcing almost every product or service they could need to run their food services business – the scale and scope of the offering under the DIHW umbrella is unprecedented for the region. With seafood such an integral and universal ingredient

on restaurant menus whatever the cuisine, the demand for all aspects of seafood continues to grow. It is also increasingly chosen as a healthy meat alternative and rich protein source. Seafex Middle East serves as a gateway between east and west for sourcing both the most popular and new varieties of seafood in the world. As gourmet fine foods, halal products and organic continue to grow in appeal, so too does interest in The Speciality Food Festival. Meanwhile, Yummex Middle East, organised in partnership with Kölnmesse GmbH, showcases the latest in snacks and confectionery, a sector of the hospitality industry that continues to broaden in scope and scale, as palates, lifestyles and trends continue to evolve. August 2017 Catering NEWS ME


T he Hotel Show


WHY I ATTEND THE HOTEL SHOW DUBAI F&B and hospitality professionals share their experiences of The Hotel Show Dubai in the run up to the 18th edition of the event, set to take place in September


he Hotel Show Dubai – the largest and most comprehensive showcase of everything needed to build, develop or maintain a hotel or restaurant in the Middle East and Africa – is turning 18 this year. As we look forward to its 18th edition at the Dubai World Trade Centre in September, we are reflecting with the industry on their experiences of the event, and its key features, conferences and awards.

We have our Italian restaurant, which is open six days a week. It was on a Monday when the restaurant was closed, I was at The Hotel Show with our PR manager to speak at the conference. At the break, I bumped into five members of staff from the restaurant and it took me by surprise. I was like, ‘guys, what are you doing here? You should be off!’ The outlet manager was there alongside the chef and two waiters. They didn’t have to do this – they should have been at home resting or watching a movie, but their hearts were following our vision of constantly improving ourselves. They went on their days off to go and explore what’s out there, and for me that was really so inspirational, I really appreciated it and it shows that our hoteliers understand the need to innovate. I think there is no better advertisement for the show than that.” Kai Schukowski, general manager, Kempinski Hotel Cathedral Square, Vilnius, Lithuania (previously general manager, Kempinski Hotel Ajman – speaking in December 2016)


Catering NEWS ME August 2017

The H otel S how

“The Hotel Show has become, over the years, one of the top hospitality events worldwide. I was honoured to speak in the conference programme, which provides a valuable forum for hospitality professionals and experts to discuss local and global trends. Among the many benefits of attending The Hotel Show is the opportunity to network in person with others involved with the hospitality world in every fruitful manner. The conference gives ample opportunity to those delegates in attendance to experience a wide outlook into what the top industry leaders are envisioning to happen in the near future. Current trends in the hospitality world include restaurants offering a concept called ‘culinary interaction’ whereby chefs play a pivotal role to the extent that they are the ones taking orders and delivering to the table, which not only enhances the guest experience, but provides them with the opportunity to discover some of the chef’s little secrets in preparation. Customers are definitely at ease telling a chef about their preferences, leading to greater satisfaction and more personalised experience. There is also a greater emphasis on local produce use all around the world with a renewed emphasis on the local cuisine as well.” Avinash Mohan, executive chef, The Address Dubai Marina

“The Hotel Show has grown year on year and it’s a really fantastic platform to see the latest products, the latest technology and the latest designs coming in from all over the world. There is so much knowledge in between the stalls and the atmosphere at the exhibition is just great, so we have to make sure that everyone goes to see what’s on offer. You always want to offer your guests the best service with the latest products – expectations of guests change constantly and we must make sure that we are ahead of that. When we go to exhibitions like The Hotel Show, we can find products that are the newest in the market which we can offer to our customers. In housekeeping this is something that is very important.” Tatjana Ahmed, housekeeping manager Grand Hyatt Dubai and functional specialist housekeeping, Hyatt Hotels

“I think one of the great things about this industry is that you have events like the Middle East Hospitality Awards. They play an important role because they are giving back to the professionals that make it what it is, for all of their hard work. You might be an unknown name, but you are being recognised. It's making sure that the time, effort and work you are putting into the hospitality landscape here is being recognised, because it can very much wear off if you are forgotten. This helps provide us with healthy competition and there is nothing wrong with that. That's something I remember from early days and that is what it's all about. It's making sure that we can give back and feed the industry with the belief that yes, we can learn something from this. This could be one of those hospitality awards that are so valuable to hold and share great memories from. This year, there are so many new restaurants, so many other hotels are still being built, but I think 2017 is going to be a big year. There are a lot of talented chefs here in the Middle East and I think one of the wonderful things about the awards is they really showcase just how great hospitality can become here.” Gary Rhodes OBE, Michelin-starred chef and restaurateur

August 2017 Catering NEWS ME


M arketplace

Crème de la crème

The best-selling and latest dairy products available on the Middle East market

LACTALIS Dany Abi Khalil, general manager Lactalis Dairy Products & Trading Middle East DMCC showcases the company’s best-selling whipping cream


Chiara Giussani, export manager, Agriform, a cooperative of dairies producing, ageing and exporting P.D.O cheeses from Italy all over the world, introduces premium Italian hard cheese, Piave

What is your best-selling or latest dairy product? UHT cream is our best-selling category. Our two best-selling products are cooking cream (18% fat) and whipping cream (35.1% fat).

What is your best-selling dairy product? We are proud to export a niche Italian hard cheese called Piave Vecchio Oro del Tempo, which has won international prizes over the past seven years. It is distributed in the region by Promar.

What is unique about it? The cream has very good whipping performance, giving high and consistent yield for well-developed whipped creams. It has excellent cold performance and holds up for 48 hours in a cold environment without weeping. The cream is ideal for creating smooth ice creams, chocolates and ganaches with a glossy finish and melting texture, and its aromatic freshness is a perfect base for flavours.

What is unique about it? Piave is made using pasteurised cow’s milk collected only in the mountains of Northern Italy. Piave Vecchio Oro del Tempo expresses its full maturity after ageing for at least a year, with the structure becoming friable and the flavour full and unique. It has a fruity, intense flavour, typical of the most advanced stages of ageing, with a strong persistence on the palate. Thanks to its mild taste, it can be used as an ingredient in fish or vegetable fillings, quiches or over pasta, rice dishes and salads.

What should chefs consider when selecting dairy products? The country of origin of the product is important as this tells you a lot about the quality of the milk and the milk fat. The brand should guarantee consistent quality and reliable performance and the suppliers should be reliable in terms of stock, timeliness and traceability of the product. What are the latest trends in dairy? We are seeing a growing interest in cheese culture among consumers. People aren’t just consuming cheese to eat, they are using it in appetisers, platters or as an ingredient in other dishes. Chefs are exploring opportunities for using cheese in antipasto cheese platter, dessert platters and seasonal cheese platters. T: +971 4 554 7295 E: W:

What should chefs consider when selecting dairy products? P.D.O cheeses are a healthy choice thanks to the excellent balance of energy content and the nutrients they contain. What are the latest trends in dairy? Consumers are becoming more aware of the quality and safety of dairy products, with special attention being paid to animal welfare. Our organic logo guarantees that the cheese is produced according to strict rules aimed at respecting the environment and animal welfare. Agriform E: T: +39 045 8971800 W: Promar Trading UAE T: + 971 4 285 9686 W:


Catering NEWS ME August 2017

M a rk etplace



Dr. Ahmed Eltigani A. Rahim Elmansouri, chief executive officer, Al Rawabi Dairy Company talks about the brand’s recently introduced vitamin D milk

Mutasher Awadh AlBadry, deputy GM and business development manager of Camelicious says more chefs are opting for unique products

What is your latest dairy product? In 2016, in support of UAE government initiatives to stamp out nutritional deficiencies, Al Rawabi launched vitamin D milk – fresh milk specifically designed to prevent vitamin D deficiency.

What is your latest dairy product? Camelicious has introduced an endurance drink made from camel milk, honey, ginseng, guarana, natural caffeine and essential vitamins and minerals.

What is unique about it? Our vitamin D milk is one of a kind and contains 2000iu of vitamin D3 per 250ml cup. The main function of the milk is to prevent vitamin D deficiency, helping to maintain strong bones, teeth and muscles. It comes in pack sizes of 250ml, 1 litre and 2 litres.

What is unique about it? It’s a first-of-its-kind, all-natural drink that provides energy and vitality without harmful taurine or additives – just a great ginger taste. What should chefs consider when selecting dairy products? A dairy product like camel milk is unique and healthy.

What should chefs consider when selecting dairy products? Freshness, taste and quality should be considered, not just price. It’s also very important to support local production by choosing the best quality products that are delivered straight from the farm to the end consumer.

What are the latest trends in dairy? The industry and consumers are rapidly evolving from using traditional dairy products to trying new flavours and formats. The lines between different categories of dairy drinks are blurring.

What are the latest trends in dairy? A more health-conscious population is ready to pay premium prices for quality and health benefits.

T: +971 55 440 0999 E: W:

T: +971 4 704 300 E: W:

August 2017 Catering NEWS ME


M arketplace

Isigny Sainte-Mère


Camille Mancelle, commercial manager presents Isigny SainteMère’s best-selling items

Mohammad Houri, head of sales, MENA explains what sets Koita apart from its competitors

What is your best-selling dairy product? Our cheese, cream, butter and yogurts are distributed in the Middle East market by Promar for both retail and foodservice. In the Gulf region, AOP Isigny butter and whipping cream are our two best-selling items. What is unique about it? Our products are differentiated by their provenance, full traceability, and traditional, unique process of production. We have a limited area of production, a strong history and worldwide recognition. This is summarised in AOP legislation, which recognises exceptional quality and is monitored by European authroities. What should chefs consider when selecting dairy products? Quality should come first. This doesn't mean all chefs need the highest quality, however it is always too expensive when the quality is not as expected. Origin and price are also important – chefs should know the brand, the reputation of the distributor and the area of production. What are the latest trends in dairy? The market is under pressure because milk prices are increasing. Isigny Sainte-Mère T: +33(0)231513402 E: W: Promar Trading UAE T: + 971 4 285 9686 W:

What is your best-selling dairy product? Our best-selling product is our Organic Whole Milk, but our latest product, Lactose-Free Milk has been one of our fastest moving Koita products. What is unique about it? Koita’s entire range of milks are hormone- and antibiotic-free and our clean taste profile is the result of a unique pasteurisation process and premium Italian cow farms that ensure our cows are happier and healthier. Our Organic Whole Milk, Low Fat Milk and Chocolate Milk products are enriched with vitamins A and D3, while our Lactose-Free Milk is the Middle East’s first without hormones, antibiotics or pesticides. What should chefs consider when selecting dairy products? One of the top reasons chefs around the world choose Koita is because of it’s amazing taste profile – it is long-life milk that doesn’t taste like long-life milk. Our premium quality is certainly a key differentiator – the milk is produced in Italy from 100% pure cow's milk (no powders) and uses no artificial preservatives. Horeca customers also appreciate Koita’s strong supply chain, which enables reliable supply, low minimum order quantities and great value for money. What are the latest trends in dairy? There is a trend in the Middle East towards healthier, organic dairy products. We now see people actively seeking out 100% pure dairy products that contain no hormones, antibiotics or preservatives. They want a healthier option and a cleaner taste. T: +97143682204 E: W:


Catering NEWS ME August 2017

C offee Special


Catering News rounds up the best nuts and snacks products and suppliers in the Middle East


Bateel’s latest gourmet product launch is chocolate coated nuts, which are made using the finest origin chocolate. Bateel chocolate coated nuts are made from 62% dark chocolate from Brazil and 44% milk chocolate from Dominican Republic. Most of Bateel’s gourmet products are locally produced in its factory in Dubai Investment Park. Being the producer, packer and seller has given the company the flexibility to accommodate customisation requirements, such as private labels on wrapped gourmet items, co-branding on Bateel luxury gift boxes and edible printing on origin chocolates. This year, Bateel will invest in new gourmet items in bakery and will focus more on product customisation. T: +971 4 885 8737 E: W:

PULSAR FOODSTUFF SPARKLING SKY Pulsar Foodstuff has recently developed a new minibar range for Emirates Airline’s first class passengers. Designed with the highest standards, the products had to be adaptable to a multitude of nationalities and fit a certain price point and location on the aircraft. Having specialised in supplying hotel minibars for the past 20 years, the company can now confidently say it is a first-class minibar supplier. Pulsar Foodstuff has a track record for high quality products delivered quickly, and is currently developing a range of retail products, which are expected to hit the shelves by the end of 2017. T: + 971 4 348 8308 E: W:

Sparkling Sky’s latest product is pan-Asian Mixed Nuts. The uniqueness of the product lies in its formula – carefully selected premium peanuts, cashews and almonds, alongside spicy corn, rice crackers and coated flavoured peanut poppers. The mix is appealing to all nationalities and ages. This year, Sparkling Sky is looking to expand throughout the Middle East and Africa region and develop new product ranges. The company will be exhibiting at The Hotel Show in September. T: +971 04 388 0704 E: W:

New Jersey Nuts Packaging New Jersey Nuts Packaging was established in 2013 with just three staff. Today, with 10 employees working in its warehouse and production facility, the company caters for the fourand five-star hotel market in the UAE. New Jersey Nuts Packaging roasts and processes its nuts and snacks, with deliveries mostly made to order. The company can come up with different flavours of nuts and mixes as per client requirements. In addition to its customised minibar snack range, its best-seller is Mexican Mix Nuts and San Francisco Mix Nuts, which are used in the lounge areas of hotels. Currently New Jersey Nuts Packaging is working on new packaging options and is planning to expand its business to other GCC markets. T: +971 6 542 8690 E: W:


Catering NEWS ME August 2017


Dubai World Trade Centre 18 - 20 September 2017

After 24 months of planning, Dubai’s Freedom Pizza is ready to begin expanding with its first franchised store in Sharjah, reveals founder Ian Ohan

Why did you set up Freedom Pizza? Having been in the UAE for 20 years, I learned very early on that pizza and delivery service was a painful experience at best. Pizzas were unhealthy and of poor quality and this combined with lousy service and long delivery times, made me stop eating pizza all together. The idea of creating a good-for-you, super-fast and convenient pizza delivery company in the UAE seemed right. Having just sold my previous business, I quickly set my sights on doing just that. Now we have nine locations including three VOX Cinema locations with many more on the way. What experience did you draw on when you launched the business? Working for Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts in Toronto, Canada, taught me how to value people, how to treat customers and the importance of integrity in building a brand. I also learned a great deal about finance and international business working with the hospitality and investment practices at KPMG and Arthur Andersen in North America and the Middle East. However, my real entrepreneurial journey began when I joined two partners and established a real estate and hospitality consulting / investment business in the GCC, which we sold to Jones Lang LaSalle in 2006. What sets Freedom Pizza apart from other pizza chains in the Middle East? All ingredients we use are of premium quality. We source the produce for our salads and pizzas from the Freedom Greenheart Organic Garden based in the UAE, so our products go from vine to pie in 24 hours. Our multigrain crust aids slow digestion, while the cheese we use is low fat, all-natural and sourced from dairy farms in the UK. Our chicken tenders and wings are responsibly farmed, with no added hormones, from premium brand, M&J Chicken in Australia. We work closely with quality local suppliers like Skinny 50

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Genie, who supply our gluten-free crusts and gluten-free brownies, Coco Yogo, who provide us with vegan, gluten-free and dairyfree desserts, and Savarin, who supply our premium desserts. How do you ensure your delivery platform competes with third-parties? Our proprietary Freedom Connect ordering and back-end system is quite simply, better. We focus on great user experiences, simple, cool and appealing design, with useful and relevant features and we are evolving our technology daily. Our sister company, Big Dwarf, is dedicated to developing our platform. With myself as CEO of both companies, we are able to innovate and iterate in real time. Look for our new loyalty game, lunch club and other cool features, coming soon. How is the company culture for team members at Freedom Pizza? We treat our employees as business partners and we offer careers, not jobs, and attract those that know the difference. Most of our management team and many of our operations support team members began their careers with us as drivers or pizza makers. Store managers are given full accountability for the performance of their stores and are taught everything about the business, including financials. Our greatest opportunity is the continued development of our team members, particularly as they become more senior.

What markets are you targeting for global expansion? In addition to continued expansion in the region, there will be a combination of corporate owned and select franchised stores and we are considering a number of international markets. Our immediate priority is entering the UK, so watch this space. Tell us about your first franchised store, due to open this year? We have been preparing for franchising for the past 24 months and we are ready. We have implemented cloud-based operational, human resources and training platforms to ensure consistency and visibility. We recently signed a franchise deal for a store in Sharjah and this will be our first franchised location. We are very careful in selecting capable franchisees who get the Freedom ethos, service and work ethic. Franchisees are true business partners and we take the responsibility very seriously. We are acutely conscious that we only have one brand and one reputation, and we will be judged by the company we keep. What is your strategy for the future success of Freedom Pizza? We must grow and continue to learn and innovate. We are ready for accelerated and healthy growth so we must keep building our base wider and deeper. We must also honour and not forget what has gotten us to where we are today. We are free.

Catering News ME - August 2017  
Catering News ME - August 2017