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Connecting F&B professionals with industry knowledge


Out the


Naim Maadad, CEO of Gates Hospitality, one of Dubai’s most Joe Isidori on how a successful homegrown hospitality investors, is memory ready to take London childhood created the by storm with the company’s first industry-leading international venture Black Tap

CREAM OF THE CROP Bruno Vaerenbergh explains the science behind the perfect cream

THE GRASS IS ALWAYS GREENER Bord Bia on why you should look to grass-fed beef

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

December 2017 // Issue #035






What's Cooking?


Chef Focus

Sial preview

10 //

WHAT’S COOKING? Consumer spending on F&B remains strong/ Emirates Academy celebrates 13th graduation day/ Deliveroo’s DXB service takes flight

20 //

OPINION The importance of food hygiene according to Boecker Word Holding CEO Michel Bayoud

22 //

COVER STORY Joe Isidori reveals the secrets behind his incredible success as founder of Black Tap

34 //

THE BUSINESS Khyber owner Sudheer Bahl on how the Indian institution is the perfect fit for Dubai

48 //

SIAL PREVIEW Previewing the National Coffee Championships – one of the highlights of SIAL Middle East which is taking place this month

December 2017 Catering NEWS ME


December 2017 // Issue #035

Contents 50 //

THE GRASS IS ALWAYS GREENER Bord Bia on why you should be considering grass-fed Irish beef instead of grain-fed alternatives

54 //

PRODUCTS La Cimbali in profile

58 //

SPILL THE BEANS Bana Shomali co-founder of ServiceMarket on why she has added catering to her company’s menu of services

Director Rabih Najm CEO Wissam Younane Group Commercial Director Fred Dubery Editor Patrick Ryan

Sales Manager James Stead Contributor

Marouane Al Mandri Art Director Aaron Sutton Marketing Executive Mark Anthony Monzon Photographer

Hayder Al-Zuhairi


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Spill the beans

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 December 2017

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E ditor's L ette r

patrick ryan Editor @ThatPaddyRyan

Success is on Tap here is no question that the food industry is personal and emotive. That’s never been better illustrated than with our cover feature on Joe Isidori. The founder of the increasingly popular Black Tap reveals how a childhood experience with his father, in a diner over cheeseburgers and milkshakes, triggered the business idea that has now become one of the world’s leading names in gourmet burgers. Don’t just take our word for it though as he has the trophies to prove it. His company has won the Burger Bash Championship a whopping three years in a row. The event is the equivalent of the Oscars for the ultra-competitive New York burger scene. Isidori is living proof that you can create a brand that can be successful in the business world without sacrificing your personality. No mean feat when you consider just how many companies are out there. Also in this issue we also sit down with Sudheer Bahl, the founder of Khyber, who has just opened a branch in Dukes Dubai. The brand has been a huge hit in Bahl’s native India and has attracted a massive celebrity following with Demi Moore, Paul McCartney and Amir Khan listed among its many patrons. Bahl tells Catering News just why this region

is the perfect locale for his first restaurant outside of his native India. We also have a chat with Chef Aijiro Shinoda who is making headlines at Atiisuto with his unique take on Japanese cuisine. It’s a sign of how multi-cultural the food scene is here in the Middle East that we also have a feature with Bord Bia, the Irish food board. We hear how they are on a mission, with the Chefs Irish Beef Club, to convince people of the benefits of Irish grass-fed beef compared to grain-fed produce. It’s an interesting discussion and when you have luminaries like Chef Christopher Graham, from At.Mosphere in Burj Khalifa, making the argument it is hard not to sit up and take notice. They aren’t the only industry heavyweights in this issue as Bruno Vaerenbergh, senior culinary specialist Friesland Campina Foodservice, pops up to explain the science behind the perfect cream. Well that’s about it from me, not just for this issue but for this year. However you are spending the new year I hope it finds you in good spirits with good company – with good food of course! Kind regards, Patrick Ryan

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Catering NEWS ME December 2017



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P12: Deliveroo takes flight // P14: New exec chef at Sheraton Dubai Creek // P14: Drift opens at One & Only Royal Mirage // For all the latest News, Visit

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F&B spend ‘encouraging’ despite challenges says report Consumer spending on F&B continues to show encouraging trends, despite some challenging conditions in the region, according to a new report by KPMG. The UAE’s growing reputation as a dominant F&B destination in the Middle East has encouraged a growing number of local and international food chains to set up their operations here – with the report indicating that, if overnight visitors are considered, Dubai outstrips New York in terms of the number of outlets per million. This, along with rising costs, has led to an oversupply which has given rise to stiff competition among operators – with 65 per cent expressing a sales decline in 2017 compared with the same period last year. Many have had to re-examine their business models, brand strategies and cost structures to remain competitive. Despite these setbacks, operators remain confident of their growth prospects: 82% expect growth in the medium term, with Expo 2020 set to act as a major catalyst. 10

Catering NEWS ME December 2017

Anurag Bajpai, head of retail, KPMG said: “The 2017 edition of the KPMG UAE F&B report has uncovered some very interesting findings. Our overall takeaway is that despite certain prevailing challenges on the operators’ side, the market is becoming more sophisticated. "We are seeing an underlying and definite sense of optimism among operators. Everyone is preparing to benefit from improved market conditions stemming from Expo 2020 and Dubai’s growing popularity as an international tourist destination." The report also analysed GCC trends for the first time and

found that the F&B sector in the UAE is more vibrant than in neighboring GCC countries. Against this backdrop, UAE operators are unlocking growth opportunities for further growth in the GCC, with Saudi Arabia emerging as the most favorable destination, Riyadh being the top choice for expansion. In terms of restaurant formats, Quick Service Restaurants (QSRs) and casual dining formats remain the most popular – especially those in shopping malls. Nearly three out of four consumers indicated that they eat out at establishments within malls at least once a month.

The boom in F&B is also being increasingly driven by convenience – which explains why the popularity of deliveries continues to soar – 43 per cent of operators indicate that food delivery orders comprised almost a third of their business, on average. As more customers choose to order in, restaurants are looking to leverage technology to improve operational efficiency, and enhance customer experience and engagement. They aim to achieve this by using data and analytics, digital kiosks, and by incorporating virtual-reality elements, among others. Consumers also play an active part in the online food revolution, with 60% indicating they use a food app on their smartphones. Looking ahead, rising costs, including from impending regulations like VAT – are likely to impact consumer spending. Deal-seeking behaviour is set to become more common, with over 81 per cent of respondents already saying that deals influenced their choice of restaurant.

Wh at' s c ook i n g?


Emirates Academy celebrates 13th graduation ceremony

The Emirates Academy of Hospitality Management (EAHM) has celebrated its 13th graduation ceremony at Jumeirah Emirates Towers. The academy is one of the world’s leading hospitality business management schools and an integral part of the global luxury hotel company, Jumeirah Group. This year the academy was ranked amongst the top ten best hospitality schools in the world by the prestigious global education research company, Judy Hou, managing director, said: “With every batch of graduates we celebrate, we also celebrate the achievement of Dubai’s vision to be the travel, hospitality and tourism hub and making the UAE a diversified economic power in the region, and internationally. We are proud of our graduates as they become industry leaders, dedicated to serve and improve the community they work and live in.

"In their pursuit of excellence, our students and graduates have cemented EAHM as the top 10 hotel management school in the world and our reputation as a center of excellence. This is what the institution was created to do, and this is what we are accomplishing. Our students, and our graduates, continuously impress us with their drive and ambition, and we look forward to hearing about their future achievements." During 2017 a total of 78 students from 30 different countries received their degrees from EAHM. Of those graduates, 70 have completed undergraduate degrees and 8 have completed postgraduate degrees. Graduates of EAHM find excellent professional placement opportunities achieving a 96% employment rate within the first six months after graduation. There are now more than 700 alumni working across the globe in the hospitality sector and beyond.

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December 2017 Catering NEWS ME


W hat's cooking?


Deliveroo’s DXB service takes flight

Food delivery firm Deliveroo has announced the launch of a service that will deliver food straight to customers at boarding gates at Dubai International Airport (DXB). assengers simply place an order on Deliveroo’s app, website, or via the link on DXB’s free Wi-Fi service. Eugene Barry, executive vice president of Dubai Airports’ Commercial and Communications group, said: “DeliverooDXB is a truly ground-breaking service that brings an extra level of convenience to our customers. Our mission to completely reinvent the airport experience is rooted in implementing innovative concepts, as demonstrated by this partnership with the world’s best food delivery brand. “Now passengers can receive delicious food from our food & beverage outlets while they wait to board, all made possible by the expertise of Deliveroo and our world-beating Wow-Fi service.” 12

Catering NEWS ME December 2017

His views were echoed by Anis Harb, Deliveroo general manager, GCC. He said: “Deliveroo’s mission is to provide the best food delivery experience in the world, and there is no reason why that should be limited to the home or office. Joining forces with Dubai Airports is a strategic next step for us as we continue to revolutionise the way people order restaurant food. “With our riders now delivering to the gate, there is no reason to miss breakfast, lunch or dinner even when passengers may only have minutes to spare before boarding.” The service is currently available for passengers in DXB Terminal 3, A-Gates, with over 10 participating outlets including Costa, Giraffe, Café Chocolate, Picnic, Paul Bakery & Restaurant, Pulp Juice, Carluccio’s, Le Pain Quotidien and McDonald’s. After six months, Dubai Airports will look to roll-out the service across further outlets and concourses at DXB.


New executive chef at Sheraton Dubai Creek Sheraton Dubai Creek Hotel & Towers has appointed Chef Andrea Russo as executive chef for the hotel’s signature Italian restaurant – Vivaldi by Alfredo Russo. Russo brings with him six years of international culinary expertise, having previously worked in Italy, Turkey and the Caribbean. “We are delighted to have Chef Andrea Russo join our food and beverage team as the new executive chef for Vivaldi by Alfredo Russo. Chef Andrea will be responsible for overseeing the restaurant under the guidance of Michelin star Chef Alfredo Russo, ensuring his vision and menus are lived up to,” said Stephan Vanden Auweele, area general manager, Sheraton Dubai Creek Hotel & Towers.

Growing up to working parents, Chef Andrea’s first inspiration in the kitchen was his grandmother as she cooked for him and the family every day. In 2014, Chef Andrea’s first major assignment was at the age of 22 where he was part of the pre-opening team for an Italian restaurant and pizzeria at Maxx Royal Kemer Resort in Turkey. In 2015 he moved to the Caribbean islands – St. Lucia as a sous chef at Sandals Grande St. Lucian Spa & Beach Resort to oversee their Italian restaurant. Opportunity knocked on his door once again in 2016 and this time it was to work for Per Te restaurants. He is also looking forward to working alongside restaurant manager Ippoilta Di Bari, also a native Italian.

Wh at' s c ook i n g?

New Opening

Wendy’s goes fourth in Kuwait with new store Wendy’s Middle East has opened its fourth store in Kuwait at The Avenues Mall food court. The store joins the three others which are located on Blajat Street in Salmiya, the Marina Mall and across from Al Kout Mall in Fahaheel. Phil Broad, vice president of Food & Beverage at Alghanim Industries, said: “Our primary focus is to offer the renowned Wendy’s customer experience through great tasting food and amazing hospitality. “The latest restaurant opening at The Avenues Mall marks our fourth restaurant in 12 months as we continue to expand our brand in the Kuwait food scene.” Wendy’s Middle East was acquired by Alghanim Industries in February 2015 in a MENA-wide master franchise agreement. Wendy’s first store in the UAE was opened May, 2010 and now it has 17 locations in the UAE.

December 2017 Catering NEWS ME


W hat's cooking?

New Opening

Drift opens at One and Only Royal Mirage

Bespoke beach destination Drift has opened at Dubai’s One and Only Royal Mirage. The property has been described as “a place where the ambience is laid-back, yet vibrant. And when the sun goes 14

Catering NEWS ME December 2017

down over the Arabian Gulf, the tempo at Drift rises”. “We are indeed delighted to be associated with the management of this exceptional new destination which will be unlike

any other beach facilities in Dubai with its idyllic location offering guests a stylish retreat from the hustle and bustle of exciting Dubai,” said Antonio Gonzalez, CEO, Sunset Hospitality.

Olivier Louis, managing director, One&Only Royal Mirage, said: “Drift is a breath of fresh air, a gorgeous retreat where guests will have the opportunity to unwind from the everyday life.”

Wh at' s c ook i n g?

New Opening

Izu Brasserie and Bakery opens in City Walk Chef Izu Ani – the chef behind award-winning outlets The Lighthouse, La Serre and La Petite Maison – has launched a brand-new concept, Izu Brasserie and Izu Bakery, in Le BHV Marais, City Walk. The menu at the brasserie boasts Mediterranean and Italian favorites for lunch and dinner while the Bakery offers a spread of freshly baked goods, light bites and freshly brewed coffee. Commenting on the launch, Chef Izu said, “With Izu Brasserie & Bakery it was very important for me to create an intimate and friendly environment, so guests can feel relaxed and at home. ‘I want the food to talk for itself, not the chef. It’s the idea of serving simple, tasty and honest food where family and friends can gather together to share a meal, whether it will be breakfast, lunch or dinner.”

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December 2017 Catering NEWS ME


O pinion

The Importance of Hygiene in Food Safety

Michel Bayoud, founder and CEO of Boecker World Holding, talks about the importance of a hygienic and safe environment in the food and beverage industry.


Catering NEWS ME December 2017

ood safety and hygiene in food facilities are of paramount importance. If caterers fail to provide a clean and hygienic environment for their customers, they risk damaging their brand and reputation. Hygiene, however, is more than just about cleaning surfaces; it should also address the threats that are not visible to the naked eye, such as germs that can be transferred from one area to another and put the health of employees and customers at risk. Therefore, particular care must be taken to minimise the risk of infection or bacterial intoxication within the food service system. Preparation of food requires attention to raw materials, personal hygiene, kitchen hygiene, and - most importantly - time and temperature control of all food-handling operations including cooking, cooling, and distribution. Assuring safe food requires management and control of microbiological, chemical and physical hazards. In addition, cleaning and disinfection programmes must be established to ensure the correct hygiene standards are implemented and to reduce the risk of foodborne diseases by eliminating microorganisms that cause food poisoning. This includes properly cleaning and disinfecting food preparation areas as well as machinery and utensils used. At Boecker, we are committed to providing our clients with innovative hygiene solutions. Recently, we launched our specialised

biosecurity services, which include a professional disinfecting programme called the Infection Control Plan (ICP), tailored for central kitchens, restaurants among many other applications. The ICP is an on-site service designed to safely and effectively eliminate all microorganisms and provide a sanitized and protected environment. Moreover, Boecker’s extensive experience in the Middle East, spanning over two decades, has enabled us to develop Microbecs, our own unique disinfectant with a new patented technology that works against all types of microorganisms including bacteria, viruses, fungi and algae. It has unique residual effect properties to make it the right solution for disinfection purposes and it is 100% safe to be used around people. The Microbecs molecule is EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) registered, qualifies under the FDA (Food and Drugs Administration) and is recommended by the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture). This innovation has allowed us to strengthen our position as a market leader and develop the Boecker brand as a one-stop solution provider for all public health needs. Boecker is constantly working to develop innovative products and services to reinforce its core message, within the food and beverage industry in the Middle East and GCC region, of providing sustainable solutions for safety and hygiene that protect people’s lifestyles and keep them and their businesses safe.









O pinion


If you had the chance to present your restaurant concept to a panel of investors, what would they most want to know? Jennifer Pettinger-Haines, founder of the Global Restaurant Investment Forum, finds out.

About the Author Jennifer Pettinger-Haines is managing director, Middle East, for Bench Events, organisers of The Global Restaurant Investment Forum (GRIF), the annual meeting place for the international restaurant investment community. Visit:


Catering NEWS ME December 2017

ne of the highlights of the upcoming Global Restaurant Investment Forum, being held at Palazzo Versace Dubai from 12-14 March, 2018, is the annual GRIF Deal Den – a platform that enables budding restaurateurs and operators alike to pitch their F&B concepts to investors, live. In front of some 300 delegates, many of whom are investors, we give these entrepreneurs the opportunity to present their concept to a panel of judges and outline the investment they are seeking. Our judges give immediate feedback, evaluating the attractiveness of the concept. It’s a nail-biting pitch for our entrepreneurs, but a highly sought-after chance to go directly to the people that can bring these concepts to life. But what is it that these investors seek in a new concept? After all, they receive presentation after presentation, so what makes a concept stand out in the ever-competitive F&B landscape? I sat down with two of our judges to find out. Already involved with the GRIF Deal Den for 2018 is Paul Campbell, Founder of Hill Capital Partners LLP and an investor in renowned brands including Hawksmoor, Vinoteca, Hickory’s, Tortilla, Halycon Hotels, The Alchemist and Gusto. When asked what sort of F&B opportunities he would love someone to bring to Hill Capital Partners, Campbell says he’s seeking “supremely talented and ambitious people who are looking to bring a fresh and exciting twist to a traditional format”. Campbell says the key skills needed by individuals seeking to break into the tough world of F&B business are “intelligence, energy and determination”. He recalls: “One of my lawyers quit his corporate job and pitched a new restaurant idea that had been fully researched and well thought through. The fact he quit his lucrative career told me he had the guts and determination to succeed.”

However, Campbell warns that the biggest mistake people without knowledge of the industry make is “spending far too much money on the first restaurant”. The worst pitches, he says, are those focused around “crazy, niche cuisines with limited customer appeal”. Also judging the GRIF Deal Den is Martin Sherwood, Partner, Enterprise Investment Partners, a serial investor with many years’ experience of small company fundraising, specialising in hospitality and leisure. Sherwood advises entrepreneurs to develop concepts which are “tried and tested, scalable, and realistic”, and to present clear, simple slides that explain the product and most importantly, address the value of the concept. “How much investment are you seeking for what % of the business, i.e. what’s the valuation? Many presentations leave out this vital info,” says Sherwood. Disastrous pitches, he continues, are “unclear, over-complicated and over-valued”, while common mistakes include “a lack of time commitment, lack of financial commitment, concepts which don’t travel and not acting fast enough when things go wrong”. Sherwood says the most impressive F&B pitches he’s ever received include “beautifully clear, gorgeous photography, compelling concept, ability to convey the intended customer experience, realistic roll out plan and valuation”. As for future business partners, Sherwood is most impressed by “people who have been successful before and have got track record, or a team that comprises both grey hairs and experience with youth, passion and innovation”. Do you think you have what it takes? We would love to hear from you. To apply for a place in the GRIF Deal Den 2018, email me on

C ov er Sto ry

In the name of

r e h t a His F

Black Tap founder Joe Isidori has already cornered the market for craft burgers in his native Big Apple - now the Michelin-starred third-generation New York chef has similar plans for Dubai as he prepares to open his second branch in the emirate, writes Patrick Ryan‌


Catering NEWS ME December 2017

C ove r Story

ecreating a beloved memory from his childhood resulted in Joe Isidori creating one of the hippest restaurant chains around right now. The founder of Black Tap revealed how trying to capture cherished childhood memories, of having a cheeseburger and shakes in a New York luncheonette with his father, led to the creation of his beloved brand. Isidori was speaking to Catering News Middle East ahead of the opening of the second Black Tap in Dubai. The new outlet in JBR Walk will complement the branch in Madinat Jumeirah that opened in January of this year. “I have been a fine dining Michelinstarred chef most of my career but prior to that I worked and trained in my father’s kitchen. My father was a rough and tough New York chef,” he says. “Take Al Pacino and Anthony Bordain and put them together and that would be my father. He was big, he was loud and he could cook plus he was Italian and from New York.”

Isidori began his career working in his father’s kitchen before he went on to obtain his Michelin stars – but he wasn’t being fulfilled. “I woke up one day and thought there’s got to be something better. Fine dining was dwindling and at the same time my father passed away in his kitchen,” he says. “It kind of woke me up and got me thinking what were my favourite memories of my father and cooking.” He has a clear recollection of what those memories were. “Believe it or not but it was actually going to the local New York City luncheonette and having a cheese burger deluxe and a milkshake with him,” he says. “That’s what made me the happiest and I set out to recreate that experience with Black Tap.” It might be a concept that is extremely personal to Isidori but it is also one that resonates with diners, first of all, in New York and now in Dubai. “I might be a Michelin-starred chef but

I am also a third-generation New York city chef,” he says. “The people that I serve are a collective of awesome cool hipsters and millennials – these are people who travel all over the world and what they are looking for is a melting-pot culture with a sense of authenticity to it.” He says all of these things can be found in Dubai. “It is a melting pot, it is cosmopolitan and people come here looking for unique things. The people that live here are super into what is current and there is a very strong millennial presence,” he says. Another key element in Black Tap’s success in Dubai, Isidori claims, is the emirate’s similarity to the Big Apple. “Dubai’s got the right moxy for what the brand requires, it’s got the personality for what the brand requires,” he says. “People have a thirst and hunger for burgers and shakes and this has that Downtown New York vibe as well.” When Isidori launched the very

December 2017 Catering NEWS ME


C ov er Sto ry


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Catering NEWS ME December 2017

Greater Omaha USA Beef

C ove r Story

first Black Tap in New York he had no idea how far the brand would connect with the public. “The first one was a 15-seat luncheonette in New York in Soho. My intention was to serve a cheese burger deluxe and a milkshake, I never in my wildest dreams thought we would go worldwide,” he says. “On Day three with just 15 seats in the restaurant, I was serving over 1000 burgers, we knew right then and there that we had something.” While Isidori is modest about his achievements, it is not hard to see why people have become so enamoured with Black Tap. “All we do is cook an old school New York city style burger and give it a Michelin star chef’s acumen or edge, that’s why we call them craft burgers,” he says. While there is a distinct New York flavour to both the menu and atmosphere – Isidori has made a few adjustments to allow for local tastes. “What is unique about the menu here is that we take things that are classic to the

menu and transform them for the Middle East,” he says. “We do adapt certain things like our spicy Mexican burger which is a spicy chorizo burger in the States – but here we make it with chicken. To be quite honest it is better here than in the States; we always try to find the palates and tastes of the clientele we are serving and adapt to that while keeping the authentic New York flair.” It’s hard not to notice an image on the wall of the Madinat Jumeirah branch of a burger with the words ‘Greg Norman’ emblazoned above it. There is a good reason for this, it is this very item that has won the Burger Bash Championship, the equivalent of the Oscars for the highly-competitive New York burger scene, for the past three years. “We have won it three years in a row with our Greg Norman burger which is Australian wagyu beef from the Greg Norman ranch,” he says. “A lot of people go to Burger Bash with a classic American burger and we come December 2017 Catering NEWS ME


C ov er Sto ry

along with a blue cheese burger to punch you right in the face.” It’s understandable that Isidori takes pride in Black Tap’s success – it is a brand that is very much at the forefront of what is trending in the F&B industry right now. “Everybody wants to get into this casual lane with an elevated experience, a certain price-point and a singular focus,” he says. “Everyone’s taking that old-fashioned experience and modernising it – that is what Black Tap did.” The market is moving away from the traditional fine-dining experience, says Isidori. “You are seeing more and more of those fine dining chefs throwing their hats in the fine dining ring and saying ‘You know what, I am going to make the best burger I can make or the best fried-chicken or the best pizza’,” he says. If anyone knows burgers, it is Isidori, and he knows exactly what people want from a burger. “The juicier the burger… the messier and more all over your face the better,” he says. 28

Catering NEWS ME December 2017

Black Tap is not a success simply because of great food – Isidori is every bit the shrewd businessman that his plans for the future suggest. “The future holds a lot for us. We already dominate New York in the burger game,” he says.

“We have five locations there and are opening a new one in Las Vegas and we have a great expansion plan here in Dubai and in the Middle East. “We are going to begin our expansion in Europe soon and open up our first outlet in Singapore too.”

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Catering NEWS ME December 2017

Q+ A

A ta st e o f

Ja p a n Aijiro Shinoda, brand chef, Atiisuto, reveals all about how he is bringing Japanese cusine with a modern twist to Dubai… Tell me about the concept of your restaurants?

Atisuto is the brainchild of Emirati businessman Salem Bin Dasmal, Founder of Silver Spoon Investments, who was inspired by the back-alley sushi restaurants of Japan and his love of LA’s take on modern Japanese dining. In 2014, Salem had a vision: to create a home-grown Japanese restaurant brand for Dubai that offers good quality food at an affordable price for people from all ages and cultures. I was fortunate enough to meet Salem while I was working at Watatsumi at Le Meridien Mina Seyahi in Dubai. We started talking and I was fascinated by his vision, so we agreed to meet again, where I cooked some of the food I thought would be right for Atisuto. The rest, as they say, is history. I’m proud now to have opened four branches of Atisuto with Salem – our first was at Galleria Mall at City Walk, Al Wasl in 2014, followed by Atisuto Al Ghurair Centre in Deira and Atisuto Bay Square in Business Bay in 2016, and most recently, Atisuto Ibn Battuta Mall.

What were the major challenges in getting to this point?

Ultimately, when creating Atisuto, we had three goals: to create a place that provides quality Japanese food at an affordable price; to create and develop a UAE-born restaurant concept that can rival inbound international franchises; and to make a difference in the industry through sustainable design, quality service, impeccable food and innovative technology. In under four years, with a lot of hard work from everyone on our team, we have achieved this – despite operating in December 2017 Catering NEWS ME


Q &A

a market renowned for high rents, challenging logistics and ever-growing competition. I believe this is down to the Atisuto ‘Tamashii’, or soul, which is ingrained in the food, people, service and ambience of Atisuto. From the culinary perspective, achieving consistency – from ingredients and flavours through to taste and presentation - has been the biggest challenge. Last year, we opened a central kitchen at our Bay Square restaurant and this has made a vital difference in ensuring consistency at all outlets and across our delivery service. This year, we launched a scoring system for all outlets and they compete against each other for perfect results, which also helps ensure our consistency never falters. I still visit all the restaurants at least three times a week though to taste the fish and our signature dishes, like the raman and gyoza. I work with my chefs to create new dishes, too. By involving them, it means we create dishes they want to eat, and this is the only way to ensure we keep our ‘Tamashii’. The chefs have to believe in the dishes; this gives them the confi32

Catering NEWS ME December 2017

dence that they can sell them, knowing that customers will love the food.

Please explain the menu concept in your words?

Our menu combines authentic Japanese ingredients and culinary techniques with modern influences from Western kitchens. The menu continually evolves as we seek to give our customers the chance to explore Japanese street food, such as Takoyaki, Yakisoba, Ikayaki, Yakitori, Okonomiyaki and Chicken Karaage, with a modern presentation that appeals to many nationalities. We focus on eye-catching presentations – our goal is for people on neighbouring tables to get what is commonly known as ‘food envy’ and order the dishes they see being brought out to the tables next to them! Dishes can be ordered individually or shared; it’s up to the diner and we don’t like to impose upon them how to eat. Atisuto is all about offering popular Japanese cuisine that is accessible and affordable and if people can try something new too, that’s even better.

What experiences/ influences do you draw on for your menu creation?

I’m Japanese, but I started my career learning the French classics, mastering techniques that still inspire me today. I learned the fundamentals of pastry and bakery at Hotel Okura Tokyo and still draw on this experience as I combine French and Western influences with those of my native Japan. I’ve even learnt the art of pasta making from a Sicilian chef and the fine subtleties of spicing from Indian chefs, and all these skills are useful today. Other influences come from the food I grew up eating in Japan with my family. It might surprise you to know that in Japan, we don’t grow up eating sushi and sashimi. This would be very expensive! Instead, we eat classic Japanese comfort food, such as hamburgers, curry and lasagne, and I’m excited that we now offer these in the first Atisuto Bakery, at Atisuto Ibn Battuta. Here, we put our own twist on various dishes from different cultures, just as our mothers did when we were young. When it comes to my approach to training and mentoring, however, it’s the Japa-

Q+ A

What are the most challenging items to source?

As a Japanese eatery, we do rely on importing several products directly from Japan. The most challenging of these to source is our Japanese flour for the Bakery, which is very expensive and only has a shelf-life of six months. However, it’s critical to the unique flavour of some of our Bakery items and so is an investment we think is worthwhile.

How do you see the menu evolving going forward?

nese cooking culture that I believe most in. As a young sushi chef, I was tasked with seemingly simple jobs such as sharpening a knife or peeling vegetables, waiting patiently for five years to be allowed the privilege of slicing the fish, as is the Japanese tradition. A true test of patience, this is essential learning – again, it’s all part of the ‘Tamashii’ we want to share at Atisuto.

ing to move around to try new things, but your experience will be better if you are patient and work through challenges, rather than jumping to the next opportunity. It is those who are patient that are winners, in my opinion.

What is your hero dish/ signature item on the menu?

We compete against many restaurants in the casual dining category, as this is often location-led. When it comes to some of the traditional Japanese items like sushi and sashimi, Bento Ya and Sushi Art are two competitors.

Our ramen is one of the signatures – we offer Beef, Chicken and Prawn Katsu variations. The pan-fried Chicken Gyoza is another; these are incredibly popular.

What restaurants in Dubai do you view as your strongest competitors?

What suppliers do you work with? What advice would you give chefs starting out in this region?

I’d recommend they come armed with a lot of patience. Chefs should choose their jobs carefully, working with restaurants where they feel the ‘soul’, or ‘Tamashii’. Make sure you like the people and the concept you are working with – and stay with it. In a dynamic city like Dubai, it is tempt-

I’ve been working in Dubai for 11 years, so am pleased to have some long-standing relationships with some very loyal suppliers. One of these is Aladib, who supplies our local fish. I met the owner, Mohammed, 12 years ago and together, we identified the best fish in the market and have watched our businesses grow. I also work closely with Trubell, who supply some of the best rice in the market.

Our menu evolves continually, as I mentioned, with monthly menu engineering carried out to ensure our items are popular among the customer, and profitable for the business. We test new dishes with monthly promotions, such as The Teishoku (Japanese set lunch menu); The Tabehoudai (a la carte all-you-can-eat); and the Takoyaki Challenge (to eat 48 pieces of Takoyaki in 15 minutes); healthy options such as Quindon, which enables guests to opt for quinoa instead of rice in their donburi; and various street food items such as Chicken Karaage, which is now a permanent menu item because it was so popular.

What are your plans for 2018?

In 2017, the brand has continued to evolve and innovate. The new Japanese Bakery concept at Atisuto Ibn Battuta was in research and development for more than 12 months and over the next year, we look forward to further establishing and perhaps expanding this. Created in response to demand from the Japanese community, savoury Atisuto Bakery dishes include the Chicken Katsu Sandwich, Make-Your-Own Quinoa Salad, Beef ‘Lasagne’, Hamburger Steak and Roasted Chicken. Pastry items, created using the Japanese flour sourced from Japan, include Japanese Cheese Cake, Croissant Cream, Choco Chip Scone and Honey Cube, plus desserts such as Atisuto Milk Cake and French Toast. Further enhancements to the Atisuto brand are currently in the works, with the team always looking to improve and innovate, confident in our ‘Tamashii’ and never following the crowd. There are plans for an Atisuto kiosk, an Atisuto food court model, a licensed Atisuto and of course, further locations for the core brand. December 2017 Catering NEWS ME


W hat's cooking?


Catering NEWS ME December 2017

The Business

Fr o m M u mb a i w ith spi c e A favourite of Sir Paul McCartney, Demi Moore and Amir Khan, India’s favourite celebrity dining spot, Khyber, arrived in Dubai in 2017. Keen to experience India’s most talked about restaurant, Patrick Ryan sat down to lunch with owner Sudheer Bahl. ubai isn’t short of famous Indian chefs – or famous Indian restaurants. From Atul Kochhar’s Rang Mahal, to Junoon by Vikas Khanna, and Sanjeev Kapoor’s Signature, Options and Khazana, the emirate is gaining ground as a leading destination for Indian fine dining. In 2017, one of India’s most famous names joined the line-up, Khyber. Mumbai’s family-owned celebrity favourite now occupies a second address, on the 15th floor of Dukes Dubai, the quintessentially British addition to Palm Jumeirah. Offering 180-degree panoramas of the Burj Al Arab and Arabian Gulf, the venue is almost as big as its predecessor, with capacity for 210 guests inside and up to 60 on the terrace, compared to Mumbai’s 300. The restaurant also boasts a live cooking station and provision for private dining areas. The menu of authentic north Indian frontier food blends influences from Afghanistan, Peshawar, Pakistan and neighbouring areas and, although the Dubai menu is condensed from the original 300-dish tome to a mere 50 of Khyber’s most popular items, it still includes 15 types of Roti. As owner, Sudheer Bahl, wisely explains: “It’s better to have 50 dishes that taste right, rather than 300 that do not.” The second Khyber is highly anticipated, but its arrival isn’t a case of Dubai welcoming another Indian restaurant to its eclectic culinary landscape – it’s a case of Khyber arriving in Dubai. The aim is for guests to know they are in Khyber by the aesthetics and atmosphere, without seeing the name

over the door. Bahl says: “It’s about DNA. Dukes said they wanted to replicate the DNA of Khyber Mumbai, even down to the music – I spent a whole month going through the music! We have been doing what we do for 60 years, so why would we do it differently now? People come to Khyber for Khyber and they will know if it’s different. Luckily, the people who have eaten at Khyber Mumbai all say the dishes here are identical.” The meticulous attention to detail this requires, covers food, services and atmosphere, as Bahl adds: “Indians and travellers who have visited the country have expectations of us. We will continue to do what people know we are good at doing.” Although steeped in heritage, as with most things in Dubai, there is a contem-

porary twist to Khyber at Dukes. Designed by leading architect Ayaz Basrai, founder of The Busride Design Studio and designer of Mumbai’s revolutionary Blue Frog, the opulence and history of the original Khyber blends with an on-trend rustic chic aesthetic that has become popular across the emirate – striking a balance between the two cities that shape the experience.

The Khyber story

Established in 1958 by Bahl’s parents, the original Khyber was a 50-seat rented space in the Indian Capital. As word spread, the number of diners continued to increase, reaching 300 capacity, with more queueing out of the door courtesy of a steady stream of coach parties that would make Khyber part of their sightseeing tour.

December 2017 Catering NEWS ME


T he Bu siness

It’s about DNA. DUKES said they wanted to replicate the DNA of Khyber Mumbai … even down to the music – I spent a whole month going through the music!” To keep up with demand, a number of extensions were made to the original premises until, in 1984, disaster hit and Khyber was destroyed by fire. Instead of closing the doors forever, the decision was taken to transform Khyber into a fine dining destination that lived up to its growing reputation. It was the same year Bahl joined the business, and the family enlisted the services of professional architects and designers, opening the new restaurant to even more fanfare. Soon, celebrities including Sir Paul McCartney, Richard Gere, Demi Moore, Amir Khan and the Kuwait Royal Family were counting themselves as fans. With the family business thriving again, talk soon turned to expansion. Although several potential partners were identified over the years, it wasn’t until 2016 that Bahl signed the franchise rights to Seven Tides for Khyber to become one of six venues art the highly anticipated Dukes Dubai – itself operating overseas for the first time in its rich history. Bahl explains: “We have been looking to open in Dubai for several years now because the market components are our exact customer base – the Arab and European communities who are very fond of Indian food and, of course, Indians. More importantly, we had an offer we couldn’t refuse from Dukes Dubai, who are excellent partners for a project like this. There are only two other restaurants in this ho36

Catering NEWS ME December 2017

tel and it has 500 rooms – that is the level of commitment we have received from Dukes. A 150-seat restaurant on the top floor of a fantastic hotel – what more can we ask for?”

On the menu

North Indian frontier food is the product of simplistic preparation and quality ingredients, with three secret touches: marinades, slow tandoor cooking and spice. Yellow chili powder, kasuri methi, kashmiri mirchi, home ground garam masala, cardamom, mace powder, royal cumin and carom dominate, and vegetarian and seafood dishes are just as important as meat. Importing the ingredients necessary to recreate the exact balance of flavours, Bahl and his team source everything from India,

with Bahl heavily involved in quality control – to the point where his chefs mail chillies to him to check they’re up to scratch. Key members of the Khyber team were seconded to Dubai, including the general manager and executive chef, who trained the Dubai staff to the same standards as Mumbai. With the team and spices in place, it was time to begin the long task of finalising the Khyber Dubai menu. Bahl recalls: “First, we took the most popular dishes and then signature dishes, but there had to be a balance – enough vegetarian, enough meat enough seafood, dishes with lots of spice, some with a little less. It’s about labouring on it and getting it right. It’s not difficult it’s just time consuming.”

The Business

The F ood

The Khyber raan, a leg of lamb cooked for 24 hours, is a sell-out most days, with large groups often ordering in advance. Other favourites include the nalli nihari, a lamb shank in thin gravy, fish tikka and paneer korma. A signature version of butter chicken also made the final menu, along with the popular phirni rice milk pudding. “I can say with complete confidence that everything here is exactly as you would find in Mumbai. You know something, when you come from a 300-dish menu, it’s so difficult to reduce it, but we have to go to these lengths to get it right. We are committed to getting it right,” Bahl adds. The rich and famous aren’t the only ones to give a stamp of approval on the winning menu. Highlights from Khyber’s trophy cabinet include a TripAdvisor Travellers’

Khyber is renowned for authentic cuisine and the Dukes branch in Dubai is no different

December 2017 Catering NEWS ME


T he Bu siness

I can say with complete confidence that everything here is exactly as you would find in Mumbai.” Choice Awards in 2015, for being the sixth Best Fine Dining Restaurant in India; a Best Kebabs in Mumbai award from Mouthshut. com in 2014-2015; and ‘legendary’ status in the User’s Choice, by the Zomato Connoisseur’s Guide to Eating Out, in 2013. Looking to the future, Bahl says he has only one objective for Khyber, to continue to create great quality food, as he reasons: “In the restaurant business you’re as good as your last meal.” Refusing the rule out further expansions of the brand, Bahl says that if the right partner, location and time combine, a third Khyber – and even a fourth – could be on the cards, as he explains: “If we get a good partner in a good city we are game. If one of those things isn’t good we are not interested. “We would be interested to open in any place but you need strong local partners who can handle the highs and the lows. It is very difficult for us. We need partners with substantial resources who can put a show together,” he adds. However, should the stars fail to align, the existing Khyber restaurants will no doubt continue to enjoy global acclaim and, for a family owned restaurant that started in a small space in central Mumbai, there is no doubt the next chapter in this rags to riches story will be as exciting as previous ones. As Bahl concludes: “We have been doing this for 60 years so presumably we are doing something right and we continue to deliver the same experience. We know the business a little better than those who are just starting out, but the rest is down to hard work.” 38

Catering NEWS ME December 2017

18 - 22 February 2018 Dubai World Trade Centre







C hef F ocus

Th e c r e a m of t he cr o p

As FrieslandCampina Foodservice launches its high performance Debic range of cooking creams in the Middle East market, Bruno Van Vaerenbergh, creative pastry chef Debic, explains the science behind the perfect cream…

s every chef knows, there is a science to what happens in the kitchen. Perfect temperatures, precision measurements and the highest quality ingredients are just some of the factors that can make or ruin a dish. As in science, where every material has properties, in cooking every ingredient can be adapted to behave in a new and different way. However, the most versatile ingredients usually prove to be the most problematic to manipulate. One of these is cream. Luxurious and versatile, it is a key ingredient of every kitchen and is used in hundreds of recipes every day. However the dairy industry has not been quick to develop new cream products to meet the demands of any creation instead creating lower cost products sometimes using vegetable fat and compromising on quality. As a result perfect results have been difficult to achieve without great compromise. Now, FrieslandCampina is about to launch three new revolutionary high performance professional cream products under Debic to the Middle East market, for cooking Culinaire Original, for whipping Stand & Overrun and lastly Spray Cream for general versatility and convenience. Classically trained baker and culinary expert, Bruno Van Vaerenbergh – who officially goes by the title of Senior Culinary Specialist Friesland Campina Foodservice explains: “The principle for Debic is superior performance. The products were developed together with chefs and we know exactly what they need. We’re not just 40

Catering NEWS ME December 2017

another dairy company making cream or milk, it’s something more.” This co-creation process means chefs and bakers can prepare desserts earlier or create sauces that won’t split when Culinaire Original meets ingredients such as lemon. Van Vaerenbergh continues: “Let me give you two examples. Chef makes a sauce with cream, and herbs, spices, lemon and all kinds of flavours that go into that. A lot of classical creams when you use them with juices or herbs, there is too much fat and it splits.

“You have to reduce and reduce and reduce and at that moment you have so much fat you can’t reduce it any more. Therfore, we have developed a cooking cream with less fat, specifically for these chefs. In Western Europe, certainly the Netherlands and Belgium, 75% of the chefs are using the cream because we were the first in Europe to develop it. Now it is becoming the standard. “If we talk about bakers. What are bakers doing with cream? They whip and decorate. Now, cream and temperature are not friends! Cream has to be chilled but during whipping you are putting the air in it and if the air is hot or warm you can change from white to yellow cream. So we developed Stand & Overrun cream that will hold shape and stand for longer than standard cream. We are really proud to introduce this here because we are sure this cream will perform in this climate.” The third innovation delivers real cream through a spray can. This is easy and convenient in a busy kitchen and with a long shelf life, the overrun of the cream allows for triple volume. The Debic can also comes with a unique spout which creates a tulip shape as well as a siphon-like handle for easily controlled dosage everytime. Van Vaerenbergh adds “I see a lot of opportunities regarding, ice cream parlours, beach & pool bars where special equipment is to expensive or people are not skilled(enough) to manage to whip cream at all.” Vaerenbergh says: “A lot of people think it isn’t real cream, but it’s the same and this is the perfect solution for all kinds of chefs

C hef F ocu s

We feel that everybody is going back to basics and the consumer wants that too. If you’re talking about cream it will be cream – not a mixture to make it stand”

December 2017 Catering NEWS ME


C hef F ocus

Bruno Vaerenbergh, creative pastry chef, Debic and André Van Dongen, Debic

or anybody who needs cream for decoration. It uses two kinds of gas – one pushes the cream out of the can and the other is to make it fluffy and give the bounce. It won’t last for hours, but when you compare this to competitor creams, it holds for twice the time of other spray creams.” 42

Catering NEWS ME December 2017

By chefs for chefs

FrieslandCampina is owned by the Zuivelcoöperatie FrieslandCampina U.A., one of the largest cooperatives of dairy farmers in the world, with more than 18,000 members. Farmers in the cooperative supply milk to FrieslandCampina factories to be pro-

cessed into dairy products, ranging from yoghurt, custard, dairy-based beverages, cheese, butter and infant nutrition, to ingredients for the food industry. In line with the strong company ethic of collaborative working, the creation of the new products was a true by chefs for chefs


© MONIN - February 2017 - Serving suggestion

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C hef F ocus

moment – an approach that underpins everything that happens in the FrieslandCampina development department. Here, culinary experts create, train and develop, but they cannot do it in isolation. After 23 years working for FrieslandCampina across almost every department, Vaerenbergh fully understands the advantage this rounded approach can bring. He says: “You have to find people with the perfect skills who can help us out. In Dubai, we do not need a full-time culinary specialist, but we are looking for chefs who have some time to share their skills during the demonstrations. The chefs become ambassadors for us. That’s the future of what we are doing.” The developments come at a crucial time for the food industry. After more than two decades of highly processed “al-

ternative” products, demand now falls in favour of real ingredients. That means a departure from the low fat and free from trends, and a new-found appreciation of how staple ingredients, like cream, are better before being diluted with vegetable oil and water. It’s a trend that is evident across food groups, not just dairy, and at its current peak is responsible for an entire subsector of cookbooks, gadgets, diets and homegrown vegetable boxes, sans GMO. As Vaerenbergh observes: “We feel that everybody is going back to basics and the consumer wants that too. If you’re talking about cream it will be cream – not a mixture to make it stand. Cream is cream and to maximise the performance of cream, work on the cream, don’t add to it. People are coming back to purity of taste. They use less, but they want nice cream.”

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Luxury Gourmet Olives From Around the World.


Catering NEWS ME December 2017

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To keep ahead of such trends, Vaerenbergh and his team regularly recruit interns and headhunt chefs to act as ambassadors, as Vaerenbergh puts it, to “keep in touch with the real world.” The fast-paced innovations are set to continue, with Vaerenbergh disclosing the future possibility of introducing a butter to the region as well as a line of deserts, such as crème brûlée, tiramisu and parfait. He says: “We can see what’s happening first in Dubai and with introductions in Oman, Jordan and Saudi Arabia. At the moment those markets are open and we can enlarge our portfolio in them.” For the Middle East, FrieslandCampina has partnered with distributor, MH Enterprises, to deliver the products to the region’s chefs and bakers and also provide training to local chefs in how to achieve the best results while using them. #thegourmetolivemarket @tgom_me

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W hat's cooking?

Ki tted o ut fo r s uccess

InSinkErator, the business unit of Emerson, has just kitted out the new wing of the International Centre for Culinary Arts (ICCA). Hotel News Middle East finds out exactly what this dynamic partnership means for the industry… nSinkErator, a business unit of Emerson, the inventor and manufacturer of food waste disposers for home and commercial use, has equipped the new wing of Dubai’s International Centre for Culinary Arts (ICCA) with its latest innovations, as part of its efforts to drive sustainable practices within the industry. Supporting Dubai’s zero waste vision and the environmental objectives of the UAE Vision 2021 InSinkErator’s innovations will boost the centre’s kitchen efficiency while reducing bulk waste. Among the solutions installed, The WasteXpress system takes performance to the next level by helping foodservice operations process organic waste for compost or a mixture of food waste and disposable items with maximum efficiency while Increase kitchen productivity and profitability by reducing food waste by up to 85%. The PowerRinse Waste Collection System, scrapping and pre-rinsing can be accomplished in one step prior to dishwashing. Solid waste is collected in a scrap basket. With the smallest screen size in the industry, PowerRinse ensures that most waste is captured, and less ends up down the drain. The system also consumes 50% less fresh water per hour than other collector systems on the market. InSinkErator hot water dispensers deliver up to 100 cups of near-boiling water per hour. Hot water on demand is an indispensable feature for hospitality and foodservice sector. Our dispensers improve staff efficiencies, reduce serving 46

Catering NEWS ME December 2017

What ' s cookin g?

time, require no expensive pipe runs, and are easy to install. Mohamed Karam, senior business development manager, InSinkErator Middle East and Africa said, “It is important to instill sustainable practices in the sector right from the grassroots. The hospitality sector will experience an exponential growth in the lead up to Expo2020, and it is important that we have in place systems to manage food waste to prepare for the mega event. “The use of digester and disposers can divert considerable food waste from landfills. Waste captured can be converted for biogas production. This also supports UAE

2050 strategy that seeks to adopt as much as 50% of sources of power generation as green sources.” ICAA is an industry centered vocational education training (VET) center and has been featured amongst the top 10 culinary institutes in the world, also awarded the “Recognition of Quality Culinary Education” by the World Chefs. Karam added: “Individuals and institutions are starting to recognise the importance of the environmental dimension for their operation and how it is going to affect not only their performance but also their profits.”

Sunjeh Raja, ICCA CEO

Mohamed Karam, senior business development manager, InSinkerator Middle East & Africa

December 2017 Catering NEWS ME


S ial middle east P REVIEW

Per k i ng up ahead of S IAL Middle E a st Sial Middle East is taking place from December 12-14 in Abu Dhabi. We look at some of the highlights...


Baristas and coffee professionals are welcome to register to compete in one or all three competitions. Registration forms, competition rules and regulations can be accessed by emailing


Catering NEWS ME December 2017

S ial M iddle East PR EV I E W

E ve n ts National Cezve/Ibrik Championship

One of the oldest forms of coffee preparation that have existed throughout history in the Middle East, the Cezve/Ibrik employs traditional heated sand or a modern burner to heat a small pot with a distinct elongated handle to brew coffee. The UAE National Cezve/Ibrik Championship competition highlights the skills and talents of the barista to showcase this traditional coffee preparation technique to produce an amazing cup of specialty coffee.

National Brewers Cup Championship

The UAE National Brewers Cup Championship competition showcases coffee preparation in its purist form as baristas demonstrate their high level of skill through filter coffee brewing, done entirely by hand. In this exciting competition the competitors are tasked with preparing and serving three individual coffee beverages for a panel of judges.


IAL Middle East, one of the region’s fastest growing professional exhibitions for the food and beverage industry, has announced details of the 2017 UAE National Coffee Championships, taking place at the eighth edition of the exhibition from December 12-14 at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC). A testament to the incredible growth of the specialty coffee scene in the Middle East, three official competitions, certified by World Coffee Events (WCE) and sanctioned by the Specialty Coffee Association will take centre stage at the championships, bringing together the region’s most passionate and talented baristas. Joanne Cook, managing director of SIAL Middle East, says: “We are delighted to host

the 2017 UAE National Coffee Championships at our exhibition in Abu Dhabi. The specialty coffee industry is a key part of the region’s rapidly expanding food and beverage industry, and hosting the competition is a natural partnership between SIAL Middle East and the Specialty Coffee Association.” Khalid Al Mulla, National Coordinator of the SCA’s UAE Chapter, agrees: “Bringing the region’s most exceptional baristas together and showcasing their talents to 16,000+ trade visitors is an incredible step towards increased awareness and knowledge of the specialty coffee industry. SIAL Middle East is now a key partner for the Specialty Coffee Association and the UAE Chapter, and we’re very excited to see this partnership grow.”

National Cup Tasters Championship

An expert at tasting and distinguishing levels of quality and flavour differences in specialty coffee is called a cupper. By far the most exciting of all coffee competitions, the UAE National Cup Tasters Championship judges’ cuppers on their ability to exhibit accuracy and speed when drawing on their superior palate, sense of smell, attention to detail, and experience in choosing the cup of coffee that has an almost imperceptible difference in taste, out of three cups of almost identical coffees.

December 2017 Catering NEWS ME


C hef ’s Irish B eef Club

T h e g r as s i s a lways gr eener

The Irish Food Board, Bord Bia, has been recruiting a number of world-renowned chefs to promote grass-fed Irish beef. Catering News Middle East spoke to Michael Hussey, regional director Middle East, Bord Bia, and Christopher Graham, executive chef At.mosphere, about why the industry is paying attention to the Chefs’ Irish Beef Club…


Catering NEWS ME December 2017

C hef ’ s I rish Beef C lu b

Michael Hussey regional director Middle East, Bord Bia What can you tell us about Irish beef that sets it aside in an already crowded market here in the Middle East?

Irish beef comes from cattle raised on family farms, kept out to pasture in the clean air of Ireland for over 300 days a year and have a completely grass-fed natural diet. These family farms have average herd sizes of about 20 animals meaning each cow is individually cared for by farmers using knowledge and experience passed down through generations. The herds are raised without the use of growth hormones and the meat is fully traceable from farm to fork, produced in the most sustainable way in accordance with Bord Bia Origin Green programme. The production of Irish beef is uncomplicated, natural and taken from centuries of Irish farming tradition where our green environment is a real point of difference for the quality of the beef.

What has been the reaction from that same market here in the Middle East to Irish beef and Irish produce?

We’re proud and honoured by the positive feedback that we regularly receive about Irish produce. Many of the top chefs and restaurants in Dubai are seeking out and continuously choosing Irish beef, seafood, dairy and other products, for their diners which gives us great pride in our food products coming from Ireland.

In terms of the Chef’s Irish Beef Club how accessible is that for diners across the Middle East – is it getting the right penetration?

The Chef’s Irish Beef Club is an inviteonly exclusive international club solely for chef’s that use Irish beef. The club is a great way to share the Irish story and give

these chef’s a deeper understanding of the origin of our produce and just exactly how we can provide the quality they are looking for. As more and more chefs are beginning to appreciate and choose Irish beef, our premium produce is becoming more accessible for diners across the Middle East.

What have been the challenges to getting the Chef’s Irish Beef Club to this point?

Competing with other global quality beef supplies such as Wagyu and Kobi beef has been a challenge for the Chef’s Irish Beef Club but as soon as the chefs learn more

about Irish beef and come to see it for themselves in Ireland, we have been able to really portray why our product is deserving of its place on some of the best menus in the world.

How do you see the next 12-18 months panning out for the group in this region?

Bord Bia is going to grow the Chef’s Irish Beef Club in this region over the coming 18 months with plans to induct more of the top award-winning chefs that already use our produce and spread the knowledge of Irish beef further across the culinary world. December 2017 Catering NEWS ME


C hef ’s Irish B eef Club

Christopher Graham executive chef At.mosphere, Burj Khalifa Why have you signed up to the Chef’s Irish Beef Club?

With Ireland being a close neighbour of my home country, England, I’m immensely proud to use products from so close to home and love to show case them in an innovative way. Having used many Irish products throughout my time in Dubai, I have always found them to compete at the very highest level, especially John Stone’s Beef!

What are the advantages of using grass-fed Irish beef in a market where grain-fed beef is so prevalent?

As a chef, I always choose my products based on flavour, quality and value, for me you cannot beat the flavour of a quality grass fed beef product that has been dry aged for 21+ days. Wagyu is obviously a trend and each to their own, but if you like to taste beef, grass fed is the way to go. I also enjoy the consist quality of the product.

What has been the response from diners at your restaurant since you added it to the menu?

I will be honest, I was apprehensive at first, worried that that palates of Dubai had succumbed to the softer texture of grain fed beef and that I would have the guests complaining that ‘it’s tough’. But the response has been overwhelmingly positive, the texture is just as soft from the dry ageing, and a depth of natural, non-fatty flavour remains far superior in my opinion, especially in a leaner cut such a tenderloin.

In terms of market trends where does grass-fed Irish beef fit in?

I always saw quality grass fed meat as the connoisseurs’ choice, However, as time 52

Catering NEWS ME December 2017

the response has been overwhelmingly positive, the texture is just as soft from the dry ageing, and a depth of natural, nonfatty flavour remains far superior

goes by and the general public become more health conscious, I believe how people will start to turn towards grass fed beef as it is more natural, leaner and better for the environment.

How do you see the next 12-18 months panning out for both you and the Chef’s Irish Beef Club?

At the moment, I am just happy to be a part of it and am looking forward to meeting like-minded people, who enjoy quality product, discussing future potential and making valuable connections.

SOURCE latest innovations as 65% of the products will be new to the region

Under the Patronage of H.H. Sheikh Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Deputy Prime Minister of the UAE, Minister of Presidential Affairs and Chairman of Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority

NETWORK with thousands of top F&B industry influencers in the nation's captial, Abu Dhabi MEET with exhibitors in a trade business friendly environment for quality face-to-face discussions



Def ining Innovation in the Food, Beverage & Hospitality Industry


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900+ exhibitors from 50 countries 16,000+ visitors from 91 countries 500 fully hosted VIP buyers 10+ events and features

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g r u pp o Ci mbal i i n pro f il e

Catering News Middle East finds out from Bruno Pignatelli, export director Middle and Far East why La Cimbali is one of the leading lights when it comes to equipment…

When was your company established?

The history of the group began with Giuseppe Cimbali’s entrepreneurial decision, in 1912, to open a small copper-working shop in the centre of Milan. A further fundamental step in the group’s history was the founding of Faema (Fabbrica Apparec-chiature Elettro Meccaniche e Affini), in 1945, in Milan, by Carlo Ernesto Valente. The two brands came together in 1995, when La Cimbali acquired Faema, creating the largest producer of espresso cof¬fee machines in the world, while setting the stage for the creation of the future Gruppo Cimbali group, founded in 2005. Today Gruppo Cimbali includes the 54

Catering NEWS ME December 2017

brands La Cimbali, Faema, Casadio and Hemerson and is leader in the design and pro¬duction of professional machines for coffee and milk-based bevera¬ges and soluble beverages, and of equipment specifically designed for coffee shops (grinder/ dispensers, dishwashers and ice makers).

What are your core products / services for the hospitality sector?

Gruppo Cimbali offer to the market the widest range of coffee solutions for the (hotel, restaurant and cafe) sector, comprising both traditional and super-automatic machines, grinder-dosers and accessories which combine reliability,

high performance, ease of use, design and quality in the cup.

What new products have you launched in 2017?

In 2017 we’ve launched three new products: S20: Designed from the La Cimbali Italian Coffee Competence coupled with knowhow in traditional machines, the new born La Cimbali S20 widens the range of our super-automatic machines. The incorporated soluble hot chocolate system allows for a wide and varied range of beverages, making the new LaCimbali S20 the perfect solution for locations with a production of about 200 cups a day. It comes with the guarantee of the highest quality in the cup.


M26: The LaCimbali M26 machine is

easy to use, easy to control and easy to maintain. Ergonomic and versatile, the M26 is made from steel and ABS and comes equipped with a reliable LaCimbali thermal system. Together, all of this guarantees impeccable quality in the cup Elective: This interacts with La Cimbali’s most technologically advanced machines, in order to guarantee impeccable quality in the cup and maximum flexibility. The 4.3” touchscreen display, easy to use and completely customisable, and a compact design featuring elegant shaping comes together with a new Inverter motor to bring about definitive change in the way we view grinding as a concept.

What's your best-seller?

Our best seller is actually Faema E71, a top-of-the-range professional coffee machine. An outstanding blend of iconic design, cutting-edge technology and classical

features, it was purpose-built to give baristas full flexibility to express their art.

What makes your company stand out in the market?

Gruppo Cimbali is recognised for quality, reliability, modern design of its products and above all for the consistent in the cup quality. Moreover, the focus on innovation has always been a key element of the philo¬sophy of Gruppo Cimbali, as a manufacturer, with its yearly investments in research and development for innovative and increasingly high-perfo¬ming technological solutions. Product design activities are conducted solely within the group, with its R&D department staffed by about 60 operators. The group’s focus on innovation is also reflected in the 55 currently valid patents, 12 of which have been filed in the last three years.

They see perfection, We see prosperity. Where your customers see the perfect cake, we see a prospering business. Our new Soft Style Cream Cheese does not only blend in beautifully with any filling, but it also has an outstanding stability for that perfect texture and appearance. Its delicious, rich cream cheese flavour makes your cheesecake taste as good as it looks, so that every serving serves your business. As your dairy partner, we continually find innovative ways to drive your performance.

Great food feeds great business.

December 2017 Catering NEWS ME



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Spill the beans Bana Shomali, co-founder of ServiceMarket, talks to Catering News Middle East about why she decided to add catering to her company’s portfolio…

Sp i ll t h e be an s

Why did you decide to add catering to ServiceMarket’s offer? ServiceMarket is constantly looking for ways to make resident’s lives easier. We recognised that although there are many catering companies in the UAE, the process of finding the right one was both time consuming and confusing. It was hard to get an understanding of the quality provided by the different catering options, and calling up multiple companies to get quotes was inconvenient. We added catering to ServiceMarket to allow customers to easily get multiple quotes from companies within their budget, and enable them to read vetted reviews of the companies before they make their choice. At the same time, catering companies often struggle to get their name out there and reach more customers. ServiceMarket allows catering companies to list their services and menus, and immediately get access to thousands of UAE residents who are looking for what they have to offer.

own a catering company that is looking to grow its business, get in touch!

How do your catering services differ from other providers in the market? What we offer is a flexible and customisable approach to catering. We offer easy access to multiple caterers providing different cuisines and within all budgets. We help match you with the right catering company for you given your requirements and budget – and our customer care team are there along the way to offer guidance. Customers submit their requirements online. They will then be contacted by catering companies with a quote. Customers can also request quotes directly from the caterers they shortlist.

How have you ensured the ordering process is simple for users? Customers simply provide us with the event details. We take care of all the nitty-gritty work behind the scenes. The customer can either choose specific catering companies to get quotes from, or allow us to match them with multiple companies that serve the type of food and service they are looking for. We will call up the different catering companies, discuss the requirements, and then the company will contact the customer with a quote directly. The customer care team are on hand to answer any questions the client may have and customers can read vetted reviews in advance to make sure that they are picking the right caterer.

What brands have you partnered with on your catering offer? There are already many big names onboard such as Dish Catering & Events, National Catering Company, Royal Catering, and Wafi Gourmet. We are constantly adding new partners to our platform, so if you

How successful has your catering division been since launch? Since the launch earlier this year, the catering division has received lots of positive feedback from both customers and catering companies. We have helped thousands of people get quotes for


Catering NEWS ME December 2017

all sorts of events, from small family gatherings at home, to kid’s birthday parties, to large corporate events spanning over weeks. On the other hand, we have helped our catering partners find potential customers easily, without them having to spend a fortune on marketing themselves. Catering companies are finding that just by registering on our site they get immediate access to new customers. What are your plans for future development of the catering services? We are expanding the catering services we offer every month by continuously adding more caterers to the site. We want to ensure that we cover all possible cuisines and food types, for all budgets. We are also in the process of getting hotels involved. For many events in Dubai, such as weddings, people opt to host the event in a hotel venue. Therefore, we want to combine the venue and catering aspects, to make it even easier for customers to get quotes and see what options they have for their event. Bana Shomali is the founder of ServiceMarket. com (previously, an online marketplace in the UAE for home services.

Catering News ME - December 2017  
Catering News ME - December 2017