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MASS CATERING An investigation into those feeding our next generation with a look at the supply of school dinners

CASE STUDY A day on the farm with the UAE’s dairy producer Al Rawabi and its herd of Friesian cows

INTERVIEW Meet the JAS maestro. An interview with the new group director of culinary for JAS Hospitality, Chef Emiliano Bernasconi

Connecting F&B professionals with industry knowledge November 2015

An in-depth analysis of the region’s food safety and hygiene conditions and changing legislation

Š iStock / Thinkstock - Š Studio Rougereau

True and genuine French excellence in bakery

Contact: rmorais@le-duff.com




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industry news in brief

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an investigation into those feeding our next generation with a look at school dinners

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we dish the dirt on the standards of food safety and hygiene across the region


chefs from across abu dhabi discuss the issues facing hotel food and beverage supply chains


a day on the farm with uae dairy farmer al rawabi and its herd of friesian cows



40 November 2015 Catering NEWS ME



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Bobby Krishna - Dubai Municipality Food Control Department Izu Ani - La Serre John Gillespie - Tonique Beverage Consultancy Justin Galea - Le Royal Meridien Abu Dhabi Mark Patten - Atlantis, The Palm Dubai Markus Thesleff - Whissle Group Michael Kitts - Emirates Academy of Hospitality Management Naim Maadad - Gates Hospitality Photographers


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a lesson in the art of making quality food for less with chef anthony rattigan

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we meet the jas maestro; the new group director of culinary of jas hospitality, chef emiliano bernasconi


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a behind the scenes look at the design choices of the asianfusion wakame


getting to the meat of the supply of protein across the middle east

Catering NEWS ME November 2015


All rights reserved Š 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 www.raidy.com

clean up your act

as an industry we must ensure we are beyond reproach when it comes to food hygiene The son of a self-confessed cleanaholic, the importance of personal hygiene was drummed into me from a very early age. There was no dinner served until you could prove you had scrubbed your hands clean, and my mother always knew when you had skimmed on the soap. So why are we, some four decades later, still discussing the importance of food safety and hygiene? I may be accused of simplifying the problem, but still the number one cause of food contamination in restuarants today is a failure to adequately wash one's hands. Today, thankfully, food safety and hygiene is a topic being dished up globally, and as a growing gourmet destination the UAE is developing its own plans to aligning food safety standards across the region and perhaps the world. Earlier this year, the Federal National Council passed a tough new federal law on food safety, to be enforced in all UAE territories. The 21-article bill goes as far as to regulate food production both inside the country and from imports, and aims to tighten control on the food supply chain by using international best practices. Furthermore,

an empty plate

TOO radioactive

we learned this month that the UAE government is working on the launch of a uniform system, Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed, designed to improve and standardise food recall processes across the country – a system similar to that implemented in the European Union. But as I said earlier, much of this should be common sense. If you work with raw ingredients you need clean surfaces and personal hygiene should be beyond reproach. But ultimately, it is up to managers and owners of businesses to promote a good culture of food safety. They have to invest time and money to train and monitor their staff. They should also provide sufficient facilities and ensure that food safety management systems are effectively implemented. If we want to become a true global gourmet destination then we must ensure we have secure foundations, because in today's switched-on society, with everyone a finger away from social media, a business' reputation can be crippled in a click. So you'll find plenty inside to digest and, as always, please do share your views with us online.


Follow us on our social media pages @cateringnewsme /cateringnewsme cateringnewsme

Michael Gordon Editor

perfect balance

CORRECTION: In the October issue, we incorrectly reported that Michael Jacobs was responsible for the design of the new Fresh Express warehouse, when in fact it should have been Michael Chabowski (MCTS). We apologise for any confusion.


Catering NEWS ME November 2015



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Labelled: efficient and high-performing

Efficiency reduces carbon footprint


Food manufacturing must reduce its carbon footprint


ondelēz International is set to accelerate its action on climate change through innovations in food manufacturing, targeting ambitious sustainability goals for 2020 through an end-to-end approach, to reduce its carbon footprint. Speaking at Gulfood Manufacturing last month, Alan Smith, managing director for GCC-Pakistan at Mondelez International, discussed how sustainability is one of the key ingredients shaping the future of the food industry in the Middle East, alongside the role food companies can play to accelerate innovation and focus on consumer well-being. "Our Sustainability 2020 8

Catering NEWS ME November 2015

goals place us at the forefront of the fight against climate change and support our ambition to be the leader in well-being snacks, while reducing costs and generating efficiencies that accelerate our growth,” said Smith. “In 2014, we were a year ahead of schedule in accomplishing our 2015 goals for packaging, greenhouse gas emissions and net waste. These new goals take our commitment a step further, using the power of our global resources and partners to drive meaningful change at scale." The sustainability goals are part of Mondelēz International’s Call For Well-being, a call to action focused on four areas that are critical to the well-being of

the world and where the company can make the greatest impact: sustainability, mindful snacking, communities, and safety. The new goals include reducing absolute carbon dioxide emissions from manufacturing in line with science-based targets; reducing deforestation within its agricultural supply chain; focusing water-reduction efforts in high-priority locations including the Middle East; and eliminating packaging material. By leveraging its position as the world’s largest snack company and focusing where it can make the greatest impact, Mondelēz International continues to build on its heritage of leadership in sustainability.

The first mandatory energy labelling for professional refrigerated storage cabinets and counters sold across Europe will be effective starting from July 2016. It is designed to drive energy efficiency and environmentally friendly business, as well as to provide an accurate and comparable classification based on energy consumption and the capability to perform efficiently within different environmental conditions. “This is a milestone in the professional industry. The scale is based on criteria which are completely different from the ones used for the energy consumption labelling of household appliances”, says Massimiliano Falcioni, head of refrigeration category at Electrolux Professional. “The machines are tested by recreating the real, heavy duty operating conditions within professional kitchens, with frequent cabinet door openings and closures at 40°C ambient temperature and 40% humidity”, he adds. The EU energy label can really make the difference when it comes to restaurateurs consciously choosing their ideal refrigerator or freezer with objective information at their disposal (energy consumption, net volume, working conditions). Moreover, compliance with the new scheme will activate a global upgrade to energy-efficient and highperforming equipment, and this trend will result in energy savings (up to $915/year for freezers and $330/year for refrigerators), as well as in reduced waste for foodservice professionals (improved capability to properly preserve food).



Third ‘Healthy Restaurant’ workshop in Sharjah

Fourteen restaurants sign up to healthy eating initiative


he UAE Ministry of Health, represented by its Health Clinics and Centers’ Health Education and Promotion Department, organised its third educational workshop in Sharjah last month, forming part of the Healthy Restaurant initiative which saw the participation of 15 restaurants. The first educational workshop was hosted in Ajman and 15 restaurants participated, while 14 restaurants assembled for the second workshop in Fujairah. The Healthy Restaurant initiative is part of another campaign, ʻRaising Awareness about Various Lifestyles in Societyʼ, which was launched after a cabinet retreat. Dr. Fadila Mohammed Sharif, director of the Ministry of Health’s Health Education and Promotion

Department, said: “Non-communicable diseases are one of the health challenges that the Ministry has given a high priority in the last few years because of the huge financial burden to the patients. “Eating unhealthy food is one of the primary causes of these diseases. There is a growing trend towards eating out which is not exclusive to special occasions anymore. Raising awareness among consumers on what they are eating as well as encouraging them to make healthy choices has become vital. At the same time, healthy food should be readily available to help them make good choices, which is the basic aim of the initiative.” Khadija Al Amiri, health educator for the Ministry of Health’s Health Education and Promotion

Department, said: “The Healthy Restaurant initiative is a voluntary program that will enable individuals to make healthy decisions as well as encourage restaurants to offer healthy meals by improving their menus.” “Interested restaurants can have their menus reviewed for nutrient analysis by the Ministry to offer at least two healthy meals for adults and one for children along with fresh juices. The Ministry will offer the required support through its nutritionists to not only develop healthy menus but also provide required training and education. In addition, the participating food establishments will be promoted by the Ministry’s various social media channels and its partners as healthy restaurants,” he added.


Artificiallysweetened soft drinks lead to obesity

Experts want low calorie beverages to be subject to a ‘sugar tax’ as they encourage us to eat more as ‘compensation.’ Evidence suggests that diet drinks increase our cravings for sweet, unhealthy food and may trigger type 2 diabetes. Professor Graham MacGregor, a consultant cardiologist, said the UK Government should start with a 10% tax on all fizzy drinks which would gradually rise to 50%. Prof. MacGregor said that when people drink diet options ‘they feel they have cut their calorie intake so they can now eat more food’. A growing number of health professionals including Chief Medical Officer Dame Sally Davies are urging the UK Health Select Committee to introduce a sugar tax of up to 20%. Research has shown it would prevent 180,000 Britons becoming obese each year and similar policies have already been adopted by France, Finland and Mexico.

UAE shoppers urged to buy local produce Be it odd-shaped apples or wonky-looking vegetables, supermarkets and shoppers have been urged not to turn their noses up at ‘ugly’ food. The Ministry of Environment and Water announced its National Campaign to Stop Food Loss last month in collaboration with the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations. A ministry spokesperson said the financial losses of food wastage amount to a trillion dollars globally, add-

ing: “Aside from financial costs, we are also wasting our land, water and energy resources and other production supplies on top of increasing greenhouse gas emissions, pollutants and other wastes.” The campaign was also initiated after Blue Planet Green People – a shop in Jumeirah Lakes Towers that delivers organic fruits and vegetables from local farmers to homes – called on the ministry’s support. The store raised concerns that supermarkets are re-

jecting produce that do not meet their beauty standards. Renu Ojha, the store’s general manager, suggests that 20% to 40% of fruits and vegetables get rejected because supermarkets are excessively strict about cosmetic standards. BPGP is now in talks with the UAE’s “top five” supermarkets to create special aisles where the imperfect produce can be displayed. “Staff will be trained to explain ‘fruits and veggies look different, taste the same’,” Ojha said.

November 2015 Catering NEWS ME




Local manufacturer calls on Chamber to support local enterprises

ChoCo’a marks National Chocolate Day with special displays Celebrating in style for the first time in Dubai, National Chocolate Day was marked with a chocolate banquet, hosted by specialist chocolatiers ChoCo’a. With displays created by the head of ChoCo’a’s creative team, Alia Halawi, those in attendance enjoyed a huge branch-like chocolate sculpture which served as a display for a new line of hand crafted chocolates. These were introduced by Choco'a’s very own Chef, Sanaa Katir in collaboration with Chef Frederic Legras from EMF. Amongst the flavors served were milk and dark chocolates with various melt-in-your-mouth fillings, from dark Ganache to a combination of biscuit purée and apricot compote to vanilla cream with a raspberry flavored popping candy in the centre. Also featured in the event were a

live truffle making station as well as a corner for specialty cakes where all sorts of unique cake decorations were being hand crafted by a team of chefs led by Chef Michael Angelo, head of the specialty cakes department. Among those enjoying the celebrations were prominent chefs from hotels, leaders from organisations such as The Chocolate Academy, students and VIP clients. Speaking of the event, the owner of ChoCo’a, Assem Hamzeh, said: “We wanted to create the perfect ambiance for our fans and valued clients to taste, indulge and discover the ChoCo’a experience. Most important was that it be a fun day that left chocolate lovers spoilt for choice and coming back for more. I believe we achieved this with flying colours!"

Dr. Eng. Saleh Al Dibsawi The president of Kitcherama, a UAE-based kitchen equipment manufacturer, is calling on Dubai’s Chamber of Commerce to gain support for local businesses. Speaking at HOST, the biennial international hospitality exhibition held last month in Milan, Italy, Dr. Eng. Saleh Al Dibsawi said: “There is no support for local producers, we are forced to compete in an open market with huge corporations. We have appealed to the Chamber of Commerce but so far they have been unwilling to help.ˮ Established in Sharjah in 1993, with a showroom and factory in both Dubai and Sharjah, Kitcherama was the only exhibitor from the UAE. Al Dibsawi added: “We have exhibited at Gulfood since 1999, but in 2013 we took the decision to exhibit abroad so as to expand our mar10

Catering NEWS ME November 2015

ket reach outside of the Middle East and Africa. “With many customers mistakingly believing we are distributors, we also needed to reinforce the fact that we are original manufacturers, and that we can work with clients to make original tailor-made machinery.” Today, up to 70% of its business comes from the UAE, with the remainder exported to Africa, Kitcherama is keen to extend its reach, although Al Dibsawi is cautious of the saturated markets in Europe. The company, which counts Burger King, Texas Fried Chicken, Subway and Americana – including KFC and Pizza Hut as clients, also regularly attends exhibitions in Qatar, Kuwait, and Africa and will be returning to the Kitchen Equipment show in Sharjah later this year.

Did you know? • As legend has it, astronauts on every manned American and Russian space mission has taken chocolate into space • In 2012, chocolate consumption in the UAE increased 10% according to the Marketing Audit Report. • In Mayan culture chocolate was used instead of money


QUICK NEWS A brief look at local catering news Appointments

Cristal Hotel Abu Dhabi appoints new executive chef

John Taylor has been appointed as the new executive chef at Cristal Hotel Abu Dhabi. In his new role, John Taylor will run and oversee the hotel's food and beverage outlets as well as Park Station, with desire to introduce creative fusions of various cuisines to food enthusiasts of Abu Dhabi.

Upon joining Cristal Hotel Abu Dhabi, Taylor said: “I was lucky enough to grow up in New Zealand where the produce of meats and fresh fish are of an extremely high standard. The culinary training there is not only collegebased but industry-related, where you get a grasp of what the hospitality industry is all about. I am delighted to bring that experience to Cristal Hotel Abu Dhabi.” John’s food journey counts more than 25 years of experience in the UK, Sweden, New Zealand and the Caribbean, in recognised restaurants and hotels, where he has made a name for himself with his unique signature dishes.


World Chocolate Masters 2015 The sixth "World Chocolate Masters" was held last month, as part of the "Salon du Chocolat Professionnel" in Paris. Every two years this fair, which takes place between 28 of and 1 of November 2015, brings together the best-known chocolatiers, patissiers and confectioners from around the world. This year the chocolate artists aimed to combine perfect chocolate craftsmanship with the creative interpretation of the competition theme "Inspiration from Nature". After over ten

months of preparation 20 competitors had just three days to prove their abilities. Sabine Dubenkropp returned to the stage, representing Germany, after winning the "German Chocolate Masters 2015" on 24 February with a nearly two-metre high showpiece and an almost perfect patisserie creation. In Paris she hoped to prove herself a worthy successor to the current World Chocolate Master David Comaschi from Italy, and to bring the title back to Berlin.


Kempinski Hotel Mall of the Emirates names F&B EAM Kempinski Hotel Mall of the Emirates has appointed Andrea Strim as Executive Assistant Manager in charge of Food and Beverage. Beginning his career in 1990 as a management trainee in Italy, Andrea was enticed by the excitement of the kitchen and started as a Chef De PartieSous Chef at a boutique hotel in 1992. He then spent two decades working his way up through the Brigade de Cuisine in high-end luxury hotels and resorts in Italy, Japan and the UAE.

Prior to joining Kempinski Hotel Mall of the Emirates, Andreas was with the Jumeirah Group for 10 years and has indepth experience in managing large teams and high volume operations. He has been recognised by more than 20 industry bodies for his professional accomplishments. Andreas has diplomas in Food and Beverage and Hotel Management, and has completed several courses with The Emirates Academy of Hospitality Management in Dubai. November 2015 Catering NEWS ME



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Jordan’s Chili House to expand across GCC


o celebrate its 30th anniversary this month, Jordan’s Chili House has announced plans to expand in 2016, with its first restaurants in Dubai - UAE, Kuwait City - Kuwait, and Misratah - Libya. Current negotiations are also under way for Egypt and Algeria. The company has dispatched 40 key personnel from Jordan to the various countries to assure quality control in operations, and brand value to the consumer. “To be in the restaurant business in Jordan for 30 years is a huge milestone,” commented Sami Daoud, CEO of Chili House.

“We wanted to build a restaurant that demonstrates true Jordanian hospitality as an important family principle, which everyone values. All our executive programmes allow team members to be part of the decision making process. Business is built on partnerships, and what I like to call the three P’s, (product, process and people). When these are all in place and well thought out, the probability for success is greatly enhanced. I believe people are the most important element to achieving success in this business,” added Daoud. Owned by the Daoud Family, the first Chili House restaurant

Interesting facts on Chili House was opened in 1985, and has grown to 28 restaurants in seven countries (Jordan, Palestine, Libya, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Oman and Iraq), employing more than 500 individuals. In the last two years, Chili House has initiated many new architectural, food safety, operations, and technology programmes, to facilitate its growth. Also Chili House will be announcing a non smoking policy for all units in the Gulf region as of 1 January, 2016. Following an IPSOS study, conducted last month, which indicated a clear majority of customers prefer a smoke free environment.

•Chili House serves up over 1.5 tonnes of chili sauce each and every month which equates to 18 tonnes per year. •The chain utilises over 20 tonnes of cheddar cheese per year. •The restaurant serves chain wide over 12,000 hamburgers a day or 4.3 million hamburgers per year. •The Original Secret Chili Recipe is based in Macedonia, it is made up of 14 herbs and spices in addition to some Middle Eastern spices, such as zaatar, and marramieh to give it a more Eastern flavour. •The vegetables all come from European Union Certified Organic Farms, in Jordan and the region. •Currently, Chili House wide sales across the chain account for $25 million annually from 28 locations, while the Gold Star Chili store wide sales are $55 million annually from 87 locations.


Catering NEWS ME November 2015


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Zomato User Choice Awards

Zomato, the restaurant search platform, held the second chapter of the Zomato UAE Summit and it's first User Choice Awards in the UAE on Tuesday, 6 October, 2015. The Summit comprised of a few speaker sessions and two panel discussions – perfecting the guest experience and how technology is changing the restaurant industry. The key highlight of the summit was the unveiling of the first edition of Zomato's Users Choice Awards. The winners for UAE were: Dubai Best Brunch - Saffron - Atlantis the Palm Most Romantic - The Farm Best Desserts - Sugaholic Best Cafe - Tom&Serg Best View - At.Mosphere

Best Bar - Barasti - Le Méridien Mina Seyahi Beach Resort & Marina Best Nightlife - 360° - Jumeirah Beach Hotel Best Debut - AB's Absolute Barbecues Legendary - Kamat Best Rated Restaurant - Tresind

Abu Dhabi Most Romantic - Peppermill Best Desserts - Magnolia Bakery Best Cafe - Shakespeare and Co. Best Bar - Heroes - Crowne Plaza Best Rated Restaurant - Hakkasan


Trials lead Egyptian retailer to offer HORECA trade The newly opened Egyptian sweet store concept Basboussa is branching out to offer its delicacies to the HORECA business, following successful trials with a number of local restaurants. With more than 15 years’ experience in catering, in a family run business, Mohamed Hassaballah has branched out alone with the launch of Basboussa – his own store concept. Having worked with Zad

Egypt’s Cuba Cabana, Hassaballah has great ambitions for his home-grown brand, selling freshly made Egyptian sweets, from his store in The Village mall in Jumeirah, Dubai. He employs authentic Egyptian chefs, considered the best in making basboussa to freshly bake products in store every morning to ensure the freshest and most authentic taste. Aside from basbouusa, the store also serves the market

with a wide variety of products, such as traditional and modern sweets and hot and cold beverages. Hassaballah said: “Our concept is to bring the real taste of basboussa and provide an environment to serve it to the UAE market with the best traditional, classical and world famous recipe of Egypt in addition to providing a modern twist of basboussa. “As Arabic sweets are becoming increasingly well-known

and embraced by many regions, we are introducing the authentic taste of basboussa and other sweets of Egyptian cuisine such as kunafa, “All our products are packed in modern and premium packaging and we ensure high standards of quality and service.” He added: “After opening our first branch in Jumeirah, we plan to invest in further locations to maximize brand awareness and visibility.” November 2015 Catering NEWS ME




AGriform’s Masterpiece in Taste Last month, Agriform introduced five Italian PDO cheeses to Dubai’s food and beverage market: Grana Padano, Parmigiano Reggiano, Piave, Asiago, and Pecorino Toscano. Raymond Lemmens, Agriform area manager, explained that products marked PDO represent excellence in European food production and are both the result of a unique combination of human and environmental factors characteristic of a certain geographical area. Agriform has undertaken a three-year showcase, in several countries, including the UAE, Russia, Egypt, Libya, Algeria and India, aimed at reinforcing the competitiveness of European Agriculture, spreading knowledge of the European quality systems and developing

new markets for the group. The aim of the showcase was to educate on the agricultural advances and developments of recent years and to highlight the values transmitted by quality labelling. “If they are to perform their role in distinguishing specific products, information relating to European quality marks needs to be transmitted correctly to consumers,” said Lemmens. “Italian PDO and PGI (Protected Geographical Indication) products are part of our heritage and they are now working with a quality certification system to ensure the safeguarding of our produce. “So if you are buying a Parmesan Reggiano or a Grana Padano, then you as a consumer have a guarantee that there is an

independent high level quality control. We adhere to very strict regulations and undergo frequent inspections, and if we are found to be incorrectly marketing a cheese we will be fined the first time and the second time lose our export license.” Furthermore, each producer is entitled to introduce their own standards, over and above the PDO requirement, and Agriform was the first to do this with their Golden Times range. Lemmens said: “Many products come to Dubai, with similar names but a Parmesan from the US may only have four months ripening whereas Parmesan Reggiano has a minimum of 20 months or it won’t get the official stamp of PDO.” Agriform is a cooperative of

1,000 farmers, with a combined 30 cheese factories, exporting to 50 countries with 40% of its turnover from exports. As the largest cheese producer in North East Italy, the region’s most widely produced cheese is Grana Padano, and across Italy there are 49 PDO cheeses, compared to 45 in France and up to 50 across the rest of Europe. The showcase began at Solo Restaurant, located within Raffles Hotel, WAFI, Dubai, with Sardinian Chef and restaurant founder Corrado Pani creating an Italian PDO cheese menu. Further stops included Bussola and Galeries Lafayette, also both in Dubai, where a presentation on pairing cheese with fruit juice was held. The showcase now moves on to Egypt and then India.

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A tribute to

Alen Thong,1942-2015 Following the sad passing of Alen Thong, Leaders from across the industry share their tributes with Catering News ME Alen was our founding member of the Emirates Culinary Guild and guided the guild diligently for the past 25 years steering it to greatness, as he did with so much in his life. Alen's passion and personality made him a person who will be remembered for the special moments he gave to so many individuals during his life, and those moments are what we hope we all will remember of him. Alen, had suffered for many years with his disease and went through some very difficult times, however in true Alen style he fought for every minute of his life, never giving up and making sure those that were with him knew it. Andy Cuthbert General Manager C&I, Jumeirah Hospitality I will miss a friend and mentor, Alen was the first person outside my workplace who made me welcome in Dubai, he invited me to join the newly formed ECG and said, the ECT needs Young guys like you to push ahead to achieve our goals, that was the start of an amazing 22 years relationship. Alen will be missed and be remembered for the long time. Uwe Micheel Director of Kitchens We have lost a great mentor, pal and a father to our industry. So this is for Alen’s Family: There are no words deep enough and tender enough to soften your grief, or to lighten your burden. I know that the stars have all gone out, and the world seems poor and barren. Time, of course, will in some little degree dull the edge of pain. I wish I could write words of meaning enough to lessen your sense of loss. But I cannot. I know how I should feel under like circumstances, and so I know that my words are nothing... I know he is in a better place now, without pain, watching us. Thomas Haller Food Business Manager - Nestle Professionals, Nestlé Middle East FZE

It was indeed a very sad day for the UAE chef’s world passing away of our great friend, mentor and a founder of our chef world. I had remembered his strong words

to us to get things right and being with us always in ups and downs. He had very personnel touch especially after he got sick and he showed us all his courage not only as a chef but also as a human in those moments. We pass our deepest condolences on behalf of all east coast chef’s to Josh and his entire family for this sad moment. May our dear friend’s soul rest in peace. K.A.C. Prasad Director Of Culinary - Miramar Al Aqah Beach Resort

It is really sad that Mr. Alen Thong has passed away. I would agree that if you see him suffer, anyone would think the other way. My prayers to the almighty that his soul rest in peace. Rajesh Devadas Executive Chef - Ramada Abu Dhabi Chef Alen’s passion, commitment and dedication to the chef’s profession was and is an example to us all. On behalf of Nestlé our heartfelt condolences to Chef Alen’s entire family, Josh, Anna and Jake. Roger Frei Country Business Manager Nestle Professional Nestlé Middle East FZE I think I speak for all in Abu Dhabi by saying that those of us whom have had the privilege of knowing Alen for a number of years, know that not only have we lost a founding member of the Guild but a colleague, mentor and a great friend, without all the hard work that Alen has put in with

and on behalf of the chefs in this country over the years the respect that the Guild has around the world would never have taken place. We all wish Alen’s family our wishes and respect during this difficult time. For and on behalf of all the chef’s in Abu Dhabi - good cooking Alen Alan Pedge Vice President Emirate Culinary Guild It is with a lot of sadness that I felt this morning when I learnt of Alen’s passing. Having met Alen several times on my visits to Dubai and subsequently his visits to London, I have very fond memories of him. His sense of humour and his dedication to our industry was legendary, and it was sad to see someone of his ability and knowledge suffering for so long, however, now his pain has gone. We all have personal memories of Alen which should be treasured. John Retallick National Secretary, Culinary Association of Wales His work and passion has greatly influenced Worldchefs and the hospitality industry. Sending prayers, Charles Carroll WORLDCHEFS President We salute an icon who has been one of the founding fathers to give chhefs an identity in the UAE. He was a great mentor to many, and a great ambassador for the region on many fronts, not just food. John Sloane Vice President & By Laws Chair World Association of Chef Societies / World Chefs Ltd. On an unusually sunny day recently I visited Alen to say goodbye in his home town of Liverpool, and even in death I could feel his presence when I laid the Emirates Guild Medal on the coffin. Saying goodbye is never easy but at least the Chinese Liverpudlian was home and 5000 km away in the desert his legacy lives on and will do for a long time. Glenn Ewart Export Business Development Manager, Churchil plc

November 2015 Catering NEWS ME



Dishing out school dinners

Feeding the Next Generation As the UAE introduces new health and nutrition guidelines for school meals, Catering News ME spoke to some of the leading providers to establish their challenges today


chools across the UAE must follow strict new health and nutrition guidelines in providing school meals in a bid to tackle childhood obesity. With the new rules coming into effect from the start of the new term, Dr Wafa Ayesh, director of clinical nutrition at the Dubai Health Authority (DHA), says: "All schools must ensure they follow detailed guidelines to ensure suppliers and school canteens provide healthy foods. "The move is to ensure all children across government and private schools are provided with nutritious food that is 16

Catering NEWS ME November 2015

needed for their growth and well-being and so that children inculcate healthy eating habits early on. "The DHA is part of the UAE School Specification for Healthy Foods Committee [alongside the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Education, Dubai Municipality, and Health Authority Abu Dhabi (HAAD), as well as universities] that has worked extensively to implement guidelines across schools." With inspectors, working on behalf of the committee, set to visit schools to ensure they are serving good quality meals

and snacks, Catering News ME spoke to a number of mass catering suppliers to schools to see what the current trends, developments and challenges are. At its peak Accuro Specialist Support Services provided catering to 36 schools with a total population of 90,000 students. Giles Dale, Accuro managing director, says: “With a significant increase in the number of private schools, particularly in the premium sector, more focus is being placed on food safety, quality and the need for developing healthy eating habits in children. Schools are starting to realise

Mass Catering

Mrs. Seema Shetty BiteRite

Giles Dale Accuro

Samer Harkous CityChef

Offering up a healthier choice that there is a broader responsibility in the community to develop healthy eating habits in young people. “Also, there must be a shift from the retail focused market where the student decides whether to buy and what to buy at the point of consumption as opposed to pre-paid meal programmes where the buying decision is made in advance and a nutritionally balanced meal can be assured. “Only if the pre-paid meal programme is implemented will we see a significant increase in demand for healthy school dinners, and this will have a positive effect on

our business,” he added. Dale argues that a consolidation of the market is also needed: “We must move away from a retail approach to a pre-paid meal programme system and strict controls on food safety systems to ensure that all providers have made sufficient investments in infrastructure, processes and people. This would help achieve consolidation in the market and an improvement in standards.” Dale agrees that the school catering sector is very fragmented with a large number of small operators. “It is therefore very com-

petitive with a lack of scale,” he suggests. BiteRite was one of the first in the business to focus on healthy mass food catering, and today it caters to ten schools in Abu Dhabi and Dubai combined. Seema Shetty, the founding director of BiteRite, says: “We are proud to have associated with HAAD, ADEC [Abu Dhabi Education Council] and the FCA [Federal Customs Authority] to bring healthy food to schools. These agencies have done a commendable job in execution of visionary goals and regulations for the betterment of health. We also commend them for colNovember 2015 Catering NEWS ME


Mass Catering

laborating with each other on this initiative, as we can imagine it to be a Herculean task. “We have worked actively with all the agencies involved in providing a considerably high list of menu items, as per the definition of healthy food for school children. Our panel of nutritionists and doctors have screened through the recipes to understand what ingredients and foods should work, and we have been able to put together a menu based on sound science. “Today our key challenge is providing good, healthy, wholesome foods to children within the price band and the list of approved products. To list products as approved, understandingly, takes time. However constant innovation and introduction of new products goes a long way in ensuring that students are enthusiastic about consuming healthy food.” Shetty suggests that BiteRite entered the business of school meal provision as an educational initiative. She adds: “We can impact the future eating habits of young leaders of tomorrow, thereby contributing to improving at least 60% of their journey towards a healthy life. Catering to this segment is a natural fulfilment towards our vision of a healthier generation, and our mission of making healthy food available everywhere.” Chef Achint Kakkar at BakeRite adds: “There are more and more players coming into the foray but how they actually perform when it comes to offering healthy options is what parents and schools should be aware of, especially regarding the regulation of levels of salt, sugar, and whole meal and the methods of preparation used.” Having provided school meals for eight years, and most recently for GEMS schools, Samer Harkous, business development executive at CityChef, also confirms that the price point is a crucial divider today. He says: “Price versus expectations is our key challenge. Many schools opt to run the canteen themselves, with the aim of buying from the caterer at a low price and then adding their own margin before selling on to the students. They demand quality and nutritious food and expect to pay a low price for the same. Competition here is intense as many catering companies are capable of producing for schools.” 18

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“The lifestyle of children in UAE is predominantly sedentary and makes them more susceptible to health disorders such as obesity, so the demand for healthy meals certainly exists. ” Chef Achint Kakkar Speaking about the latest initiative of the UAE School Specification for Healthy Foods Committee, and the growing interest in nutritional and healthy foods, led by government directives, Harkous says: “The government here seems to be moving to enforce healthy and nutritious foods to be served at schools. Although this has little impact on us as we tend to push the health drive from our end as well. “We also use a software that provides you with all the nutritional details of all the food items. For example, if we input the ingredients of any sandwich, salad,

meal or dessert, the system will automatically break it down for us and give details of all the fat, protein, carbs and sugars.” On menu design, Chef Kakkar adds: “Our team of expert chefs design a menu based on feedback from students, schools and, in some cases, parents. Menu development is based on the ingredients that have been approved by our nutritionist. Each recipe formulation goes to our highly qualified and experienced nutritionist for approval. The nutritionist decides if the recipe will work and provides the portion size and calorie count, etc.” He adds: “ADEC in Abu Dhabi has made it mandatory for school canteens to offer menus that are approved by ADEC and the same applies to schools in Dubai. The lifestyle of children in UAE is predominantly sedentary and makes them more susceptible to health disorders such as obesity, so the demand for healthy meals certainly exists. “The need of the hour is to make the children realise the importance of healthy eating. Introducing healthy well balanced meals at an early age makes the children realise the importance of eating right. We intend to continue with our commitment of providing wholesome meals to schools even in the future. The trend for healthy, nutritious meals is here to stay.” Furthermore, Shetty believes that the growing involvement of the government in legislating the diet and wellbeing of children has increased demand for BiteRite’s services. She adds: “We are able to succeed in entering schools only because of government legislations. Before that we were knocking on closed doors because of administrators comfort with their current systems and suppliers and also lack of concerns towards this issue. “The interest and need was highlighted and taken nationwide only because of the commitment of the Government and we are happy that their focus is to also enter other segments of the food industry making operators more responsible to the impact of their products. “The emirate of Dubai is also working on a similar model. We are extremely thankful to them and also admire them for engaging us in collecting feedback and industry expertise in devising a successful unique model.”


SIAL 2015

addressing the global food demand hike


lobal food innovation and future trends will headline the agenda for SIAL Middle East 2015, which returns to Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC) from 7-9 December 2015. Held under the patronage of HH Sheikh Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Deputy Prime Minister of the UAE, Minister of Presidential Affairs and Chairman of Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority (ADFCA), SIAL Middle East will feature a number of new initiatives addressing food trends from around the world. The three-day industry showcase will open with the inaugural, invite only SIAL World Summit and be attended by an expected 700 delegates and 40 high profile speakers. Last year, 434 pre-qualified, fully hosted F&B buyers from 34 countries attended SIAL Middle East, and 81% of the hosted buyers had at least seven meetings, with 3,621 meetings pre-booked before the event even started. Ali Yousef Al Saad, chairman of the organising committee for SIAL 2015 and acting director of Communications and Community service Division at ADFCA, said: “The UN expects the world’s population to hit nine billion people by 2050, which, combined with the increased calorific intake of a growing, more affluent population, is predicted to dramatically hike food demand in the decades to come. “As well as the ongoing problem of food security and scarcity, this year’s new look SIAL Middle East will also focus on innovation and global food trends in meeting increased demand and catering to a diverse world where cultural influences, economic forces and nutritional education and awareness will continue to impact food production and availability. “ADFCA, with the full support of the leaders of the nation, is committed to further developing a sustainable food sector in the emirate with particular focus on supporting and participating in a range of international events with the aim of further enhancing in20

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$560m 172% deals made in 2014

Growth in Exhibitors since 2010 launch novation within the region,” added Al Saad. Senior decision makers from major food companies, representatives from F&B outlets and hotels, food retailers, Government officials, distributers, importers and exporters are all expected to participate in the series of half day summits, including Hotel & Restaurant (8th December), Mass & Airline Catering (8th December) and the Food Retail & Import/Export Summit (9th December) in

one of the many new additions to SIAL Middle East 2015. Through the innovation focus of the new look event, a range of trends will be up for discussion and will include the global rise in meat consumption driven by rising populations, incomes and more urbanisation; concerns regarding the consumption of convenience foods, especially in countries such as the GCC states where busy lifestyles and increased demand for processed foodstuffs are impacting health; and, on the flip side, growing consumer demand for organic and/or locally produced foods that support the ‘clean eating’ movement and that have long term benefits for the next generation of consumer. New additions to the exhibition will also include the SIAL Innovation World Champions. Creativity and originality in the global food arena will be put to the test as the popular show feature welcomes winners from SIAL events from around the world, the first time this has happened, to share their own unique perspective and experiences with fellow culinary professionals.


Exhibitor Testimonials "We are happy to participate at SIAL Middle East. It is a flagship event in Abu Dhabi. We have met a lot of VIPs, important clients and buyers. We are definitely coming back and doubling the space for next year, with an increased portfolio," Maryam Al Saadi, Business Development Manager, Shura Trading & Hotel Supplies (Official distributor for illy Coffee), UAE. "We are launching our products into the Middle East market so we have been attending SIAL ME for the past 3 years as a visitor to observe what happens at SIAL. This year we decided to participate as exhibitors, as our runway to the GCC countries. I recommend it to both visitors who can select their suppliers, and exhibitors who can connect with top buyers in this region as well as Asia and Oceanic," Girish Kumar, CEO, Choice Global, UAE. "I have attended SIAL Middle East in 2014 for the first time. I have attended many shows over the past 10 years and I have to say, this show is fantastic. I was here to look for distributors in the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar and maybe Kuwait, and I think I have found distributors," Mark Thornton, Director of Sales and Business Development – Worldwide, Popsalot Gourmet Popcorn, USA. "We have had two excellent days and made really good contacts. We have met with several large retailers, including Lulu and Carrefour, and we are looking forward to next year's show," Doug Conrad, Director of Export & Sales, Royal Crown Cola, USA. “SIAL Middle East is a lovely platform to meet companies’ top management. You have more strategic meetings rather than tactical fly-by encounters," Shailender Singh, Director, Sarova Hotels & Resorts, Kenya.

A new concept debuting at this year’s La Cuisine by SIAL, the international competition which hosts some 850 chefs and senior judges, is the opportunity for senior participating chefs to meet preidentified exhibitors and press at a special session on day two of the show. There will also be a further opportunity for chefs to take part in the ‘Innovation in the Air’ category, where the winners have their dishes catered onboard airline fleets from across the world. The Global Chefs Challenge Semi-Final will run alongside La Cuisine by SIAL and will include a total of three competitions; Global Chefs, Global Pastry Chefs and Hans Bueschkens Young Chefs Challenge. For coffee connoisseurs, the addition of the Regional Barista Championship to the exhibition, organised in association with the International Coffee & Tea Festival, will see 21 regional barista competitors compete for the title of best regional barista. A specially created Brew Bar will showcase the latest innovations from the coffee world and an opportunity to taste some of the coffees on show. SIAL Middle East is part of SIAL Group, the world’s largest network of professional B2B food exhibitions, which include SIAL Paris, SIAL China, SIAL Canada, SIAL Brazil, SIAL ASEAN Manila and SIAL InterFOOD Jakarta. November 2015 Catering NEWS ME


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Catering NEWS ME November 2015

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Dishing the Dirt Food safety and hygiene is a topic being dished up globally, and as a growing gourmet destination the UAE is developing its own plans to align food safety standards across the region and perhaps the world, as Michael Gordon discovered


s nations across the Middle East, Africa and South East Asia (MEASA) region work to implement food safety standards through their respective food supply chains, the UAE is well placed to take the lead in improving and aligning food safety standards across the region. With food safety declared a top government priority in the UAE, the Federal National Council earlier this year passed a tough new federal law on food safety, to be enforced in all UAE territories. The 21-article bill regulates food production both inside the country and from imports and aims to tighten control on the food supply chain by using international best practices. At the same time, according to Alpen Capital Report 2015, the UAE government is working on the launch of a uniform system, Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed, designed to improve and standardise food recall processes across the country – a system similar to that implemented in the European Union. Trixie LohMirmand, senior vice-president, exhibitions

and events division, DWTC, says: "There is no doubt that food safety is at the top of the agenda across the region – from the highest government levels through to agriculture, food production, processing and packaging, and down to the end consumer through hospitality and retail. International standards are not only recognised, they are becoming essential benchmarks." Underlining the global emphasis on food safety, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) last month finalised the first two of seven major rules under the bipartisan FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). This the first step in putting greater emphasis on the prevention of foodborne illness, holding imported food to the same food safety standard as domestically produced food, and developing a nationally integrated food safety system in partnership with state and local authorities. Another signal that food safety is of global concern is the revision of the ISO 22000 currently underway, addressing the food safety management system, with the draft version available from mid-2016 and the final verNovember 2015 Catering NEWS ME


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sion expected to be ready in early 2017, clarifying and simplifying standards. ECOLAB delivers comprehensive solutions and on-site service to promote safer food and to maintain clean environments, in more than 170 countries around the world. Josephine Lim, food safety specialist, Institutional Middle East and Africa, ECOLAB, says: “Though food safety in the GCC is not without incident, it is minimal compared to other parts of the world. The tenacity in which the food safety regulatory authorities here in this part of the world enforce the law is outstanding. “The concern for human health is their priority. It works well because the focus is on guidance, implementation, monitoring and prevention, rather than mere penalty and reaction. What's more, the GCC extends food safety as far as our own homes. “Food safety leaders in the GCC understand that despite strict measures and fully implemented food safety regulations, the need to take food safety to the next level is crucial. “GCC countries have formed the GCC Ministerial Committee for Food Safety with the purpose of ensuring the establishment of unified food safety standards throughout the region. Furthermore, the region intends to monitor and control the import and export of food through a Rapid Alert System for food,” adds Josephine. 24

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“There is no doubt that food safety is at the top of the agenda across the region – from the highest government levels through to agriculture, food production, processing and packaging, and down to the end consumer through hospitality and retail” The hygiene and quality manager of Royal Catering in Abu Dhabi, Ghida Walid Sarieddine, says: “Food safety systems in the UAE are increasingly becoming more standardised, according to international best practices and the codes of practice issued by ADFCA (Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority). Having the government set detailed rules and regulations on how to keep hygiene up to a high standard is a sure-fire way to monitor and control the standard of catering and F&B companies in the UAE.” Ghida adds: “I believe that Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Sharjah have a good awareness about food safety and that Abu Dhabi has followed international best practice and CO-

DEX (international) guidance while coming up with the codes of practice. Which means that the UAE is compared on a global scale when it comes to food safety and they have followed international laws in order to come up with their rules and regulations. Moreover, the team that worked in ADFCA to develop those codes of practice where professors who had worked in governmental organisations and are experts in the food safety field.” However, hazard analysis is something that is missed or not well understood among food industries and that is the case globally. So the CODEX committee is trying to develop further the section on validation and they have mentioned that more training should be conducted on hazard analysis. As for validation, it is the step that ensures that the processes that are followed as a caterer lead to the safe production of food. Validation helps ensure that the set critical limits and control measures are properly set in place in order to ensure safe food is provided. Yet, the level of understanding of the process must be increased within the food businesses, and ADFCA is playing a role in this. Ghida says: “It is essential for training companies to ensure that their trainers are competent and that they understand in full about hazard analysis and validation. Moreover, a very important sector that needs to understand the importance of hazard analysis and validation are the auditors of the

Cover Story

certification companies. “The auditors from those companies come to audit and certify food industries and so they need to fully understand the meaning of both processes in order to give constructive and valuable feedback for food industries on food safety.” She adds: “As yet there is no industry standard or template by which a food businesses can validate the effectiveness of it control measures, but there are some guidelines found in research studies conducted in the UK, Australia etc. and there is information provided in ADFCA’s new codes of practice. “However, once the food safety experts understand the meaning of validation, thereafter it would be easy for them to come up with a simple template that serves the purpose. I.e. for cooking validation, there should be a field where the process of cooking is defined (roasting chicken), the equipment used is defined (rational oven), the time and temperature are defined (150 degrees Centigrade for 25mins), and after removing the chicken from the oven the temperature is

tem for small restaurants that carries a lot of guidance and support from ADFCA and its inspectors). Ghida says: “Although this was led by Abu Dhabi government, ADFCA, it was then shared with Dubai and I believe that the governments within the emirates will be working closely together in the coming years towards the same goal of improving food safety.”

The Food Code Ghida Walid Sarieddine checked with a calibrated probe thermometer (to reach 70C for 2mins as defined by ADFCA) as a form of validation that cooking the chicken by following the process will result in a thoroughly cooked chicken, safe for consumption.” ADFCA has been working for three years to develop the codes of practice and the Salamat Zadna project (simple HACCP sys-

Dubai is also driving a new initiative, known as the Food Code. Hussain Nasser Lootah, director general Dubai Municipality, writes: “Dubai’s vision is to establish a world-class food safety system that helps provide safe food to the residents and the several millions that visit the emirate each year. We envision a system that ensures the highest standards of food safety - from the port to the plate. “We would like the system to be so comprehensive and appealing that others are encouraged to use it as a model. Our vision will become a reality only when the government,

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November 2015 Catering NEWS ME


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Global Initiatives • UAE government is working on the launch of a uniform system, Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed • U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) last month finalised the first two of seven major rules under the bipartisan FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) • ISO 22000 currently under revision to address the food safety management system • ADFCA has been working for three years to develop the codes of practice and the Salamat Zadna project (simple HACCP system for small restaurants that carries a lot of guidance and support from ADFCA and its inspectors) • Dubai Municipality is developing the Food Code, which will build on the foundations laid by the Person In Charge (PIC) and other regulatory programmes, arming operators with the necessary knowledge about the systems and processes needed to ensure an effective food safety culture of self-regulation


Catering NEWS ME November 2015

Food testing

food industry, service providers, educational and research organisations and the consumers collectively commit to work together and apply sound principles of food safety based on science and research.” Dubai Municipality began the process by promoting a positive food safety culture among food establishments in the emirate, by urging the management to be responsible and accountable through its proprietary Person In Charge (PIC) programme introduced in 2010. The Food Code will build on the foundations laid by the PIC and other regulatory programmes, arming operators with the necessary knowledge about the systems and processes needed to ensure an effective food safety culture. The DG adds: “An integrated approach is necessary to ensure food safety from the place of primary production up to the point of consumption. The Food Control Department of Dubai Municipality will ensure that regulatory programs are science- and risk-based as far as possible.” The Food Code is designed to assist the Person In-Charge (PICs) at food establishments to understand their obligations and to carry out operations as per the requirement, while helping the law-enforcement

officers understand the ways and means to meet the standards and objectives mentioned in the GCC, Federal and Local regulations. The Code also helps the Food Control Department determine compliance with these standards and enhances consistency in the interpretation and enforcement of regulations. The key references for the code are similar codes issued in the United States, Canada, Australia, Ireland and Hong Kong. Hussain writes: “The Code will be revised from time to time, and the revisions will be issued as supplements. The intention is to ensure that food safety standards move with the times and aim to encompass technologies and challenges that emerge along the way.” Bobby Krishna Thulasi, specialist - food studies and planning, Food Control Department, Dubai Municipality, adds: “There is a need to move away from 'control and command' to 'self-regulation'. We want food establishments to take ownership of the food safety management system and maintain it without us chasing.” According to Bobby, the key violations are disinfection issues related to food contact surfaces, produce safety, pest management, and handwashing and temperature control. He adds: “Managers and owners of businesses have to promote a good culture of food

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safety. They have to invest time and money to train and monitor their staff. They should also provide sufficient facilities and ensure that food safety management systems are effectively implemented. What the Dubai Municipality is proposing is an “effective foodborne disease surveillance” investigation system, which will be implemented within the next 12 months, according to Bobby. This system will become an integral tool in tracing the source of contamination and disease and will help in preventing outbreaks. As part of the measures, from January 2016, kitchens must be designed and laid out in accordance with new guidelines, including adequate hand washing and the adequate separation of raw and cooked food. A card system will be used to identify issues ranging from critical (red) to caution (yellow) and acceptable (green). Those establishments with no violations will receive a “name and fame” recognition and for all suppliers it will be mandatory to display green cards and clients will have a right to ask the reason behind

Bobby Thulasi a supplier having a yellow or red card. “The idea behind the name and fame programme is to encourage the establishments to comply with our requirements. Consumers and food businesses can make safer choices when cards are visible. We hope to enhance compliance through that,” says Bobby. Commenting on this initiative, Ghida says: “The three card system is a motivational way of trying to improve the food safety throughout the food industries and caterings. Howev-

er, such a system should be set very well from the beginning as it would only be successful if all inspectors are given a clear set of instructions and guidelines in order to fairly give the card that the companies deserve. “The inspectors need to be well trained on this system as it is not easy to have a standardised way of inspecting and grading when it comes to different inspectors as each one might have different judgement of food safety situations” Ghida warns that there may not be enough inspectors to audit businesses, with the influx of new venues and the need for continuous follow ups. She adds: “Moreover, it would correlate negatively on Dubai municipality if there was an outbreak or big issue faced in a restaurant that was given a green Nevertheless, Bobby is confident. He says: “In the teaching of new skills, and creating a greater understanding of the relevant science and technologies we can do both internal and external training, working with reputed international agencies such as USFDA, CDC, FSA, etc.”

Benefits of the Eco burner chafo

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Chain reaction

Chefs from Abu Dhabi discuss the issues facing hotel F&B supply chains, the potential for a local produce market and the problem with pineapples at Stratos, Abu Dhabi What is the primary challenge in sourcing ingredients for restaurants in Abu Dhabi and how does this compare to other GCC markets? Danny Kattar: To be honest I have worked in Kuwait, Qatar and Saudi Arabia but I didn’t see a big difference. When I worked in Qatar and Kuwait it was difficult to get products in and you have to source on a weekly basis, especially from overseas. We don’t see any difference between Dubai and Abu Dhabi on products because most companies do both. Narayanan Jaya: I’m quite new in Abu Dhabi and still learning the market here. The primary challenges I face are finding local products, 28

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which are high quality and sustainable. Saco Musch: There is no issue when you compare to Dubai. I worked in RAK as well and they don’t come to you for small deliveries, but here the suppliers come every day. Danny: Then you have companies delivering products to both Dubai and Abu Dhabi Saco: The majority of suppliers are still in Dubai but I don’t see it as an issue. We have a sizeable operation and the suppliers come here from Dubai every day. Danny: Most companies want to do good business and so dedicate two teams, one to each main city. And that means you deliver faster than sending the same team to both places.

Malcolm Webster: Most of our deliveries from Dubai arrive in the afternoon because they do the city drops first. I think the challenge I find is that not all suppliers deliver six days a week to Abu Dhabi so you have to get your head around the delivery schedule as well. I think previously in Abu Dhabi the purchasing director has gone out and tendered out all the products and we are buying from the cheapest source. So we will have four suppliers delivering frozen seafood, each with around AED150 of goods because one has the cheapest scallop, one the cheapest calamari, and so on. Saco: I have the same, but sometimes you


don’t see the benefit because of the volume of suppliers. Malcolm: We have cheese coming from seven different companies and so we are working on consolidating that. Our frozen seafood spend is around AED2m a year so we make big savings in consolidating big suppliers. And from their point of view, it doesn’t make sense to deliver such small volumes to multiple properties. I have been in the region 18 months and I came from Europe so it’s very different. The whole sustainability of supply chains and local purchasing isn’t viable. You have to change how you operate and change your style. A lot of local vegetables are decent for certain things and we use as many as possible, but it isn’t viable all the time. Saco: Some of the local farms are very inconsistent. Danny: There is a new vegetable company launching next year and they will be able to supply a variety of produce. Most of the fish will be fished locally also, but everything is double price. Narayanan: Development in the local market is urgently needed because it can really transform how we work, but there is nobody coming to the hotels to speak to us. How do you compensate for inconsistencies in the supply chain and the availability of items? Malcolm: For me the biggest issue I have had has been with pineapples and I have


been complaining to suppliers on a daily basis – it’s not ripe, not ready to eat, not the quality I want to eat – so now we import them from Kenya. Narayanan: I have had so many problems with pineapples. They are awful. The prices are going up and the quality is going down and there are very few alternatives. It isn’t just about buying it’s also about how you can prepare it, because many fruits are cut straight and not with the curve of the fruit so there is a lot of waste. Kenyan pineapples are very small so you cannot use them for the bulk requirements. The fruit is good from Thailand. Danny: Sometimes the supermarket is the only place to source pineapples from. Saco: Sometimes you have to accept the product isn’t available. Jordan Annabi: We change our lunch menu almost daily and do all the printing in-house so if something isn’t available we just substitute and arrange in-house. We have a recipe database to choose from to avoid telling customers that something isn’t available. Narayanan: I can buy from a supermarket if I am really struggling to find something. There are times when you can be left up to a week with no delivery from suppliers but you can’t just exclude those ingredients from the menu – sometimes there is no choice but to source a product from a store, so long as the quality is right. We are a business, we can’t stop. Danny: We also have a strategy, with a basic menu and 10 signatures, which are also seasonal. And these 10 signatures will be the daily playground. Like Jordan said, you see what is available, check for alternatives, have the basics, and play with the rest. How does the ad hoc sourcing of ingredients impact on profit margins and how is that impact managed? Saco: Sometimes you have to bite the bullet – let’s be honest you can’t mark up a price regularly – other times you have to re-price the menu. Danny: There should always be room to play with because you need to think about the guest satisfaction. In a 5-star establishment you need to meet the guest demand. You can’t tell them you don’t have pineapples. Malcolm: When it comes to some ingredients though, especially things like fresh fish, I would rather explain that the fish wasn’t


Jordan Annabi chef de cuisine Market Kitchen, Le Royal Meridien Abu Dhabi

Malcolm Webster executive chef St Regis Saadiyat Island

Narayanan Jaya Sous chef Aloft Abu Dhabi

Saco Musch executive chef Hilton Abu Dhabi

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Participants (Continued)

Danny Kattar executive chef InterContinental Abu Dhabi

fresh enough today, rather than serve something which isn’t the highest quality. I think the customer appreciates that as well, rather than paying for a product that they aren’t happy about and you aren’t happy serving. Jordan: There are issues with freshness also, one week something will be under ripe and the next, over. Malcolm: The question is, can you charge more to the customer and are they going to notice it? Some will, some won’t Saco: Are you dealing directly with suppliers or does purchasing take care of things? If I had an issue I would call the supplier straight away because building a relationship with them means they will go the extra mile. Danny: This isn’t something you can delegate to purchasing. If somebody is charging AED7 for an item, they will attempt to source it for AED5 regardless of quality, not AED8 for guaranteed quality. Malcolm: We are a large account for some of our suppliers but I strongly believe there is no account management; no specialists talking to you. It’s the same scenario as the pineapples; they’re less than AED6 per kilo, of course it’s going to be mediocre. If they’re only buying and selling one type from the Philippines, they’re selling it to 5-star hotels, but also shops, cafes and there is no consideration for the quality difference between those establishments. They can’t deal with the finer edge of the operation and the everyday consumer with the same pineapple. 30

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Returning to the pricing issue, personally would you prefer to charge the guest more or serve slightly less in order to preserve the profit margin under different overheads? Jordan: If you pay more for produce you have the balance the menu so you’re making more on other dishes. You can’t get away with serving less here because people want more. Danny: It would damage your reputation to serve less or remove ingredients here. I would rather compensate on other dishes than say no or change the dish. Do the food miles of internationally sourced ingredients every impact your busying decisions? Saco: Yes and no. Certain products, things that have to be perfect, for example Mozzarella, cannot be imported because it doesn’t taste the same once it gets here. For fish it takes three days to transport and specialty ingredients sometimes are difficult to get on time. Danny: In our Belgian Beer Café, our weekly consumption is 600kg per week of mussels. During the season it comes from Holland, and out of that season, Australia. So imagine the products come to me with a seven day shelf life from the day they leave Holland.

I’m left with four days of shelf life for 600kg. Imagine you have one dry night or don’t sell for other reasons. What do you do with all the product? It’s going to be on the buffet, in all the specials. Saco: Here you need to plan in advance. In Europe you can buy and take delivery the next day but it doesn’t work like that here. Jordan: I think for everyone it’s a yes and a no. I’m not comfortable with the miles on a personal level because coming from the UK you source as much as you can locally, but here there isn’t the infrastructure. There are things popping up like the organic farms but the hotels are growing so they can’t keep up with the demand. Things will have to continue to be imported. Narayanan: The food miles impact my buying decisions and the guests today are very smart. They want to know where their food comes from. For our events we have cocktail, buffet and coffee break menus which are all designed around sustainably sourced ingredients and when guests for example request something like hammour we have to explain that it isn’t sustainable. Instead we serve red snapper and other fish.



you’re using swimming pools full of water to grow the things, what is the real benefit? The flight is coming over anyway.

Hydroponic farming is being used in the UAE increasingly as an alternative to imports. Is the cost and quality viable for your requirements? Malcolm: It’s more expensive. Danny: In 2016 there will be a new regulation specifying that between five to 20% of ingredients will have to be locally sourced. I have heard this from various sources for Abu Dhabi, but nothing official.

Narayanan: The regulation for sustainably sourced ingredients will have a huge impact on price. We are already planning for this but we really need local suppliers to approach us and show us their products, in the hotel. We want to buy, but the market is too small. Saco: I would love to purchase locally, it would be great, but the supply needs to be there. The products need to be available. Malcolm: The cost has to be right also and if

When you are looking for new suppliers, what is the criteria you need them to meet and how easy is it to find partners who can match those requirements? Jordan: Consistency, availability, quality. Malcolm: I like to meet them. I like to visit the warehouse facilities, meet the people, see the place and the produce. I don’t think enough chefs do that. You need to know who they are, who they’re supplying and have conversations with them. It’s the only way to judge the character of the person you’re dealing with. Here you have the barrier of the purchasing department. Danny: And the hygiene people with a 100 point check list Saco: Let them find it, if they believe in the product it will come in. Jordan: We looked to use one of the organic

barprosuae November 2015 Catering NEWS ME



farms in order to do an organic menu but when we came back to the purchasing department they had a whole number of reasons as to why we couldn’t use them. It was stopped at different points, but the produce was good and the tomatoes tasted like tomatoes – which is an issue here. Danny: It’s about protecting the consumer and if something happens to the consumer it’s a big liability to the hotels. You serve 100 guests and then one gets sick and it’s reported and they want to know everything. So it goes back to traceability and supply chains and who your suppliers are, their approvals. All that falls back on the hotel. Narayanan: The first thing is quality, followed by price, then we consider their ability to deliver what we need when we need it. The level of customer service we receive has varied so much between suppliers. Even last week when our supplier visited they had most of the products we needed but on other occasions they can’t provide everything. If we order 150kg of something for a set menu or banqueting, then they can’t provide, that provides many issues for us. Regardless of the strength of that relationship, there is still a huge trust element and you both depend on each other to ensure everything is perfect for the people who will eat the food. Saco: The thing is though, the more suppliers you have delivering fish for AED200 per drop, the higher your risk. The longer and more complicated the supply chain, the less you can trace. The fewer the suppliers, the easier it is to manage everything. But how easy is it to consolidate supply chains in the current market? Is there room for growth and a demand for diversified suppliers who can deliver everything, or on the other hand should suppliers be specialist? Danny: You find a new company and they only supply to one hotel, do you think they can sustain that supply for you? That’s why we go for the big names. Saco: I find it strange that they can deliver you fish and mushrooms. For me I would prefer one fish supplier who delivers all the fish. One meat supplier, who delivers all the meat. But here they all offer everything and clients buy on price. No, they should focus. Malcolm: When it comes to the dry and frozen, there is one main importer for all these 32

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brands and then a group of different re-sellers who buy from them and then sell it on to you. So you have to understand who is importing the product so you can go direct to that supplier and get the better price. Nobody has a very big basket, it’s all quite limited and they all key segments, which means you have to use different suppliers, unless you buy from someone else at a higher price. Narayanan: There are a few elements to this. The first is the budget and SOP; we have certain standards that need to be adhered to. If you have multiple suppliers we will buy the best quality for the best price. We aren’t a luxury hotel so we don’t buy expensive ingredients all from the same supplier, we get the highest quality at the best price, from multiple sources. We can’t not have ingredients for days on end. We have repeat MICE business and they come for conferences which include catering and they can’t go the entire conference without a certain ingredient, so we have to make sure we can procure everything we need and that means dealing with multiple suppliers. We even have two suppliers just for dates. It’s a catch 22 situation – you want to con-

solidate but you also want the specialists to supply to you, but what is the most difficult ingredient to source? Danny: Pineapples! Saco: Good game is difficult to import. European, fresh, difficult to source. Danny: One night a week we have a game night at our steakhouse, but we can’t source enough to have it on the menu every night. Jordan: Also game. We too tried to do one special game dish but we couldn’t source anything worth putting on the menu. Saco: I wanted to incorporate some Dutch products, like smoked eel but couldn’t find a supplier. It was for a permanent fixture on the menu, rather than seasonal or special. Danny: Tenderloin is very expensive and difficult to obtain at quality also. Malcom: Good quality chicken. The market is flooded with chicken from Brazil and it’s very bad quality. Narayanan: We always have problems with chicken. We had a banqueting function for 1,000 people and part of the order was frozen so we couldn’t use it. We spoke to them about it and they denied all respon-



sibility. I check everything personally as much as possible, but mixing frozen and fresh is a widespread issue. Saco: What about the meat market, isn’t it just over produced? The most available products are meat. Malcolm: I have suppliers knocking on the door trying to sell me Wagyu and I took some to sample, medium rib eye, and it was disgusting. There is so much fat it has to be cooked well done. Danny: Smoked salmon – everybody is trying to sell that now. Narayanan: I find it’s caviar and honey products – especially the flower honey honeycomb, not the date one found locally. People don’t mind paying for a high quality product, but the quality has to be there, especially with the honey. Sometimes we have to source from abroad, so that adds time to the delivery and additional complications to the sourcing. What do you predict to be the greatest challenge facing the market right now? Danny: You do a blind tasting then you choose a product on price and quality but then after two weeks they don’t have any more and you need to start all over again. Malcolm: Since I joined Saadiyat we changed a lot of the ingredients, so you have to give your suppliers notice because there is an issue with their ability to react quickly to demand. Saco: Exclusivity. You used to be able to put something on the menu and it would be only you who has it. Now that is no longer the case Closing the conversation, it is said that globally no more than 500 companies control 70% of the world’s entire food supply chain. Is the dominance of some companies posing an issue to you and what is the impact of this on your business? Saco: It’s all about the other 30% Danny: Small companies who don’t become one of the 500 won’t be able to sustain business, but if you look at those 500 companies they are all fighting with each other. Malcolm: Sometimes you need the bigger people in order to secure better conditions for your own purchases and if you know you have one supplier delivering a large volume, it’s much more efficient. Danny: There are also economies of scale in buying bulk and not jumping from one to the other. Do you have any apprehension over “placing all your eggs in one basket” by depending on so few suppliers? Malcolm: Not at all. If there is an issue they can trace, they have the documentation, alternative products; they do the work. Many others would just say it isn’t available. November 2015 Catering NEWS ME



Dubai’s Desert Dairy Queens Deep in the Dubai desert lives a herd of 12,500 Holstein Friesian cows, producing around 350,000 litres of milk every day for Al Rawabi Dairy. With over 200 trucks, each day they supply more than 400 tonnes of high quality fresh products through almost 10,000 stores in the UAE, Oman and Qatar 34

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Case study

“Although there is double digit growth in skimmed milk sales in the Middle East, in line with rising health concerns, the split in sales between full fat and skimmed remains at 75/25.”


idden amongst the myriad of camel farms in Al Khawaneej, you would be hard pushed to recognise the 300 acre Al Rawabi Dairy plant as a farm as there is not a cow in sight… Instead they are all lounging in air conditioned boudoirs. In order to sustain the welfare of these desert dairy queens in the soaring desert heat, they are cooled with a special “air conditioning” system, which is automatically turned on whenever the temperature goes above 21C. Furthermore, these pampered heffers are being showered daily. Five veterinary doctors and a team of 15 veterinary assistants – the so called “cow’s health team” are on-site to help the cows 24 hours a day. Besides that, Dubai Municipality also carries out daily checks on the raw milk, milk in the tanks, milk after the pasteurisation in the farm, and products in the store. Abyson Jacob, Al Rawabi Dairy deputy sales and marketing manager, boasts that Al Rawabi is the only producer able to get its milk from the cow to the store in under 24 hours, which gives it a shelf life of four days, extending to six if it is refrigerated properly. Every pregnant cow, which can weigh between 500-700kg, is milked every seven hours and produces 35 litres of milk per day, with the farm collecting milk around the clock. A cow can become pregnant and begin producing milk from the age of 14 months. Providing she reaches the height of 132 cm and weighs about 350-400 kg she is checked to see if she is healthy to have a calf, and then she is sent to become preg-

Cows off to be milked

Abyson Jacob, deputy sales and marketing manager, Al Rawabi Dairy

Food store silos

November 2015 Catering NEWS ME


Case study

nant by insemination. Like humans, cows carry their babies for nine months, and while pregnant they continue to be milked for seven months. The farmer stops milking the cow two months prior to the birth, so she can devote all her energy to producing her new calf. Each cow has a unique ear tag – her ID, which records her entire life history from the date of birth. She will remain an active milk producer until the average age of eight, when she is culled and sold for meat. All new calves are fed with water and cow milk replacements at first, then as they grow a little (some 45 days), they are given cornflakes to teach them how to chew, before developing on to grass, corn, soya, and bran. These cows even get a dessert, in the form of molasses, which is a by-product of the refining of sugarcane or sugar beets into sugar. Jacob says: “Only the high quality feed tested and checked, both in the company, and by Dubai Municipality, can be served as food to cows. It comes from different places in the world – such as Sudan, Egypt, USA. “The pregnant cows come from their air-conditioned tents and are washed every time before going for milking. They cows 36

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“Our margins are shrinking annually and feed prices are rising constantly, and we face increasing competition from imports. As an industry we are lobbying the government for change.” will wait at the gate that leads to the milking shed, so that they are the first in line to be milked. The milking machine collects the milk into the containers and sends the milk to the filter. After milking, the cows are washed again and dried off, and they can go back to rest.” Each cow’s milk is tested for any possible infection, bacteria or any other health problems associated with cows. If the cow is healthy, her milk will be used for production, but if something with the milk

is not 100% perfect, that milk is thrown away immediately. When milk is taken from a cow, its temperature is 38C degrees, in order to kill any bacteria that may arise the milk is pumped into a cooler where, after 10 minutes, it is cooled below 5C degrees. “Once the good milk is transported to the farm silos, additional lab tests in the farm are also made to ensure the pure quality of milk. Once approved, the milk is ready to be pumped into plant storage silos where it undergoes pasteurisation, homogenisation and standardisation to turn it into the products we find in stores throughout the region,” adds Jacob. Pasteurisation is a process that heats every single part of the milk before cooling it again. It is done for two reasons: to remove all bad and unhealthy bacteria and to improve the taste of products, such as yoghurt and laban. Homogenisation is a process to separate fat and water in milk to make fat globules smaller, so that they stay together in the milk rather than separating out and floating to the top of the jug. Standardisation is a process that removes or adds cream from the milk. This is how they make the products with a differ-

Case Study

ent fat percentage. Natural milk contains 3.6-3.8% fat naturally, followed by full fat milk (3.2%), low fat milk (1.5%), skimmed milk (0.5%), and double cream (6%). Jacob says: “Although there is double digit growth in skimmed milk sales in the Middle East, in line with rising health concerns, the split in sales between full fat and skimmed remains at 75/25.” Al Rawabi then adds good and healthy bacteria to its fresh yoghurt, YO! fruit flavoured yogurt and laban. It takes around five hours for the bacteria to create a yogurt, and after that it is cooled and is ready to eat. The dairy producer also adds vitamin D to all of its milk, in line with GCC regulations that all fresh milk should contain a certain dosage of vitamin D. The company also began producing a ‘Super’ milk in 2014, which has a much higher dosage of vitamin D than the government’s enforced minimum. Today, 100 ml of Super Milk gives you 120% of your RDA of vitamin D, 50% of your RDA of calcium, 40% of your RDA of vitamin B12, 40% of your RDA of vitamin A, 40% of your RDA of vitamin E, and 40% of your RDA of folic acid. According to Jacob, Al Rawabi will begin to produce functional products in 2016, in both dairy and cheese, designed to help tackle obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease. The company also produces a large range of fresh from concentrate juices, and plans to launch an iced coffee range, first in retail stores and later HORECA, including cappuccino and latte macchiato, on 20 October. Additionally, Al Rawabi will start producing long-life plain and flavoured milk in December, a breakfast cream will launch next year and labneh is in the loop. The company is also planning to launch a cobranded cheese in 2016, which will be produced in Saudi Arabia. Jacob explains how the company has grown. “Al Rawabi was first established in 1989, with a herd of 500 cows imported from Germany and only 10 trucks for distributing. Today we have a herd of 12,500 home-grown cows, with 20 to 25 new baby cows born on the farm every day. “Following an investment of AED 22 million in 2014 in a new third-generation automated filling line and pasteurisation line, we now run over 200 trucks, which 38

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cleaning and preparing cow for milking each day supply more than 400 tonnes of fresh products to almost 10,000 stores in the UAE, Oman and Qatar.” In 2010, Al Rawabi received the Best Environmental Practice Award from the UAE government, and again in 2013, and in 2012 it was awarded “Brand of the Year” by Superbrands UAE. Today it is certificated with world famous ISO standards ISO 9001 Quality Standard, ISO 14000 Environment impact standard and ISO 22 000 Food Safety standard. “With 15% growth year-on-year we will soon expand the business geographically, starting in Kuwait and looking to cover the entire MENA region.” However, Al Rawabi is not alone in facing continued pressure, particularly over pricing as the retail cost of its produce is regulated by the government and it has

not risen for several years. Jacob elaborates: “The government controls the price of milk, juice and yoghurt and the last increase was in 2008. “Our margins are shrinking annually and feed prices are rising constantly, and we face increasing competition from imports. As an industry we are lobbying the government for change.” In the UAE it costs around AED2.5 per litre to produce milk, compared to AED1 in Saudi Arabia where the Kingdom grows its own hay and producers are given generous subsidies. According to Jacob, the three largest retailers of dairy – Al Ain Dairy, Al Marai Dairy from Saudi Arabia, and Al Rawabi – supply 95% of the produce in the UAE, and Al Rawabi accounts for 30% of that supply.


Chef Anthony Rattigan is responsible for feeding a growing demographic of travellers in the UAE, the budget conscious short term travellers, and he told Catering News ME that offering them quality is an art form


Catering NEWS ME November 2015


“We must be in constant contact with the market, not looking for the cheapest ingredients but value for money ingredients and being flexible in the foods and cuts available”


t the recently launched Hyatt Place Dubai in Baniyas Square head chef Anthony Rattigan is addressing one of the latest hospitality trends seen in Dubai - offering ‘upscale services’ – which is driving an increased demand for such hotels in the lead up to Expo 2020. As the 4-star hotel is a select service brand, there is a different expectation for food and beverage at the Gallery Kitchen Cafe. The menu is designed to meet its guest’s convenience, with 24/7 service, which is unique across the whole collection. As the only select service brand to offer a 24 hour menu, which is great for business travellers who may arrive late at night, the menu offers a wide variety of dishes from different cuisines. Additionally, every guest has a free breakfast, and there is also a selection of grab and go meals and bakery items. Chef Rattigan has worked with Hyatt since 1997, beginning in the Cayman Islands. Educated in Culinary Arts in Jamaica, he left the Cayman Islands in 2004 for San Diego in California, after a hurricane destroyed his hotel. He came to Dubai eight years ago, beginning with Grand Hyatt before moving to Hyatt Place Al Rigga for the launch of the new brand. Today he oversees the food and beverage operations in both Al Rigga and the new Baniyas Square hotels, switching between them depending on demand. What he does now is “upscale services”. As he explains: “Despite working to a tight budget, we still cater to all types of travellers, which means we must be in constant contact with the market, not looking

Spicy grilled lamb chops

Some shots of the gallery kitchen interior design

November 2015 Catering NEWS ME



for the cheapest ingredients but value for money ingredients and being flexible in the foods and cuts available. With food you can play around with inexpensive ingredients and create incredible dishes. I study reviews and research the market and then work with the suppliers on what I can offer. “It is crucial that I maintain great relationships with my suppliers, which are principally Barakat but also Modern General, MH and Trading Flavours. I also try to use the same supplier across our properties to ensure the same quality and to drive down price. “For me food costs are very important, I always search around until I get the produce for the price I want. For me cooking is an art form. You always want to be creative, but it need not be about ribeye or sirloin, in the end it depends on how it’s prepared and not the ingredients. Quality is in the preparation not the cost.” Both hotels offer guests a complimentary international buffet breakfast, with a la carte menus for lunch and dinner. As a select service brand hotel there is no room service, instead Chef Rattigan offers a Grab n’Go concept, where a wide range of food is offered pre-cooked and packaged – such as soups, salads, pastas, etc. Guests can purchase from these booths 24/7 and all the meals, which have a two-day shelf life, are prepared in house. “I have a good idea of what people want and then we put our own twist on it so we offer foods that are a little bit different.” Located in the heart of the old city and set amidst the mesmerising gold, spice and textile souks, Hyatt Place Dubai,Baniyas Square is a gathering place for business travellers, vacationers, and shoppers alike. It is also walking distance from the Baniyas Square Metro Station, Abra and very close to the emirate’s top heritage attractions, including the Dubai Museum and Dubai Creek. The majority of hotel guests are in the region for business, whether it be a meeting or a conference or exhibition, with strong numbers coming from the CIS countries, India, Pakistan, the greater GCC and a growing number from Nigeria. Chef Rattigan must also cater to large numbers of flight transfer passengers, often from European destinations. Chef Rattigan says: “With the a la carte menu we can offer 42

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something from each region.” Always willing to address the needs of guests, Chef Rattigan says that his team can also provide tailored buffet servings for any group of hotel residents, or business dining groups, and he is also happy to accommodate requests off the menu, “provided I have the ingredients,” he says. The Hyatt Place brand concept is rooted in extensive consumer research which indicated that guests blend their personal and professional lives while travelling and want a hotel that accommodates this lifestyle. Chef Rattigan believes that the budget conscious market segment is growing rapidly. He adds: “It is often hard to see in Dubai as there are just so many hotels. We always strive to serve this market segment by ensuring we offer our customers value for money.” Chef Rattigan says the biggest challenge he faces is keeping the guests in house for dining, with the nature of their visit taking them to meetings outside, on top of the vast amount of F&B offerings on the

doorstep of the hotel. Concepts designed to retain the guests across the Hyatt Place brand include a poolside barbeque, beginning on 15 October from 7pm to 10.30pm, and a three course business lunch which will be launched imminently, running from Sunday to Thursday at a cost of AED65. Since launching in 2006, Hyatt Place is the fastest growing brand in the group, with the Baniyas Street unit becoming the 231st worldwide, with units covering Amsterdam, Morocco, India, Romania and the USA. A third Hyatt Place is planned for Dubai of a similar size to the Al Rigga hotel, opening in the Maktoum area in Q4 2016. When we met last month the Baniyas hotel was operating at 80% capacity, but Chef Rattigan claims it reaches full capacity every time there is a key conference or exhibition in the city, such as GITEX, Cityscape and the Dubai Airshow. “We have an events calendar which we study profusely to ensure we have the staff to cater to the crowd.”


Let’s Clear the Air As better indoor air quality (IAQ) needs to be pushed up the agenda in the GCC, with its tremendous health and productivity benefits, Lorraine Bangera, editor of Construction Business News ME, analyses how this could affect restaurants


Harvard study released in October 2015 discussed the importance of indoor air quality (IAQ) in work spaces. The paper in journal, Environmental Health Perspectives, reported that poor IAQ could substantially affect a workers’ decision-making and productivity, and restaurants, like any other workspace, need good IAQ too. Commercial cooking generates greasy air and pollutants and it takes an extensively designed system to maintain a good air flow. By not prioritising good ventilation in your restaurant, you could be decreasing employee productivity, making customers uncomfortable, reducing traffic to your restaurant and increasing your utility bills. Apart from poor IAQ, bad ventilation also leads to unpleasant odours and stuffy environments. The problem begins with not understanding how a restaurant ventilation system functions. You could spot the need for a better system if it feels uncomfortable or humid in the restaurant despite having a good cooling system. Your best bet would be to check your kitchen exhaust, usually the cause for poor ventilation. One of the common solutions for poor ventilation, according to most experts, is the use of make-up air or replacement air. It’s simple; air that exits the building through the exhaust hood and fans must be replaced with outside air through an independent make-up air supply unit. If you are facing continuous problems, it would be a good idea to consult a heating, ventilation and air conditioning professional. What seems to be overlooked is the understanding of the interdependence of each piece of the kitchen system. It is more effective to have a complete and properly integrated system that will provide a productive and comfortable work

environment that is also cost-effective. In the GCC, IAQ hasn’t fallen under the limelight as much as it should although air quality in general has been questioned, most recently with the World Bank, which claimed the UAE has some

of the worst air quality. True or not, it wouldn’t change the fact that this is an important disadvantage. According to the World Health Organisation, pollutant levels of indoor air runs five times higher than outdoor levels. Even though UAE has taken several steps towards sustainability and better environment, has indoor air quality been on the agenda? In a region where “going out”, actually means going indoors, IAQ has to be given a lot of weight. That being said, last year Gulf News reported that a UAE civic body announced that it aims to have at least 70% of buildings in Dubai compliant with international air quality standards in order to attain the status of ‘Smart City’ by 2016. Even though government and international regulations play a tremendous role, it is ultimately up to every restaurant owner to make a real difference. As the saying goes, change begins with you.

November 2015 Catering NEWS ME



The JAS Maestro Following its official launch on 14 September, Catering News ME visits the new FĂźmĂŠ Downtown Dubai, to meet the new group director of culinary for JAS Hospitality, Chef Emiliano Bernasconi.


Catering NEWS ME November 2015


“We offer choices, but at the end of the day the customer must also have self-discipline, a bit of everything is no problem.”


ith over 20 years’ experience in 5-star hotels worldwide, Emiliano Bernasconi has joined JAS Hospitality to head up the teams at Qbara Restaurant, Lounge & Bar and Fümé neighbourhood eateries as well as all future brands. As the second Fume outlet, following Pier 7 in Dubai Marina, the new outlet in Manzil Downtown Dubai, offers seating for over 200 diners spread over two floors, with a Burj view terrace, open plan kitchens, and incredible views of the Dubai skyline including the Burj Khalifa. “We wanted to mimic the concept of Pier 7, with the same design and core values, offering value for money and proper quality food,” says Bernasconi. He adds: “The trend now in Dubai and the rest of the world is towards casual, quality and price.” To date, Bernasconi has contributed a great deal to the success of many internationally renowned restaurants and hotels from London to Dubai. From spending time with executive chefs at The Fat Duck and Alain Ducasse at the Dorchester, to catering for Arsenal and Chelsea football clubs – this man could write a book about his travels and the people he has encountered along the way. Now at the top of his game, he doesn’t forget what it was like starting out and looks for opportunities to help young and promising cooks, working closely with several culinary schools in Dubai and Italy. And, not one to rest on his laurels, he is constantly searching for or creating new gastronomic experiences, which can only be good news for Dubai. Having worked in the UAE for almost ten years, at both the Four Seasons and Armani Hotels & Resorts, he says: “I like

Some shots of the Fumé Downtown interior decor

November 2015 Catering NEWS ME



to work in a city with tough competition, so I am constantly working to improve and push myself. “This company is expanding fast, which is refreshing after working in hotels for 23 years. Also, most brands here are brought from outside but JAS is home-grown, which interests me,” says Bernasconi. As the new group director of culinary, Bernasconi is tasked with creating and enforcing standards within the group, and rolling out expansions, which will include a new Qbara “somewhere else in the world” and a total of eight Fumé restaurants across the Gulf and Arabic Peninsula. Furthermore, the group is planning to open a new concept, called Beef & Bass in the second quarter of 2016, on the fifth floor of the Sheraton hotel on Sheikh Zayed Road in Dubai. This new licensed venue will specialise in unusual cuts of beef and special cooking techniques. “In Dubai, all the outlets tend to use the same food and cuts, but I’m proud to try something new, using secondary and tertiary cuts, like short ribs and brisket. They need a lot of cooking and creativity, but it helps the planet. We will also be starting a programme to use local vegetables and even some local meat and fish.” Bernasconi will source most of his bass from the Chilean, Atlantic and Indian oceans, as well as the Mediterranean, while beef supplies will come from the US, Australia, New Zealand, Argentina and Italy. “We need the best products and the best prices to ensure we meet our customer’s needs,” says Bernasconi. Having cooked for international sporting superstars, like David Beckham, Tony Adams, and Gianfranco Zola, while working at Inter Milan, Real Madrid, Arsenal and Chelsea, Bernasconi believes the dressing room discipline taught him a lot about running a kitchen. “I learn that a kitchen requires discipline and everything must be done perfectly, there is no such thing as a short cut. A short cut only delivers short term returns. “Also, nothing can be rushed. I learnt to take my time in the training, development and education of my team. I also believe in succession planning and I’m happy to see our talent grow as the company grows,” he adds. 46

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“This is why you will find 60% of the staff in this new Fumé are JAS employees from either Qbara or the Pier 7 branch. They know the concept and are versed in our standards.” In retaining staff, Bernasconi believes that it’s not all about the financial arrangements. “It’s also about valuing your staff, coaching and teaching them, and making sure that when a position opens up you promote from within – so that the student becomes the teacher.” He adds: “Like a growing tree, they become more adaptable – natures gives us a lot of lessons.” Across his restaurants, Bernasconi ensures there is choice for all clients,

including those will dietary needs or allergy requirements. “We have lots of salads and raw fish and raw meat on our menus because we realise tasty doesn’t have to be unhealthy – it’s all about the seasoning. Plus new cooking techniques, science and machinery help to make food healthier, such as lowering the fat content. “We offer choices, but at the end of the day the customer must also have self-discipline, a bit of everything is no problem, and life is beautiful, so why not have a proper burger. “And anything else that is not on the menu, just ask us and you’ll more than likely get it,” boasts Bernasconi.

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South Africa to Dubai via Asia

Wakame, a new Asian inspired restaurant and bar concept, opened last month within the Sofitel Downtown Dubai, and Catering News ME was the first through the doors to check out the dĂŠcor of this contemporary yet evocatively inviting space


Catering NEWS ME November 2015



akame is a luxurious, upscale yet casual, restaurant with a relaxed environment, anchored around its sushi and dim sum counters, which immediately catch the eye upon entering. Imaginations wander towards the Far East as you watch the chefs at work with the freshest authentic produce, using traditional techniques and ingredients reflecting the best of Asia. The venue’s atmosphere is further enlivened with a dedicated bar area, offering an exuberant selection of beverages, each of which yields its own unique story, and a resident DJ who sets the mood for afterhours socialising. The woman responsible for this taste of Asia was Samantha Muhlbauer, from South African-based Samantha Muhlbauer Interior Design, and we were able to catch her adding the final touches to Wakame, before jetting out of Dubai for a fresh new challenge. Based in Johannesburg, Samantha specialises in the design of restaurants and private safari lodges, and she says Wakame, which was her first project in Dubai, was both challenging and very exciting. Having worked for the owners of Wakame for many years, across South Africa, she says: “There is a lot of trust in what I can provide, which gives me a little free reign to indulge my passions. “I like to create cocooned, welcoming and warming environments, which I have achieved here through the choice of the timbers that wrap the walls to ceiling. I describe this design as minimalist with character and touches of antique furniture. I love to play old antiquities with modern sleek furnishings. A little silly and not too serious.” Having done several similar projects, Samantha is very comfortable with Asian design. She adds: “I have always had a passion for Asian design, mixed with elements of Scandinavian. I love to mix the modern with the old fashioned. But my absolute passion is for lighting, as it immediately sets the tone for a place – it’s my first priority. “A lot of the design here started off with links to the shops I designed in South Africa, lending elements and pieces of design. “There is an overriding theme of fish running throughout the restaurant, not as a logo but symbolism. The central dining area lighting resembles upturned fishing baskets, while the gold and brass chandeliers, which

“It was a deliberate decision to make the design entirely different from its surroundings, so that hotel guests can walk into an entirely new experience” Samantha Muhlbauer

were replicated from Koi restaurant in Cape Town, look like driftwood underwater. There is a huge fish mural on the wall as you enter the restaurant, and the walls are textured with fish scales. Even the dining chairs are fabricated in a printed fabric, designed in South Africa to resemble a sea urchin.” The aquatic theme is extended throughout the restaurant and the bar, including the outlet’s lucky mascot – a wooden fish sculpture that takes centre stage on the bar. As Samantha explains: “On my first trip to Dubai, I was taken on a tour of the city and we came across a house with these amazing organic wooden sculptures outside. It turned out the man inside was a collector of old wood and I immediately spotted the wooden fish, which now sits on the bar. Before any design was thought about I knew we had to have it.” Explaining how important unique design concepts are to her, Samantha was at pains to stress the need for the restaurant to stand entirely independent from the hotel, sharing no design element with its host. She says: “It

was a deliberate decision to make the design entirely different from its surroundings, so that hotel guests can walk into an entirely new experience. “We are aiming for a full experience from a guest’s entry, through their dining experience, until the moment they leave. That means a warm welcome, comfortable seating and great food – it’s all encompassing. We want guests to leave feeling as though they have made friends with the waiter.” Much of the restaurant’s furniture was sourced from South Africa, with the chandeliers from Europe, the basket lights from the Netherlands, and the large dining tables tailor-made in Dubai. One of Samantha’s favourite pieces is an antique chest, originally made in China and passed down several family generations, but eventually sourced in South Africa and carefully shipped to Dubai. “When all the stock arrived and was cleared through customs and delivered it was like Christmas morning. “We carefully did the maths and for many November 2015 Catering NEWS ME



pieces it worked out cheaper to have them made in South Africa and pay the shipping, rather than made locally. It was close, but then I had the contacts in South Africa too. It was challenging logistically, but we successfully got everything here on time and with only one chair damaged.” In fact, the chairs were a signature design feature of stores designed in South Africa for the same group, so it was important to maintain that uniformity. Overall, the entire design took around six to seven months from conceptualisation to delivery. She adds: “There were a number of elements we inherited that we had to make do with, as the unit had already been used for a restaurant that has since closed. We had to make do with the existing kitchen, because of extraction limitations. “Also, in the main dining room we had to adapt the existing extraction units, which had once sat above a teriyaki station. We couldn’t remove them so we covered them over and used them as basis for a cluster of lights. Aside from a reorganisation there were very new elements we had to install.” The main additions to the kitchen utilities are the sushi and dim sum counters, newly installed in the main dining area. Previously the kitchen was one used across two restaurants – Japanese and Lebanese – so a portion had to be separated off so the two now run entirely separately, and head chef Lloyd Roberts and executive chef and partner Deon Berg were tasked with redesigning the kitchen’s flow.

The Team

With experience of working in London, France, Greece and South Africa, Deon Berg has been with the group for many years, as an original partner. Whereas, Jamaican born Lloyd joined the Dubai team fresh. Lloyd has worked in New York and London, for the likes of Jean George, Nobu, Novikof and Zuma. “We were happy he wasn’t from Dubai, with the preconceptions many chefs here have,” explains Wakame LLC partner Greg Slotar. Greg adds: “We have six restaurants in South Africa, and Koi is very similar in look and feel to Wakame, with its contemporary and clean design. “In fact, the name Wakame, which means Seaweed in Japanese, originates from the 50

Catering NEWS ME November 2015

(L-R) Deon Berg, Greg Slotar, Bonnita Bailey & Rory Jossel

first restaurant of that name on the seafront in Moulee Point in Cape Town, which we opened in 2002 and commercially decided to close in 2013.” In launching in Dubai, Greg and his partners Bonnita Bailey, Rory Jossel, Deon Berg teamed up with local partners from the Southern Sun Group. Greg says: “A school friend of mine, who is a partner in the Southern Sun Group, visited Koi a number of times. His group was looking to add F&B to its portfolio and so they asked me to bring Wakame to Dubai.” Planning for Wakame Dubai began just over a year ago, as Greg explains: “We wanted the same concept but a fresh design, you can’t copy and paste from South Africa to

Dubai as it would not fit. “For one, in Dubai we can create a lot more because we have a far greater variety of food than we do in South Africa. So 50% of the menu is from South Africa and 50% is unique to Dubai.” Looking to the future, Greg and his partners plan to expand, first in Dubai and then later in Abu Dhabi. Greg adds: “But we are very specific about where we will open, this is not the type of concept to have 20 outlets. Any additional branches may share some themes and concepts but each will be under a different name; there will only ever be one Wakame experience. We don’t believe in copy and paste and we insist on keeping it unique.”

Meet the supplier


Laurent Damien, communication director at CNIEL, explains how the organisation helps boost sales, anticipates attacks on the sector and responds with arguments backed by indisputable scientific expertise. Could you provide a description of your company?

CNIEL, the French Dairy Interbranch Organisation (the umbrella organisation for the dairy industry), was created in 1973 by milk producers and processors. CNIEL meets two key objectives: to facilitate relations between dairy producers and processors and to promote a positive image of milk and dairy products. CNIEL’s main mission is to organise the dairy industry in a coherent manner in order to promote its economic development. To facilitate relations between dairy producers and processors in particular by developing shared tools and standards for the entire industry, and to collectively promote milk and dairy products among consumers to help boost sales, anticipate attacks on the sector and respond with arguments backed by indisputable scientific expertise. In recognising the importance of this organisation and supporting its action the French State makes the implementation of all agreements reached by CNIEL compulsory for all dairy professionals.

What do your offer that nobody else in your field can? France produces milk like no other country. Without a doubt, France’s geography, history, culture and economy have made this a real “land of milk”. The result is a unique dairy heritage, a trade surplus of $3.93 billion in 2013 and an industry with firm roots nationwide. To produce the right quantity and quality of milk, a cow must ingest 60-80 kg of grass, hay or silage every day. This feed is 85% farm-produced and is made possible by France’s vast water reserves (in the Bay of Somme, Poitevin Marsh, the Camargue,

tures (calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, protein, vitamins, and more). The same milk can produce many different dairy products: butter, cheese, yoghurt, fresh cream. In 2013, 23.5 billion litres of milk were collected. France is the only country in the world to boast 1,200 different types of cheeses, butters and creams, with approximately 70,000 dairy farms and 650 processing plants. Many of these products display a quality label (50 French Appellations d’Origine Contrôlées, including 46 European Protected Designations of Origin), doing justice to a booming French dairy industry.

Any recent projects that you have embarked on?

etc.), which alongside rivers, springs, canals and other water sources, ensures the sustainability of milk production in France. Water is also essential to the milk production chain. From the stable to the dairy, the European hygiene packet imposes strict cleaning and hygiene safety procedures that require considerable amounts of water: for milking pipes, refrigeration tanks, the systems for cooling milk between the udder and the tank, pasteurisation, cleaning equipment and storage tanks. This is the price paid for quality.

What is the most popular product that you supply to the industry?

Milk has the unique ability to be transformed into a variety of dairy products: yoghurts, cheeses, cream, and so on. These products are at the heart of our diets, appreciated for their taste and nutritional fea-

CNIEL’s Communications Department has been conducting and managing collective advertising and promotional campaigns on the French and the export markets for more than 20 years. We are now running several campaigns in the region - co financed by the European Union - to promote the Dairy products: - “Cream of Europe” campaign to run in UAE and KSA as well as seven other Asian countries from 2015 to 2017 – aiming at educating on the use of qualitative ingredients in the pastry making. - “Cheeses of Europe” campaign in UAE, Japan, Korea, and Australia aiming at educating on the broad diversity of tastes and choice that European cheeses provide.

How well did your company/product/ category perform over the last year?

The French milk industry is a key asset to the national economy, representing onefifth of agri-food revenues as the secondlargest contributor in this sector after meat. French milking output dropped by 0.3% to 23.7 billion litres in 2013. After experiencing a decrease in the first semester of the year, output nonetheless started recovering from the summer of 2013, continuing into the beginning of 2014. Due to this drop, a sharp decrease was also registered in milk powder manufacturing, and to a lesser extent, butter and fresh dairy products. The manufacturing of drinking milk and cheese also slightly increased. As in 2012, foreign trade reached a record $4.7 billion for milk and milk-based products. November 2015 Catering NEWS ME


Kitchen Trends Catering News ME takes a look at some of the hottest F&B products on the market

Mozaik collection Panache International, a leading disposables giant, has launched its Mozaik collection at six select Carrefour outlets across Dubai and Abu Dhabi. Panache provides a wide selection of microwavable and non-microwavable plastic disposables that boast the sheen of silverware and glass with the durability and lightness of plastic. Their collection is biodegradable, making it the ideal disposable alternative for an eco-friendly and easyto-use everyday range, suitable for use in hotels and by catering companies. www.panacheintltd.com

Pacojet 2 FilterQuick fryer Manitowoc Foodservice UK has launched the new FilterQuick fryer featuring Auto Filtration and an Integrated Oil Quality Sensor (OQS) in its Frymaster range. FilterQuick uses 40% less oil and 10% less energy than previous models and puts automatic filtration at the operator’s fingertips, by filtering out impurities from the oil as required. A state of the art optional in-built oil quality sensor is also available, to help operators gauge the quality of the oil in the frypot and to measure the oil’s Total Polar Materials (TPM) contaminants. This, combined with the SMART4U technology, such as the Oil Attendant, which automatically replenishes oil from an in-cabinet oil supply helps control food and oil quality, oil life and equipment performance, all while improving efficiency and frying superiority. www.manitowocfoodservice.com


Catering NEWS ME November 2015

The new generation Pacojet 2 offers a clearer, brighter colour display with a touchscreen for easier operations. The overpressure mode with automatic depressurisation can be selected as necessary and the portioning set precisely for whole and even to tenths of portions, while the Pacojet 2 can sense when a beaker is overfilled. In such a case, a recovery process is started automatically, thus making it possible to process the entire contents of a fresh-frozen beaker without waste or need to thaw. Also, a new brushless motor was engineered in Switzerland exclusively for Pacojet 2, which is practically wear-free and significantly quieter. It is available today from Muddle Me. www.muddle-me.com

Sablés butter biscuit collection Born out of Chef Chocolatier, Jean Apostolou’s adventures across five continents, GODIVA’s travel-inspired Sablés butter biscuit collection boasts five biscuit flavours, each reminiscent of the provenance that inspired its creation. Journey to Africa with the ultimate chocolate biscuit, Asia with the matcha tea, Oceana with the macadamia ginger, Europe with almond speculoos and the United States with the pecan chocolate chip biscuit. With a smothering of premium Belgian chocolate, these strongly flavoured biscuits are available individually wrapped. www.godiva.com

Combo Cart Plus Cambro's Combo Cart Plus can hold food pans, sheet pans, trays as well as pizza boxes without having to change rails. Food stays naturally moist without a water pan and remains cool to the touch even when in use. The Combo Cart Plus keeps food hot for as long as you plug it in, but even in transit without electricity, food safety is never an issue as the cart is fully insulated and able to keep hot food out of the danger zone for 4+ hours. Heaters on each of the doors keeps food safely between 150º to 165ºF, and it is the only hot holding cart endorsed by the Green Restaurant Association, being 50-180% more energy-efficient compared to leading metal carts. www.cambro.com

Merrychef eikon e2s The Merrychef eikon e2s is a small high-speed oven with a big cooking performance. Manufactured by Manitowoc Foodservice UK, the eikon e2s is user friendly, versatile and provides consistent levels of performance. It performs up to twenty times faster than a conventional oven and produces consistent, high-quality cooking results; delivering more delicious fresh hot food to customers. The new Merrychef eikon e2s is ideally suited for use in cafés, coffee shops, sandwich bars and delis – or any such outlet where menus, space, foot traffic or customers dictate a fast turnaround on food orders. Featuring easyTouch technology with an icon driven touch screen, the Merrychef eikon e2s is simple to operate by any member of the staff in the kitchen. A USB memory stick can be used to transfer different cooking programmes, to ensure menu consistency, especially by operators with multiple locations. www.manitowocfoodservice.com

November 2015 Catering NEWS ME



How Sugar is killing us

Dr. Graham Simpson, the Chief Medical Officer and Founder of Intelligent Health in Dubai, outlines the latest trends in nutrition.


hen you take it you feel a rush, and it won’t be long before you want more of it. That chocolate bar or soda contains large amounts of sugar that go to work on the reward centres of the brain, affecting us in the same way cocaine or nicotine would. But those good feelings come at a price, and your body won’t be thanking you for it in the end. Sugary drinks are perhaps the best example of the negative power of sugar because of the sheer amount of this “drug” they contain. A can of cola has 39 grams. And those fruit juices you find at the supermarket are for the most part just as bad (some even contain more sugar than your average soda!). Given the mindboggling amount of sugar in these beverages, a small sip is all that it takes for them to get your brain to release massive amounts of dopamine – a hormone and neurotransmitter that plays a major role in reward-motivated behavior. For this reason it is incredibly difficult to give up sugar. Which is why the average person in America consumes 59 kilograms per year. And in the UAE? The average resident consumes 103 litres (about 300 cans) of soft drinks a year.

The dangers are many

Of course none of this would matter if sugar didn’t have such a devastating effect on us. But it does. Sugar produces a large increase in insulin, contributing greatly to silent inflammation. It is therefore one of the primary causes of cardiometoblic disease and a significant contributor to the aging process. So every time you eat sugary foods, your insulin levels spike, which results in a sharp drop in blood sugar. This triggers cravings for more sugar, which leads to another spike in insulin, and so on. When this “up and down cycle” continues over time (and with the Western diet you can 54

Catering NEWS ME November 2015

About Dr. Simpson Graham Simpson, MD is chief medical officer and founder of Intelligent Health, located in Dubai, UAE. Dr. Simpson graduated from the University of the Witwatersrand Medical School in Johannesburg, South Africa, and is board certified in Internal Medicine and Emergency Medicine. Dr. Simpson is a founding member of the American Holistic Medical Association (AHMA) and is also a licensed homeopath. You can read about Dr. Simpson’s health programmess at www.intelligenthealth.ae.

bet it does) your cells lose their sensitivity to insulin, and ever-increasing levels of insulin are then needed to move glucose into cells. This is known as “insulin resistance.” What this all leads to is the breakdown of your endothelium – the single layer of cells that line your more than 50,000 miles of blood vessels. Due to the Western diet high in sugars and other bad carbs (high glycemic index foods), the silent wear and tear on our endothelium starts at a very young age. If we destroy our endothelium with the Western diet, we develop disease. And sadly we are talking about a number of deadly noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) that, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), are causing more than 60% of all deaths in GCC countries – with half of those deaths occurring in those less than 60 years of age. We are dropping dead from diabetes, heart attacks, strokes, cancer, autoimmune disease, Alzheimer’s (what some are now referring to as Type 3 diabetes) – and many other debilitating diseases – in large part because of the foods we cannot

stop eating. And we are also aging poorly. To give a single example: Those high glycemic index foods are a major reason for premature wrinkling of the skin.

What to do

Quite simply, the quality and quantity of carbohydrates you consume each day will determine the length and quality of your life. If you take your health seriously, you will cut back on them. Having worked with thousands of patients over the years I have been astonished at how quickly and significantly health can improve by limiting the amount of carbs (sugar) we consume. I have seen time and again how those suffering from diabetes, for example, can begin to reverse the disease within just 10 days. Start with a level of change you can handle and go from there. Educate yourself on the benefits of the Paleo Diet or diets that recommend foods with a low glycemic index. One of the biggest motivators will be just how quickly you see and feel improvements – literally within days of changing your eating habits for the better.


Meeting Meat Market Needs Despite the region’s production challenges and changing public sentiment, the demand for meat protein continues to grow

With limited agricultural potential due to its arid climate, the GCC has had to rely on imports to satisfy growing meat demand. In the UAE alone, around 80% of the meat consumed in the country is imported.

A rapidly growing population throughout the GCC will mean demand for protein-rich food such as meat is likely to increase, which

is the top global food trend for 2015 and beyond, according to Gulfood. The population within the GCC countries is set to exceed 50 million by 2020, a 20% increase since 2010, with rising regional affluence levels likely to result in increased demand for meat.

The Dubai food and hospitality trade exhibition predicted that "with increased quality, freshness and a demand for improved Halal

standards being of paramount importance, the regional market is vast for every player in the global meat industry".

With this region-wide growing trend, Catering News ME spoke to several meat suppliers to see how they were coping with

the increased demand.

What trends are you recording in the trade of meat within the Middle East? Murat: Customers are getting more de-

manding and asking for customised prod-

ucts and tailor made solutions. For HORECA customers, quality and traceability are very important. Even a very small problem

in quality can lead to major issues and may

harm the reputation of the customer. In this context, Banvit adds value to its HORECA

customers by providing tailor made solutions depending on their needs. Also Banvit

keeps highest standards in its production with full traceability.

Robert: Since Canada only consumes approximately half of the beef and veal it produces,

the sale of Halal beef and veal to the pre-

mium market is an excellent opportunity for excess beef and veal supplies from Canada.

The sale of middle meats still represents the

Under the Microscope JM Foods, product development chef and marketing head, Mark Taquet. JM Foods has a 30% market share of the high quality meats business for HORECA in the UAE and Oman. Banvit, General Manager, Murat Kunt. Banvit is the leading poultry processor in Turkey. Midamar, marketing and communications director, Sara Sayed. Midamar is a leading USA based Halal food brand and global supply chain management company. Canada Beef, Business Innovation Director, Robert Serapiglia. Canada Beef is the marketing arm for the Canadian Cattle and Market Development Research Council. Middle East North Africa, Meat and & Livestock Australia (MLA), International Business Manager, David Beatty. MLA has 50,000 livestock producing members.

bulk of the demand, and through industry and consumer engagement secondary cuts are growing in awareness and demand. There is rapid growth of gourmet burger outlets of which Canadian beef can provide niche market opportunities.

The Round Up app, available as a free

download from Canada Beef to smart phones

and tablets helps to simplify the complexities consumers face with selecting, handling and preparing beef cuts.

David: We are seeing solid growth of all Aus-

tralian beef and lamb categories to the Middle

East region. Some consumers are demanding

more organic and grass fed beef products and we have seen good growth in this higher end sector. Grain fed beef remains very strong

due to consistency in quality and tenderness. For both beef and lamb we have seen chefs exploring the use of different cuts such as


Catering NEWS ME November 2015

Banvit's popcorn chicken


oyster blade, brisket and beef cheek. When

JM Food's wagyu striploin

you have such a great product utilising the

whole carcass makes great sense both from a quality perspective but also financially.

Sara: Meat consumption is still on the rise in the Middle East both in food service and in

the retail market. More and more consumers are demanding organic meat and inquiring

about the source of the proteins. Another

trend is the demand for deli meats that are

minimally processed and low fat like whole muscle turkey deli meat. The meat must

be delicious and healthy. The two are not mutually exclusive. This is a growing mar-

ket that food service establishments should take notice of.�

What are the challenges you face in the Middle East region? Mark: Regulations between Middle East

at present. JM Foods offer a wide variety of

to emirate and from country to country but

fluctuations have an impact on prices which

help maintain our relationships and to in-

tions will be streamlined and have reached

countries can sometimes be tricky. Currency opens the door to competition on similar products from different parts of the world

because the market is pretty price sensitive

support services and training modules to crease business with our customers across the UAE.

We find that guidelines vary from emirate

as we draw closer to Expo 2020, UAE regula-

the same levels you would expect to find in Europe. Dubai Municipality has done a great job in recent years.


The systems put in place that every com-

pany must comply to cover every aspect in

maintaining safe transportation, receiving, storage and distribution of products but what

consumers may not know is the work that has been happening for a number of years now in countries such as Australia and Ire-

land through organisations such as MLA and

Bord Bia who have initiated a programme

called Origin Green. These initiatives have

promoted more sustainable practices for livestock production and the stringent guidelines

put in place give end consumers a healthier consistent product throughout the year.

Robert: The challenges we face in the ME

region are consistency in globally recognised Halal certifying bodies, and competition from other beef producing countries.

The regulations seem to be manageable

and reflect excellent food safety and fair trade standards. Recently, there has been an

increased emphasis placed on Halal certification criteria to ensure that animals are only fed meal protein from fish and no other animal source.

David: We have been based in and support-

ing the region for over 40 years and have

established and trusted relationships across the region. In a global market where demand for Australian beef and lamb is very strong our biggest challenges are to ensure that we can provide a supply for a very strong MENA market.

Australia has world leading quality assur-

ance and production systems with exports of beef and lamb to over 100 countries world-

wide. These world class regulated systems

allow very good access to Middle Eastern markets. From an Australian perspective our systems comply with the region’s rules and

regulations. Our Halal certification systems and associated QA have ensured that re-

cent changes to Halal certification have had

very little impact on our ability to supply this market.�

Canada beef

Sara: The biggest challenges that we and oth-

a certain government department in a coun-

are a lot of uncontrollable variables in this

ar we have invested in a local UAE office, as

Murat: Chicken is a very healthy source of

market challenges as they surface.

cio economic groups. We think that category

er companies face are environmental. There

business like increasing costs of feed due to

drought, transport costs, changes in regula-

tions per country, most recently bird flu in

market changing in the future?

such we are able to adequately manage the

protein, consumed by different age and so-

The regulations in the Middle East are

Iowa - where literally millions of turkeys and

compliant with Shariah and reasonable. They

has gone through the roof and they are very

panies to comply with. If a company wants to

chickens were destroyed. The cost of turkeys difficult for a small company to source. In in-

ternational business sometimes decisions by


Catering NEWS ME November 2015

How do you anticipate the Middle East meat

try will affect the flow of imports. At Midam-

will continue to grow.

Robert: The Middle East is a market that con-

are not over the top or too stringent for com-

tinues to grow and expand in preparation to

enter the UAE market, they must learn the

tourism and expatriate work force. Canadian

regulations and comply. It's doable.

host world events and supporting the rising

beef and veal offer premium, nice market

Midamar's beef tenderloin

Sara: We anticipate that there will be more

opportunities to differentiate from the tradi-

demand for diverse meat options like bison

tional competition through new brand messaging of the product, delivering excellence without compromise to the consumer.

Mark: Consumers seem to be moving a little more towards grass fed, free range, organic,

HGP free, antibiotic free products which is great news and, with an expected growth of

“Having been awarded the World Expo 2020 the UAE’s already fast-growing sector is expanding even more rapidly”

at least 20-30% in the coming years, it is vital

David Beatty

people in place to maintain consistency and

new hotels due to be completed by the end

a grain or grass fed product – both of which

200 million passengers per year through its

that companies have the correct systems and

quality and also to educate on the benefits of are of the highest quality and healthy if con-

of the decade. The aim for Dubai is to have airports. Other opportunities include a po-

sumed in moderation. Lastly, the continued

tential to further develop the utilisation of

deliver the best quality product day in day

cooking methods for different cuts enabling

commitment of the producers to ensure we out throughout the year.

David: Having been awarded the World Expo

2020 the UAE’s already fast-growing sector is expanding even more rapidly, with over 100

less traditional cuts. Demonstrating different full carcass utilisation will allow the foodser-

vice and consumer sector to benefit from ob-

taining quality Australian meat from a range of price categories.

and buffalo. This market is unique in that you have a thriving hospitality sector and a

varied consumer market that is aware of op-

tions and willing to pay for what it wants. No company can be all things to all people. The Middle Eastern market will continue to grow in population and diversity. At Midamar for example, we have Midwestern grass

and corn fed cattle. It has a unique marbling

and flavour, and there is a niche market in

the Middle East that demands this flavour

profile. Similarly there is a market for hick-

ory smoked breakfast beef strips and a different market for turkey strips. In the UAE

and other Gulf States this poses a challenge to the hospitality industry. Just look at the breakfast menus and buffets at 5-star hotels

– they have to cater to breakfast needs from laban to kimchi to turkey strips and ancho-

November 2015 Catering NEWS ME


Take a


Tall order for Tea Time TWG Tea has unveiled the new Burj Khalifa Haute Couture Tea in celebration of Dubai’s most iconic and the world’s tallest building.

Created with the finest silver tips of Yin

Zhen or ‘silver needles’, the world’s rarest

and most sought-after variety of white tea,

this exceptional white tea is blended with rare sweet mints and fragrant orange blossoms and yields a honeyed infusion.

Coffee exports to Arab region reach record high

Taha Bouqdib, president, CEO and co-

founder of TWG Tea, said: “Burj Khalifa is truly a monumental achievement, the ex-

pression of UAE’s leading position in the

world today and the reflection of a constantly changing and evolving world around us. As

the most luxurious tea brand, carrying the largest tea selection in the UAE and globally,

this collaboration inspires TWG Tea to keep innovating and bringing the tea industry to new heights.”

The Burj Khalifa Haute Couture Tea retails

at AED 175 and is available exclusively at all

TWG Tea Salon and Boutiques in Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

According to statistics released by the Bra-

export revenues at $451.7 million. Over-

there was a noticeable rise in coffee exports

shipped abroad.

zilian Coffee Exporters Council (Cecafé) from Brazil to the Arab World, amounting to

all, 23.4 million bags of coffee have been Dr. Michel Alaby, secretary general and

$134.5 million, in the period between January

CEO, Arab Brazilian Chamber of Commerce,

The substantial numbers represent a 4.67%

tween Brazil and the Arab World is a strong

and August of this year.

increase compared to exports from the previ-

ous year, highlighting the rapidly expanding trade relations between the two regions.

The positive trend has impacted many

facets of Arab-Brazilian trade relations. To-

tal exports from Brazil have reached $4.087

said: “The increasing number of exports beindicator of the dynamic and rapidly evolv-

ing trade relations between the two parties. We remain committed to cultivating and strengthening the communication channels between Brazil and the Arab World.”

Region-wise, Europe was the leading des-

International Coffee Day at RAW Coffee Company October 1st was International Coffee Day

and RAW Coffee Company celebrated with free coffee.

RAW customers who brought someone

new to The RAW Roastery for a coffee got their coffee for free!

This special deal ran all day, on all the

billion so far, up 1% over the first eight

tination of Brazilian coffee exports from Janu-

usual coffees available at RAW, including

of slowing down, with August recording

America, Asia and South America.

ible zesty cold brew and tonic.

months of 2014. The numbers show no sign


Catering NEWS ME November 2015

ary to August of 2015, followed by North

Yemeni Turkish Style coffee and an incred-

Pixie Clips machine Embracing the trend of personalisation, Nespresso has launched the new Pixie Clips machine, which features exchangeable side panels that mean you can adapt your machine to suit your style or the latest design trends. With a simple clipping system, changing the style of the machine couldn’t be easier. Choose from an extensive range of interchangeable covers and reinvent your machine and give it a new look as quickly as you would change clothes. The newest Pixie machine has an extensive range of side panels so you can personalise the design, and it comes complete with two pairs of exchangeable clips. The exchangeable side panels will be available from nespresso. com or from your local boutique.

Support the Talok Women’s Coffee Association in Yemen Visit Mokha 1450 Specialty Coffee Boutique on 14 November to discover Yemeni coffee and support the Talok Women's Coffee Association (TWCA) in Yemen. In accordance with Mokha 1450’s corporate social responsibility mandate and in an effort to expand the TWCA's share of the benefits in the coffee value chain, Mokha 1450 are inviting all customers, old and new, to show their support for the female farmers by attending a special event at their boutique on Al Wasl Road in Dubai. Sourced directly from the cooperative of Yemeni female farmers, the TWCA, Yemeni Sabree is the founding coffee of Mokha 1450. The women of the TWCA have been badly affected by the current troubles in Yemen, and their nursery was recently destroyed. The event will emphasise Mokha’s wonderful, bestselling Yemeni Sabree coffee from the TWCA, highlight the history of the coffee, and allow guests to contribute to the TWCA book of support. A limited edition Talok Sabree Coffee Box Set will also be available for purchase at the event, the proceeds of which will go directly to support the female farmers. The event is running all day on November 14th, from 8am to 11pm and is free to attend.

November 2015 Catering NEWS ME


Final Thought




Family comes first at Sheraton Abu Dhabi

Hotel & Resort as La Mamma restaurant has just introduced a new concept called Pizza

Bambini. Children can now decorate their own pizza for AED 45 net while the grown-ups get to enjoy authentic Italian flavours. The Pizza Bambini concept is simple. While the adults

order their favourite Italian dishes, the children will receive pizza dough rolled out on a special tray. Choosing from a selection of their favou-

NOPI: The Cookbook by Yotam Ottolenghi

rite cheese, vegetable and meat toppings, the

wannabe chefs can get creative designing their

A colourful collection of 120 new recipes

own pizza. On request, gluten free dough is

from Yotam Ottolenghi's restaurant in London. In collaboration with Nopi's head chef

also available for guests with wheat allergy. To celebrate the launch, the restaurant is running

“We must be in constant contact with the market, not looking for the cheapest ingredients but value for money ingredients and being flexible in the foods and cuts available” Head chef Anthony Rattigan, Hyatt Place Dubai

a competition until the 31 December 2015. If

guests share their Pizza Bambini experience on social media using the #pizzabambini hashtag, they are in the running to win catering for

their child’s next birthday party at their own

Ramael Scully, Yotam's journey from the Middle East to the Far East is one of big and bold flavours, with some personal twists thrown in. Pandan leaves meet pomegranate seeds,

star anise meets sumac, and miso meets molasses in this collection.

home – all provided by Sheraton Abu Dhabi’s banqueting team.

THE BIG BITE Last month the Butcher Shop and Grill hosted its first giant burger eating competition.

Winners from all over Dubai were selected on air from

Channel 4 Radio and Al Rabia Radio to compete against

each other in an intense, neck-in-neck race to finish eating one kilogram worth of food. The

extra-large half kilo burger was served with a side of fries, onion rings and coleslaw, which made

this challenge a truly huge feat. The winner was awarded vouchers to dine-in at Butcher Shop and Grill or to use at their in store Butchery for one year!

Immersed - The Definitive Guide to Sous Vide Cooking by Philip Preston Philip Preston's Immersed makes learning


about Sous Vide cooking easy for anyone, addressing all key aspects of this cooking style

including safety, equipment and best practices,

with 65 unique recipes. The book includes con-

tributions from Wylie Dufresne, Johnny Iuzzini, Bruno Goussault, Thomas Keller, Nick Koko-

nas, Nathan Myhrvold, Chris Young and other top chefs, restaurateurs and culinary experts. You can get this Sous Vide book, priced at

$39.99, for FREE! Send through your favourite As a company is only as strong as its employ-

Dubai, during the past years the company

tor to keep its staff happy. After several other

CEO, Mirco Beutler, decided that to celebrate

ees, MGK believes in a high entertainment facevents, like fun in UAE’s biggest waterparks, trampoline jumping and boat trips through


Catering NEWS ME November 2015

would push its staff to their limits. MGK’s

his birthday his entire team would do a tandem parachute jump at Skydive Dubai.

sous vide technique with three high resolution

images to info@muddle-me.com and check out

the Muddle Me website to see if your entry was

posted. If you’re one of the winners you will get the book for free! This promo is valid for UAE residents only and while stocks last.

Comprehensive Menu. Gourmet Lunch. One Source.

Butter Croissant (Bridor) Pain Au Chocolat (Bridor) Pain Aux Raisins (Bridor)

Sparkling Mineral Water (S.Pellegrino) Still Mineral Water (Acqua Panna) Still Mineral Water (Sohat) Sanpellegrino Sparkling Fruit Beverages

Brownie Heaven Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake (Sweet Street)

Waffles Waffles (Carbon‘s Golden Malted) Butter (Bridel)

Grilled Rib-Eye Steak Rib-Eye (ULSA) Beef Stock (Maggi) Potato Cubes (La mbWeston)

Grilled Salmon with Olive Oil and Lemon Filet Mignon with Asparagus Tenderloin (Stanbroke) Demi Glace (Maggi) Mashed Potato (La mbWeston)

Salmon (SEACREST) Basmati Rice (Tilda) Virgin Olive Oil (Chefmate)

T: +971 4 340 3330 F: +971 4 340 3222 marketing@horecatrade.ae www.horecatrade.com Order Online Now at shop.horecatrade.com & double your HORECA Rewards points

Profile for BNC Publishing

Catering News ME - November 2015  

Catering News ME - November 2015