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Out the

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

All the action from the Leaders in F&B Awards 2017

Introducing 1765 Gemini ‘At The Bar’

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

November 2017 // Issue #034






What's Cooking?


Chef Focus

Spill the beans

12 //

WHAT’S COOKING? Chefs sign up for Taste of Abu Dhabi; McGettigan’s opens in JBR Walk; Greenhouse Foodstuff leads way with foodbank efforts

18 //

TALENT Martin Cahill, executive chef Dukes Dubai, reveals his recipe for success

24 //

COVER STORY The winners of the eagerly awaited Leaders in Food & Beverage Awards

38 //

CHEF FOCUS Lucas Adrian Farias talks about bringing native flavours to new markets and creating the best restaurant in Jeddah.

42 //

SAY CHEESE We visit the cheese-making regions of the east of France to explore the traditions, techniques and talent behind some of the country’s best-loved varieties

November 2017 Catering NEWS ME


November 2017 // Issue #034

Contents 48 //

Managing Director Walid Zok

POLE POSITION Catering for the F1 Grand Prix in Abu Dhabi

56 //

FREEZED TO MEET YOU Suppliers talk about the latest developments in the frozen food sector

Director Rabih Najm CEO Wissam Younane Group Commercial Director Fred Dubery


Editor Patrick Ryan

50 Special Feature

Event preview

Sales Manager James Stead Contributor

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

Hayder Al-Zuhairi


SUBSCRIBE PO Box 502511 Dubai, United Arab Emirates P +971 4 4200 506 | F +971 4 4200 196

Products For all commercial enquiries related to Catering News ME contact T +971 50 55 97339





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


Catering NEWS ME November 2017

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E ditor's L etter

patrick ryan Editor @ThatPaddyRyan

a night to Remember

orgive me if this goes astray but it has taken me some time to get over the Leaders in Food and Business Awards. There are great nights and then there are GREAT nights. There wasn’t an empty seat in sight as the key players in the sector battled it out at an event that highlighted everything that’s great about this industry. There is no doubting our winners were well deserved but, equally, it cannot be denied that in any other year the runners-up might well have swapped places with the winners such was the ridiculously high standard of those shortlisted. BNC Publishing is renowned for putting on great events, nothing less will do if you want to be taken seriously in this sector, but none of it would have been possible without your support - so we thank you all! You can read all about it in our awards special in this very issue. If you didn’t make it on the night at least you will get a flavour of a night that will be long remembered. That’s not the only thing we’ve got going on in this issue as we take a look at the French cheese industry. In one of her final assignments with Catering News Middle East, former editor Crystal Chesters took a trip to the cheese-region in the east of France (some assignments

are admittedly tougher than others). It’s a great piece that shines a light on a section of our industry that is ever-increasing. The Middle East has quickly become of the biggest importers of French cheese across the world and that’s unlikely to change anytime soon. In the same issue we are in pole position to take a look at how the big F1 Grand Prix in Abu Dhabi later this month is catered for. This is an event that has captured the imagination of the entire world and it comes as little surprise to learn that the region’s catering industry is, once again, very much at the heart of it. We also catch up with Kutlu Kaan Haliloglu, managing director, UAE and Oman – Talabat, who spills the beans on how his company has helped transform the landscape in the UAE when it comes to the delivery of food. It’s an eventful issue but would you really expect anything else in a sector that redefines the meaning of ‘eventful’? It’s time for me to take my leave and let you get on with enjoying the issue. Until next month… Kind regards, Patrick Ryan

Social Media /Cateringnewsme


Catering NEWS ME November 2017



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W hat's cooking?

W hat's cooking?

P12: On board for Taste of Abu Dhabi // P14: Plaj opens at Jumeirah Zabeel Saray // P15: New McGettigan's in JBR // For all the latest News, Visit

What's cooking?

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Apéritif à la française returns

Apéritif à la française returns to Dubai Mina Seyahi Beach Resort & Marina on November 18. Those with a penchant for all things French can savour authentic foods from leading exporters, including dairy products from Brittany-based specialist Payson Breton; goat cheese by Soignon; milk products by Régilait and gourmet recipes by Maille the mustard & vinegar expert. For those with a sweet tooth, French Bakery and La 12

Catering NEWS ME November 2017

Patisserie des Reves will bake traditional pastries, including crêpe suzette, macarons and mille-feuille. Alix Collache, project manager for Sopexa said: “We’re extremely excited about hosting the fourth edition of Apéritif à la française. Last year we welcomed over 4,000 visitors with everyone taking the opportunity to enjoy some wonderful food and soak up the party atmosphere. Our line-up

has once again expanded so there’s even more choice and more fun for all the family. “The event takes place from noon to 10pm, with some of France’s most iconic exports on show. Visitors will be able to enjoy several mouth-watering live food stations with specialities including cheese platters, oysters, cold cuts and a barbecue.” Organised by Sopexa, the International food and lifestyle Marketing Group,

and supported by the French Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Forestry, Apéritif à la Française aims to recreate the French lifestyle for international audiences while raising awareness of the diversity of French products. Launched in 2004, Apéritif à la Française takes place in five leading cities around the world: Tokyo, Copenhagen, Montreal, Hong Kong and Dubai.

Wh at' s c ook i n g?

New opening

Fumo Lounge opens in Dubai

True and genuine French excellence in bakery

Amwaj Rotana Jumeirah Beach – Dubai has launched its brand new lounge, an extension of the Italian restaurant Rosso. A spokesperson said the newest addition to Amwaj Rotana, Fumo Lounge, will bring together the best of the hotel’s signature restaurants. Commenting on the new lounge, Mark Deere, the hotel’s general manager said: “With the addition of Fumo Lounge by Rosso, we have successfully been able to diversify the type of restaurants we offer as well

as reinforce the strong brand that our popular Italian restaurant, Rosso, currently enjoys in the market.” The menu was designed based on the idea of sharing concepts in a casual setting. Guests can enjoy sushi and new style sashimi from Benihana, Lebanese dishes with a modern twist, wood-fired flatbreads from the host kitchen, Rosso. The spokesperson added that the design of Fumo lounge is laid back chic with an Arabesque feel.

r m o ra i s @ g ro u p e l e d u ff. c o m

November 2017 Catering NEWS ME


W hat 's cooking?


New Opening

On board for Taste of Abu Dhabi

A total of seven Michelin star chefs will be making an appearance at this year’s Taste of Abu Dhabi event – including Chef Richard Sandoval of Toro Toro. He will be joined by six Michelin starred chefs from Italy at the Extraordinary Italian Taste Pavilion, a new dedicated area showcasing live demonstrations from Italian food artisans including fresh pasta makers, an acrobatic pizza chef, burrata making, lemon sorbet production and more. There will be the chance to learn from the masters Tony Lo Coco, Rosanna Marziale, Errico Recanati, Paolo Gramaglia, William Zonfa and Nicola Fossaceca, as they cajole your Italian taste buds. Taste of Abu Dhabi will also for the first time have a Golden Circle in front of the main stage exclusively for VIP and Premier ticket holders on the Thursday evening when Tony Hadley performs all his classic songs. There are back-toback live music performances from other local artists like Jaye & Foe, Mark Zitti and the Fratelli Coltelli, DJ Krish and many more. Last but not the least, guests can meet celebrity chefs Jenny Morris, Reza Mahammad, Sanjeev Kapoor and Shelina 14

Catering NEWS ME November 2017

Steigenberger reveals the secret

Permalloo whilst experiencing some of the most loved restaurants from the capital as they serve a delectable array of signature dishes. Restaurants include – Sho Cho, Flooka, Desert Lotus, The Grill, Bu!, Melius, Toro Toro, Hickory’s, Loca, Leopold’s of London, Original Fusion, Cafe Sushi and many more. The event takes place from 9-11 November at Yas Island’s Du Arena.

Steigenberger Hotel Business Bay has opened its doors to a brand new venue – The Secret Terrace. The Secret Terrace officially launched last Wednesday night bringing in Dubai’s A-listers, social influencers, VIP guests, leading media as well as beauty brand partners Blissology, Phemke and Solo Tre Salon as well as Laura Mercier. Stephen Meredith, general manager, said: “I am thrilled

Need better coffee? Coffee Planet was born in Arabia and our goal is to help people experience the finest global Arabica coffee. We have been supplying to customers in foodservice, retail and business across the Middle East and beyond since 2005. Producing quality coffee is our number one priority, which is why we have established and maintained excellent relationships with the best coffee producers from around the world. We roast green beans in our UAE roastery, creating our own whole bean, ground and capsule coffee. We can provide everything to create great coffee including a range of market-leading coffee machines and equipment, all coffee related consumables and training for staff as well as machine servicing and maintenance. Above all, we deliver a seamless and 360 degree approach to coffee solutions to ensure customers always receive the highest quality coffee they come to know and expect. Talk to us today: T: +971 4 341 5537

with the overwhelming support we’ve received for The Backyard. We wanted to come up with something new in the ever changing culinary landscape of Dubai. “This is no ordinary place – sometimes you just want to sit and enjoy a nice evening out without too much noise. That’s how the Secret Terrace was born, and we can’t wait to get started.” Matching the venue’s warm and welcoming feel, the task of creating exciting drinks and eats on launch night fell to Thai Master Chef Khun Anan, who launched his Steigenberger career with Thai street-food style menu of small bites, passarounds and sharing platters.

Wh at' s c ook i n g?

New Opening

Plaj opens at Jumeirah Zabeel Saray The Jumeirah Group has announced the opening of Plaj, a beachside restaurant at Dubai’s Jumeirah Zabeel Saray resort. “With an a la carte menu of over 35 new delicacies, Plaj has also introduced unique offerings that include hand tossed sour dough pizzas prepared in a wood fire oven, and more,” said a spokesperson for the group. “From the delectable BlowTorched Tiger Prawns to the succulent Herb Crusted Rack of Lamb, al fresco diners are in for a gastronomic delight.” The restaurant is part of the Jumeirah Group, the global luxury hotel company and a member of Dubai Holding, which operates a worldrenowned portfolio of hotels and resorts including the flagship Burj Al Arab Jumeirah.

November 2017 Catering NEWS ME


W hat's cooking?

New Opening

McGettigan’s opens on JBR Walk

Irish pub and restaurant chain McGettigan’s has opened its latest branch at the Hilton Dubai Jumeirah on JBR Walk. McGettigan’s JBR is the fifth location for the chain in Dubai. Marion Sheridon, manager of McGettigan’s JBR who has moved to the emirate from her home town of Galway to ensure authenticity in the new

venue, said: “It’s been a long time coming but as the Irish saying goes – good things really do come to those who wait!" She said that McGettigan’s has been the go-to name for live sport, great food and top drink offers in Dubai for nearly seven years. “We expect our new venue in the Hilton Dubai Jumeirah to


continue that legacy. Throw in our unique McGettigan’s location of being right by the beach and it’s a winning formula!” she said. “There’s still plenty more to come during the opening period and beyond. Coming from Galway three months ago, I brought with me special Guinness tubes for the pumps to

ensure the quality of the liquid is as true as it is in Ireland, so customers who like a pint of the black stuff are really in for a treat!” Sheridon said that live music nights, a monthly pub golf themed evening and a competition to find the biggest McGettigan’s fans in Dubai will all follow later in the year.

Time Hotel completes 300km trek for charity Staff from UAE-based Time Hotels, have completed a 300km trek in aid of breast cancer awareness. A group of 100 team members, ranging from managers and executives, through to front of house employees, took part in the challenge around the promenade at Dubai Marina. Eddie Ignatius, corporate director of Innovation & Quality, said: “There was a great turnout from our team who each walked 3.4km from one end


Catering NEWS ME November 2017

of Dubai Marina to the other, totalling 329.8km for the Time Hotels contingent, taking just under two hours.” Time Hotels’ portfolio includes hotels, hotel apartments and residences in the UAE including its flagship property, the 216-room Time Oak Hotel & Suites located in the popular Barsha Heights of Dubai, and the 232-room Time Grand Plaza Hotel, which is situated close to Dubai International Airport and central Sharjah.

Wh at' s c ook i n g?


Greenhouse Foodstuff flies flag for food bank efforts

The second operational site of the UAE Food Bank has been launched at Al Bada area near Canadian University under the patronage of Easa Saleh Al Gurg Charity Foundation. The UAE Food Bank also signed cooperation agreements with a number of charity organisations and 13 foodstuff companies with Greenhouse Foodstuff Trading being among them. Greenhouse general manager – Daniel Chidiac said: “We are very proud and honored to be part of the UAE food bank initiative. This project is in line with the company’s mission to participate in sustainability and always bring the best to the

community in which we live.” Greenhouse’s involvement includes offering food products to the UAE food bank which in return will collect, sort, re-pack food within the approved safety standards. This will be done at the UAE food bank’s sites branches and by volunteers. The amount of food distributed through charities since the start of the bank was about 135,795 Kg, of which 68,175 Kg was through Tarahim Association, 53,415 Kg through Ehsan charity, 8,625 Kg through Dar Al Ber Society, 2,850 Kg through Bait Al khair, and 2,730 Kg through Dubai Charity Association.

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November 2017 Catering NEWS ME



Chef puts up the Dukes

Martin Cahill, executive chef Dukes Dubai, reveals his recipe for success to Catering News Middle East

Work Experience October 2015 - Present: Executive Chef, DUKES Dubai May 2014 - October 201 5: Executive Chef, Mandarin Oriental, Taipei January 2013 - May 201 4: Executive Chef, The Excelsior Hotel, Hon g Kong

pact social media has had on the food scene where customers are not as easily wowed as they were previously, as a result chefs must be even more creative.

What is the best aspect of your role?

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

I started off washing pots and pans in my local hotel in Bolton in the UK and then moved on to commis chef and climbed the ladder over the years.

Who has inspired you most in your career?

I’ve learned various things from every head chef and executive chef I have worked with in every country, everything from having the right attitude and creativity, to skills and techniques and managing large kitchen brigades. 18

Catering NEWS ME November 2017

How do you view the F&B scene in the region?

In Dubai there are so many food and beverage options. There are only a few cities in the world where trends are set; London, Paris, New York, Asia, Tokyo and Dubai runs along with them. Food trucks are now popular over here, so the options for food and beverage are huge, and the market is becoming more and more competitive.

What is the biggest challenge of your role?

I would say the biggest challenge is the im-

The best aspect would have to be the fact that this is such a multicultural environment with a dynamic team and our guest profile is so diverse. Another perk is getting to work with so many new and interesting Arabic ingredients.

If you could work in any restaurant in the world - which would it be?

French Laundry in Napa Valley California alongside Thomas Keller.

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

I interview everyone because I can train skills but I want to get the character right and I look for positive people. I would urge any new starters to stick to the basics, listen, focus on learning your techniques, and for the first five years work very, very hard.

Tale n t

Rational shakes up the market

Rational has launched three new products that they are confident are going to shake up the market in the Middle East, Catering News Middle East spoke to the firm’s managing director Simon Parke-Davis to find out more…

What is about your new product that sets it aside from others that are already on the market here?

The five new products we have launched in the last 12 months are the new SelfCookingCenter and SelfCookingCenter XS 2/3GN, the CombiMaster Plus and CombiMaster Plus XS 2/3GN now with automatic cleaning as standard, the Rational VarioCooking Center multifunctional appliance and the latest incarnation of our cloud based ConnectedCooking 2.0. With these products we can not only deliver the highest product quality, fastest ROI and most flexible kitchen, but also the safest, easiest and reliable support to deliver perfect cooking results and savings for our customers and their customer delivering on our promise of maximum “customer benefit”. With great power, reliability and performance we are able to deliver perfect food items from 100% of all cuisines, but also delicate and sensitive products too, such as desserts and bakery items. These can all be checked remotely using the ConnectedCooking 2.0 app on iOS, Android or the web from anywhere in the world. Showing you hygiene, operation, HACCP, access to 10,000 recipes and service reports or error notifications keeping you informed and up to speed on your business and your appliances wherever they may be and wherever you may be.

How does it fit in with the ethos of Rational?

Rational is dedicated to delivering customer benefit as a top priority. We offer maximum possible benefits to people who prepare hot food in large and commercial kitchens. Thus doing so we wish never to be beaten and therefore develop new products and tools or platforms to assist our customers in satisfying their daily needs and striving for excellence, always improving. To do this we chose three main points focus, specialisation and our employees to assist in this vision.

Convotherm 4 Your cooking results in focus The legend lives on! Ultimate in even cooking with results always optimised to your requirements – the new Advanced Closed System+ with:

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Crisp&Tasty – 5 levels of moisture removal Fan speeds – 5 levels provided BakePro – Traditional baking function in 5 stages HumidityPro – 5 moisture-level settings

What are the advantages and disadvantages of operating to such an extent in the Middle Eastern region?

We never find or look for disadvantages in our markets, we look at these as more of an opportunity perspective or learning curve to better enhance the product and processes we have available to have a stronger and more sustainable relationships with both our customers and the intermediaries we support. Together we become stronger and more successful and faster at adapting to the market’s needs.

November 2017 Catering NEWS ME



Creating a better workplace for caterers

Michel Bayoud, founder and CEO of Boecker World Holding explains how occupational health and safety is key to the catering industry


Catering NEWS ME November 2017

n the catering industry, stringent food safety standards and strict hygiene regulations have been established to ensure that food prepared and sold is safe for consumption. On the same level, occupational health and safety is important. Health and safety is one of the most serious concerns in the catering sector, as caterers encounter various types of hazards during food preparation process. Some of the major incidents encountered in the catering business are as follows: Fire risks, occupational disease, slicing and grinding machines, use of knives, exposure to heat and humidity, the use of gas and the handling of chemical substances. these are risks that employers must investigate and put in place preventive measures to ensure safety of their assets. All employees must be well trained and aware of the hazards surrounding them and implement protective actions. Implementing occupational health and safety standards will help to monitor accidents risks and reduce insurance premiums, as well as the costs of accidents such as sick pay, production delays or equipment repairs. It will also improve the staff productivity and reduce pain and physical discomfort. With this in mind, Boecker has devel-

oped an Occupational Health and Safety (OHS Lite) certification programme. An internationally accredited certification by the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH) – UK - it assists in integrating a positive safety culture in addition to managing and controlling risks and hazards at the premises all year round. Furthermore, high level technical training is conducted for the working staff that is approved by the KHDA - Knowledge and Human Development Authority. The programme enables catering companies to achieve a consistent standard of occupational health and safety in their premises as well as protect employees and workers from any harm at work. Throughout the OHS Lite, Boecker consultants will monitor the practical implementation of the health and safety standards on site, to assure compliance with international and local standards and review the effectiveness of the existing safety management system. Providing all necessary resources and time to ensure that a safety plan is implemented and that appropriate standards are put in place and reviewed regularly will allow Health and Safety targets to be carried out to continually improve catering companies’ performance.

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Saudi goes wild for donuts

Vishal Pandey, director, looks at how Saudi Arabia has embraced donuts…

Bread is a staple food in Saudi Arabia, and baked foods remain a favorite among all age groups. Coffee represents a symbol of hospitality in the country”.


Catering NEWS ME November 2017

akery products account for the biggest share of the Saudi Arabia fast food market, fuelled by increasing urbanisation and youth population. Donuts are now among Saudi Arabia’s favorite indulgent treats making their way into cafés and bakeries, together with an increasing presence of international donut chains across the country. The surge in popularity of this confectionery product can be attributed to factors such as globalisation in the Saudi F&B industry, urbanisation and youth consumption preferences. A recent market study conducted by Glasgow Consulting Group, indicates that quick service restaurants (QSR) continue to dominate Saudi Arabia’s F&B industry, which is expected to grow at a CAGR of 8.7% annually and reach USD18.2 billion by the end of 2020. As consumers in Saudi Arabia show increased preference for fast foods over full-service restaurants, quick service restaurants now constitute almost half of Saudi Arabia’s F&B market, followed by cafés at over 30%. Within the QSR industry, bakery products account for the biggest share of the fast food market at 31%, followed by burgers at 26%. Cafés constitute the fastest growing segment in the Saudi F&B industry at 18%, driven by changing lifestyles and increasing coffee consumption and number of café outlets owing to Saudi nationals’ high preference for European-style cafes. The country’s café market expanded from USD2.4 million in 2010 to USD 3.9 billion in 2015. Emerging trends in the QSR/café market include changes in food and dietary preferences from Arabic cuisines to international flavors, increase in demand for takeaway and drive-through services with increase in the youth population and female employment. To understand these growing trends, one need only look at Saudi Arabia’s demographics and food consumption patterns. Bread is a staple food in Saudi Arabia, and baked foods remain a favorite among all age groups. Coffee represents a symbol of hospitality

in the country. These cultures combined with a preference for eating out have led to the success of bakeries and cafés. The majority of Saudi Arabia’s population is in the age group of 0–14 years (26.6%) and 30–44 years (27.7%), owing to a higher number of young adults and working professionals across the country, which include the increasing number of women joining the workforce. By 2030, about one-third of the population is expected to be in the age group of 20–39 years. For the QSR café market, this is the target consumer group as they are living a fastpaced life, with less time available for cooking. The QSR café market has four major target segments – students, working professionals, community group, and tourists. The target segment is generally people who do spend some amount of their leisure time with friends and family at some restaurant or café. Students in Saudi Arabia do not have many options for recreation, so they often visit cafés and restaurants. Working professionals are mostly busy with work and do not have much time to prepare food. They often order food or visit restaurants and cafes. There is a lack of entertainment options for people to gather with friends or family in Saudi Arabia. As a result, residents and tourist visit restaurants and cafés for relaxing and socialising with friends and family. So how has the donut found its niche among the sandwich, croissant, muffin, pastry, and cookie, all accessible to the same consumer segments? Firstly, donut and bakery products are demanded mostly by male and female consumers in the age group of 8–40, particularly teenagers, students and working professionals who either cannot find time to prepare food or places other than restaurants to socialise. Secondly, the healthy eating trend, as big as it might be, has not affected the indulgence factor of donuts. The variety of flavours and ability to pair them with hot and cold beverages alike have only boosted the appeal of donuts for breakfast and as a snack.

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C ov er story

The winners of the eagerly awaited Leaders in Food & beverage Awards 2017 were announced on Monday 30 October, at a gala ceremony at the Westin Mina Seyahi Dubai ighteen winners took home awards including Leading F&B Heavyweight and the Chef of the Year. Praising the high standards set by this year’s winners, as well as the shortlisted entries, BNC Publishing CEO Wissam Younane said: “For an event centered on recognising the MENA region’s Leaders in Food and Beverage, it was an honour for us at Catering News Middle East to be able to 24

Catering NEWS ME November 2017

host some of the finest names in this industry at The Westin Mina Seyahi Dubai. “With more than 400 people in attendance, this year’s Awards were a celebration of the excellent work being done in this dynamic sector and it is a privilege to be able to shine a light on the fantastic talent and personalities that make up the food and beverage industry here.” Among the plethora of categories up for grabs were F& B Heavyweight of the Year,

Chef of the Year, Nightlife Venue of the Year, F&B Investor of the Year and Disruptor of the Year. The event, which is now regarded as a highlight of the F&B industry calendar, would not have been possible without the key sponsors and allies of BNC Publishing. These include Du, Zomato, Boecker, 1765 Gemini, TSSC, Al Rawdah Poultry, Operation Falafel and Sopexa.

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Healthy Restaurant Award Winner: Flow, Jumeirah Emirates Towers Runner-up: Slices School Food Experts Leading Homegrown Restaurant Brand Winner: Tresind Runner-up: Okku Dubai Disruptor of the Year: Winner: Chef Xchange Runner-up: Sugarmoo Desserts Newcomer of the Year: Winner: Folly by Nick & Scott Runner-up: Lucky Voice Best Interior award Winner: Buddha Bar, Grosvenor House Runner-up: Carnival by Tresind Leading casual dining restaurant Winner: Clinton Street Baking Company Runner-up: Couqley The Leading Fine Dining Restaurant Winner: La Cantine Du Faubourg Runner-up: Indego by Vineet Leading Nightlife Venue Award Winner: Lock, Stock & Barrel Runner-up: Boa Bar & Lounge Leading F&B Director Winner: Marco Rosado, Atlantis The Palm Runner-up: Pieter Liebenberg, Radisson Blu Dubai Deira Creek

Chef of the Year Winner: Nicolas Smalberger, JA Resorts & Hotels Runner-up: Colin Clague, Ruya Dubai Pastry Chef of the Year Winner: Ryan Harris, Demoiselle by Galvin & Galvin Dubai Runner-up: Martua Sakti, Kempinski Mall of the Emirates Leading F&B Investor Winner: Turab Saleem, owner and founder, Perfetti & Toro Toro Runner-up: Manhal Nasser, co-founder & CEO, AWJ Investments Young F&B Leader Award Winner: Karolina Graham, Solutions Leisure Group Runner-up: Tim Groeneweg, JW Marriott Marquis F&B Heavyweight Winner: Paul Evans, CEO, Solutions Leisure Group Runner-up: Emma Banks, GM, Jumeirah Restaurant Group Restaurateur of the Year Winner: Bhupender Nath, CEO and MD, Passion F&B Management Runner-up: Natasha Sideris, managing executive, Tashas restaurants Bartender of the Year Winner: Nikola Pulcheski, Pure Sky Lounge, Hilton Dubai The Walk Runner-up: Raven Rudolph, Folly by Nick & Scott Best Service Team Winner: Jodhpur Royal Dining Runner-up: Catering & Events Service Team, Jumeirah Beach Hotel


Sustainable Restaurant Award Winner: The Copper Lobster, Fairmont Fujairah Beach Resort Runner-up: Skye & Walker, Marriott Executive Apartments Dubai Creek

Now quality has a number. La signature France Bon Appétit Une identité forte, cohérente et gourmande JANVIER 2015

November 2017 Catering NEWS ME


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Catering NEWS ME November 2017


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Now quality has a number. La signature France Bon Appétit Une identité forte, cohérente et gourmande JANVIER 2015

November 2017 Catering NEWS ME


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Sustainable Restaurant Award Winner: The Copper Lobster, Fairmont Fujairah Beach Resort The judges were impressed how this evening sea grill brings locally sourced food and a new gastro bar concept to the market here in the UAE with a raw, relaxing and rustic atmosphere. It feels amazing to win and it’s down to great team work – the chef is always looking around for new opportunities to do things which haven’t been done before. We’re continuing to expand and do more with the local communities around us” Heinz Giering, director, food and beverage Fairmont Fujairah Beach Resort

Healthy Restaurant Award Winner: Flow, Jumeirah Emirates Towers The judges commended Flow for being developed and nurtured by Jumeirah Restaurant group with a strong ethos on healthy living among the youth community. We feel amazing. There was a lot of hard work that went behind this concept. It’s a healthy concept and we are always trying to deliver to meet everybody’s expectations. All of our efforts have paid off” Spokesperson for Flow Jumeirah Emirates Towers


Catering NEWS ME November 2017

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Leading Homegrown Restaurant Brand

Winner: Tresind Trésind, Dubai was chosen for being a progressive fine dining concept that serves an astute translation of authentic Indian cuisine.

We’re super excited! Tresind is a homegrown brand, and our hardwork has paid off. And we plan to continue this hardwork for even better results” Tresind owner Bhupender Nath

Disruptor of the Year Winner: Chef Xchange ChefXChange impressed for being an online marketplace connecting culinary talents with foodies looking for any type of culinary experiences ranging from private chefs to cooking classes, restaurant consultancies and corporate events. It’s a great recognition of all the work we’ve been putting in over the last two and a half years. The secret is perseverance, perseverance, perseverance! We have had to educate the market really hard about what we do and it is starting to pay off” Karl Naim, co-founder and CEO ChefXChange

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Newcomer of the Year Winner: Folly by Nick & Scott The judges couldn’t help but be thrilled at how Folly by Nick & Scott created a relaxed place with a true focus and understanding of great food and friendly hospitality that could be easily frequented several times a week or month. We are very happy. Our authenticity speaks for us. We are always trying to do something different. What we do, you can’t get anywhere else in Dubai. Our focus on fresh food, great service and ambience makes us stands out” Folly by Nick & Scott spokesperson

Best Interior award

Winner: Buddha Bar, Grosvenor House Creating an atmosphere that reflects the concept perfectly in terms of price point, target market and food and beverage offer was what swayed the judges here. This award, of course, is truly deserved by the designer Pia Sen from LW Design, who designed the original Buddha Bar 11 years back, and has now modernised the bar completely, from scratch. We’re really happy and really proud” Ivan Di Lucia, operations director


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Leading casual dining restaurant

Winner: Clinton Street Baking Company One of our judging panel commented how food is very much at the heart of this brand with a commitment to provenance, seasonality and ethical sourcing It feels great and it is an honour. We have been working hard in the last few years to get ourselves in this position. It’s very much a family business and me and my brother are there every day and try to improve daily on what we offer” Ashraf Samawi, owner/ general manager Clinton Street Baking Company

The Leading Fine Dining Restaurant Winner: La Cantine Du Faubourg This is a restaurant offering a modern and fresh Parisian menu, said the panel, revisiting French classics, while showcasing cuisine with influences from around the globe, modelled on Paris’ cosmopolitan flair.

It feels amazing and we really appreciate it. We have a lot of plans for 2018 and it will be out in the market soon” Spokesperson for La Cantine Du Fauborg

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Leading Nightlife Venue Award Winner: Lock, Stock & Barrel The winner offers unpretentious fun, a casual menu of home comforts, multicultural staff, and regular live music, in addition to a playlist of indie, rock, and alternative music, the winner of Best Nightlife venue is a breath of fresh air in a market oversaturated with glitz and glam. It’s fantastic to be back and to win again. It shows that Lock, Stock & Barrel is still in the forefront of people’s minds. We’re just going to keep on doing what we’re doing, because like they say—if it’s not broken, don’t fix it!” Spencer Hartwell, sales and marketing director, Solutions Leisure Group

Leading F&B Director Winner: Marco Rosado, Atlantis The Palm The judges couldn’t help but admire how over the past two years, Rosado has also led the F&B team in the development of entertainment concept nights at various outlets to increase the revenue and footfall from external guests. I am delighted. It’s great to receive industry recognition – I am really grateful to the team at Atlantis for working with me and helping emphasise innovation. Overall it’s an amazing achievement and I’m really happy” Marco Rosado, director of food and beverage, Atlantis, The Palm


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Chef of the year Winner: Nicolas Smalberger, JA Resorts & Hotels The judges said that Nicolas is renowned for his dedication to sustainable cooking and oversees all 30 bars and restaurants under the JA Resorts banner. Through his devotion to sustainability he helps save over AED2 million a year and the property’s renowned White Orchard and Signatures both receive 100% fully organic produce from the JA Resorts Bio Garden. It was completely unexpected. I am very humbled and grateful. We run a huge operation in JA Hotels and Resorts. I am very privileged to get the nominations and now having this trophy in hand. I believe in multitasking and maintaining the high standards of quality” Nicolas Smalberger, JA Resorts & Hotels

Pastry chef of the year Winner: Ryan Harris, Demoiselle by Galvin & Galvin Dubai The judges commented on how Ryan leads his team with the same dedication and passion as when he first started out in his home state of Maryland USA. I can’t thank anyone but my team, it was all a team effort. I feel really happy to be here. We just want to keep innovating, pick up new ideas and techniques, and empower the team to be the best” Ryan Harris, Demoiselle by Galvin & Galvin Dubai

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Leading F&B Investor Winner: Turab Saleem, owner and founder, Perfetti & Toro Toro Turab is an accomplished hospitality professional, remarked the judges, with 25 years of proven successful track record, including hospitality management, development and operations. It is great among all these key players to get this award. We have picked the right partners to help us understand the market well, with the right people you can see the future and plan accordingly” Turab Saleem, owner and founder, Perfetti & Toro Toro

Young F&B Leader Award Winner: Karolina Graham, Solutions Leisure Group The judges said that with her motivation, high energy, and rock-n-roll management style, Karolina has grown and developed some of Dubai’s best F&B and hospitality teams. It really feels amazing. I wasn’t expecting it at all actually. I have worked hard to be where I am now. For 2018, I will make sure that the venues that we have got are doing brilliant and making money” Karolina Graham, Solutions Leisure Group


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F&B Heavyweight Winner: Paul Evans, CEO, Solutions Leisure Group Paul’s relentless drive and ambition is the main reason for this success, said our panel. He is a great leader, a true restaurateur, nightlife maven and hands-on visionary who continues to inspire and develop those around him. We’re blown away, winning this for the second year in a row. It’s been a crazy year for us, we’ve doubled this year, and we don’t want to sit still, we want to go bigger and stronger in 2018” Paul Evans, CEO Solutions Leisure Group

Restaurateur of the Year Winner: Bhupender Nath, CEO and MD, Passion F&B Management The judges described him as the ‘Face’ of modern Indian gastronomy. His reputation now synonymous with ‘elite fine dining’ is being added to his impressive portfolio.

I​t feels great and it’s a case of job well done. It’s about dedication and hard work. We always believe that nothing is impossible.”​ Bhupender Nath, CEO and MD, Passion F&B Management

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Bartender of the year Winner: Nikola Pulcheski, Pure Sky Lounge, Hilton Dubai The Walk The judges were impressed at how he keeps abreast of the latest cocktail trends, and has introduced one of the current global trends in mixology industry at the moment – smokey cocktails to the venue. It’s a dream for every hospitality individual to win an award and be valued for the things that they do in their career. It’s a really big honour for me to win this. I have worked for my whole life in the food and beverage sector. So this is a very big achievement for me” Nikola Pulcheski, Pure Sky Lounge, Hilton Dubai The Walk

Best service team Winner: Jodhpur Royal Dining The final, but by no means least, award of the evening went to the team at Jodhpur Royal Dining who blew our judging panel away with their attention to detail.


It feels good to win this year, since we didn’t win it last year! We hope to open more restaurants soon, and keep growing. Thank you, Catering News!” Rajesh Lilaramani, owner of Jodhpur, and sales and marketing director at Gulf Technical

Now quality has a number. La signature France Bon Appétit Une identité forte, cohérente et gourmande JANVIER 2015


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Latina: localised

Lucas Adrian Farias, Chef de Cuisine at Saudi Arabia’s first Argentinian restaurant, talks to Catering News Middle East about bringing native flavours to new markets and creating the best restaurant in Jeddah. Words by Melanie Mingas

Because we use the Asado technique to cook food, people can see the food cooking live and they can enjoy the smell of the wood because it’s a live grill”.


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n any national cuisine, there are certain ingredients and techniques essential to authenticity, from meats and marinades to native grains. When it comes to argentine cuisine, those ingredients include Asado grilled steak, chimichurri and a glass of velvety, local grape – tastes that can greatly influence how and where the food is re-created. And that goes some way to explaining the absence of argentine restaurants in Saudi Arabia. With the opening of Rocco Forte’s first property in the Kingdom, Assila Hotel Jeddah, that has all changed. The brand’s highly anticipated debut, in the heart of Jeddah’s fashion and business district, Assila Hotel fuses “European sophistication with Arabian craftsmanship”. The hotel was brought to life by Martin Brudnizki Design Studio and the group’s director of design, Olga Polizzie; it boasts 147 rooms and suites, each with high ceilings, large windows and full-height wooden doors, and a gallery of 2,000 original artworks by Saudi Arabian artists. Elsewhere, the Assila Spa features two gyms – each with floor to ceiling views over Jeddah – two squash courts, and a 25 metre rooftop pool and poolside lounge. A truly family affair, the five-star luxury property boasts five dining experiences, all developed by Lydia Forte – bar and restaurant development manager at Rocco Forte Hotels, daughter of founder Sir Rocco and niece of Olga Polizzie. Perched on the hotel’s 17th floor, Pampas, uses adapted Asado grill techniques to create Arabian-inspired South Ameri-

can cuisine, with a menu of the highest quality meats and fish, Argentinean ‘mezze’, mixed grills to share and a custommade caviar trolley. Named after the grassy plains that surround Buenos Aires, since its opening in January 2017, Pampas has become a hit with regional critics and diners alike. It has already received its first award, in the 2017 Restaurant and Bar Design Awards, presented in London in early October, due to the striking combination of stained glass, aged oak herringbone flooring, and worn leather upholstery.

Vamos a comer

As a concept, the Asado grill is a favourite among carnivorous Argentinians, who are rumoured to eat as much as 60kg of meat

per person per year. To capture the fullest flavour, meat is cooked medium to well done. However, to achieve this it must be cooked low and slow. The whole process can take up to two hours. A challenging concept to execute in a country with limited access to key ingredients, Chef de Cuisine, Lucas Adrian Farias, explains: “Pampas is basically an Argentinian concept – we tried to add a bit of Latin American cuisine also and to try to adapt to the local guest. Because 90% of our guests are Saudi Arabian, we cannot give them a 100% Argentinian concept, so we try to adapt to the local palate to reach more guests.” Working under Executive Chef Maurizio Panicali, Chef Farias is one of a team of 120 chefs and 35 stewards working across the hotel’s F&B portfolio. Chef Farias joined Pampas in the pre-opening phase and was heavily involved in menu creation, staff training and kitchen set-up. Serving a menu of beef, lamb, seafood and, of course, goat, Chef Farias says: “At Pampas we have re-created how we cook in Argentina, but using many ingredients from here. So we try to make a combination between the techniques of my country, which is very important on the grilled meat, but using local products so people see something familiar cooked in a different way.” The mouth-watering results include Rabbit “Escabeche” with baby roots; Seafood ceviche a la piedra; empanadas; and of course the finest cuts of beef, lamb, baby

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goat poultry and seafood, all served with chimichurri, BBQ and mushroom sauce. In the signature Pampas Mixed Grill, guests can dine in groups, helping themselves to meat fresh from their own grill, cooked to order at their table. “Because we use the Asado technique to cook food, people can see the food cooking live and they can enjoy the smell of the wood because it’s a live grill. We do this in two ways. Firstly, we use the grill with good fire, charcoal and some wood chips to allow you to have a smoked technique in the same time we are cooking so it gives you a very nice combination of flavour. Secondly, we use our grill, so we have a direct grill and then another that allows us to cook the meat very, very slowly, which gives the meat tenderness and juiciness.” In the discerning Saudi market, the combination of the two is crucial.

Raising the stakes

Chef Farias was granted near free reign by Panicali in the menu design, allowing him to source ingredients and implement techniques from home, then build on their localisation by collaborating with colleagues. He recalls: “Yes it was tough, it’s difficult to get some ingredients, for example, the different types of potato, tomato and corn from my country, but we did manage to get everything we need for the menu. In the cooking, I use all techniques from home – for example we cook the vegetables and after they are finished we put them in the charcoal so next day they’ve got a lot of flavour from the ash and the smoke. We use all techniques, but I cook most things in the grill.” While the techniques and tastes are authentic, the ingredients are an international affair, with an ethos of quality first. While many products are locally sourced – including the chicken and whole baby goat – the Black Angus comes from Australia and Canada and the lamb is sourced in New Zealand. Chef Farias continues: “You meet many Saudi guests when working in Dubai, but working in Saudi Arabia is different because of the local market’s demand for quality. I think the market here wants to compete with Dubai and guests are certainly looking for outstanding quality.” Sourcing ingredients wasn’t the only 40

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Uno, dos, tres, Asado Creating an authentic Argentine grill isn’t the same as putting a few shrimps on the BBQ…. 1. The Asado technique requires open flames but briquettes are strictly off limits. Instead, wood and pinecones infuse flavour. 2. Once the coals are smouldering, the grill is lowered and the meat added, starting with the largest cuts. The general rule is last on the grill, first on the plate, and the bigger the cuts the better. 3. Seasoning is minimal, with only salt and pepper added to the meat before it’s grilled, although fresh herbs – often rosemary – are added to the wood coals. 4. No Asado is complete without savoury sources like a traditional chimichurri

hurdle. As is expected in a market such as Saudi Arabia, recruitment and relocation of staff was also challenging, reducing the time available for training, due to delays in visa processing. Despite this, Chef Farias overcame the issues to spend two months setting up the kitchen, training staff in the restaurant’s standards and recipes, and preparing for the first guests. He explains: “We trained staff in our Argentinian influences, as well as the reci-

pes and standards. In the hotel we have a high percentage of local Saudi staff, which is good, and we have staff who are international, from India and other different countries, so it’s a multi-cultural environment and that is very nice to work in. You learn to deal with the culture of another colleague so that is great.” With the first year of operations almost complete, Pampas has already undergone one menu change, based on guest feedback, best sellers and global dining trends. Chef Farias and the team will continue to bring local flavour to Latin roots, to create a-typical tastes that keep Pampas well ahead of the curve in the local market. While signature dishes such as the Pampas Mixed Grill will be certain to feature, the rest of the new menu is a closely guarded secret. Assessing the local competition, Farias continues: “We are fine dining and we’re the only Argentinian restaurant in Saudi Arabia, so mainly there is no competitor. We do consider other grill and steak restaurants to be competitors in a way, but still they are not meeting our standards yet. Even if there are a lot of steak houses here in Saudi Arabia, particularly in Jeddah, we are unique because we are on the 17th floor of an exquisite hotel, so this helps us to grow more and push the boundaries of our menu creation.” For now, the focus falls on maintaining the leading reputation Pampas has forged since January, with a clear ambition to take the title of best restaurant in Jeddah – and keep it. Looking ahead, Chef Farias, has his eyes on only one prize: “My ambition is to position Pampas as the best restaurant in Jeddah. I’m very positive about this.”

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S ay Ch e e se ! As demand for French cheese soars in the Middle East, Catering News visits the cheese-making regions of the east of France to explore the traditions, techniques and talent behind some of the country’s best-love varieties

he creation of the UAE chapter of the International Cheese Guild (Guilde Internationale des Fromages) earlier this year was testament to the increasing popularity and prevalence of cheese in the Middle East. Our region is one of the largest importers of French dairy products, according to data from the French Dairy Interbranch Organisation (CNIEL), bringing in $400 million in French dairy produce. The amount of cheese imported from France to Saudi Arabia almost tripled between 2011 and 2015, to reach nearly 10,000 tonnes in 2016 and during the same period, there was a 21% rise in French cheese imports to the UAE, reaching al42

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most 2,500 tonnes per year (Service des Statistiques). As the world’s second largest cheese exporter and largest specialty cheese exporter, France produces more than 1,200 varieties of cheese, totaling 2,000,000 tonnes, 34% of which is exported. While consumption of French cheese in the region is at an all-time high, many chefs and consumers are unaware of the amount of work that goes into producing French cheese – from the milking to the curd cutting and shaping to the aging process – and the best ways to store and enjoy cheese products. To find out more, Catering News took a trip to the French regions of Franche Comte and Rhone-Alps, visiting some of the farms,

cheese producers and agers working hard to maintain the heritage and quality of the cheese produced in their areas. The trip was led by award-winning French cheesemonger Francois Robin, who holds the title of ‘Un des Meilleurs Ouvriers de France’ (One of the Best Craftsmen of France) a unique and prestigious award, according to a category of trades in a contest among professionals – one of which is cheesemongers. He explains: “Behind each French cheese, there is a link to the grass. Farms are small with the average size 45 – 60 cows. Any time you buy a French cheese, a lot of work goes into it, from milking to making the cheese, aging it and shipping it.”

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CHEESY TIPS Award-winning cheesemonger, consultant, and our French tour guide Francois Robin offers his top 10 tips to help chefs better utilise French cheese on their menus

salad, a pie or a quiche. The cheese can be melted, it can be a base for sauce, you can use it in many ways. We rarely put a piece of cheese in the bin. If you have left-overs of Morbier or Comté, do a Raclette – it’s perfect for that.

Storage Walk-in fridges are perfectly ok. It’s best to have a shelf just for cheese and dairy products – they shouldn’t be mixed with vegetables, meat or fish. It’s better that you don’t have watermelon, onion, lemon or things like that in the same fridge as the cheese because they will affect the quality. Packaging Have the cheeses wrapped but not vacuumed and if they have a nice rind, it’s better if they are wrapped in food paper to let them breathe. Plastic wrappers are bad for goat’s cheese because they bring some bitterness to the top of the cheese and make it runny, so it’s better to have paper than plastic. If you have plastic, try to change it regularly. Display To avoid cheese going off during brunch, use furniture to sit the cheese higher or show a whole wheel of hard cheese (not soft) because you can leave them out for four hours and then put them back in the fridge. When the cheese is cut, the slice will oxidate instantly and then you will lose some because you’ve got to cut it to get a fresh piece so it’s better to put the right quantity out. In a good restaurant you have a cheese tray, which you should put at the entrance so that people can see it. Staff training You have to train the waiting staff so they know how to store, how to cut, and the taste of each cheese. Is it creamy? Is it mild? Is it strong? In Dubai you also

Cutting On a cheese tray, if you want to cut properly, you’ve got to cut so that everyone gets a piece of the rind and the middle. The rule is to try to sell the rind as well – don’t cut the rind off and you won’t lose money.

have the support of the suppliers, who have a good level of cheese knowledge so they can provide good tips and training sometimes. Menu Most of the time, then menu just says ‘assortment of cheese’ which doesn’t mean a lot. If you say it’s an assortment of cheese with affinage coming from a particular area, that means more. If you do it the French way, you will serve cheese after the main course and before the dessert but in the Middle East, you’re free of this tradition and you can do whatever you want – it’s a good appetiser, it may be a meal, it may be a main, it may be a starter or a dessert, so it can be anywhere. Left-overs Some chefs think they waste a lot of cheese but you can use it in your cooking. You can make even a simple

New cheeses for the Middle East Comté travels well so maybe it’s the next big thing in the world because people know Parmigiano, Camembert, Roquefort but they don’t know Comté yet. In France, we have been strong Comté eaters for a long time. BrillatSavarin also has a lot of potential – it’s like cream and butter altogether in a cheese. Trends The frenzy in France is Brillat-Savarin together with black truffle – you can stuff it with a black truffle powder and serve it to customers after a few days. The truffle taste will be awesome because it’s fat so it’s full of flavours. Over the past five to 10 years I’ve seen an international cheese frenzy in the USA, with artisan cheeses getting bigger. Find out more There are several books and recipes that chefs can be inspired by for cooking cheese. I love Guy Martin, a French chef running Le Grand Véfour in France. He is in love with cheese and produced a few recipe books about cheese that are really inspiring. You can also find out more on Le Produit Latiers website – www.produits-laitiers. com/le-fromage/

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The cheeses at Paccard Affineurs

Dominique Faivre milking his cows on Ferme du Beau Pre

Taking us on a journey exploring the full cycle of cheese production, Robin first showed us the importance of terroir for producing quality milk – the foundation of any good cheese. The terroir differs from region to region and from farm to farm. We visited two different farms, the first being Ferme Du Beau Pre in Champagnole, run by Dominique Faivre. The organic farm boasts 100 hectares of natural pastures, cereals and hay fields, which are necessary for the production of Comté since no fermented food is allowed. All on one pasture, the farm is surrounded by water on each side, creating a natural barrier against external chemicals. Just 45 cows are milked here all year round, producing 250,000 litres of milk per annum – well below the farm’s quota of 400,000 litres. By controlling the number of cows on the farm, Faivre keeps costs down and ensures the farm is sustainable for future generations and that the animals are happy, which is essential for producing good quality milk. “There is a really low stress level for the animals and you can hear that,” says Faivre, pointing out the quietness of the barn as the cows are milked. The milk is collected twice a day by the local Comté PDO maker (Fruitiere) and all of it goes toward making the cheese. We also took a trip to Ferme des Peizieres 44

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in Le Bouchet Mont Charvin, a beautiful farm set in the scenic heights of the French Alps. Run by a young couple, 27-year-old Mathilde and 25-year-old Fabrice, the farm produces PDO Reblochon, a cheese made from raw cow’s milk. There are just 25 cows of three breeds – the Montbéliarde from Jura, the Abondance and the Tarine – and every ounce of milk is used for making the cheese. The lifestyle of this ambitious pair isn’t easy, however; Fabrice is up at 4am every morning and rarely gets to bed before 10pm. Milking takes place twice a day – once in the morning and again in the evening – with Mathilde taking charge of producing the cheese daily. Fabrice explains that the bacteria from the grass and the land goes into the cow’s body and studies have shown that the bacteria from this side of the mountain is different to that on the other side, highlighting the strong link between the cheese and the terroir. The Reblochon is made from room-temperature raw milk, which comes directly from the cows. The first thing Mathilde does is inject more bacteria into the raw milk, since the fresh product is “too clean”. The good bacteria grow at an optimal temperature of 23°C and live off the milk, producing enough acidity to ward off bad bacteria in the cheese.

The milk takes 45 minutes to coagulate and once this process is complete, Mathilde uses a traditional tool to cut the curd and separate the fat and sugar from the whey, which is fed to the animals and used to make butter. It’s also important that the couple stick to making the cheese using the traditional tools, such as the cheese cloth. “When you’re making farmhouse Reblochon you have to do it the traditional way,” says Mathilde. “It’s also useful to prepare the rind because at the start you get a lot of grains and then they become smoother because of the cloth, which helps to give the Reblochon its look and shape.” The methods being used by Mathilde and Fabrice are very different to those used in the big factories where French cheese is mass produced and exported in bulk. To get a better understanding of the difference in techniques, we visited the Bressor factory, which belongs to Savencia, the second biggest milk and cheese producer in France. Formerly named Bongrain, the company collects milk from 276 farms in the vicinity and produces brands such as Caprice des Dieux, Tartare and Bresse Bleu using state-of-the-art machinery, and exports its products globally, including to Dubai. After getting an insight into the milk collection and cheese production processes, we


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Pierre Gay’s cheese selection includes Reblochon PDO and Charolais. The shop has a cave underneath with a glass ceiling (Inset)

turned our attention to affinage, or aging. There are affineurs all over the region, with some located in scenic mountain chalets and others in city centres – we visited both. Our first stop was Fromagerie Janin in Champagnole, which has been passed down through six generations. The shop sells a huge array of cheeses and contains hidden caves underground, which are used mainly to age Morbier and some Comté – a staple of the Jura region. The family were cheese makers until 1960 before they decided to be solely cheesemongers and affineurs. Robert Janin, now 67, still works every day in the shop and his sons Marc and Matthieu run the business. Again, it’s not an easy life, with a 5am start and 8.30pm finish each day, and just a oneday weekend if anything. Janin’s speciality is Morbier, and not a lot of cheesemongers do this. There is a smell of ammonia in the caves, but this is a natural gas produced from the cheeses and it isn’t dangerous. The Morbier cheeses are ripened from 45 – 145 days at the most, and each wheel is around five kilos in weight and requires 30 litres of milk. 46

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The cheese first came into existence as a way of using up all the milk on the farms after Comté had been produced. Matthieu explains: “After the Comté had been produced there was still some milk left on the farms, which was enough to make a flat cheese. It was too flat to be left a long time so they would add some ash to prevent fermentation or bugs and the next day they would add the other piece of cheese on top and press it together. The two layers of cheese are separated by a layer of ash and today this is medical ash, which is completely harmless.” The Comté on the other hand, is not aged from scratch at Janin, but is pushed a little further. The shop sells three varieties – Compé PDO Fruité, aged 18 months, Très Fruité (24 months) and a Comté PDO Réserve (aged 36 months). While around 5% of the cheese aged in the cave is distributed to restaurants in France, 95% is sold in the shop upstairs. In addition to the Comté and Morbier PDO, we got a chance to try Tomme Cironnée, Tomme au Vin Jaune, Bleu de Gex PDO and Cancoillote.

An interesting point to note is that the affineurs (cheese agers) each work differently and all are in pursuit of the right taste, which doesn’t necessarily correspond to the longest duration of aging. There are around 150 cheese producers in Jura and Janin works with just 15, but the challenge is that the cheeses produced each day taste different so getting the right product could mean selecting from 100,000 wheels. “It takes time and a lot of knowledge and experience,” explains Matthieu. “We spend 20 days a year just selecting the Comté. We go to different affineurs and it’s like selecting wine – we taste the cheese and think about how it will be in six months because that’s when we need it, but the difference is that wine only has one production each year, whereas for cheese it’s one production every day.” To find out more about the complex task of cheese aging, we visited the revered Mr JeanCharles Arnaud, whose father created the independent cheese dairy, Juraflore, in Fort des Rousses. Located just 1km from Switzerland, the fort was built under Napolean rule

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Mathilde and Fabrice producing Reblochon at their farm

Mr Arnaud listening to his cheese

Pierre Gay in his shop in Annecy over 70 years by 300 stone makers and was to act as a refuge for 2,000 horses and 3,000 soldiers in case of a siege. The fort was later turned into a cheese affinage facility using its natural temperature and humidity, and today, with the cooperation of 400 livestock farmers and milk producers, 200,000 rounds of cheese – including 140,000 wheels of Comté – are maturing in 10 kilometres of cellars. Catering News was taken on a guided tour of the enormous fort, which spans seven floors. Each cave has a slightly different environment and we were privileged enough to be allowed access to Mr Arnaud’s prized new cave, which isn’t open to the public. The art

of the affineur is to raise cheeses to perfection and in Juraflore there are just five cave masters, each tasked with identifying the perfect time to release the cheeses. Mr Arnaud explains that in Fort des Rousses, the cheeses are matured for a minimum of one year and this process begins with five weeks in a cellar at 12°C and three weeks at 15-18°C to allow the lactic bacteria inside the cheese and on the surface to grow. “At this point we can taste the cheese and check the texture and we decide at what point it will be at its best – whether it’s one year, 18 months or two years,” explains Mr Arnaud. After the initial decision is made, the cheese

masters revisit each cheese every three months to reconfirm their decisions. Mr Arnaud demonstrates how he tests each cheese with a small hammer, listening carefully to the sound created by each blow to identify how the fat materials and proteins are behaving inside. It is a complex and highly skilled art, which takes at least seven years’ training to master. “I have to decide whether to put the Comté in a reserve cave with more or less ammonia or with a higher level of culture or a humidity because this is the way to select the microflora on the surface and transform the texture and flavour,” he adds. Another cheese ager in the expansive, mountainous countryside is Paccard Affineurs in Manigod where we met with Eric Favre. Created by Joseph Paccard, the caves are now run by his sons Benoit and Jean-Francois, who took over just recently, and they are used to age the best Reblochon selected from the area, serving 900 customers worldwide. Every day, the cheeses are flipped and tested and aging takes a minimum of 45 days. In addition to Reblochon, Paccard ages Manigodine (similar to Reblochon but aged in wood) and some other tommes, including Tomme de Savoie PGI and Tomme des Bauges PDO. We also tasted Abondance PDO, Mountain Beaufort PDO and Manigodine. We also visited some city-centre caves, such as Fromagerie Gay in Annecy, run by Pierre Gay, who was awarded the title of Meilleur Ouvrier de France in 2011. Pierre Gay is a second-generation cheesemonger whose shop has a cave underneath with a glass ceiling so that visitors can see the cheeses below. Gay explains that part of his job is to ensure his cheeses look good so that his regular visitors don’t always see the same cheese in the same places. This is with the exception of Comté, which must always remain on display as a staple of the region. His caves are not purely for aging, since he sells fresh cheese too and works with other producers to age his cheeses, including Mr Arnaud at Juraflore with whom he has worked for 20 years. He says: “I prefer selecting the cheese from the farmers or the small factories and asking them to do the aging for me. Every month we pay about 20 cents for the aging of the cheese so it’s better to sell young cheese than very old cheese because it’s less expensive of course.” Among the cheeses aged in the facility are November 2017 Catering NEWS ME


spec ial feat ure

Reblochon PDO, Charolais PDO (a goat’s cheese), Beaufort PDO, Tomme des Bauges PDO, and Comté PDO (36 months and 48 months). Gay also demonstrated simple dessert recipes that can be created using French cheese including Fontainebleu, a traditional fresh dairy dessert and mousse au chocolat. Another city stop was Christan Janier Affineur in Lyon, where Tomme Boudaine, Fourme de Rochefort Montagne, Mountain Beaufort PDO, Truffle Manchego PDO (Spain) and Swiss Gruyere are aged. Janier is a third-generation affineur and has worked with the same producers for a long time, aging more than 100 cheeses in his caves. Of 39 wholesalers that once operated in Lyon, Janier is just one of five left in the city and is thankful to his father for this. “In the 1970s, my father could have done the easy thing and gone into mass production and followed that trend but he said that he wanted to stick with his small farmhouse and production” says Janier. And while his grandfather aged mostly local products, Janier ages cheeses from around Europe, including Spain, the UK and the Netherlands. However, he is mindful of the importance of terroir with all his cheeses and makes sure to stick to the rules to ensure a quality affinage. “Certain cow breeds are necessary due to the laws of PDO and the hand of the cheesemaker is important,” he comments. “It’s all about the terroir and it’s important to respect that.” Rounding off the trip, we paid a visit to the famous Halles Paul Bocuse in Lyon, where we visited four cheesemongers – Mons, a high quality affineur in Roanne, which has products available in Dubai; Beillevaire, which offers cheeses and artisan dairy products available in Dubai; Cellerier, which has St Marcellin with Black Truffle and Mère Richard, the creator of St Marcellin a la Lyonnaise. We also had the pleasure of meeting Etienne Boissy, Meilleur Ouvrier de France (MOF) 2004, who worked for 10 years with Hervé Mons, the creator of the Mons brand and MOF 2000. We conducted an extensive cheese tasting with Buchette de Manon (round fresh goat’s cheese), St Nectaire Farmhouse PDO, Salers PDO, home-made basil brie and 1924 (blue cheese). And so, as the Middle East continues to import cheese in growing quantities, it is important to be mindful of the history, terroir and hard work behind each and every 48

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1 5 2

4 3

Francois Robin’s Savoie cheese board 1: Reblochon A 30-day old Reblochon 2: Tomme de Savoie Tomme de Savoie with an intense mushroomy rind 3: Chevre Tomme A surprising goat’s cheese 4: Beaufort A two-year-old buttery Beaufort – “the lord of the mountain” 5: Comte A three-year-old Comté to finish

French cheese. Suppliers of French cheeses in the Middle East region include Classic Fine Foods, Promart, Fresh Express, Greenhouse and Lactilis, many of whom can offer in-depth knowledge and information on their products and advice on storage and preparation. When it comes to selecting French cheeses, our tour-guide Robin advises starting with the PDO varieties. He says: “If a chef doesn’t really know what to buy for a French cheese selection, it’s good to start with the PDO cheeses – there are 45 of them and the label means the cheese has certain qualities. For example, PDO cheeses are Comté, Reblochon and Camembert from Normandy. PDO cheeses are normally a bit more expensive but you can promote them better

because there’s a strong link between the terroir and the cheese.” He reminds us that storage is extremely important for cheese, and chefs are best to buy in small quantities rather than keeping a big stock that can go off. “You’ve got to trust the suppliers – they should know where the cheese comes from and should be able to prove it. If you want to check a cheese has been correctly stored, the rind must look even and shouldn’t have cracks. “If the cheese is hot after being transported, don’t accept it. It needs to be refrigerated most of the time, so the cold chain is key as well. If you can trust a supplier for the rest of the products, hopefully you can trust them when it comes to cheese."

F1 Catering

D W TC cat er s f or F o r m ula One Rakesh Sinha, director-commercial, DWTC writes exclusively for Catering News Middle East about the challenges of catering for the F1 Grand Prix which takes place in Abu Dhabi later this month‌


Catering NEWS ME November 2017

F 1 Cateri n g

s we continue to marvel at the UAE’s largest malls, tallest structures, best designs, smartest cities, and most exciting events, we cannot help but consider how each and every one of us lends a hand to bring the best of these inspiring outcomes to life. By doing so, we help ensure the nation remains the ideal business as well as travel destination for millions across the globe. Considered to be the “most exciting” circuits on the international motoring map, Yas Marina Circuit is set to host Formula 1 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, the highly anticipated event that delivers an unparalleled social and sporting experience – featuring fast cars, high-octane entertainment and culinary delicacies that meet and exceed the expectations of the discerning visitor.

In Numbers Preparation Statistics

• 37 set up and tear down trucks • 24-hour safety monitoring • 11225 preparation hours

• 24 foot food storage chiller trucks • 946 kg of fish

• 320 kg of seafood

• 700 kg of vegetables • 860 kg of beef

• 324000 cutlery items • 750 kg of rice

• 360 kg of potato

• 1230 kg of chicken • 200 litres of cream

• 27000 cups and saucers • 54000 glassware items • 40 corporate suites • 71 staff buses

Delivery Statistics

• 45 hospitality suites • 27000 spectators • 27000 meals

Planning Statistics • 200 chefs

• 440 service staff

• 2400 training hours

• 27 food trucks & busses

200 chefs are dedicated to preparing the food onsite while 380 dedicated service staff will be dedicated to serve the guests” - Rakesh Sinha, Directorcommercial, DWTC

Every unique entity plays a significant role to make this event successful. At Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC), our role is to ensure top-notch catering, offering unmatched quality and service to enhance the visitor experience. Yas Marina Circuit hosts over 27,000 attendees over a short span of three days. Catering to an event of this size and scale takes months of planning, and DWTC has been part of this thrilling event since its first edition in 2009. DWTC catering staff invest over 24 weeks and 2550 training man hours in planning for the 27,000 meals to be served throughout the action-packed weekend. Not only does the team carefully study the scope of the work, it also examines the project from the end-user November 2017 Catering NEWS ME


F1 Catering

perspective, considering visitor and stakeholder expectations. To ensure that the catering requirements for diverse F1 events are met efficiently, the team sets-up and operates a well-equipped, multi-purpose on-site kitchen. Powered with 24 x 40-foot food chiller trucks and 37 set-up and tear down trucks, we cater to everything ranging from rooftop dining and corporate hospitality to live carveries, buffets and finger food. Several significant challenges are juggled simultaneously, including ensuring hygienic food transportation to the venue and making sure that the team is prepared for all issues that could arise, such as weather, traffic or security measures. Historically, F1 has played a monumental role in bringing together racing enthusiasts from across the globe. The event presents a vibrant mix of colors, languages and fashion statements. The variety in the number of attendees means that it is important to ensure provision of a culturally innovative menu selection. Having catered for three years for F1 events, we strive to keep revolutionizing our offerings. It is also important to keep into perspective healthy choices and specific dietary options, as we devise the menu options to suit different tastes and preferences. As F1 draws in a massive crowd and boasts a busy three-day schedule; there are certain challenges when it comes to catering. Capacity is one of them. Hence, preparation starts well in advance and the food is transferred for on-site production. Additionally 200 chefs are dedicated to preparing the food onsite while 380 service staff will be dedicated to serve the guests within the highest Hospitality standards and culinary experience. With all the processes in place, we ensure that we play our part in enabling the execution of an exciting and memorable event. As F1 is right around the corner, we are all set for yet another exhilarating season of racing, music, fashion, and of course good food. 52

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R e n a rt e E x pa n d s g lo b a l f o otp r i n t

Ranjan Salis – CEO – Renarte Hospitality Supplies speaks to Catering News Middle East about the secret to his company’s success…


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Pr of ile

What is the company's outlook and vision?

Renarte has been expanding its footprint globally, Renarte Canada is seeding it's presence to tackle the North American market. We are all very happy of the company’s global expansion and are looking forward to some exciting times ahead. The team in Dubai keeps on growing and we strive to offer the best possible customer satisfaction to our clients both existing and new. The hospitality industry is changing; and its changing quickly, new trends are emerging and we must keep up with our client’s expectations and we strive constantly to exceed them.

What are the core products and services for the catering sector?

Renarte operates as a one stop shop solution for F&B companies; our core strength is the multitude of products we carry. We try to bring in as much diversity as we can to satisfy the depths of creativity our industry craves here. Our staff has been working within the hospitality sector for quite some time and we have experienced hospitality professionals who act as consultants more than sales to help attain common goals with our clients.

When was the company established?

Renarte Hospitality was born in 2006 when I was myself an industry professional, having worked in the industry for over a decade, one of my challenges was to find the right solution for my projects and options were scarce, there was nothing in the market to help us differentiate our brand with the others. Disappointment with the market’s offering gave birth to Renarte and our only goal was to exceed every expectation, something we have lived up to for 12 standing years.

What's your flagship brand?

“Revol Porcelain” was one of our first introductions to the market. We were infatuated with their design, handmade quality and the fact it had taken a new spin on manufacturing porcelain.

We were the one of the first to have introduced “Culinary Porcelain” to this market and since then we have had huge success and feedback on the quality and consistency of the product. The product is so well received here, that Revol France has decided to feature three of their most favorite concepts in Dubai on their 2018 catalogue which gets distributed world-wide. These are home grown concepts who have using Revol’s multiple designs created exceptional presentations, well received within our community. I think it’s a great honour to be part of this journey and to be able to showcase Dubai’s F&B offerings through our partners on a global scale.

What makes your company stand out in the market?

Our company is a true success story, from a small office with three employees to three companies worldwide across two continents; this has been possible due to our dedication to exceed and to strive for the ultimate customer satisfaction. Our team are dedicated, loyal professionals who have given their 100% and then some to help us attain this stature and that I believe is paramount. Our products and services are some of the most unique in the market and we strive to stay one step ahead so that we always keep our patrons in awe and this invigorates trust and loyalty from our clients which makes us stand out. November 2017 Catering NEWS ME



Freezed to meet you

Catering News Middle East speaks to a number of suppliers about the latest developments in the frozen food sector…


Leonard Parot, regional sales manager, Welbilt Middle East

What is your latest freezer product launch?

We have just introduced Koldtech in the Middle East as part of the Welbilt portfolio. Our new model ‘’M series’’ was introduced earlier this year and made its regional debut at GulfHost with a lot of positive feedback.

Lowe Tina Morgan, sales manager What is your latest freezer product launch?

Our walk-in chillers and freezers are still a huge hit with events and exhibitions

What makes it unique?

It’s versatility in size and utility. It can be used indoors or out and can be built with specific sizing, comes with choice of regular or pallet doors, racking can be fitted for storage. For large events panels can come with python access to save wastage on beverage, to name just a few.

Why should F&B businesses purchase your product?

Not only is it effective and versatile but it is backed up with superior technical support – something that can be lacking in the local market.

What’s next for your company in 2017?

We are hoping to expand our maintenance services in the Dubai market where we manage and maintain not just refrigeration fleets for supermarkets etc, but also hot catering equipment for cafes and restaurants. This venture is backed up by our experienced and well-equipped team of technicians and is something new and needed in the local market.

Website: 56

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What makes it unique?

A refrigerator is more than just a necessary food storage solution; it can dictate food quality, the longevity of your quality ingredients, it can enhance efficiency in your kitchen and ultimately, profitability. Our products and solutions are powered by our deep knowledge, operator insights and innovations that serves the modern commercial kitchen.

Why should F&B businesses purchase your product?

Koldtech M series are built and designed to make the most of your valuable space, in today’s tight kitchens this counts! What’s next for your company in 2017? We will further introduce the range across the GCC.


Pr od ucts


Nick Williams, managing director of Precision Refrigeration What is your latest freezer product launch?

The LUC 150 is the latest version of Precision’s compact undercounter freezer, perfect for space optimisation in any type of commercial kitchen.

ing and venting refrigeration system allowing it to be fitted in the tightest of spaces. A special safety system protects the compressor from blocked condensers and an electronic controller with easy to use LCD screen ensures staff are aware of operating temperature at all times.

What makes it unique?

Precision’s versatile all stainless-steel space saving LUC 150 offers a high performance storage solution in even the smallest of kitchens. It operates in up to 43°C ambient temperatures while maintaining internal temperatures of -18 to -22°C. The LUC 150 is available with a single door or two drawers can be fitted as an option. Drawers can rationalise storage and less heat is lost when removing or replacing frozen product, compared to a unit with a door. Measuring just 650mm (w) by 620mm (d) by 815mm (h), the LUC150 has a front breath-

Why should F&B businesses purchase your product?

The LUC 150’s small size allows catering staff to have frozen produce close to where its needed in the kitchen rather than having to walk to a larger freezer or coldstore.

What’s next for your company in 2017?

Improving energy efficiency and introducing more front of house options.


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November 2017 Catering NEWS ME


The meating place

The region’s suppliers unveil their best-selling equipment for the hospitality industry

Chef Middle East

Juan J. Lopez, protein category manager Chef Middle East talks about CME's produce

Silver Fern Farms

Sile Sweeney from Silver Fern Farms speaks to Catering News Middle East What is your best-selling meat product? Silver Fern Farms Reserve Ribeye What is unique about it? The ultimate cut of premium beef with consistent and superior marbling. Harvested at a prime age for ultimate tenderness then aged to perfection, the Reserve Ribeye showcases a spectacular bold beef flavor and the unmatchable leanness from grass-grazing. Suited to succulent Scotch Fillet steaks or luxurious prime roasts.

M ark e t plac e

What is your best-selling meat product? Our Chilled USDA Prime portion controlled steaks. What is unique about it? These are the top of the line products we carry from the US; 100% usable steaks, made with precision in state of the art facility in Omaha Nebraska using “Compressed air film packing” which is the latest technology available for steak packing; we only pick the best of the USDA prime graded Midwestern young Angus cattle. What is the most important feature of the perfect meat product? Flavour, tenderness and juiciness - consumers simply 58

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crave the taste of beef. Beef has become a luxury food; top of mind with consumers. Today’s consumers desire beef superior in palatability, a consistent high-quality eating experience every time and consider beef as a destination protein for a restaurant What are the latest trends in meat? Thick steak cuts known as “steak for sharing”. However at the same time I am witnessing a significant demand for Dry Aged Beef in line with global market trends. E: W: http://chefmiddleeast. com/categories/centre-ofthe-plate/

What is the most important feature of the perfect meat product? Taste, tenderness and provenance! What are the latest trends in meat? Consumers want clean

healthy products that are free of hormones, additives and preservatives. Silver Fern Farms produce 100% hormone free, grass fed product that is just as nature intended. Consumers have increasing awareness of the benefits of grass fed beef over grain fed alternatives. Our Premier Selection grass fed Reserve beef is definitely tastier, leaner and healthier – with a consistent quality you can trust every time. And lastly, consumers are becoming more conscious of where their products come from. They want to know and understand the process, chain of care and source to be sure what they are getting is ethical and trusted. Silver Fern Farms cattle are raised as nature intended roaming freely on open lush green pastures in New Zealand.

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Spill the beans Kutlu Kaan Haliloglu, managing director, UAE and Oman for Talabat speaks to Catering News Middle East...

You joined Talabat in 2013 – what experience did you bring to the role? Coming from Yemeksepeti – the leading online food delivery platform in Turkey which is one of the oldest and biggest online delivery platforms in the world really helped me bring a customer first perspective into the market.

Sp i ll t h e be an s

What is your view of the delivery market in the Middle East? The Middle East has been demonstrating fantastic year-on-year growth for us over the past few years in particular. With a very urban & tech savvy population and a massive delivery culture, I expect that trend to continue. 70% of restaurants in Dubai are listed on delivery apps which really brings the point home that the majority of restaurants don’t want to miss the opportunity there is in delivery – they all want a slice of the delivery pie! Where do you see untapped opportunities? A huge majority of delivery orders are coming from mobile phones. Today, 87% of Talabat’s orders come directly from mobile. The UAE has amongst the highest smartphone penetration rates in the world and this shows no signs of slowing down with the mobile increasingly becoming the first screen of choice for consumers. People are increasingly looking for ease and are becoming more accustomed to online shopping for their everyday needs, this is where opportunity lies for brands – meaning we need to ensure we are making the process as user friendly as possible to guarantee loyalty. We are always striving to elevate our value proposition, particularly in the context of convenience and choice for both restaurant partners and customers. We strive to elevate our customer experiences in the context of convenience, experience and choice. The creation of a superior customer journey with excellent customer 60

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service is our top priority. Currently, we are working on some new product features which will help restaurants better manage and operate their delivery processes. This will also translate into a better experience for our customers. How does Talabat stand out from its competitors? Being by far the biggest platform in the region, it allows us to truly localise for each country we operate in while still leveraging the regional size to provide the best choices for our customers. As part of a global food ordering business, we take global learnings and match with our regional experience, while continuing to maintain strong relationships with our restaurant partners and customers. Moreover, we ensure that we are continuously channeling our customer’s feedback into our business to stay ahead of the curve in the online food ordering ecosystem in the region. What big news has Talabat announced this year? That would be the launch of Talabat GO, our own fleet of drivers. Moving into this space and having our own delivery

offering enabled us to massively widen our portfolio of restaurant partners to our enormous customer database and increase order frequency & customer satisfaction rates. What is coming up in 2018 for Talabat? We want to focus on increasing customer satisfaction through all our features – Talabat GO, live tracking for restaurants that deliver themselves and closer cooperation with all our restaurant partners to better drive customer satisfaction together. What are your ambitions for the company? I envision us becoming a truly innovative hub that keeps on delivering an amazing takeaway experience. How do you expect the food delivery market to have evolved in five years’ time? I believe automated delivery solutions (maybe drones, maybe delivery robots!) will be the solution, much like where our own-delivery offering (Talabat GO) is at this stage. It might not be mainstream yet, but will definitively be a commercially viable part of our solutions in the future.

Catering News ME - November 2017  
Catering News ME - November 2017