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Serving the region’s catering professionals

February 2010 • Vol 06 • Issue 02

Celebrity status What impact has the new breed of superstar chefs had on the industry?

Chained up Top chain outlet operators spill the beans on Middle East plans

Return of the



F&B professionals flock to Dubai for the don of Middle East culinary events: Gulfood 2010 An ITP Business Publication | Licensed by Dubai Media City

Contents Volume 6 Issue 02

20 24



Cover story

Contents February 2010

05 News Why Dubai hotels must embrace allinclusive options; changing F&B trends this Valentine’s Day; service charge ruling impacts independent outlets 10 Celebrity status How has the recent rise of superstar chefs impacted the F&B industry? 14 Mystery shopper Ethos Consultancy reveals the true standard of customer service at UAE outlets and offers advice on how to better your business 20 Designer column Aidan Keane entertains the notion of a dramatic new DIY dining style 22 Kitchen correspondents A month in the life of F&B trainees

24 Roundtable Top chain brand operators discuss current industry trends and challenges 36 Gulfood preview An exclusive insight into what to expect from the region’s premier F&B trade show, Gulfood 38 Salon Culinaire Chefs discuss their preparations for the Middle East’s ultimate culinary competition 52 Sneak peek All the best products making their Middle East debuts at Gulfood 2010 58 Inside outlets Uncovering the strategies behind the latest and greatest F&B launches

38 52


For the latest news and stories go to

February 2010 Caterer Middle East


Web contents

Online The online home of Editor’s pick

In pictures

News to make mouths water... A showcase of the hottest F&B news hitting the region in 2010, including cooking lessons at Carluccio’s Dubai Mall, the arrival of New York’s celebrated Magnolia Bakery in the UAE and sumptuous seafood at Radisson Blu Yas Island’s Assymetri restaurant.

Dubai ne dining outlets sparkle in Service Spy Service Spy’s team of mystery shoppers went undercover at three of Dubai’s top fine-dining establishments: Rhodes Mezzanine [pictured] at Grosvenor House, Reflets par Pierre Gagnaire at InterContinental Hotel Dubai Festival City and Ossiano at Atlantis, The Palm. To find out whether service was Michelin-star standard or lacking sparkle, check out the results online!


Don’t panic! TRIBE Restaurant Creators’ Stefan Breg on surviving a recession

The BIG chef survey

Moving on up

Results from the first-of-itskind survey of Middle East culinary professionals

F&B operators are entering 2010 with a cautiously optimistic outlook

Most popular

1. Ramsay loses Michelin star 2. Top Valentine’s Day deals Oliver shunned 3. Jamie by fattest city in the US restaurant precinct 4. New on Dubai mall scene chefs win 5. Westin MasterChef title

For the latest news and stories go to


Caterer Middle East February 2010

Are you ready to touch

the innovation? Electrolux Professional invites you to discover the new breakthrough in cooking technology at Gulfood - Zabeel Hall Stand Z-F 17

21-24 February 2010 Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre

News February 2010

Story of the month

F&B prices harming Dubai’s standing as top destination? All-inclusive options could redress disparity between room and F&B rates Room rates may have dropped at many Dubai hotels over the past year, but with F&B prices still high many believe the disparity between accommodation costs and the price of a meal is impacting the emirate’s standing as a destination. According to Frederic Bardin, senior vice president of Arabian Adventures and Congress Solutions International, F&B has long been a sticking point among tour operators. “It’s almost impossible to eat at a moderate price if you stay in a nice four- or five-star hotel,” he noted. “My impression is that in the past, some hotels, if not the majority, have taken advantage of the in-house clients and put prices up to levels that were too high. “Now that seems to be changing; we saw a lot of F&B promotions coming up in the last quarter of 2009. I just hope we’re going to see continued improvement in 2010.” Dusit Thani Dubai executive chef Flemming Schulthess argued that guests were “always looking for an experience, considering criteria such as quality and personalised service”, and asserted that price was not the main deciding factor. But, as Bonnington Jumeirah Lakes Towers director of operations Martin Kubler pointed out, value has become a central customer consideration. “I think in the past hotels felt they could put up prices, but the rose-tinted glasses have come off now; firstly because there are fewer tourists and secondly because the clientele has changed,” he said. “Now we’ve got to look at the needs of the market, and consumers today want value for money.” The answer may lie in hotels offering all-inclusive packages for guests; but such promotions have traditionally been viewed as ‘low-quality’ options in certain parts of the world — would they work in the top-end Dubai market? Arabian Adventures’ Bardin insisted it would. “The issue is that the hotels that really want to do

Headline grabbers P6 Stay-at-home Valentine’s food F&B operators adapt Valentine’s deals to meet the needs of spendconscious consumers P6 Service charge hits bottom line Banning 10% service charge will force pricehikes, warn operators

Bardin: Flexible all-inclusive packages would work in Dubai. this have to be flexible; you need to give people what they want. And all-inclusive doesn’t have to mean low quality, or all-buffet; it’s what the property makes it,” he said. Indeed, Mövenpick Hotels and Resorts recently unveiled what it claimed was a first for Dubai — a pre-paid all-inclusive offering at its top-end Royal Amwaj property on The Palm Jumeirah. Surprisingly Rixos Hotels, known for its allinclusive resort hotels in Turkey, will not offer a similar package at its hotel on The Palm, scheduled to open this year. Ottoman Palace by Rixos director of business development Yanal Abaza explained: “Dubai has a lot of attractions and we don’t want to limit our guests’ dining experience. “However, Rixos’ all-inclusive concept is very interesting and in the future it might be considered for Dubai.” Despite how such packages may have been perceived in the past, it looks like all-inclusive options would be a successful option for the emirate. As Arabian Adventures’ Bardin pointed out: “By over-charging for F&B, [hotels] are doing a disfavour to the destination. It would be to Dubai’s advantage to introduce the [all-inclusive] concept.”

P7 Competitive spirit Anchor MasterChef challenge highlights need for more regional competition P7 Industry players call for harmony in GCC DIFSC launch highlights different food safety laws across GCC as major stumbling block P8 Where are today’s specials? Middle East chefs are facing issues finding specialist chefs

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February 2010 Caterer Middle East


News February 2010

Eat-in trend impacts Valentine strategies F&B professionals say home-cooking trend creates new opportunities for Valentine’s Day business The region’s romantic restaurants could be in for a lonely night this Valentine’s Day, as cautious economy-hit consumers forgo pre-recession extravagances in favour of home cooking. According to industry professionals, the answer is to adapt to the trend and cater to the customers’ demands this February 14 — traditionally one of the most competitive nights of the hospitality calendar. Radisson Blu Hotel, Dubai Deira Creek director of F&B Ali Fatehnezhad noted: “There is a growing trend for home-cooking at the moment. We have actually seen a growth in our catering and special takeaway areas for some time now, and have already had requests for Valentine’s Day. “In answer to this demand, we have specially created Valentine’s [take-away] packages — such as the ‘Lobster Plat-

The Palace, The Old Town’s Sebastien Duvocelle. ter for Two’, which is proving extremely popular at the moment. “We see this as an additional business opportunity, as opposed to it having a

negative impact on business on the actual day,” he explained. Sebastien Duvocelle, assistant director of food and beverage The Palace, The Old Town, agreed this interest in home-cooking could be turned into a business opportunity: “We have noticed that our pop-up cooking classes are busier than ever,” he said. Initiatives such as gourmet take-aways and cooking schools were proving a great way to increase profits without adding to cover figures or putting additional pressure on front-of-house staff, Radisson’s Fatehnezhad added. “I think this trend creates great opportunities for F&B operators, especially when the kitchen operation is fit to cater to such requests,” he said. “It simply creates another way to maximise revenue and exposure for the outlets.”

Outlets hit by service charge ban How are people celebrating this Valentine’s Day? A Valentine’s package stay at a hotel


Dinner at a hotel

14% 13%

Dinner at a non-hotel outlet Attending an Anti-Valentine’s Day celebration Cooking at home Nothing

7% 36% 29%

Source: online poll


Caterer Middle East February 2010

Free-standing F&B outlets in Dubai have been hit hard by a government decision to ban them from adding a service charge to diners’ bills. The ruling, which came into effect in late 2009, stipulates that restaurants not paying a 10% Municipality fee — required of all licensed outlets — would no longer be permitted to add the service charge. Mahmoud Harb, senior brand manager for Cravia brands Zaatar w Zeit and Roadster Diner, said the firm was already feeling the effects of losing this 10%. “A major part of the service charge went to staff and

Cravia’s Mahmoud Harb. some have already been asking for salary increases,” he said. “The government has to help us save by reducing costs somewhere else — like rents, for example.” Harb added that restaurant menus would now have to be reworked to make up for the missing 10%.

Joe Van Jaarsveld, regional operations manager for The Meat Co at Madinat Jumeirah, said he accepted Dubai government’s position. “I understand the idea behind the ban, as some people have taken advantage of the system,” he observed. “We still get people enquiring about the service charge, but I think the system will work well.” Van Jaarsveld added that for The Meat Co, the service charge was a way of paying staff more money. “We are keen to ensure it’s worthwhile for staff to work for us, especially with many so far from home,” he said.

News In brief

Culinary competition thrives in Dubai Chefs in the region need more chances to compete against each other, according to professional chef and frequent competition judge Peter Hallmanns. Speaking at last month’s inau-

The MasterChef contestants plate up.

gural UAE Anchor MasterChef competition in Dubai, Hallmanns, advisory chef for event organiser Fonterra Foodservices Division, said: “If you speak to chefs, they would say we do not have enough competitions.” However Hallmanns praised the young talent emerging at the region’s existing culinary events, adding: “It was actually a very pleasant surprise for us to see the calibre of young talent and chefs that the various hotels sent here. They were of a very high standard, evident in the quality of food presented.” The winning team was Jay Williams and Edward Mair from The Westin Dubai Mina Seyahi Beach Resort and Marina. Mair told Caterer Middle East: “I think it is always good for

chefs to enter competitions, to let other people see what they can do, and also to receive constructive criticism to were they might have gone wrong. At the end of the day nobody knows everything and they can always keep learning.”

Call for united GCC food safety rules Major food importers supporting the upcoming Dubai International Food Safety Conference (DIFSC) have agreed harmonising food safety laws should be the biggest focus for the Middle East. Speaking at a press conference launching the event, conference sponsor Mars GCC’s representative, Christine Griffs, noted: “For international companies,

The DIFSC line-up is announced. [importing and exporting foodstuffs] can be a challenge because of different regulations in different countries. “Dubai Municipality has done a lot towards achieving a regional harmonisation of these regulations, but for us that’s still the main issue we face.” The Municipality’s food control department director and chairman of the DIFSC organising committee, Khalid Mohamed Sharif, promised the conference would address

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News February 2010

“many areas related to food laws, guidelines and the food safety culture, highlighting the role of food safety education”. The main theme of the conference will be ‘Food Safety: A Responsibility to Share’, and will feature workshops and talks from keynote speakers including prominent international food safety litigator Dr Patrick Wall. The DIFSC will run from February 22-24. For further information, please visit:

Dearth of specialist chefs in region Chefs with specialist skills are proving particularly hard to recruit into Middle East roles, according to some of the region’s top executive chefs.

At Al Murooj Rotana, executive chef Joachim Textor spent 10 months looking for a suitably-qualified cold-kitchen sous chef, while Mövenpick Hotel Bahrain executive chef Kim Gates has faced problems finding a pastry chef. Al Bustan Rotana Dubai executive chef Christophe Prud’homme added: “It would be difficult to name just one specialty field, as all are challenging to recruit for.” According to Desert Palm Dubai executive chef Lionel Boyce, these problems stem from “a combination of money, conditions and skill set, as well as the availability of suitable skilled professionals”. “It’s always hard to find good specialist chefs, but I have found

Desert Palm Dubai’s Lionel Boyce. it particularly difficult in the Middle East due to the fact the common work base we draw from is not renewable,” he continued. “We don’t have a local employee base seeking work in this field and this, accompanied by the current structure of immigration laws, makes it very hard

to increase a skill bank. We need to encourage workers from other countries to settle here, allowing for greater diversity and more suitable workers to achieve a more developed employment base — not just for hospitality sector but for other industries as well,” he concluded.

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News analysis February 2010

Is the rise of celeb chefs harming the industry? Thanks to numerous TV cookery shows, foodie magazines and books, the last decade has seen the role of chef glamorised hugely, particularly in the west. Indeed, some of the world’s top chefs are also top celebrities (or is it the other way round?) Gordon Ramsay, Jamie Oliver and Marco Pierre White are all household names, as are many others. This new culture of culinary celebrity has undoubtedly had a positive impact on the consumer market, with the public becoming far more willing to try new things, both when dining out and in their own kitchens. But how has this phenomenon affected the world’s chefs? At Atlantis, The Palm — where celeb chefbacked outlets include Nobu, Ronda Locatelli, Rostang and Ossiano — vice president, culinary Mark Patten noted: “The effects [of Gordon Ramsay: King of the new celeb chef culture? celebrity chefs] in general are an increase in the quality of restaurants and dining experi- have a new generation who are ever more ences, and through media coverage of these enthusiastic about developing themselves in celebrity chefs, more people are drawn to the culinary world.” According to Vineet Bhatia, the first Indian work in the industry.” chef to receive a Michelin star Mike Nalborczyk, general and the patron-chef of Indego manager at Hilton Dubai Much depends at Grosvenor House Dubai, Creek, home to Gordon Ramthe more exposure the indussay’s Dubai outlet Verre, add- on whether you try gets, the better it becomes. ed that restaurants had been want to accept “As more people come into forced to raise their game in this star status” the field, the industry grows, the wake of celeb chef fever. more jobs are created and more “People come in having highhotels open up,” he reasons. er expectations and want to be “What happens as part of the bargain is delighted,” he said. “They are also more adthat more staff are coming in and getting venturous with their dining options. “It has also helped open young minds to trained better, the competition increases and the industry,” continued Patten. “We now there’s more choice for the consumer.”


Caterer Middle East February 2010

Getty Images

Today’s celebrity chef culture may have changed the way consumers view food for the better, but how has the glamorisation of life in the kitchen impacted the F&B industry itself?

But is there a negative side to the media glamorisation of this extremely tough role? Speaking as one accustomed to the limelight, Indego’s Bhatia agrees “there are negative aspects to everything”, but says the impact very much depends on how the chef in question handles his newfound influence. “I don’t consider myself a celebrity chef at all, I still say I’m a cook and that what I like to do,” he insisted. “It’s the media that puts you up on that pedestal — how things go from thereon depends on whether you want to accept this ‘star status’ and how much goes into your head.” But Angela Hartnett, a Ramsay protégée and now a Michelin-starred chef in her own right, has seen a more negative side.

News analysis February 2010

“People look at Gordon [Ramsay] and Ja- your restaurants, then you shouldn’t take on mie [Oliver] and think ‘oh yeah, I can do that, more projects,” he asserted. it’s only a bit of cooking’, and then you have According to Atlantis’ Patten, any chef people going into the restaurant business with his name over the door “must always with the idea not of running have a close eye on day-to-day a restaurant, but of becoming operations”, while the team famous and use cooking to get in place must be able to conThey’ve made sistently deliver the product there — which of course is the wrong way to do it,” she told it a much sexier and experience. Caterer Middle East in an ex- career move than “It’s a bit like being a manclusive interview last year. ager for a world class football “Now you see these young- 10 years ago” team; their name’s associsters coming in saying ‘I want ated with the product, even to be on TV, I want to be the though they don’t actually next Jamie Oliver’, and you think ‘OK, but score any goals,” he explained. can you run a restaurant — can you make Hilton’s Nalborczyk added that a close money, can you deliver the product, can you partnership was key for this chef-patron British TV chef Jamie Oliver — bringing his own brand get customers coming back?’ business model to succeed. of outlets to Dubai in future — is a red-carpet celebrity. “Because if you can’t do that, Has the recent rise of ‘celebrity’ chefs benetted the “Our core team is an extension of forget TV — you might get your region’s F&B industry? Gordon’s team and we stay in close five minutes of fame, but after contact with them,” he revealed. that what are you going to do? So “Even a simple change of dish rein that respect, I think this whole quires input from Gordon and the celeb thing’s been a bit negative.” team. It is paramount to ensure However Hartnett admitted the that you remain true to the patron glamorisation of the industry had chef ’s values and concept.” also brought benefits. Even for outlets that do not have “These chefs have brought a celebrity chef ’s name over the cooking to light, they’ve made it door, occasional associations with a much sexier career move than it such public figures can still be exwould have been ten years ago,” tremely beneficial. she pointed out. According to Jorrit Gerritsma, All the same, some celebrity F&B director at Six Senses Hidechefs have come in for criticism away Zighy Bay in Oman, where over recent years for spreading Pierre Gagnaire recently guesttheir culinary empires too thinly. cheffed, the kitchen team found it So what is the impact on a kitch“inspiring” to be able to work with en team when such a figure beYes; they raise awareness about foods and encourage such a world-renowned figure. comes ‘patron chef ’ of the outlet consumers to try new things. — 29% “It gives them pride and inspirabut isn’t working in the kitchen — as is the case for several restauNot really; their restaurants are here, but they’re not tion, and generally boosts the level around long enough to have any impact. — 23% of cooking,” he asserted. rants in this region? Indego’s Bhatia agreed such proIndego’s Bhatia commented: No way; people now think cheffing is a fast track to motions could create “a lot of buzz”. “You cannot spend time at each fame and fortune, not a career. — 22% “It motivates the staff immensely, outlet — what’s important is that I don’t think the celebrity chef phenomenon has as getting a guest chef coming the guest shouldn’t notice the difhad any impact on everyday operations. — 16% down is a big boost for them,” he ference when you are not there. “If you ever get to the stage Maybe; celebrity chefs coming to the Middle East has noted. “They also get to learn a lot definitely boosted the region’s F&B reputation. — 10% from somebody who’s recognised where you feel you can’t control Photo by Tim Whitby/Getty Images

February 2010 Caterer Middle East


News analysis February 2010

in the industry, who has achieved a certain status for what they have done.” Ultimately, restaurants operating in this competitive region must constantly offer new ways of engaging with their clients, as noted by Hilton’s Nalborczyk. “Guest chefs are a great way of adding value to the dining experience — but any such tactic must be compatible with the existing positioning of the restaurant and enhance the customer experience,” he warned. Today, many famed chefs have been persuaded to open outlets in the Middle East — and with gourmet fairs such as Gourmet Abu Dhabi and Taste of Dubai coming up, there may be more announcements to come. But is there room in the market for more celebrity chef outlets? Six Senses’ Gerritsma said he believed both Abu Dhabi and Dubai “could do with a few more”, but emphasised: “They need to be small — by UAE standards – and the location needs to be picked very well.”

Michelin-starred chef Angela Hartnett. Similarly, Hilton’s Nalborczyk said celebrity chef-endorsed restaurants were “a great way to raise the profile of the region, keep standards in check and generally enrich the customer experience”. As Indego’s Bhatia pointed out: “There’s lots of room — and the more chefs come

here, the better the Middle East’s F&B scene will become. “People get scared and say there is too much competition between celebrity chefs,” he mused. “But I say no to that: the more the merrier, and the better for the industry.”

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Mystery shopper Italian restaurants

Service spy This month, Ethos Consultancy’s team of mystery shoppers went undercover at four restaurants from Dubai’s huge portfolio of Italian outlets, to find out whether service was bellissima or orribile

This month:

Each mystery shopper is instructed to look out for the following:

The chosen Italian restaurants were:


• Bice, Hilton Jumeirah

• Did the outlet appear clean and tidy? • Were menus clear and easy to follow?

• Il Rustico, Rydges Plaza Dubai • Frankie’s Italian Bar and Grill, Al Fattan Marine Towers • Certo, Radisson Blu Hotel, Dubai Media City

THE WHAT: Caterer Middle East has partnered up with customer service experts Ethos Consultancy to highlight F&B service standards at outlets across the UAE. Each month, we’ll reveal mystery shoppers’ assessments of four different F&B outlets, to explore what these venues are doing right and what could be improved. THE WHY: This isn’t about catching F&B outlets with their trousers down: by measuring performance and providing expert advice on areas for improvement, we want to help better these operations — and the industry in general. THE HOW: Ethos Consultancy’s trained mystery shoppers are given a specific selection of outlets. Each shopper visits their assigned restaurant and dines as usual. Within 24 hours of every experience, each shopper fills out an online report, providing Ethos consultants with the information they require to offer constructive advice.


Caterer Middle East February 2010

Sales and service • • • •

The greeting received from staff The appearance of staff Time taken to be served Did the waiter ask questions to establish the customer’s preferences and needs? • Was the waiter knowledgeable about the items on offer? • If an item was not available, did the waiter provide other helpful suggestions? • Did the waiter attempt to up- or cross-sell by suggesting complementary items?

Overall Experience • Would your experience encourage you to visit this outlet again? • Did you leave the outlet with a positive impression of the venue? • Would you recommend this outlet to friends, family or colleagues? • What could have been done to better your entire experience?

The expert analysis: Antipasti, bread, pizza or pasta anyone? We think it’s safe to assume there are more than a few of you reading this who either work at or frequently enjoy dining out at one of Dubai’s many Italian restaurants. We really are spoilt for choice, so how does one make a decision when it comes to the perfect Italiano experience? As consultants advising clients on how to improve their customers’ complete dining experience, it all comes down to five key factors: food, beverage, service, location and atmosphere. Our shoppers set out on their visits taking all these factors into consideration. With only 10% separating first and fourth place, the competition was tight. Our ‘Italian Stallion’ restaurant of choice was BiCE at Hilton Jumeirah, which earned top place with 89%. This hidden treasure is not visible from the front of the hotel, but once your inside soaking up the atmosphere, with the wooden floor boards, traditional fixtures and attractive wall hangings, you know you’re in for an authentic Italian treat. Il Rustico at Rydges Plaza Dubai wasn’t far behind, scoring 82%, followed very closely by Frankie’s Italian Bar and Grill

Guest Service

Service Quality Was the host engag- Was the host profesing through voice and sional in appearance conversation? and well groomed?

When ordering, was your server able to answer questions confidently?

Visit 1

Visit 2

Visit 1

Visit 2

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BiCE, Hilton Jumeirah







Il Rustico, Rydges Plaza Dubai







Frankie’s Italian Bar & Grill, Al FattanTowers







Certo, Radisson Blu Hotel, Dubai Media City







Mystery shopper Italian restaurants

Service Quality

Overall Experience

Food & Beverage


ABOUT ETHOS CONSULTANCY Originating in the UK in 1995, Ethos Consultancy relocated to Dubai in 2003, where a team of five has grown to 50 — with an Abu Dhabi office opening in 2008. Our consultants have come from some of the most mature customer service markets in the world, ensuring experience and best practice in everything we do.

20 0

Il Rustico




What could have been done better?

at Al Fattan Marine Towers with 80%, and finally Certo at Radisson Blu Hotel, Dubai Media City with a commendable 79%. All of our top three restaurants scored 100% for both cleanliness and the overall experience category. Certo lost points in both these areas for two reasons: firstly because one of our shoppers reported their table wasn’t kept impeccable and presentable at all times and secondly, one of our shoppers said they would not be recommending Certo based on their dining experience. This shopper was very satisfied with the staff ’s efforts to be friendly and meet their needs, but their ultimate decision not to recommend was because they were disappointed with the quality and taste of the food served.

• Only a quarter of our shoppers had restaurant managers approach their table to enquire about their experience. This is a shame, from a service perspective, but more importantly this means a missed opportunity to gather valuable face-to-face feedback. Having said that, Certo and Frankie’s managers were praised for the interest they took in their customers’ feedback. During service, every table should be visited by a manager or senior staff member, with feedback being documented and reviewed on a daily basis. All of last month’s Michelin-star chef restaurants scored top marks for managers taking the time to speak to our shoppers and ask about their experience. • A few of our shoppers had tremendous trouble understanding the reservations desk

Food and Beverages Did your food arrive at the table in a reasonable amount of time?

Ethos prides itself on being at the forefront of online customer service solutions and was awarded Most Innovative Small Business in the UAE at the 2008 Lloyds TSB Small Business Awards.








97% 63%







Did the quality of the food and its ingredients meet your expectations?

Did you find the food good value for money?

Through years of experience, Ethos has developed a variety of services to help clients understand how their business is performing. Our solutions include mystery shopping, satisfaction surveys and a range of benchmarking services. Once clients have a clear understanding of how they are performing, we help them improve via training, consulting and implementation of The International Customer Service Standard.

customer service representative over the telephone. Some shoppers had to ask the staff member to repeat their sentence two to three times before it was understood. Phone etiquette is a vital customer service tool, as phone bookings are still the most popular method of making a reservation. Remember: first impressions last.

Overall Experience

Additional Comments

Overall, based on your experience, would you recommend this restaurant?

Did the manager stop by at any time to ask how your experience was?

Visit 1

Visit 2

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February 2010 Caterer Middle East


Editor’s comment Volume 6 Issue 02

Registered at Dubai Media City PO Box 500024, Dubai, UAE Tel: +971 (0)4 210 8000 Fax: +971 (0)4 210 8080 Offices in Dubai & London ITP Business Publishing CEO Walid Akawi Managing Director Neil Davies Deputy Managing Director Matthew Southwell Editorial Director David Ingham VP Sales Wayne Lowery Publishing Director Diarmuid O’Malley Editorial Senior Group Editor Gemma Greenwood Tel: +971 4 435 6262 email: Editor Lucy Taylor Tel: +971 4 435 6275 email: Assistant Editor Ben Watts Tel: +971 4 435 6289 email: Contributors Gemma Greenwood, Emma Chamberlain Advertising Publishing Director Diarmuid O’Malley Tel: +971 4 435 6143 email: Commercial Director Sarah Worth Tel: +971 4 435 6163 email: Int. Sales Manager, Hospitality & Catering Middle East & India Amanda Stewart GSM: +44 7908 117 333 email: Skype: amandajanestewart Studio Group Art Editor Dan Prescott Photography Director of Photography Sevag Davidian Chief Photographer Khatuna Khutsishvili Senior Photographers G-nie Arambulo, Efraim Evidor, Thanos Lazopoulos Staff Photographers Isidora Bojovic, George Dipin, Lyubov Galushko, Jovana Obradovic, Ruel Pableo, Rajesh Raghav Production & Distribution Group Production Manager Kyle Smith Production Coordinator Sophia White Managing Picture Editor Patrick Littlejohn Distribution Manager Karima Ashwell Distribution Executive Nada Al Alami Circulation Head of Circulations & Database Gaurav Gulati Marketing Head of Marketing Daniel Fewtrell ITP Digital Director Peter Conmy ITP Group Chairman Andrew Neil Managing Director Robert Serafin Finance Director Toby Jay Spencer-Davies Board of Directors K M Jamieson, Mike Bayman, Walid Akawi, Neil Davies, Rob Corder, Mary Serafin Circulation Customer Service Tel: +971 4 435 6000 Certain images in this issue are available for purchase. Please contact for further details or visit

Shake-up or shake-down? Has anyone else noticed a surprising amount of job-hopping going on in the F&B industry at the moment? During the few weeks of 2010 that have passed thus far, my inbox has been crammed with news of departures and appointments across the region. So what’s going on? Is this a natural exodus, prompted by new year’s resolutions of pro-activity, or is the wave of new and upcoming properties taking us back to the dark days of ‘staff pirating’? Anyone who has been working in the Middle East market for a year or more will remember the surge of ship-jumping that took place. It was a time when operators lived in fear of newcomers poaching their staff, luring them away with promises of triple pay and a (frequently inappropriate) promotions. But surely, in the current climate of reduced consumer spending and cautious operators, when all eyes seem to be firmly on the bottom line, this can’t be happening again? Certainly new projects are coming up across the Middle East, more than might have been expected, but even the gung-ho operators of old have had to face up to the effects of the global financial downturn — surely they cannot still be swanning in and offering a commis chef triple his salary to come and be their chef de cuisine. (Double maybe, but triple’s just silly money.) So if it isn’t the old ‘gimme more money’ shake-down at work, perhaps this is more of an industry shake-up? Maybe the highs and lows of the past 12 months or so have forced F&B professionals to consider their jobs in more depth, to weigh up the pros and cons of their F&B offerings and the brands they represent, with the result that they are seeking out new roles in operations they actively want to be a part of. If this is the case, then it might be a good thing for the industry — staff who truly believe in what they represent are far more likely to win over customers than the half-hearted efforts of a malcontent. And if there’s one thing that could arguably outweigh promises of double pay at a mediocre operation, it’s real job satisfaction at a brand you believe in. (At least, I would like to think so.) Let’s hope that’s what this shake-up comes down to.

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Lucy Taylor, Editor BPA Worldwide Circulation Statement Average Qualified Circulation 7,089 (Dec - Jun 2009)

Published by and Copyright © 2010 ITP Business Publishing,a division of the ITP Publishing Group Ltd.Registered in the B.V.I. under Company number 1402846.

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Comment Dan Clayton


Clayton Rise of the machines. Technology has made life far easier for outlet staff — but has it taken the old-school personality out of hospitality? On an average day, I will use no less then 12 different computerised systems during a shift in the restaurant. I’m pretty sure a NASA space launch uses fewer computer systems then me. My office has so many blinking lights, cooling fans and hard drives that every time I sit in my office chair, I feel like the captain of the Starship Enterprise. Just without the teleportation facilities. Or the spandex suit. Technological advances have made the contemporary restaurant a pretty advanced place in which to operate. From maximising profit margins to customer profiling, nowadays pretty much all restaurateurs have a computer to do it for us. My team can ‘remember’ a guest’s favourite bottle of wine or birthday, thanks to my reservation system. I can ensure my menu layout is optimised for maximum profit margin with the click of a mouse. I can split guest cheques 14 different ways with a single poke of my finger. Meanwhile, the cooks can steam asparagus spears to perfection thanks to a computerised steamer. My hostesses can send personalised

Today’s F&B industry uses plenty of technology; could a robot chef be next on the menu?


Caterer Middle East February 2010

confirmation emails to each and every guest. Meanwhil, guests can reserve tables either online or via text messages. And the arrival of all these systems has allowed us, as hospitality professionals, to enhance the customer experience, ensure a profitable business model and maintain consistent food quality. Although many take this electronic assistance for granted, I often find myself thinking about how restaurants operated without all this technology in the past. Hospitality is one of the oldest industries on the planet; in fact one of the world’s longest-running pubs, the Ye Olde Man & Scythe, in Bolton, UK, opened in 1251. Since Franklin wasn’t struck by lightening until 1752, I’m pretty sure they didn’t even have electricity let alone Micros handhelds to help them navigate their menu of steamed cabbage, disintegrated potatoes and warm ale. And can you image how complicated the wine inventory must have been for Tour D’Argent back in 1582, manually stockchecking the 420,000 bottle collection? Not a job I’d be keen to do. But has the advance of technology in the hospitality industry brought any negative changes? Has the workforce been dumbed down, or have we got smarter and better at what we do? For me, if I’m honest, I think it’s a little of both. What is sad is that the true skills of a restaurateur have been somewhat diluted. I think back to the days of my apprenticeships, when I was lucky enough to work with some real old-school hoteliers and

restaurateurs before the new breed moved in. Put in front of a computer, these old guards of the dining room would have been as confused as if the good ship Enterprise had landed on their desk. But every time they worked the dining room floor, it reminded me of why I joined this industry in the first place. For these were traditional restaurateurs — supremely gracious hosts who went about their work with serene precision, with no detail unchecked and no guest unattended, making excellence look effortless. When they welcomed their guests they exuded the charm and warmth of a politician running for presidency. They glided between the tables with a grace worthy of royalty — and indeed royalty they were, for they were the kings of their restaurants. And all this they accomplished sans technology. They could recall guest names without a reservation system prompting them; they could receive an order on an oldfashioned pad and communicate it to the kitchen without the need of an electronic mediator; and they always managed to find that last-minute table for the preferred guests without a fancy table-yield system. Sure, managers today can tell you what table yields the most profit and the labour productivity ratio to guests. Similarly they can wax lyrical about margins and drop-through and average checks. But I hope that, despite all our technological advantages, managers will remember the wonderfully genuine hospitality demonstrated by the greats — and not allow technology to strip our industry of their legacy. Dan Clayton is general manager of Stars ‘n’ Bars restaurant and lounge, opening soon at Abu Dhabi’s Yas Island. For more information, visit:

Comment Designer column


Keane DIY drama. With today’s consumers increasingly demanding not just a meal but a mindblowing experience from their restaurants, the answer may lie in giving theatre kitchens an interactive twist You know, I can still remember my first visit to a theatre kitchen. In actual fact, it wasn’t a theatre at all, more of a peep-hole into the pass of the kitchen of this tiny restaurant, just off Soho Square in London. Peep-hole or not, I can remember thinking how awesome it was to be able to look in at the service, to spy on chef and see what life was really like behind the swing door. Sure, this set-up may be passé nowadays, to the point where we have travelled full circle and are asking for the chef to be hidden away again. But perhaps we have missed a very, very exciting concept; one that takes the theatre kitchen, boils it, bakes it and then flambés it into a new radical offering… Please think hard and try to remember the last time you went to a restaurant with friends specifically for the food, as opposed to the experience or the interaction. You see? It’s hard, isn’t it — and this has got my mind racing, thinking about a potential design and operational idea for a new breed of restaurant. I’m going call this new concept SLOTS — as in, the restaurant ‘slots’ into the kitchen. Imagine the scenario: you want to take some friends out and arrange to meet them at 8pm, to eat around 8.30pm. At SLOTS, you as the host would arrive at


Caterer Middle East February 2010

Outlets need to add drama to the dining experience. 6pm to prepare and cook the meal for your friends, who would be arriving later. You would be assisted by a chef from the team and having pre-ordered the food stuffs you would begin the whole process, preparing things just how you like but with the added expertise of the professional chef to assist you. Wow, I love this idea completely. Suddenly I can invite friends out to a great restaurant and enjoy all the traditional bonhomie, but with this extra angle that allows me to be in control of the menu for the evening; and then have the added glory of preparing and cooking the whole thing. This would fly, I’m sure it would. It has everything: interactivity, education, professionalism, excitement, uniqueness and above all, glory!

You’ve invited friends out, you’ve greeted them, had a drink with them, joked with them, eaten with them and cooked for them but without any of the disruption of doing it all at home. I imagine this kind of ‘entertain-themyourself ’ dinner scheme taking place in a big, baroque-themed room, stripped back but with big banquet tables, drapes and curtains, giant candles and a four-piece chamber orchestra playing classical versions of favourite modern songs. Awesome. I see the whole design as being quite dark and sultry — like from the Greenway movie, The Cook, the Thief, His Wife and Her Lover. I think drama is the key word here. A truly dramatic backdrop to a dramatic evening out. We have to be realistic at this point; not every night will be a success. Since you have the power, you and your culinary choices may still be the cause of an almighty muckup in the kitchen, and what would happen then? Could you bear the shame? I suppose this situation is easily solved. Those unsure of their culinary prowess should simply have the option to give more power to the personal chef, who is there not only to assist, but ultimately to save us from ourselves. So there you have it — SLOTS, a sure-fire winner, in my humble opinion. Next time you book a meal out or Google ‘fun places to eat’, consider this: is your restaurant serving you well or could it do with a bit of DIY? Aidan Keane is the founder of specialist leisure and retail design firm Keane; for more information, visit:

January 2010 People Training

y r a i d e e Train demy of at the Emirates Aca er st me se a of se ur Over the co rough the o students take us th tw t, en em ag an M ity Hospital rld of F&B uction to the tough wo ind eir th of s low d an highs

Nasseem Mirtahmasebi has lived in Dubai for six years and previously studied at Jumeirah College. She hopes to work in Dubai in future.

We had our practical exam last month, which was quite scary to be honest. Personally I was hoping the public holiday would be announced so so we wouldn;t have to do it until after Christmas holidays, but no: everything went ahead as scheduled! Luckily I was the last group to do the practical exam, so I had the advantage of asking my friends what it was going to be like, what I should start with and whether it was difficult or not. I mean, we were cooking a three-course meal all on our own for four people — and it couldn’t be beans on toast, either! After speaking to my friends though, I calmed down and was kind of excited about it. The only thing I was worried about was time; as Chef Kitts always says, “your only enemy in the kitchen is the clock”. The practical went quite well in the end; I did struggle a bit when it came to chopping the vegetables for the soup, but everything went smoothly after that and had all my meals out on time and perfectly plated, which was good. All in all, I think it went really well. After that, it was time to get ready for the theory exams. Revision week was very hectic; we were staying up until early hours of the morning revising then sleeping for a few hours, waking up, and going over it all again. Sitting the actual exams was so exhausting I think I slept the whole weekend once they were over! But the exams themselves were quite good. I was mostly scared about the four essay questions we had to write, but thank goodness there was a nice selection to choose from, so I was even quite happy with that. After that, we moved on to our short placements. I am so happy that I got Grand Hyatt as my short placement venue. For the past week I have been in the kitchen and I absolutely loved it. At the beginning I was standing around, but once I got my chopping board out no one could stop me! So far, I have worked in the butchery area, commissary area and pastry. My favourite has to be pastry — I love


Caterer Middle East February 2010

cakes. All the staff are really friendly and take good care of you, so I really feel like I’m part of the team. However I know how hard it is now to work in the real world and just how many hours go into preparing certain dishes. It is really tiring and I come back home just wanting to pass out. I think the first day was the worst for me because I was so tired — I hardly slept the night before because I was worrying, not knowing what to expect, then kept waking up every hour! But it was all fine and I was panicking for nothing. I have learnt a lot already, but I’m still not too sure if the F&B side is for me. I guess I shall have to wait until next semester is over to compare all areas of the hospitality industry and see which one suits me most.

[Top left] The Grand Hyatt Dubai. [Rest] At the Academy.

January 2010 People Training

Nipul Laxman came to Emirates Academy from the UK, where he studied hospitality at college and gained first-hand F&B experience working in banqueting for a major hotel brand. His ambition is to one day open a hotel with his family.

I think I have learnt a lot from the practical classes this semester, and had a clear understanding of the theories too, so I felt fairly prepared when the exams came round. I was pretty well organised and knew I had the relevant knowledge regarding the dishes we had to produce; after that, it was just a question of making a time plan and reading recipes before the exam to ensure the whole session went smoothly. The practical exams were followed by the theory ones, which I think went really well too. Writing the culinary exam was like putting all the practical experience onto paper. After that, I started my month-long short placement at Burj Al Arab. I started with food and beverage service at the Al Iwan restaurant, a buffet restaurant serving both traditional Arabic and international cuisine. The first day was more of an introduction to the hotel and familiarisation with the restaurant. I started working in back-ofhouse and am currently learning more about serving guests. My colleagues have been really polite and helpful, not to forget the managers who have shown a real interest in making sure that I learn from my placement. The standards of the hotel are very high and little details are always taken into consideration, such as making sure you use a guest’s name at least once during their meal. The staff are expected to show high level of commitment to making sure we exceed customer expectations. In my first week, I learnt about the role of the waiters, and started with back-of-house operations such as making bread baskets, polishing cutlery and plates, and learning how to make different coffees and teas as per the restaurant standard. I then moved on into the restaurant, to run the buffet. My job was to make sure there was sufficient food at all times and also that enough plates and cutlery were available. On top of this practical experience, I also have been part of evening briefings and a training session that was carried out by our manager relating to quality assurance and mystery shoppers. The second week will be based on serving guests, which I think will help me be more confident and also develop my skills. After completing my two weeks of food service, I will move to the main kitchen of the hotel for food production and that will be where my short placement ends. The overall experience gained from my F&B and culinary

course has been very rewarding. I think the placements give a really valuable insight into the real world after covering theory and practical sessions. This helps us in the learning process and also developing skills. The tough conditions in this field have not put me off and I am definitely considering it as one of my choices when it comes to selecting my six-month internship, which we will have to start this coming September. Watch this space!

[Left] The Burj Al Arab. [Rest] Tidying up at the Academy.

Lecturer’s notes

er ive chef and senior lectur The Academy’s execut final thoughts on Michael Kitts shares his rs’ efforts: our culinary contributo are hard at work in Both Nipul and Nasseem with exams for the first their short placements, behind them, at last! semester well and truly a real taste of our I think they are getting iasm shows when we see industry, and their enthus g Academy while referencin them occasionally at The for their reports. e onto rooms division and Next semester, they mov of which is a different kettle front office management, at. gre sure they’ll both do fish altogether! But I’m

February 2010 Caterer Middle East


Roundtable Chain brand operators

Chained up Undeterred by the economic downturn, chain outlets seem to be making steady progress in the Middle East. Some of the region’s top brand operators met at Frankie’s Bar and Grill this month to discuss pro-active plans for 2010, why the region is still a key growth area, and the real challenges facing their brands

Joe Van Jaarsveld, general manager, The Meat Co, Souk Madinat

Mahmoud Harb, senior brand manager, Cravia

Rob de Villiers, commercial manager, The Meat Co, Ribs & Rumps and Tribes

Simon Penhaligan, director of restaurant operations, RMAL Hospitality


Caterer Middle East February 2010

Roundtable Chain brand operators

Over the past 12 months, how have F&B operations been affected by the economic downturn? Mahmoud Harb: We had some closures; it was the wisest move to close the few non-performing outlets, so we decided to bite the bullet and stop the bleeding. We had two outlets that had been open for less than a year, so we had to basically write off the investment cost — and we’re talking about millions. But we knew in the long run it would be much better for business. With the mall management, it was not easy to extricate ourselves; it took us six or seven months of negotiations, and we had to pay penalties. Rob De Villiers: Things in malls are improving; I think Dubai Mall, for example, is certainly turning around, with regards to footfall. But the landlords aren’t negotiating. No matter what the situation, even if you are trading as well as you should be, they’re not prepared to change rates or negotiate. Khalil Fakih, business development manager — F&B, BinHendi Hospitality

Joe Van Jaarsveld: But looking at the impact of the downturn, we’ve had a down side and an up side: OK, the consistent growth we saw in our stores for many years has slowed down. But we’ve been fortunate in that we seem to be strong in the region — and now there are more purchasing opportunities, as we’re in a better position to negotiate with suppliers. Penhaligan: Absolutely — before, suppliers wouldn’t give you the time of day. Now, they’re knocking on your door, looking out for good deals. I think it’s also weeded out some of the more wishy-washy suppliers, who were trying to take advantage of the market, so we’re left with the established players with good quality products. And if you are a bit limited in other areas, this is exactly what you’re looking for: things that can make a difference to that bottom line.

the main areas we’re focusing on. We’re also looking at management contracts as well, for hotels, so RMAL has the advantage of being a bit more diverse than just restaurants.

Looking forward, do you have an expansion strategy in place for 2010? Harb: I think we’ll wait and see how the firstquarter figures come out. They will give us the The service indication for how we should continue for the rest charge basically of the year.

Van Jaarsveld: The Middle East is definitely still a growth point for us; there are a lot of possibilities. Our aim is to be in every area of the region, but right now we’re really focusing on consolidating our products and looking after our staff.

takes 10% from Penhaligan: For us, as a hospitality company we Khalil Fakih: For BinHendi in 2010, we think it’s the your bottom line” right time to start focusing more on finding exactly obviously have different sections: we have the restaurants; we also do consultancy work, for example the right developments. In previous years we were just on the Dubai Pearl and we’re looking at other rushing out, trying to be present everywhere within consultancy contracts. every single development. Nowadays, we have to really think how We’re also looking to franchise out Frankie’s and we already have we’re doing it, whether it’s the right place; so we will continue to some interest within the region, in Muscat and Doha; so those are grow in 2010 and 2011, but only through the right projects.

February 2010 Caterer Middle East


Roundtable Chain brand operators

Penhaligan: That’s not to say there isn’t still huge competition for sites; prime places are still being snapped up around the region. I just think you have to look at the strategy, at the feasibility study, and decide whether the area is going to give you a return on investment and whether your brands can work in the area. Fakih: When we invest in a restaurant, it’s a huge amount, so if a restaurant is not performing, we have to really think and find a way to make it work, before we take the final decision to close it. But of course some sites have been affected by the downturn and the changing consumer market; we have the Duck King restaurant which opened last year in Jumeirah, but it’s around five-star hotel prices, so the theme really requires it to be a licensed venue as well. I think we have to reconsider the costs in that restaurant. The quality of the food is amazing, but right now it’s AED 180 per person, so we certainly have to reconsider the pricing.

Duck King’s food may be of five-star quality — but is it too pricey?

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Harb: We had a location in the same mall as Duck King, which we closed down because it was really suffering. I think since JBR opened and so many Dubai Marina developments came up, Jumeirah has slowed down. We didn’t see any hope there for our outlet, so it had to close.

Roundtable Chain brand operators

RMAL’s Simon Penhaligan and Cravia’s Mahmoud Harb consider the impact of the economic downturn. Has the changing economic climate forced changes in your marketing strategy? Van Jaarsveld: We’ve always marketed our business internally. Our strategy has been to let our products, our people and our service do the talking, and rely on word-of-mouth, which for us is still the key. That’s why we focus on training and developing to ensure the staff make the customer’s experience memorable. You can’t buy the kind of marketing that gives you.

RMAL Hospitality Brand portfolio includes: Trader Vic’s Madinat, Trader Vic’s Mai Tai,

Penhaligan: But staffing is becoming something of an issue; we have got a lot of hotels coming up in this area that are looking to recruit decent staff with hospitality training, and if you have staff who have been with you for a couple of years and there’s no position available to give them a promotion, or no money to give salary increases, they do start looking around. And over-promotion is still happening, which is ridiculous — like a commis moving to become chef de partie. If you promote someone and they jump way up the ladder, you’ve got to wonder how much they’ve actually learnt — and how much they’ve missed out on.

Frankie’s Bar and Grill, Wagamamas, and the newly-launched Marco Pierre White Steakhouse and Grill.

Cravia Brand portfolio includes: Zaatar w Zeit, Roadster Diner, Cinnabon, Seattle’s Best Coffee

BinHendi Hospitality

Fakih: That’s something we’ve seen as well. We have around 1% per month of people jumping ship for promises of a higher title or more money — sometimes double their salary, which of course we cannot compete with.

Brand portfolio includes: Bella Donna, Business Café, Cacao Sampaka, Café Havana, China Times, Duck King, Japengo Café, Ruby Tuesday and Inferno Grill.

The Meat Co Brand portfolio includes: The Meat Co, Ribs & Rumps and new brand to the region Tribes, to be launched in the UAE later this year.


Caterer Middle East February 2010

Van Jaarsveld: I think we’ve been quite successful with our policy of promoting from within, which certainly The Meat Co, Souk Madinat’s makes Joe Van Jaarsveld. peo- www ww ww w w.ho ho h ote tel ellier e iie e ermid ermi dd dle

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Roundtable Chain brand operators

ple feel it’s worthwhile staying with the company. When staff see colleagues climb the ladder, it inspires others to persevere. So our focus on our people has really paid off, and honestly we’ve got hardly any staff turnaround — in the single figures, internationally. Harb: We do the same. In Zaatar w Zeit, we have around 26 managers who were all promoted from within. We don’t have a single manager from outside. It reduces turnover, it increases staff commitment to the brand, and it’s really a very important thing to do.

ones — such as those at Dubai Mall — we are locked into for a longer period. De Villiers: I think even though residential and some commercial office space rents have come down, from a retail, shopping centre or mall perspective, it promote won’t change.

If you someone and they jump way up the ladder, you’ve got to wonder how much they’ve actually learnt”

Is there anything you anticipate will be a major challenge for outlets over the coming months? Fakih: We believe the biggest challenge this year will be the cost of rent, which is really too high for the current sitaution in the market. Unfortunately we are locked into long-term agreements. We are renegotiating our expired agreements, but many of the major

Van Jaarsveld: But it does depend on the situation; if you have a site that you’ve been in for a number of years successfully, and the time comes to renegotiate the lease ahead, if you’re doing well, they’re going to make sure you pay for that. You’re not about to give up a great site, and they know that.

Penhaligan: I think there are some locations where an independent outlet does well, and the hotel group or development owner or whoever might consider shifting the brand out and put in one of their own concepts. But it’s important to understand that there is a power in brands,

The group debates the problems of long-term rent contracts.


Caterer Middle East February 2010

Roundtable Chain brand operators

and for developments to recognise just how much business these names bring in, as well. Fakih: Of course the other issue at the moment is the service charge ban. We cut it off the menu, but unfortunately we will not be able to waive it — we will have to put it somewhere and work it into the menu, because these prices were set based on the labour cost, rents, operations and so on. A percentage of this 10% went to the staff; then the rest went towards supplementing price changes, for example of purchased foodstuffs. Penhaligan: We went and had meetings with Dubai Municipality to clarify this, and the law says if you are a restaurant that pays the 10% Municipality fee, then you are entitled to add the 10% charge onto your bill. So basically that’s any hotel or free-standing restaurant where you have alcohol; those are the ones paying a Municipality fee. Even for us, this has had an impact though; our Wagamama outlet at The Greens is not licensed, so there we cannot add a service charge. Harb: It basically takes 10% directly from your bottom line.

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February 2010 Caterer Middle East

The only plus for us is that in Zaatar w Zeit, Cinnabon and Seattle’s Best Coffee, we didn’t have that service charge in place anyway. But Roadster Diner had it, so we had to cut that and now we’re looking for other ways to recoup the 10%. We think though if we increase our prices, we have to add value, and we have a plan for that — a new menu, a wider selection of dishes and so on. Van Jaarsveld: I think the ambiguity of it all was the worst part of what we’ve had to deal with, because there were a lot of newspapers publishing contradictory reports. I’d like to see those publications now telling it how it is, so guests have a clear understanding of what is happening. We found it quite difficult to get the story straight, and had to make phone calls to several different departments before they could confirm exactly what the law was. Even now, customers are still asking us about it, and people don’t seem to be sure.

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Are there any particular trends you’re seeing coming up at the moment? Penhaligan: Well people are still going out, but they’re watching what they spend. They’re not going for the full three courses, or expensive beverages, but they are still looking for a good meal experience. Also we’re seeing the average check remaining a bit lower in the week than it is at weekends. Harb: I think consumer confidence is getting better though. You cannot stay at home for six months or a year, worrying about money. Admittedly at first, everyone panicked and was afraid to spend, but you cannot just stay at home doing nothing forever. And proof of this is what happened in Eid al-Adha; we had record-breaking sales in most of our outlets. People went out, they spent money, and since then things have been getting steadily better. Fakih: The good thing about this area is that the infrastructure is there, there is huge potential, and it will get on track again. We will never get back up to where we were a couple of years ago, but certainly for those who work hard and smart in terms of building Cravia’s real brands, real presMahmoud Harb. ence and strategies for development, they will benefit, for sure.

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Gulfood preview

Return of the



As the region’s F&B professionals gear up for Gulfood 2010, Caterer Middle East reveals the biggest trends, products and Salon Culinaire surprises set to make a splash at this year’s show

February 2010 Caterer Middle East

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Gulfood preview Organiser interview

Serving up an

F&B feast Gulfood project manager Goli Vossough tells Caterer Middle East what exhibitors and vistors can expect from this year’s installment of the established exhibition How has Gulfood 2010 grown compared to last year’s show? Gulfood is the fastest-growing trade exhibition in the Middle East, with year-on-year growth for every aspect of the show — exhibitor participation, footfall and product and service offerings. With an increase in floor space of more than 20%, this year’s exhibition will take up one million square feet, showcasing the latest products, trends and industry innovations from more than 3300 participating companies. We anticipate over 45,000 visitors from over 152 countries worldwide.


Caterer Middle East February 2010

Overall, 76 countries will be represented at Gulfood 2010, with country pavilions including Argentina, Greece, Italy, Jordan, Lebanon, Spain, Turkey and the USA. This year we also welcome new companies from as far a field as Kuwait, Libya, Peru, Portugal, Sudan, Ukraine and Uruguay. What areas in particular are you expanding for 2010 and why? It’s expanding in all areas, due to the increase in exhibition space at the venue, Dubai International Convention and

Exhibition Centre. With this space increase of 20%, we are now able to triple the size of Ingredients Middle East and locate it alongside Gulfood in the new Sheikh Saeed Hall, creating an all-encompassing environment for the food industry. The Processing and Packing sector will now also have its own dedicated area, reflecting the impressive growth in this area of the food industry over the past year. The additional space has also allowed for the introduction of a number of new country pavilions, making Gulfood even more global!

Gulfood preview Organiser interview

What key trends have you noted in 2009 that you are responding to in the show line-up? Many visitors come to Gulfood knowing that they can hear about the latest trends in the industry, as it is used as a yard stick for the industry as a whole in the Middle East. There are many different trends which will impact on the industry across the wide variety of areas in the show, from the latest new and unusual flavours through to more sleek designs in restaurants and cafés. The fundamental trends we have recognised across every element of the show are increasing pressure to deliver more cost-effectively without compromising quality, and the need for more creative marketing of culinary offers to continue to excite and interest end-users and grow the bottom line. To reflect these changes, we are launching the first Gulfood Conference under the title ‘Global Trends in Food, Beverage and Processing’. Across the four days, senior leaders in the food industry will cover trend topics which will affect the industry over the coming 12 months. Apart from the conference, what else is new at this year’s show? There are many new features to ensure that we deliver exactly what the industry requires. First and foremost is the increased size of the show, as previously mentioned. This allows for more choice, the introduction of industry newcomers and the accommodation of growing industry sectors, all under one roof. This year we will also launch the annual Gulfood Awards, to recognise the excellence and passion of both individuals and companies behind the region’s exceptional food and drink industry. With 21 categories designed to reward and champion innovation and excellence, the search is now on for the best food and drink brands, services and suppliers! Also new this year is the launch of the Gulfood Majlis Club, a commercial networking platform for senior industry professionals to develop new business opportunities, and one that recognises the importance of Gulfood as a serious trading platform for the global food and beverage industry. What will be the key message from Gulfood 2010? Bigger, better business. As the largest and most influential trade exhibition in the region for the F&B industry, located at the centre of a globally recognised key growth market, it has never been more important for businesses and professionals to see and be seen at Gulfood. With tangible business benefits for all sectors of the industry, and at all levels, attending Gulfood as an exhibitor or trade visitor has become an essential activity to be included in the business plan.

February 2010 Caterer Middle East

Gulfood preview Salon Culinaire

Plating up at Hilton Dubai Jumeirah’s Salon Culinaire practice run.

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Gulfood preview Salon Culinaire

Salon style With Salon Culinaire around the corner, the region’s chefs are prepping, carving, chopping and challenging themselves, doing their best to ensure they walk away with one of the coveted class medals. Lucy Taylor talks to some of this year’s entrants to find out what goes into cooking up a winning entry


ince its inception, the Salon Culinaire has been a showcase represent the property at the event, competing in the Fruit and for the region’s top culinary talent and a highlight of the Vegetable Carving showpiece category. Gulfood exhibition — and with more classes than ever “I am very excited because this is my very first time at the Salon before, 2010’s edition promises to be a major crowd-puller. Culinaire; plus I feel proud of being the hotel’s first lady repreLast year, the team from Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC) sentative,” she says. walked away with the most medals awarded to a single establishPrepping for prizes ment for the third consecutive year. According to executive sous chef Raimund Haemmerle, the pres- Of course, it take more than just turning up on the day to be successful at the Salon Culinaire. sure is on to live up to expectations this time round. Each participant must undertake several months “We’re going to have 87 participants across 20 Competitive of preparation before the big day, as DWTC’s different categories, so it’s almost all the categories Haemmerle explains. covered, from pastry, to live cooking, to Arabian events are “We have to be really careful when we choose cuisine, to the gourmet dinner,” he reveals. essential for who will take part in each category. We go through Beach Rotana, another big winner at 2009’s Salon Culinaire, will have 24 chefs participating across 48 developing skill” a whole load of trials internally, to see where each chef ’s strengths and talents lie,” he says. different categories. “It can get quite competitive, as spaces are limited, “I will myself be participating in five categories so you have to make it as fair as possible.” in the kitchen art area, in the Chocolate Carving, Individual Ice Any competition hopefuls must also be prepared for hard graft, Carving, Fruit and Vegetable Carving and Marzipan Showpiece adds Beach Rotana’s Prabath. categories,” adds sous chef Chamika Prabath. “It takes a lot of practice, sleepless nights and patience to do the “I will also be pairing up with my colleague for the Team Ice artistic work,” he comments. Carving event, for which we will make a large artistic showpiece “And of course, it’s also important that we take care of our with three ice blocks.” guests at the same time, so most of the practice is done after duty Yuphin Khocksila, chef de partie at Al Bustan Rotana Dubai’s hours — a lot of burning the candle at both ends!” Blue Elephant Restaurant, will be the first ever female chef to At Al Bustan Rotana, Khocksila and her fellow competing chefs www .hotel hotel ho te telier ellie ie ier iermid erm mid mi idd dlle dle eeas e t. o f&b b

January 2010 Caterer Middle East


Gulfood preview Salon Culinaire

started planning for the event a several months back. “We started off with brainstorming sessions, sharing ideas and giving feedback to each other,” she explains. “It’s hard work, but our senior chefs ahave been very helpful and they provide all the support we need to be at our best for the competition.”

Competition challenges

Hilton Dubai Jumeirah’s Steven Benson-Flower.

Once a chef has proved himself capable of taking part in the event, and of shouldering the work burden that comes with such an undertaking, there are still a few more challenges that must be addressed. The past year has been a busy one for DWTC, says Haemmerle — but while this is undoubtedly good news in the current economic climate, it means less time for competition training. “Four years back we’d have slack periods in the summer, during which we could really train our chefs for culinary competitions; but that does not happen anymore,” he says. “We have to do training at night time, after daily duties, so it requires an extra effort from the chefs to show that on top

If you had to introduce a new competition to this region, what would it be? “I think it would be interesting to see non-professional people trying to cook, because sometimes that brings to light really fancy ideas that you as a professional might not think about. It’s great fun, and it increases public awareness about cooking. You see in the West how programmes like this have taken off, and it’s leant a real enthusiasm to the whole industry.” Raimund Haemmerle, executive sous chef, DWTC “It would be a great idea to start a category for pulled sugar showpieces on site — this is really a difficult art to master.” Chamika Prabath, sous chef, Beach Rotana “I’d like to see the globally-recognised Torque D’Or (Golden Chef’s Hat) come to the Middle East. It’s a great programme and would definitely work well in this region.” Steven Benson-Flower, executive chef, Hilton Dubai Jumeirah “Live cooking competitions are always popular among participants and spectators alike. Perhaps ways to make them more fun and challenging could be by narrowing it down to specific foods, such as breakfast dishes, like the competitions they have in Asia — or by introducing new challenges such as ‘green cooking’, using sustainable products.” Flemming Schulthess, executive chef, Dusit Thani Dubai

Gulfood preview Salon Culinaire

A mouthwatering creation from the Hilton Dubai Jumeirah chefs’ Salon Culinaire practice-run. of their busy work schedule, they can really commit to being a part of the Salon Culinaire.” Hilton Dubai Jumeirah executive chef Steven Benson-Flower adds: “We advise chefs to finely gauge their workload to see if they want to embark on such a commitment. Albeit exciting and motivating, competitions require a great deal of focus and do at times levy additional stress on the individual.” And as Dusit Thani Dubai executive chef Flemming Schulthess notes, participating in any competition is not just about winning first prize. “Those competing should see it as an opportunity to gain more experience, to learn from other industry colleagues and to further develop their skills,” he asserts.

“But on top of that, being involved in the Salon Culinaire is an enormous motivation, for any chef; there’s a great atmosphere, they see new things to inspire them, and it’s an opportunity to meet other chefs and network.” According to Hilton Dubai Jumeirah’s Benson-Flower, culinary competitions

Medal motivation Nevertheless, winning a medal at the renowned event is one of the highly appealing prospects for competing chefs. “They gain appreciation and acknowledgement of their own skills if they win a medal, and it looks great on their CV,” points out DWTC’s Haemmerle.


Caterer Middle East February 2010

Al Bustan Rotana Dubai’s Yuphin Khocksila. www.hoteliermiddleeas asst.c a com/ om m//ff& m f&b &b & b

Gulfood preview Salon Culinaire

are ideal for unleashing a team’s creativity. “Our chefs have come up with some very innovative recipes and presentation styles in preparation for a competition, which we have subsequently included in many of our menus,” he reveals. “Overall, competitive events are essential for developing the industry’s skill and talent, and they work as a great motivating tool as well. Regardless of whether you win or loose, just being part of a high profile competition, involved in the energy of it all, gives the team a lot of inspiration.”

Salon status The Salon Culinaire at Dubai’s Gulfood is today a renowned event, and a true hotbed of emerging kitchen talent — so has it seen the Middle East reach the level of other world regions when it comes to culinary competition? Al Bustan Rotana’s Khocksila believes so, but adds: “I would love to see more female chefs like me participating in such events, as competitions in the region are still predominantly dominated by men.” According to Hilton Dubai Jumeirah’s Benson-Flower, the region’s F&B industry is “moving in the right direction when it comes to cultivating and showcasing talent”. “There is a lot we can do to help develop the industry’s

potential, and competitions are a great tool,” he adds. Dusit Thani’s Schulthess agrees: “Culinary competitions are great opportunities for all participants to showcase their skills and knowledge and to exchange ideas and techniques, and the Salon Culinaire is a prime example of that.” Clearly, there is a great deal of regional support for this established event; now the Middle East’s chefs must focus on proving once again that Salon Culinaire can be counted among the top DWTC executive sous chef culinary talent Raimund Haemmerle. showcases in the world.

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Come and see us at the Gulfood 2010 Exhibition, Stand S 1-C18

Gulfood preview Gul Exhibitor feature

Packed with more space, more exhibitors and more special features than ever before, Gulfood 2010 looks set to welcome recordbreaking numbers of visitors — and exhibitors from all over the world will be there to make the most of it

Trend tip “By the end of 2010, we will revert to the pre-recession trend for natural, organic and holistic foods.” Surinder Mendirata, sales and marketing manage, Safinter


s the region’s biggest F&B trade show, Gulfood has long been a staple of the industry’s culinary calendar. Every year, exhibitors from all over the world flock to Dubai for the last week of February, looking to form new partnerships, establish regional distribution and cement old friendships. But after a rocky couple of years surviving the economic downturn, this year’s exhibitors are proceeding with caution. Some companies are simply looking to form good, old-fashioned distributor partnerships, or make contacts in the Middle East. Joanne Adirim, chief executive and corporate pastry chef at HannahMax Baking — an artisan company that develops desserts for the HORECA industry — explains: “Our goal is to develop business

Bon Chef’s linking heat source buffetware lends variety to the layout of hot food.

January 2010 Caterer Middle East


Gulfood preview Exhibitor feature

Trend tip “For the F&B IT sector, we see a greater demand for 3D models and virtual rendering in order to simplify the communication with the end customer.” Luca Salomoni, software development manager, Render Image

Nonions: natural, preservative-free onion pastes.

Dean’s of Huntly offers a range of handbaked biscuits.

Dr Suwelack’s premium freeze-dried coffee. with foodservice distributors who sell into both the HORECA industry and retail stores.” Chocolate World sales manager Tommaso Santi adds that he will be seeking out local dealers who are not only able to “correctly represent our products, but also our philosophy”. Meanwhile others are looking to attract visitors from further afield. Solia marketing manager Odile Lavail notes: “Gulfood is an international fair; so we will be searching for new distributors in markets such as India.” Diamond Meat Processing’s Zenath Group manager of business development Mohammad Naseem will also be taking advantage of the opportunity to form partnerships further afield, primarily in North and Central Africa. For some old hands, the show acts as


Caterer Middle East February 2010

Dubai World Trade Centre exhibitions director Mark Napier reveals what to expect from the different show components: - Ingredients Middle East “Businesses locally, regionally and internationally are under intense pressure to provide safe, high-quality and innovative products to customers and at the same time ensure profitability. Ingredients Middle East is a key global product showcase and sourcing platform for any food or beverage business in the region, and visitors will gain unrivalled access to the cutting edge innovations, new product developments and expertise of international suppliers and manufacturers in the industry.” - Restaurant & Cafe Middle East “Aesthetics, ambience and efficiency are essential elements in the hospitality industry business. Restaurant and Café Middle East covers every element of the restaurant and café trade beyond the food – offering visitors the latest in décor and design, equipment and technology to ensure they are equipped with the necessary tools to enhance their customer experience

Sherbert Rose organic juice from Elite Naturel.

an excellent platform to refresh existing relationships, as well as make new ones. Andy Mannhart AG business development manager Jomy John explains: “We aim to get constructive feedback from existing clients, to improve our service.” A Ronai managing director Gavin Dodd agrees: “For our type of products it is very difficult to get anything tangible from any exhibition, but we hope that we will be able to continue reinforcing our message that we want to be a professional supplier to the hospitality industry. We will also be introducing our new sales executive, Lani Mandrea, who will be based in Bahrain.”

INDUSTRY INSIGHT The standard of the ingredients has denitely got better; huge strides have been made in this area.”

Colin Clague, executive chef, Zuma

and benefit their bottom line.”

Gulfood preview Exhibitor feature

Sodiko sales manager Hilde Vanholst notes that personal relationships are key to success in this industry, adding: “Honesty and trust are vital; the relationship between producer and customer is very important and makes a big difference when building business.” Other companies are seeking to launch new product lines with a bang. Heat and Control Pty Ltd marketing executive Amber Crowley reveals: “We will promote the latest processing innovations for the continuous food industry, specifically showcasing the Revolution Seasoning System (RSS).” Similarly, Australian-based Capilano Honey will promote its new Snap ‘n’ Squeeze line, while J V Overseas Trading Limited — part of a business conglomerate crossing various sectors, but primarily focused on tea — will promote its new tip umbrella brand SUPER, “ The biggest trend we see is the while Willemse & van Engemove toward more consistent len Bakkerijimachines, a manufacturer sanitation and proper foodhandling for safety and hygiene.” of jelly- and confectionary-spraying Steven Straut, D&S Exports machines, will be demonstration various models at its stand.


Chef Middle East’s Boiron frozen fruit purées.

Gulfood preview Exhibitor feature


tip But hopefully for all these players, GulThe rst ever Gulfood Conference “There’s increasing interest in food will be the starting point for a more products free of preservatives or “The new Gulfood Conference brings together intersubstantial regional focus. colouring agents.” national experts to discuss future trends and critical Extrexport general manager Antonio Klaus Baumann, sales and marketing specialist, Alfocan issues in the food and beverage industry and the Tena expands: “We are not in the region relevance of these for the regional markets. Keynote just for four days of Gulfood; we are speaker Saed Al Awadi, chief executive of Dubai here to stay. For instance, we are planExport Development Corporation, will highlight Dubai’s ning some culinary events organised by credentials as an international trading hub and the Extrexport with some local partners in gateway to the business opportunities, while Alex AnDubai and Kuwait for spring 2010.” darakis, chief executive of Al Islami Foods, will provide Whatever their individual goals, a detailed overview of the global halal landscape, the exhibitors will undoubtedly be hoping responsibilities and opportunities for companies operfor significant positive return from the ating in this domain, as well as a practical roadmap for Dubai-based trade fair. realising revenue in this market.” As Orego Packaging Co’s president of Goli Vossough, project manager, Gulfood the board, Ali Karaarslan, comments: “Last year was all about crisis conditions; 2010 is going to be an attack period.” Many exhibitors remain bullish, looking to build on successful regional results from 2009 — such as Commodities International. “Last year was our first foray into this market; we had some success and are hoping to build on that as the economy starts to Extrexport will be offerings free tastings of its olive oil [pictured] at Gulfood. rebound,” explains managing director for Atlanta, Tony Burnes.


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Gulfood preview Exhibitor feature

Sweets from American Food Service.

Bruyerre’s heart chocolates.

Trend tip Snacks made with Aromsa carbohydrate flavouring Camarome.

“ We are seeing a spike in the retail business as more people are eating home. As the economy strengthens we are hoping to see a balancing of business in the foodservice sector.” Joanne Adirim, chief executive and corporate pastry chef, HannahMax Baking

Friedrich Ingredients offers spices, seasonings and various other ingredients. Alberto Grandi, owner of automatic packaging and packing machines manufacturer Grandi, agrees: “Business in the Middle East market is growing year by year. This is the reason why we expect to get great results from this exhibition.” Meanwhile American Food Service actually saw 10% growth in the Middle East, reveals director Gerard Chin-A-Kwie — and Bon Chef Inc. president Sal Torre says although the downturn may have affected the whole world, “we still managed to get some nice orders from Dubai”. Similarly, Sencha Naturals’ highest single order was in the Middle East, with A Ronai managing director Gavin Dodd agreeing that 2009 was “a very good year”, yielding slight growth in core product sales for the tableware company. “We have a few concerns for 2010 as there tip are very few projects in the final stages of construction, which is when they buy our “ In the bakery and pastry industry, type of products,” Dodd admits. “But we the freezing process is becoming more important.” hope to see an improvement near the end Christophe Batanero, export of the year as things get back on track.” manager, Panem Saffron supplier Safinter faced a chal-


The innovative chocolate-coated waffle espresso cup from Filicori Zecchini.



of F&B professionals switched suppliers last year, due to finding products of the same quality for lower prices elsewhere. Source: Caterer Middle East survey data, 2009

February 2010 Caterer Middle East


Gulfood preview Exhibitor feature

The Italian Beverage Company will use the show to promote its simply: range. lenging past year, but is optimistic about the future. “Our business in 2009 was quite tip challenging due to the negative impact “I think presentation and of the recession combined with a severe packaging of products will shortage of saffron, due to low producbecome more important.” tion,” explains sales and marketing Ramazan Ozcelik, international trade manager, Sekeroglu manager Surinder Mendirata. “But due to improved production methods and better weather conditions during the recently concluded November 2009 saffron harvest in Spain, the crop has been better than previous years.” However others are not going to count their chickens before they’re hatched, and remain reserved with their predictions for the next 12 months. Kassatly Chtaura managing director Nayef Kassatly comments: “2009 was an average year and we expect to do the same in 2010, with no major improvement.” As Friedrich Ingredients founder Reinhard Friedrich notes, “money is tight”. “We hope that business will improve in the region after second quarter, but most probably it will take a few more years to recover,” he predicts. Extrexport general manager Antonio Tena does not believe 2010 will be a Power Horse energy drink. fantastic year for the Middle East F&B industry, but ends on a positive note: “Those firms succeeding in these turbulent waters will be in an excellent position once the good winds are back.” With plenty of exciting offerings to draw visitors in, there is no doubt exhibitors will see a lot of interest; whether that will be converted into revenue-driving deals remains to be seen.


Gulfood preview Product showcase

Products preview A host of suppliers arrive in Dubai this month for Gulfood 2010; Caterer Middle East brings you a sneak preview of some top products that will be on show at the event

Santer Saffron Powder The Middle-East region traditionally prefers saffron filaments, according to Safinter — a Spanish firm introducing Saffron Powder to meet this demand. The innovative powder gives quicker results in recipes and offers great creative scope for speciality sauces, biscuits, cakes and beverages. Safinter SA Tel: +971 4 268 6000 Email: Web:

Landesproduktenhandelsges Comprising a selection of Individually Quick Frozen (IQF) peas, sweetcorn, carrots and potatoes, all available in organic form, these items are available in different cuts, sizes and packages. Gemueseland Tel: +43 2249 2505 30 Email: Web:

Bruijn Al Fustaq Foodstuff has introduced Bruijn, a new range of luxury chocolates. Bruijn has the taste of pure cocoa, but is low in sugar, milk solids and added preservatives. The firm will also be presenting its popular nut brand Nutty-Nuts at this year’s show.

Tresor of Chocolate Emirate Snack Foods’ Tresor of Chocolate product, from Monbana Chocolatier, is already available in some of Dubai’s top hotels and is presented in a one-litre Tetra Pack. Emirate Snacks Foods Tel: +971 4 267 2424 Web:


Caterer Middle East February 2010

Al Fustaq Foodstuff Tel: +971 4 347 9905 Web:

Organic Honey Seville Orange Blossom Honey from Andaluza de Mieles is recognised for its delicate taste, while the firm’s Organic Honey is quality-certified and available in individual sachets; an elegant alternative to sweeteners. Andaluza de Mieles Tel: +34 954 11 30 32 Fax: +34 955 71 02 68 Web:

Gulfood preview Product showcase

All-Fill International All-Fill International will be demonstrating a semiautomatic filler with foot pedal operation at this year’s Gulfood. The machine can fill bags ranging from 1gm to 25kg. All-Fill International Tel: +44 1767 691 100 Fax: +44 1767 681 406 Email: Web:

Les Terroirs De Marrakech

Jokey Plastik

This Moroccan olive oil company’s products are cultivated in the flat lands at the foot of the Grand Atlas Mountains. Atlas Olive Oils utilise a century-old tradition to produce its pure extra virgin olive oil products.

Jokey Plastik injected containers and tubes are available in tube, round, oval and rectangular form. The food containers range in size from 120ml to 32.8l and can be customised with in-mould labelling or digital printing.

Atlas Olive Oils Tel: +212 522 981125 26 Fax: +212 522 981127 Email: Web:

Capoco Capsule machine The Capoco Capsule from Boncafé Middle East is a compact and efficient machine. This innovative model works from a simple capsule systems, creating no mess or wastage and is available in a wide range of colours. It has a one-litre water capacity, adjustable cup holder for varying sizes of espresso and a removable collection tray for easy cleaning.

Jokey Plastik Tel: +49 2267 685 0 Fax: +49 2267 685 133 Email: Web:

Le Chef Damascus Le Chef Damascus steel knife range is both stylish and functional. These items have been created using traditional sword-making traditions and 37 layers of Japanese steel. Denny’s Tel: +44 1372 377 904 Web:

Boncafé Middle East Tel: +971 4 282 8742 Web:

Cold wave bowls Cold wave bowls, from US-firm Bon Chef, keeps food cold for up to eight hours without the introduction of refrigeration or ice. Bon Chef Tel: +1 973 968 7136 Fax: +1 973 383 7068 Email:

February 2010 Caterer Middle East


Gulfood preview Product showcase

Bruyerre Bruyerre will be introducing a variety of new chocolate products at this year’s Gulfood, including a bouquet of decorative chocolate roses, filled chocolate cigars, the pictured Bruyerre metal truck containing 250g of alcohol-free chocolates, and metal love boxes with heart-shaped chocolates. Bruyerre Tel: +32 71 250 154 Fax: +32 71 250 155 Email: Web:

Caviar Nacarii Produced in the Pyrenees Mountains, Caviar Nacarii is an authentic product from the sturgeon of Garona River. The result is a unique Spanish product, Baeri caviar, which is free from any added ingredients or chemicals.

Prune Powder This product from Taylor Brothers Farms is a unique and versatile powder, which can be used in baking as a fat substitute. It can also be used in meat processing to tenderise meat without any off tastes or additive concerns. Taylor Brothers Farms Tel: +1 206 749 9255 Fax: +1 206 324 8826 Email: Web:

Deliterranea Tel: +34 934 091 809 Web:


Basilur Tea Basilur Tea was created under the basic principles of harmonious balance, originality and asymmetry. Unitrades Limited offers this Japanese ‘garden of stones’, which is designed to take the tea drinker through the ancient traditions of the East.

Haremlique offers five different flavours of Turkish coffee — traditional, chocolate, cardamom, cinnamon and mastic. The coffees are roasted and ground in a traditional way, and flavoured with 100% natural ingredients. Haremlique Tel: +90 212 236 38 43 Email: Web:

Unitrades Limited Tel: +94 11 243 3462 Email: Web:


Caterer Middle East February 2010

Fruitty This fruity vitamin-packed drink from Pere Ocean will be introduced to visitors at this year’s Gulfood. Containing essential vitamins B6, B12 and C, the beverage is available in a choice of four flavours — strawberry lime, blackcurrant lime, peach lime and orange lime. Wanin Industries Tel: +65 6253 5888 Fax: +65 6259 8558 Email:

DalebrookÂŽ Melamine Solutions for any HoReCa application...

Coffee Shop DalebrookÂŽ presents a NEW fantastic range of storage solutions & trendy ticket stands to show off your food. Our platters are non slip and come with stackable lids perfect for maintaining freshness and easy storage.

Finger Food Range DalebrookÂŽ introduces a selection of small, stylish dishes offering multiple applications. Crafted from 100% food safe and dishwasher proof melamine, they are chip resistant with longer service expectancy than porcelain.


DalebrookÂŽ provides innovative Buffet solutions designed to accommodate any food display requirements. Our solutions include reversible crocks and our popular DalebrookÂŽ Dover Range which now includes a multipurpose lid.

Deluxe Gastro The DalebrookÂŽ premium gastronorm range is popular with caterers and hoteliers thanks to      

         have the appeal of porcelain, yet are lighter, dishwasher safe and durable.

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Dalebrook Supplies Limited Eastways Industrial Estate, Witham, Essex CM8 3UA Fax: +44 (0)1376 510153 Web:

Gulfood preview Product showcase



New technology has given Agral the opportunity to produce a light butter that retains the natural taste and flavour of fresh butter. The product contains only 60% milk fat, is easier to spread than traditional butter and is suitable for cooking.

Gulfood veteran A Ronai will be launching its Flexilight range, the latest edition to its portfolio, at this year’s show. Flexilight offers liquid candles with a selection of attractive and practical holders.

Agral Tel: + 32 71 45 14 61 Fax: + 32 71 46 01 42 Email: Web:

A Ronai Tel: +971 4 341 4409 Fax: +971 4 341 4457 Email:

CupCan Vegatronic 2000 OF The new Vegatronic 2000 OF vertical form fill-and-seal machines by Ilapak are the firm’s first intermittent film motion machines to feature an easy-to-clean, open-frame design. The model offers high hygiene standards, which meet the stringent requirements and regulations of the food industry . Ilapak Tel: +971 4 263 2018 Fax: +971 4 263 2016 Email: Web:

CupCan from Glud and Marstrand is available with full panel opening, ensuring fast service as the product can be removed intact. The conical shape of CupCan makes it stackable, saving space during transport and storing. The product is available in aluminium or tin-plate. Glud and Marstrand Tel: +45 7675 7568 Email: akr@glud-marstrand Web:

Gourmet Smoothies

Gran Moravia Brazzale SPA’s Gran Moravia is a hard cheese produced with vegetable rennet and is suitable for vegetarians. This versatile cheese product has received Halal certification. Brazzale SPA Tel: +39 0445 313 900 Fax: +39 0445 313 991 Email: Web:


Caterer Middle East February 2010

The 1883 smoothies range from Routin is a selection of beverages made with fresh fruit, with hints of carefully-selected teas. These healthy drinks are rich in fibre, vitamins and available in three flavours — mango, strawberry-banana and wild berries. Routin will also be showcasing its 1883 cocktail range, available in more than 30 flavours, including blood orange, spicy, lychee and cherry blossom. Routin SA Tel: +33 4 79 25 68 76 Fax: +33 4 79 25 10 15 Email: Web:

Outlet showcase The Author’s Lounge

Brand ethos “All Bonnington hotels have traditionally been very focused on their neighbourhoods and well established in their respective communities. They are places where the bar is buzzing because the local residents go there, and that is precisely the market we want to encourage here.”


Caterer Middle East February 2010

Outlet showcase The Author’s Lounge

Inside outlets Seeking out the hottest new F&B outlets, Caterer Middle East reveals the innovative concepts and operation strategies securing the success of the region’s new launches

Design details

“The precise style of the chandelier was difficult to get right, as it goes right through the floor to The Cavendish restaurant below. It took us a long time to find exactly the right design; even now we find the light-level requires fine tuning.”

With its grand, high-backed armchairs, floor-to-ceiling bookshelves, open fireplace and sparkling two-storey chandelier, The Author’s Lounge at Bonnington Jumeirah Lakes Towers is a fusion of classic British and contemporary styles — precisely the theme it was designed to convey. “We didn’t want just any old boring lobby café; we wanted something that would attract hotel guests, residents and the local community alike,” explains director of operations Martin Kubler. “We needed a comfortable environment where people could relax, but which also had character and demonstrated what we are all about. The result is a very stylish outlet referencing British tradition in the décor, so it really fits the whole philosophy of Bonnington.” Bonnington Jumeirah Lakes Towers is the Anglo-Irish concern’s first opening outside of the British Isles — and although it has come at a tough time economically, Kubler believes this has given the property certain advantages. “We knew what was waiting for us; consequently, we were sure to organise things in such a way that we can step up and adapt to the customer’s needs,” he says. “People grow a bit tired of the whole ‘biggest, highest, fastest’ idea; they are coming back to what is real. They want to have good food and good service. They’re still prepared to pay for it, but it has to give value for money. “So value and repeat custom has to be the focus right now, especially for a new operator coming into the region like us.” The Author’s Lounge is not a destination outlet, but the concept has been so carefully tailored to the local community that it looks set to see plenty of business. “I can see this working very well for the neighbourhood,” Kubler agrees. “It’s basically the ideal place for anyone who enjoys sleek service, great design and good food at a reasonable price.”

February 2010 Caterer Middle East


Ingredient focus Meat

Meat-ing quotas With restaurant-goers becoming increasingly adventurous, today’s suppliers are forced to meet increasingly diverse demands from chefs. Ben Watts talks to both parties about their views on the current trends in the industry: secondary cuts, exotic meats and increasing environmental concerns Since the economic downturn hit, chefs have been increasingly “Most customers today are very well-versed with the meat they forced to accept the term ‘less is more’. eat and also the meat they expect to see served to them in a top According to many of the region’s chefs and meat suppliers, this meat restaurant,” he notes. “And they are still willing to pay top theme has been a prevalent one in recent months, as F&B outlets dollar for good-quality, well-aged cuts of meat. look to turn a profit in the difficult financial climate. “Nowadays, Wagyu beef is offered to customers on a much larger So while meat has continued to play an important role on the scale, while the range of meat products is not limited to only sweet menus of hungry Middle East diners, both chefs and suppliers cuts like the rib-eye, but covers all sections of the animal. have had to reconsider their approach towards this sometimes “Secondary cuts are being used where appropriate in a variety of costly but vital ingredient. braised dishes and other slow cooking methods, such as stews or “The growing trend for executive pies — there has definitely been a change chefs is to offer more for less,” says where chefs now focus on using every Where do the best meat products Radisson Blu Hotel, Dubai Media City aspect of the animal, so as to maximise come from and why? executive chef Hassan Massood. “It’s their cost savings and also do the entire about finding innovative ways to balcarcass justice.” “The best meat products come from the usual suppliance quality and quantity, balance cuts Another popular trend, according to ers — regular beef from the USA, poultry from France with value and give a satisfying experiRadisson’s Massood, stems from the and lamb from New Zealand. ence to guests.” ethical and health-related demands of “There are numerous reasons behind this, such as As a result of the growing requirement the region’s diners. breeds, feeding program, government controls, climate, of hotel chefs to balance the books with“This comes from guests who are experience and traditions, and business integrity.” out compromising on quality, Massood more aware, well informed and well Radisson Blu Hotel, Dubai Media City says creativity is the key. travelled,” observes Massood. “I think executive chef Hassan Massood “I feel chefs are pushing for more increasingly the focus is going to creativity in food preparation, such as the be on healthier animal options and “In my opinion, some of the finest quality meat prodrediscovery of secondary cuts of meat,” leaner cuts. ucts are being sourced from the pristine environments he comments. “If prepared correctly, sec“There is also more awareness on of Australia and New Zealand. ondary cuts will add a welcome change health and the carbon footprint within “Through a combination of advanced animal farming to the usual fillets and chops dishes that the international community, and a practices, leading animal genetics and some of the many guests can easily prepare at home.” preference on the menu will be given most stringent processing plants in the world today, Meat Co International opening restauto free-range, organic, grass-fed and the quality and integrity of leading meat brands that we rant executive chef Farzan Contractor grain-fed meat.” are sourcing from both Australia and New Zealand are agrees that the utilisation of unfamiliar Supply chain second to none.” cuts is now hugely important, as today’s A supplier’s role in providing restauCountry Hill International director of sales diners are more knowledgeable about and marketing Hamish McKerrow rants with the right ingredients is essenthe dishes they order.


Caterer Middle East February 2010

Ingredient focus Meat

[Right] Meat Co International opening restaurant executive chef Farzan Contractor says secondary cuts of meat are making a come-back on the regional dining scene. tial — particularly in an area like the Middle East, where although the precise volume or quality of meat required may not be available locally, it can always be imported. Country Hill International director of sales and marketing Hamish McKerrow comments: “Meat processors within key supply countries like Australia and New Zealand are continuing to recognise the important of halal meat production, as markets like the Middle East grow. “While all global markets are relatively subdued in the present environment, emerging markets like the Middle East continue to be an extremely important market.” Savico assistant general manager Manee Chumphorn Savic adds that the best products can be hard to come by locally. “The best products come from those countries where meats and their variations have been developed over time, like in Germany for example,” she explains. It seems that, despite the concern many chefs from the Middle East voice for the environment, suppliers from distant lands are still successfully tapping into a regional market, thanks to the huge demand for quality meat products. Eliene Turci, from the Brazilian Chicken Producers and Exporters Association, notes that continued demand for imported meat products from Middle East’s clients has been vital to ensuring that Brazil’s meat market has continued to grow at a rapid rate. “Our exports to the region increased by 20% last year compared to 2008, while other important markets such as the EU and Japan decreased; undoubtedly the Middle East continues to be a market of vital importance to Brazilian chicken exporters,” she asserts.

Many suppliers don’t seem to understand the pressure on restaurants to balance costs”

Unique Catering Disposables

Muslin Lemon Wraps Unusual Bamboo skewers Wood and Bamboo dishes

Relationships and support Suppliers have had a difficult time over the past few months, attempting to balance the books while ensuring their offerings to chefs across the Middle East represent quality and originality. But according to Radisson’s Massood, suppliers have done “very

‘fast door-to-door service’ JSD Products (UK) Ltd. Tel: 0044 (0)1727 841111 • Fax: 0044 (0)1727 866169

Ingredient focus Meat

[Right] Radisson Blu Hotel, Dubai Media City executive chef Hassan Masood has noticed a growing trend for balancing quality and quantity with value. little” to help kitchens across the region counteract the woes of the economic crisis. “Many suppliers don’t seem to understand the pressure of balancing costs that all restaurants are going through,” he asserts. “If the suppliers are more willing to work with customers such as restaurants and hotels, and would adjust their prices, this would reflect in the selling prices at outlets — the result could be in an increase of sales volume, which would benefit everybody.” Suppliers themselves are keen to point out that the global crisis hasn’t been easy on them either. According to Savico’s Savic, “the GCC meat industry underwent psychological stress, rather then real stress”. “But the global meat industry is showing signs of tiredness with all the competition and prices. People are now realising that the way out of that situation is through the launching of new products and better presentation,” she adds. Country Hill’s McKerrow believe that the biggest challenge facing the industry now is “a much broader issue, related to a combination of increased hotel and restaurant capacity in an emerging market”. “The Middle East has faced a severe short-term market correction that has heavily impacted on both the tourism and business environment in the short term,” he notes.

Exotic trends Despite the problems Radisson’s Massood claims to face with suppliers, he is still committed to sourcing the best new meat products he can find. “We always try to vary the menus with different meat like game and fowl, as well as new innovative cuts and preparations that are used in restaurants,” he explains. Meanwhile Meat Co’s Contractor say the firm is actively searching for more exotic ingredients to serve its guests. “We serve a variety of different game meats and, due to our global presence in regions like Asia and Europe, we are constantly looking

The GCC’s meat industry underwent psychological stress, rather then real stress”

Ingredient focus Meat

Meat producers and suppliers around the world have recognised the potential in the Middle East market, and increasing numbers are making their operations halal. for new and interesting ingredients, which involves working with products such as kangaroo, kudu and springbok, to name a few,” says Contractor. As chefs continue to diversify their offerings and suppliers source more unique products, the Middle East diner should be braced for a barrage of distinctive offerings in F&B outlets. Suppliers, especially those from Australia, are increasingly tapping into this demand — as Meat and Livestock Australia regional manager for MENA Lachlan Bowtell points out. “Beef brands such as certified Australian Angus beef is becom-

ing more prevalent in the MENA region, as is Australian Wagyu,” he comments. “Demand for lamb is also on the increase, with lamb brands experiencing growth, and while we aren’t promoting any meals in particular, a personal favourite of mine is a lamb gravalax — similar to the traditional preparation of salmon, but it just tastes fantastic.” Despite financial considerations, innovation is far from dead in the region’s kitchens, and with chefs and suppliers working tirelessly to offer customers more for their money, the Middle East’s meat market looks set for continued growth and diversification in 2010.

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Supplier news February 2010

Supplier news

Silver particles perfect cleaning product Innovative sanitising solution introduced to region utilises traditional cleaning properties of silver A fruit and vegetable sanitising solution that incorporates silver particles has been launched in the Middle East. Oxytech D50/500 is composed of a natural combination of hydrogen peroxide and silver particles, and is being distributed across the GCC by JohnsonDiversey Gulf. The products has being launched in a strategic distribution alliance between Oxytech and JohnsonDiversey, which incorporates the exclusive product rights for the region. “A great benefit to using hydrogen peroxide for sanitation is that it falls in the natural treatment category and is completely non-toxic,” explained JohnsonDiversey Gulf GCC marketing manager Marc Robitzkat. “The use of silver particles in disinfection has a long-lasting effect that has been used since early cultures in history. “To protect us from food poisoning, silver particles are now being put in cutting boards, table tops, surface disinfectants and refrigerators,” he added.

The innovative Oxytech D50/500 is being distributed in the region by JohnsonDiversey. The silver-peroxide based sanitiser is a sustainable alternative to commonly-used chlorine solutions popular in the region. The solution also comes with economic benefits as it is a non-rinse solution, saving

on water costs, and can be dosed through JohnsonDiversey dosing technology, which is available in two versions: a high volume dispenser for food production factories and regular daily use for hospitality operations.

Al Ain rm milks it for a record-breaking year UAE producer Al Ain Farms for Livestock Production produced a whopping 30 million litres of milk in 2009. According the UAE firm, the huge quantity of milk it produced last year was a record in the local dairy farming industry, becoming the first producer in the UAE’s dairy industry to produce more than 30 million litres of milk in a year. “Dedicated staff, professional dairy farming consultants, modern farming systems and balanced cattle ration feeding were some of the factors behind setting this record in milk production nationwide,” said Al Ain Farms for Livestock Production chief executive officer Abdullah Saif Al Darmaki. Al Ain Farms’ cattle are selected from top

breeds, which are periodically examined to ensure good health, noted Al Darmaki. “We are keen to develop our working systems by adopting modern technologies and improving production lines,” he added.

Past achievements of Al Ain Farms — the first dairy farm established in the UAE — include obtaining 10,000 litres of milk in one year from a single cow. Today the group owns 3000 milking cows.

Al Ain Farms for Livestock Production has set a nationwide record in milk production.

February 2010 Caterer Middle East


Supplier news February 2010

Getting a handle on bacteria An antibacterial door handle developed by combi-oven manufacture Convotherm has earned an environmental award. The Hygienic Handle, which has been equipped by Convotherm on its +3 Combi Steamers, was recognised at the Seatrade Insider Cruise Award 2009 in the Environmental Initiative Award category, at a shipping trade fair in Hamburg last year. The awards were launched to honour innovation within the shipping industry — a market in which the antibacterial door handle has made a splash. Made from an innovative plastic material with embedded silver ions, the handle is said to be “medically and ecologi-

Convotherm’s Hygienic Handle was recognised for its eco-friendly efforts. cally harmless”. The innovative appliance ensures germs or microbes cannot transfer from the door handle onto containers or plates, providing a hygienic answer to one of health and safety’s biggest issues.

Top Asian F&B fair predicts a record-breaking turnout

Last year’s FHA was a big hit; but will this year’s visitor figures beat it? One of Asia’s largest F&B exhibitions will record its largest visitor figures yet when it returns in April, according to organisers. Food and Hotel Asia (FHA), on from April 20-23 in Singapore,

is expected to attract more than 2800 exhibitors from 70 countries. Singapore Exhibition Services FHA project director Ting Siew Mui said: “FHA has grown with the development of the industry in the region. “Our aim has always been to maximise value to our exhibitors and visitors, through raising the standards of the event.” FHA 2010 will feature a range of culinary competitions including the Asian Pastry Cup, the Asia Barista Championship and the FHA Culinary Challenge. New for 2010 is the Hospitality Operations and Design Conference, focusing on operational issues in professional kitchens.

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Supplier focus Fresh Express

Ensuring Express delivery As food and beverage ingredients supplier Fresh Express gets set for another year of growth, Ben Watts finds out how the firm continues to meet the demands of the region’s chefs

The Fresh Express team: dedicated to meeting their clients’ demands. With a workforce of 130 and a network that Vouyoukas claims that when other supstretches across the Arabian Gulf, food and pliers mimic the firm’s business practices, beverage supplier Fresh Express has seen it actually serves as a compliment to the off a tough 2009 and is looking forward to company — a sentiment echoed by Fresh positive growth in 2010. Express food department sales manager The UAE-based firm supplies kitchens Ali Serhal. and hotels with a range of fresh ingredients “We are proud to be the pioneers in defrom more than 54 destinations worldwide. veloping the fresh food industry by always According to business development director being creative in terms of new products John Vouyoukas, Fresh Express is now lookand customer satisfaction,” declares ing to expand its sales and logistic departSerhal. “Our main objective is to always ments over the coming year, bring added value to what as it continues to bring the we are delivering and keep region’s chefs some of the best the standards of quality and The business produce from across the globe. freshness in the UAE market landscape has “We represent massive as high as possible.” companies from Europe, and The company is divided now changed big names from the US and into three sectors — the hotel signicantly” Australia — all firms we have division, the retail division, represented for a long time,” and the restaurant and coffee says Vouyoukas. “Many new shop division — and today companies come to the UAE and copy us on the family-run business, led by Vouyoukas’s a daily basis; we are much older then these father and managing director Costas Bouyfirms and it seems whatever Fresh Express oukas, is looking at a bright future. does, in a week it is copied elsewhere.” The firm’s biggest segment, the hotel

division, represents 54% of its total sales and despite a slight drop in demand from individual hotels in 2009, Fresh Express actually experienced a 2% increase overall on its 2008 sales. “We lost a bit of the growth, but not a drop in sales,” confirms Vouyoukas. “But with more tourists coming to the UAE we will definitely benefit.” According to Vouyoukas, the rapidlyincreasing number of hotels in the UAE can only mean one thing — further opportunities for growth. “We noticed a slight drop in 2009, but we hear from the major airlines that they will be launching a lot of new routes this year and as a result we’re expecting a lot of tourism to come into the UAE,” he comments. On the basis of such positive reports, Fresh Express is gearing up for a busy year. “Major people in the industry, including F&B managers, chefs and hotel managers, are predicting this year will be a busy one,” Vouyoukas continues. “We speak to these decision-makers to get a forecast on the year ahead, an idea of what’s going on and what their occupancies are, so we

Fresh Express business development director John Vouyoukas.

Supplier focus Fresh Express

know exactly how we should be planning and proceeding over the next few months.” Two sectors within the food industry that are performing well, according to the firm, are dairy and organic. “The organic sector has received a lot of demand lately, as a lot of people nowadays are starting to consider the benefits of healthy products,” Vouyoukas points out. “We directly purchase organic products from producers in Europe; we are importing these products from France, Holland, the UK and Italy, including a lot of vegetables and some seafood as well.” The firm has also recently expanded its dairy offering, in response to the growing demand from UAE-based European chefs requesting cheeses from their homelands. “It’s a key sector that is really looking good and we’re going to have a lot of new products in our dairy range, because of the different nationalities in the UAE,” explains Vouyoukas. “If a chef turns up from Spain, or from France, they might want a cheese from their own country. To make sure all our customers are happy we ensure we have a range covering the major cheese producers from across the world.” Seafood also represents a large portion of Fresh Express’s business. “We are very well known as a major seafood supplier in the UAE,” states Vouyoukas. “We were the first established seafood company in the Emirates — that was where we began. “From there we started to expand, because of our relationship with chefs who began asking for vegetables, herbs, dairy, poultry and some dry products. Today we also have a beverage department, which covers a wide range of items. “It’s a very complicated operation we now have,” says food sales manager Serhal. “But until midnight we are busy; if a chef calls at 10pm in the evening, we will open the warehouse and deliver the order immediately.” As Vouyoukas points out, the very name Fresh Express “really sums up what we are all about”. “When we take an order from a client we have absolutely no time to waste,” he asserts. “From receiving an order to making a delivery, it sometimes takes less than 36 hours, even if the product is being shipped from another part of the world. “Everyone in the company has their responsibilities and we help each other in ensuring the client receives The family-run firm’s what they want,” managing director, he concludes. Costas Bouyoukas.

Caterer Middle East February 2010 www w ww ww w w.ho hote ho otte tel elier ie errm mid mi iid dd dllle dle eea ea tt.c eas .c com/ om m//f& m f& f&b &b b


F&B essentials Cleaning

Operations cut back on cleaning costs F&B operators spend less on products thanks to innovative new cleaning solutions The F&B industry in the Middle East is spending less on sanitary items, claimed one of the region’s top cleaning suppliers. Yasmin Dabbah, Rubbermaid Commercial Products area sales manager — emerging cluster EMEA, said that outlets across the Middle East had been recently been demonstrating more economical ways of cleaning. “The hospitality sector in general has not been buying many new products over the past year,” noted Dabbah. “It has however shown that more economical solutions are lately preferred.” In spite of this, Dabbah said signs indicated the quality of purchasing “was certainly

The industry is embracing more economical ways of keeping things clean. increasing” and that “awareness in safety, sustainability and compliance in various legislations is improving”. “Clean kitchens are essential

in the Middle East, especially in newly-developed cities such as Dubai,” she added. “Standards tend to follow the same or higher level of

HACCP practices in kitchens, since many of the executive chefs and F&B mangers are from locations around the world and bring the same practices they have learned from other regions.” Dabbah added that innovative cleaning solutions were continuing to be implemented across the reigon’s outlets, pointing to products such as Rubbermaid’s own Pulse Floor cleaning system. “Now cleaning teams can clean floors at least 50% faster, easier and more efficiently — without mixing a bucket and chemicals,” said Dabbah, who added that the Pulse Floor mop required no bucket and left behind no mess.

This month’s supplier to know: JohnsonDiversey JohnsonDiversey is a multinational company with more than 70 years experience within professional markets. The firm has a well-established set up in the UAE, and its service solutions include food safety, general cleaning, disinfection, floor care and green cleaning. The company also offers a full service for the food-handling sector, fast-service restaurants and aircraft caterers.

Tel: +971 4 881 9470 Email: Web:


Caterer Middle East February 2010

JohnsonDiversey marketing manager Mark Robitzkat.

F&B essentials Cleaning

Flo-Pac The durable yellow Flo-Pac mop bucket, from Carlisle, is available through UAEbased supplier Everstyle Trading. The bucket comes with a wrangler and is created using special corrosion-resistant moulded polyethylene. Everstyle Trading LLC Tel: + 971 6 531 4106 Fax: +971 6 531 4460 Email: Web:

OXI dishwashing liquid OXI dishwashing liquid, available from Arma Group, is formulated for safe usage and has a unique ingredient combination that can cuts through tough grease. It is gentle on the hands and available in lemon, fruit, or apple varieties.

Arma Group Tel: +20 2 418 4040 Fax: +20 2 415 5973 Email: Web:

F&B essentials Cleaning

Hygen Rubbermaid’s Hygen system consists of 100% premium quality split microfiber, which traps and holds 95% of microorganisms. The items in the range are bleach tolerant and can withstand up to 200 launderings with bleach.



DQFM is a powerful dosing programme designed to increase an operation’s productivity and make life easier for staff. The innovative dispensing platform ensures safe and accurate dosing and optimal cost-in-use.

The SmartClean system from AltoShaam is a hands-free, efficient automatic cleaning system for Combitherm cooking units. It uses scrubbing jets of water to clean units in one simple operation.

JohnsonDiversey Tel: +971 4 345 2636 Fax: +971 4 345 3132 Email: customerservice.uae@ Web:

Alto-Shaam Tel: +1 262 251 3800 Fax: +1 262 251 1907 Email: Web:

Rubbermaid Commercial Products Tel: +971 4 292 3411 Email: Web:


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“a cut above the rest” Whether you like your meat melt-off-the-bone tender, or simply flavorsome, Country Hill International has a perfect cut of Succulent Wagyu Beef, Juicy Grain-Fed Beef, Flavorsome Grass-Fed Beef or Tender Lamb that could fit any type of menu or occasion.

P.O.Box: 25689 | Dubai-UAE | Tel: +971 4 3470200 | Fax: +971 4 3470700 Email: Website:

Supplier Product showcase

New products Caterer Middle East showcases the best and brightest F&B products to hit the market

Valentine’s Day selection Swiss chocolate specialist Sprüngli is offering a selection of boxed delicacies for Valentine’s Day. The specially-designed, hand-crafted chocolates can be personalised to a customer’s specifications, with either an individual or outlet’s name on the product. The chocolates are freshly produced daily and flown in directly from Switzerland. Sprüngli Middle East Tel: + 971 4 220 0704 Email: Web:

Meadows Tantalizers The Tantalizers appetiser range from supplier Lamb Weston has been extended. The range now features cream cheese peppadew and chilli cheese bites, and is available in the UAE through Horeca Trade. Lamb Weston Tel: + 31 113 394 955 Web:

Meadows from Villeroy & Boch is a cutlery collection with horn-look handles. Brown, cream and beige colours are injected during production, giving each of the handles a completely original look and elegant style. Villeroy & Boch Middle East Tel: + 47 51 68 35 38 Tel: +971 4 364 2613 Email:

Spin This new addition to German manufacture Zeiher’s range, named Spin, has an attractive design and is available in the UAE through distributor King Stores — Hospitality. Zieher KG Tel: +49 9273 9273 0 Email: Web:


Caterer Middle East February 2010

Supplier THE NEW COFFEE VITO Product showcase AT GULFOOD 2010 HALL 2 | BOOTH C2-28

Plastic Pallets These plastic pallets are moulded into one tough piece without any seams, welds or joints, and are easy to clean and maintain. They have been injected with rigid polypropylene and are suitable for use in the F&B industry.

Original Candy Company Schaerer Coffee Vito

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RePall Tel: +966 2 6358 333 Fax: +966 2 6358 222 Email:

Web: Discover the latest innovation from Schaerer for coffee connoisseurs: the Schaerer Coffee Vito. This multi-talented model is extremely compact, reliable and versatile, and still allows you to prepare all your favourite coffee and chocolate beverages. The Vito is designed to satisfy even the most demanding requirements of small to medium-sized restaurants, cafés and offices in a most impressive style.

Sakura! Sakura! Tea New for spring, Sakura! Sakura! Tea joins TWG Tea’s Haute Couture tea collection, evoking the spirit of Japan’s most celebrated season. Sakura! Sakura! Tea sees the finest quality green tea leaves and a scattering of cherry blossom combined to produce a bouquet of blooms to celebrate the arrival of spring.

Whirlpool AVM 840 This medium duty combi-microwave oven is said to be able reduce cooking time by up to 50% according to supplier Valera. Combining grill and microwave functions, the stainless steel unit is suited for roasting, baking and grilling and can hold up to 32 litres.

TWG Tea Tel: +65 6733 7997 Email:

Valera Tel: +44 845 270 4321 Web:

Rebbit The Rebbit range from Detpak has the same appearance as existing product counterparts, but come with the benefit of being completely compostable. The range consists of Ripple-Wrap hot cups, retail bags, sandwich wedges and bakery bags. Al Majal Company Tel: +971 4 337 5135 Fax: +971 4 337 6120 Email:


Supplier Product showcase

VITO Oil Filter System VITO 50 and 80 Oil Filter Systems are tank oil filtration systems from Germany, which feature a patented pressure micro-filtration technology. The machine is designed to save kitchens 30-50% of frying oil, reduce costs, save labour time and help produce healthier foods.

Cremosito Cremosito is a new cold drink based on milk and prepared in a Granita machine, which gives the beverage a smooth, soft and creamy texture. It is available in six flavours: cappuccino, hazelnut, yoghurt, chocolate, almond and ginseng. Natfood Foodstuff Trading Tel: +971 4 391 5509 Fax: +971 4 391 8791 Email: Web:

Fujiyama Trading Tel: +971 50 902 1636 Fax: +971 4 222 8968 Email: Web:

Distributors & supplies directory Distributors ABC Baking

Baqer Mohebi

Fresh Express LLC

MH Enterprises

Tel: 009714 885 3788 Email:

Tel: +971 4 396 9777 Email: (Marketing & distribution of food & non food FMCG, food ingredients & Cuban Cigars)

Tel: +971 4 3395354 Email:

Tel: +971 4 3470 444 Fax: +971 4 3470 972 Email:

Alokozay Distributors Tel: 971 4 8871155 Email:

Aramtec Tel: 971 (4) 3390444 Email:


Country Hill International Tel: +971 4 347 0200 Email:

Emf Emirates Tel: +971 4 2861166 Fax: +971 4 2863080 Email:

Horeca Trade Llc Tel: +971 4 3403330 Email:

La Marquise Tel: +971 4 343 3478 Email:

Coffee Planet Tel: +971 4 341 5537 Email:

Franke Tel: +41 6 2787 3607

Lavazza Tel: +971 50 5959385 Fax: +971 4 3211274 Email:

Monin Tel: +971 50 940 0918 Email:

JSD Products

Tel: +971 4 3533736 Email:

Tel: +44 1727 841111 Email:



Al Diyafa

Fujiyama Trading LLC

Tel: 009714 369 2888 Email:

Tel: +971 4 2228810 Email:

Bakemart Llc Tel: +971 4 2675406 Email:

Boiron Freres Tel: +33 (0)4 75 47 87 00 Email:

CSM Deutschland GmbH Tel: +49 421 3502 387 Email:

Giles & Posner Tel: +44 1923 234040 Fax: +44 1923 245151 Email:

MKN Tel: +49 5 3 318 9207 Email:

Johnson Diversey Gulf Fze Tel: +971 4 881 9470 Tel: 009714 3309071

Newell Rubbermaid Tel: +971 4 292 3444 Email:

RESTAURANT/ HOTEL SUPPLIES Airstar Space Lighting Tel: +971 4 8854906 Email:

Baking Technologies Tel: +971 50 6447837 Email:

Tel: +971 4 885 7557 Email:

Tel: 009714 334 1040 Email:

Royal Host Tel: +966 2 2522289 Email:

Villeroy and Boch Tel: +352 46821208 Email:

CATERING EQUIPMENT Electrolux Professional Tel: +39 0434380304 Email:

Koma Middle East Tel: 9714 887 3334 Email:

Robot Coupe Tel: 0033 143 988833 Email:


Churchill China Tel: +44 1782 524371 Email:

COOKING Tel: +49 884 7670 Email:





Tel: +971 4 343 1100 Email: (Catering/kitchen equipment, chocolate/ coffee equipment, FMCG, refrigeration)

Tulsidas Lalchand

Tel: +971 4 408 8100 Email:

Tel: +41 318 585111 Email:


Tel: +971 4 3414900 Email:

Nestlé Professional


Tel: +971 2 6730 565 Email:

Mohamed Hareb Al Otaiba

Boncafe Tel: +971 4 2828742 Email:

Shura Trading

Nestlé Professional

Dalebrook Supplies Ltd

Tel: +971 4 408 8100 Email:

Tel: 0044 1376 510101 Email:


Duni AB

Tel: 02082907020 Email:

Tel: +46 40 10 62 00 Fax: +46 40 39 66 30 Email:

Dick Tel: +49 7 153 8170 Email:

Victorinox AG Tel: +41 41 818 12 64 Email:

Appointments February 2010

John Gunn, director of food and beverage at Saadiyat Beach Golf Club, Abu Dhabi, talks to Caterer Middle East about his new role at the capital emirate’s latest luxury golf course, and the dining facilities it offers What are do you hope to bring to the new role at Saadiyat Beach Golf Club? Ultimately I would like to bring a fresh approach to how golf clubs are viewed as food and beverage destinations. Saadiyat Beach Golf Club will make the other clubs stand up and take notice! What inspired you to work in the F&B industry? My family is where it all started; my grandfather owned a hotel in my homeland so it has always been in my blood. Plus this industry has been a great avenue for indulging my love of food and the creativity that comes with that. How do F&B concepts at a golf club differ to those at hotels and stand-alone outlets?

Golf clubs are normally largely membership-orientated venues where food and beverage often takes a back seat. The team at Saadiyat Beach Golf Club, however, views the F&B department as equally important, which is very refreshing. This support has enabled us to put together an F&B concept that will compete with, and in many cases surpass, most hotel dining experiences without losing the feel of the club and its values. Will you be introducing any new F&B concepts to the property? Yes, of course — however you will have to visit us to find these out!

Recent appointments... Swiss-national Flemming Schulthess has joined the team at Dusit Thani Dubai as its new executive chef. Schulthess who has lived and worked in Thailand for the past nine years leaves his role as executive chef at Dusit Thani Pattaya to take on the new challenge. Having worked in many international hotels and Michelin-star restaurants across Europe and Asia, Schulthess is a veteran on the global F&B scene. He has also judged at many international culinary competitions.


Franke Coffee Systems has undergone a change in leadership and appointed Marc Aeschlimann as chief executive officer. Aeschlimann joined the Franke Group in 2002 as head of the logistics unit at Franke Foodservice Systems Europe, then took over as head of Franke Foodservice Systems Asia. A graduate of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich with a degree in electrical engineering, Aeschlimann also holds an MBA from the University of Southern California.

Caterer Middle East February 2010

What do you make of Abu Dhabi’s F&B scene and what will it take for the emirate to become a global F&B hub? Abu Dhabi has a very exciting and vibrant food and beverage culture, which will obviously grow as Abu Dhabi continues to grow. The quality and range on offer in Abu Dhabi is incredible; there is just an amazing variety of cuisines and destinations on offer, and it is already well on the way to becoming recognised as a truly international food and beverage destination. What is the strangest request you have ever received from a restaurant guest? Over the years there have been many, from peanut butter and foie gras, to Guinness topped with black pepper and oysters. But food and drink should be enjoyed — so if you like something, no matter how unusual it may be, then I say bon appétit!

Matthew Miles has been appointed head chef of Anise restaurant at InterContinental Dubai Festival City. Miles trained at the Regency Hotel School in Australia, and rose through the ranks from chef de partie to sous chef in restaurants in Sydney. From 2005 to 2007, the restaurants Miles worked in each earned two or three Chef Hats awards — a top honour in the Australian culinary scene. Miles moved to Dubai in 2007 working at various restaurants as a chef de cuisine, before taking on the Anise role where he will lead a team of 34 chefs.

W Doha Hotel and Residences has appointed Sherzad Joseph as its new chef de partie. Joseph has experience in working in large banquet settings and fine-dining restaurants, and has trained kitchen staff in Arabic cuisine. He has a degree from Syria’s Intermediate Institute of Hotels and holds an Assistant Licenser in Hoteliers’ Science with a culinary specialisation. Joseph has also worked across the wider gulf region and brings to the role experience from outlets in Ethiopia, Syria and Lebanon.

Dates for the diary Calendar

DATES FOR THE DIARY... February 2010 M























01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 February 2-4 London Seafood Expo London, UK

February 10-13 Anfa Food Product Antalya, Turkey

and practical advice

Budapest, Hungary

A key event for buyers and sellers of seafood and related products

Mediterranean food and beverage exhibition

February 21-24 Gulfood Dubai, UAE

F&B exhibition incorporating bakery, dairy, frozen food, hotel equipment and organic sectors

February 3-4 Fastfood and Café Malmö, Sweden

February 17-20 BioFach 2010 Nuremberg, Germany

Focusing on trends and concepts for the fast food and coffee shop market

Organic products and ingredients

February 19-21 Natural and Organic Products Exhibition Cape Town, South Africa

February 3-5 Fruit Logistica Berlin, Germany Fruit and vegetable exhibition

Natural and organic trade show focusing on sustainable technologies, services, information

The Middle East’s premier F&B exhibition returns once again February 21-24 Ingredients Middle East Dubai, UAE Renowned raw materials and ingredients trade show held alongside Gulfood February 21-24 Foodapest

February 21-24 Sapore Rimini, Italy Beverage, food and seafood industry show for the HORECA sector February 28 - March 4 Hotelympia London, UK Leading British hospitality trade fair

The region’s new and exciting addition to your calendar of professional events

22-24 November 2010 Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre, UAE Contact us to secure your 25% Welcome Discount when booking before 26th March 2010. Email: or Supported by

Part of

Last bite Interview

Coffee break Last month Caterer Middle East caught up with international icon of fine-dining Indian cuisine Vineet Bhatia — the first Indian chef to be awarded a Michelin star — at his Dubaibased outlet Indego at Grosvenor House Dubai to talk spice, books and Michelin ratings You’ve been credited with changing the West’s perception of Indian cuisine. How successful has this trend been? When we first started back in 1993 this was something that drove me. It took us a couple of years to start implementing what we wanted to and initially it was a very slow. But now, with people travelling a lot more, I believe they understand what good food is. When I came to Dubai five years ago, we were quite conservative in our approach, but people said we were very modern. Five years on it has now definitely been accepted that Indian food can be ‘fine dining’. You have a new book out; what’s the concept behind it and why would e? it appeal to a Middle East audience? It took me a year and a half to write and is based on traditional cookery, but right from the basics. It gives the reader elements of Indian cuisine’s foundations and details how you can grow from theree to achieve the goal of cooking really fine cuisine. Basically it’s a journey through Indian food. It’s a book for anybody who d. enjoys cooking and has a passion for food. ai, People in this region, especially in Dubai, are quite adventurous and we’ve noticed a whole shift in people dining out and to trying different things. They are really into food now and it’s really catching up with oo, Europe. The book has fantastic images too, so there are also a lot of things to look at and admire. How popular is Indian cuisine in n the Middle East? I’ve always said that Arab nationals love


Caterer Middle East February 2010 10

Indian food and with many expats being British, they love it too. We’ve had a very good reaction at our outlet in Saudi Arabia as well, but they are generally very conservative and we had to trim back our innovation there. I think we have to cater for the ego of our guests and not for ourselves, and we have to tailor-make each project to suit the local market. Do you have any plans to open more outlets in this region? We have the restaurant we opened last year in Saudi Arabia, at the Mövenpick Hotel Al Khobar, which is doing quite well. More recently we opened in Doha, Qatar. In May we are opening up in Libya, which is a growing market. In some ways we like to think we are mavericks — after all, when we opened up in Dubai none of the five-star hotels had a fine dining Indian restaurant. Do you think the Michelin Guide overlooks Indian Cuisine? It used to and it used to overlook Indian aspects of cooking. But being the first Indian restaurant in London to have

Vineet Bhatia: adding some spice to the world of fine dining.

been awarded a Michelin star, and also to be the first Indian chef in mainland Europe to receive a star in Geneva last December, it would not fair for me to say we don’t consider it important. But they could probably award it to more Indian restaurants; I think eventually we’ll see more awarded Michelin stars. There are already four Indian outlets in London and one in Geneva with a star, but I think the big change will come in eight or nine years time. What inspired you to take up a culinary career? I got into cooking by mistake. I wanted to be a pilot, but I couldn’t be, so I went to hotel school. I then wanted to be a barman and work on the service side, but I was put into the kitchen by mista mistake and I’ve loved it ever since that day. The whole idea of walking into a kitchen in India was very different back then and iit’s still a very laboriw not thought of as ous job, but it was profes a decent profession in India; many people would simply discard it. When i I first walked into the kitchen it really changed my perc perception of food. What’s you your favourite authentic India Indian dish? Lamb Rogan Josh; it brings ba back memories of my cchildhood. My mother u used to make it on a Sund day and it was tradition, li like a British roast dinn As a chef I’ve tried to ner. r replicate these flavours, b it’s very difficult! but

Caterer Middle East - Feb 2010  

Caterer Middle East - Feb 2010 - ITP Business

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