The Pro Chef Middle East - Edition 61

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Welcome In this edition, we uncover the secrets of Le Fumoir's smoked salmon mastery with CEO Jason Bassili and delve into the daily life of Haider Madani, the visionary behind Casette & NETTE, and a partner at riina. Gain insights into the new standards of flavour creation from the Managing Director of Senovia AMEA, and discover how innovation and experimentation are shaping the future of culinary experiences. Simultaneously, explore the dynamic lives of culinary luminaries such as Chef Alena of Sfumato and Soiree, and Head Chef Luca Crostelli of the newly-opened Cala Vista. And for those with a sweet tooth, don't miss our exclusive interview with Executive Pastry Chef Maxence Barbot, where he gives us a glimpse into his creative process and the delectable world of pastry artistry. Happy reading.




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Edition 61 / The Pro Chef Middle East



Culinary news across the Middle East


Explore the latest menu creations and hotspots


Discover Le Fumoir's smoked salmon mastery with CEO Jason Bassili


Haider Madani, Founder of Casette & NETTE, Partner of riina


Managing Director of Senovia AMEA shares insights into the new standards in flavour creation


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Head Chef at The First Collection Waterfront and Executive Chef at Carnival by Tresind share their signature dishes




Chef Alena from Sfumato and Soiree on her culinary journey and what’s next

32 CRAFTING COASTAL ITALIAN FARE Meet Head Chef Luca Crostelli from the newly-opened Cala Vista


Read our exclusive interview with Executive Pastry Chef Maxence Barbot


Head Chef Riccardo Stevanat at Novikov Café shares his signature recipes



Stay up-to-date with F&B concepts across the globe




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DIBBA BAY LAUNCHES OYSTER REEF CREATION PROJECT In an effort to rejuvenate and protect marine ecosystems in Dibba, Northern Fujairah, UAE, the project aims to construct a 700-meter structure using repurposed oyster shells for the creation of oyster reefs. Collaborating with the Fujairah Environmental Authority and the Fujairah Research Centre, the Dibba Bay Oyster Reef Creation Project aims to promote the growth of native shellfish species. The initiative involves collecting recycled oyster shells from Dibba Bay, curing them at the oyster farm, and deploying them in eco-friendly gabion cylinders. Once reintroduced into the ocean, these structures serve as substrates for the settlement of marine life, establishing a vibrant reef habitat. The project encourages participation from hotels and restaurants for shell donations and offers recycling bins at Dibba Bay outlets in Dubai. Corporate sponsorship opportunities are also available for those eager to contribute to this crucial ocean conservation endeavour.

Al Safadi, a prominent family-run restaurant chain in the UAE, embarks on the transformative Central Kitchen Project in Dubai Production City. Spanning 6,000 sqm, the state-of-the-art facility, led by contractor SPAN Construct, is poised to enhance culinary excellence and streamline production, targeting completion in March 2025. CEO Fadi Safadi emphasises the project's commitment to quality and efficiency, anticipating increased catering services and an impressive output capacity of 15,000 meals per day. The multifunctional Central Kitchen includes dedicated areas for preparation, storage, training, R&D, and quality control, reflecting Al Safadi's dedication to innovation and growth in its 24-year culinary legacy.


The Pro Chef Middle East / Edition 61

Photographs SUPPLIED


DOUBLETREE BY HILTON DUBAI - JUMEIRAH BEACH APPOINTS NEW EXECUTIVE CHEF Chef Juan, a native of Guatemala, brings extensive international culinary expertise and a profound passion for the culinary arts to one of Dubai's most family-friendly hotels. Trained at distinguished culinary schools in Guatemala, his culinary journey encompasses diverse roles in restaurants and hotels across Central America before establishing himself in the Middle East. With notable positions at prestigious establishments like Shangri-La Barr Al Jissah in Oman and W Abu Dhabi, Chef Juan's outstanding culinary proficiency and leadership qualities culminated in his appointment as the Executive Chef at DoubleTree by Hilton Dubai - Jumeirah Beach in 2023. In his new role, he aims to redefine the dining experience by merging innovation with tradition, emphasising sustainability through ecofriendly practices and locally sourced ingredients.

JUMEIRAH GULF OF BAHRAIN RESORT & SPA ANNOUNCES NEW GENERAL MANAGER Jumeirah Gulf of Bahrain Resort & Spa reveals the appointment of Thibault De Vries as its new General Manager. With a wealth of experience spanning two decades in hotel operations across diverse countries, including the Netherlands, Singapore, France, South Africa, Russia, and Qatar, De Vries has

demonstrated exceptional leadership throughout his career. Renowned for consistently achieving outstanding financial results and elevating guest satisfaction levels, he has played a key role in steering the growth and success of esteemed global hotel brands such as Grand Hyatt, Park Hyatt, Hyatt Regency, and Andaz.


The First Group collaborates with Switch Foods to introduce delectable plantbased options across 35 restaurants in its F&B portfolio, enhancing dining experiences with Switch Food’s renowned plant-based meats and expanding menu offerings, including Vegan Switch Burger and Vegan Switch Nachos, to cater to diverse tastes. The collaboration aims to revolutionise culinary landscapes and promote Switch Foods' sustainable, clean-label, and regionally tailored plantbased products across various outlets, reflecting a commitment to delicious, healthy, and eco-friendly alternatives.

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ÒAK ÒAK stands out with its Asian-inspired woodfire concept, offering authentic yet modern cuisine in a captivating ambience. The menu revolves around the use of Bincho-tan charcoal, offering delectable Southeast Asian dishes prepared on a custom charcoal and woodfire grill. ÒAK seamlessly blends the energy of fire with the calming attributes of water, creating a unique dining and lounge experience. The menu features a fusion of Asian-inspired and woodfired aromas, predominantly drawing from Japanese influences with glimpses of Korean, Thai, and Chinese elements. From Asian tapas to a diverse selection of skewers, seafood, burgers, and desserts, ÒAK encourages socializing and community, delivering signature dishes like Grilled beef short rib and Woodfire roasted cauliflower. Contact +97154 794 4441.



BCH:CLB, the groundbreaking beach club situated at W Dubai - The Palm Jumeirah, has officially opened its doors. The beach club redefines the experience with an innovative fusion of art, entertainment, global music, and distinctive Mediterranean flavours. Overlooking the sparkling Gulf, the expansive deck hosts live performances, offering guests a seamless transition from relaxed sundowners to vibrant beats as day turns to night. Experience a delightful selection of refreshing beverages and Mediterraneaninspired cuisine inspired by coastal scenery, where guests can savour a variety of raw delicacies and both hot and cold dishes.

CARO Steakhouse Frenzy, located in Fairmont Sheikh Zayed, Dubai, invites patrons on an unparalleled gastronomic journey, combining artistic décor and exquisite tastes for an immersive dining experience. Helmed by Chef Carson Hill, the menu boasts classic starters and innovative twists, with a focus on the world’s most exquisite steaks, showcasing flavours from Japan, Argentina, London, Paris, and beyond. Beyond steaks, guests can relish the freshest seafood, complemented by a thoughtfully curated beverage menu, featuring classic pairings and adventurous concoctions crafted by expert mixologists.

Contact +9714 834 3803.

Contact +97158 118 3800.


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CELESTE Celeste, the newest addition to SO/Uptown Dubai Hotel, transports the ambience of Paris's Montmartre bars and lounges to Dubai. With rich red velvet drapes, checkerboard floors, and golden bird cage-inspired seating, Celeste draws inspiration from Montmartre's bohemian charm. Positioned as a chic nightlife destination, it boasts upscale dining, an innovative beverage menu, and global cuisine. Contact +9714 820 8888.

AROUND THE BLOCK Around The Block reopens in Jumeirah's Wasl 51 with a new Japanese concept, TŌRI, following its popularity since 2019 for diverse culinary offerings, including hearty breakfasts, international lunches, and dinners, coupled with a dedication to exceptional specialty coffee. Highlights include Turkish eggs, hot Ricotta pancakes, Salmon carpaccio, A5 wagyu roll, spicy Beef ramen, and a dedicated Ramen bar, ensuring a diverse dining experience. Contact +9714 342 8000.

SMOKI MOTO With cutting-edge charcoal grills at every table, the fully licensed Korean steakhouse combines Seoul's artistry with high-end steak sizzles. Rooted in tradition with a modern twist, it offers a dynamic, multi-experiential space blending contemporary aesthetics and authentic Korean essence. Boasting a diverse menu, Smoki Moto features world-class steaks prepared by eight Korean chefs, renowned for their famous dry-aging techniques. Contact +9714 666 1430.

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SMOKED TO PERFECTION Step into the world of Le Fumoir and its smoked salmon with CEO Jason Bassili

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hree decades ago, Joe Bassili had a visionary idea that laid the groundwork for what is now the esteemed Bassili. Co—a brand synonymous with quality and innovation in the culinary world. Starting with salmon production and a modest smokehouse in Lebanon, Bassili. Co has since flourished into a diverse collection of establishments, including the renowned Le Fumoir by Joe Bassili. Jason Bassili, the son of Chairman Joe Bassili, emerges as a luminary in his own right, with experience spanning 18 years. “Le Fumoir was founded by my father Joe Bassili in 1992 after he saw an opportunity to make premium quality smoked salmon for the Lebanese market,” shared Jason. “He went and learned the craft in Scotland alongside people who were considered the best in the business. From there, he mastered the art of smoking salmon and now we are headquartered in Dubai and produce over 22 tons per week.” His journey embodies the entrepreneurial spirit instilled by his family, particularly evident in his pivotal role in the success of Bassili.Co. As we explore the dynamic world of culinary innovation, we sit down with Jason Bassili to gain insight into his journey of shaping the renowned brand.

Could you walk us through the comprehensive process of sourcing salmon for Le Fumoir? We work very hard every day on sourcing only the finest and freshest salmon

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possible, and that is done through a 30year history with our suppliers and by taking care of the logistics in-house. We fly our salmon five times per week via air freight ensuring we get the freshest and best quality fish possible. I personally go and visit our suppliers every year in Scotland and Norway as well as attend the European seafood shows to make sure we are up to date with new technologies in traceability and production.

What steps does Le Fumoir take to establish and maintain relationships with suppliers or fisheries to secure a reliable and premium source of salmon? It's all about trust and relationships to maintain rapport but more importantly, we are BRC certified which requires our suppliers to have all the lab tests and global standards reported and audited by us all year round to ensure everything is in order.

Could you elaborate on the specific methods used in the manual curing, smoking, and hand-slicing processes of the salmon? We stay true to the traditional techniques that my father mastered all those years ago but apply modern processing and technology such as SAP software to make sure we can produce the volumes we are at today. The secret sauce is not only using the best quality products on the market but also taking our time to make sure we get everything right every time. We also have an in-house quality

control team that makes sure that our production team follows our SOPS and craftsmanship. Our team of filleters and slicers go through a six-month training program to join the production line. Slicing smoked salmon 1mm thin is a true art form and needs time and dedication to be able to achieve it.

How does Le Fumoir ensure the quality and freshness of the sourced salmon from the waters, and how crucial is this aspect to maintaining the excellence of the final product? Salmon needs to grow in cold seawater, and that water needs to be protected. Our salmon is sustainably sourced from Norway and Scotland where extremely high precautions are taken to make sure they are clean and pristine. The steps taken such as boat-free areas, and sheltered bays have a huge impact on the final product, and that is why we make site visits every year to ensure that they are implemented.

Can you highlight some key aspects that make your Hand Sliced Premium Smoked Salmon stand out in the competitive culinary market? Slicing by hand is extremely labourintensive and a lot of companies need the will or know-how to do it! Forty years ago, everyone was slicing by hand as it was the only option. Advancements in technology allow machines to slice salmon these days but it changes the texture and the taste profile. We only source fresh salmon, as

opposed to the frozen industry stand that many competitors choose to use, this really sets us apart.

Can you provide insights into the current collaborations and partnerships established within the culinary industry? We currently make the private label of Spinneys and Waitrose, this partnership is something we are really proud of, as it shows the trust that they have in us for them to put their name on the products that they sell to their customers. Providing consistently high-quality smoked salmon for over 30 years is the reason why so many hotels, airlines, restaurants, supermarkets and chefs around the region

act as our brand ambassadors. Clients such as Emirates Airlines, One & Only, Paul, Bateel, Atlantis, and over 1000+ other clients put their faith in us to have continued long-lasting partnerships.

How does Le Fumoir tailor its offerings to meet the unique needs and preferences of different establishments, such as five-star hotels and award-winning chefs? We have a vast product line when it comes to smoked salmon and this was only made possible by our flexibility to work with hotels and chefs to develop the product that is tailored for their specific use cases, for example, our buffet cut for the breakfast buffets.

Looking ahead, what plans does the brand have for expanding its presence in the B2B market? With all the new hotels, restaurants and supermarkets opening in Dubai daily, we have enough to keep us busy alongside our expansion efforts into neighbouring countries such as KSA and Qatar. We have been based in Dubai for 20 years and we are always excited to see the country we call home grow.

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A DAY IN THE LIFE OF... Haider Madani, Founder of Casette & NETTE, Partner of riina

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Kickstart the day with a quick shower and throw on my favourite t-shirt. I always make sure to lace up those kicks – at CASSETTE, we're all about the shoes.


Pump up the volume and hit the road straight to CASSETTE. Setting the perfect stage for the morning's productivity.


Usually, my go-to is a flat white, but today, I switched it up with an espresso to make sure the coffee's hitting the right notes, and up to our standard in case it needs calibration.


Quick check on the front and back of house teams, making sure everyone's in a good mood before the day gets busy.


Sit down with the general manager to talk shop – problems, solutions, events, technicals, marketing, and PR decisions on the agenda.


By noon, I’m usually at NETTE, checking out how things are running, making sure the flavours are on point, and assuring everyone's doing good.


I head to riina for a menu tasting. The executive chef and kitchen staff cooked up something new for us to taste before it’s implemented in our menu. Breaking down each dish is key.


I sit down with riina management to sort out menu setups, operations, and decisions.


I jump on a meeting with the PR and the marketing team, talking about the upcoming events and plans.


I head home and spend some much needed family time.


Hit the padel court for some action.


Heading back home for a wholesome dinner with the family.


I kick back, unwind and catch up with friends.


I check on the staff. For me, promoting the culture and ethics of how I like a business to be operated is very important to me.


We live another day.

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Ireland has always been synonymous with lush green fields, fresh, clean air, and plentiful rain. This key natural advantage creates the perfect environment for rearing cattle and allows grass-based beef and dairy production to flourish across the island. While this has always been Ireland’s farming practice, globally consumers are now placing greater emphasis on food provenance and as a result this natural advantage has become a key selling point for Irish businesses and a source of pride for the people of Ireland. Bord Bia (Irish Food Board) is the Irish government agency that manages

the promotion, trade development and marketing of the Irish food, drink, and horticulture industry. Headquartered in Dublin, Bord Bia supports the national and international ambitions of Irish food, drink and horticulture businesses through its highly focused organisational structure and its worldwide network of offices. Today, the global food and drink industry faces enormous challenges, and the demand for sustainable food products continues to grow amongst consumers. Twelve years ago, Bord Bia recognised these concerns and in 2012 began addressing this issue when they launched

the sustainability programme Origin Green, a national programme that brings together farmers, food manufacturers and food exporters to become more sustainable in food production. The objective remains clear: to have every farm and food manufacturing business in Ireland, on the road to sustainable production to ensure a safe, secure, and continuous source of quality food and drink. Independently verified, it enables Ireland’s producers, to set and achieve measurable sustainability targets – reducing environmental impact, serving local communities more effectively and protecting the extraordinary rich & natural resources that the country enjoys. Of the €440m worth of Irish food and drink exported to the Middle East in 2023, over 90% of that came from Origin Green members. Bord Bia will be exhibiting with stands in the Dairy Hall (stand D2-34) and World Food Hall (stand S3-C24) at this Gulfood 2024.





Emilie Nault, the Managing Director of Senovia AMEA, shares the brand's establishment of new standards in flavour creation via ground-breaking liquid solutions.


s part of the Arethia Group, the flavour development and manufacturing company leverages over seven decades of expertise to perfect the art of flavour, combining a deep passion for taste with cuttingedge technology to disrupt the sector by delivering modern, accessible, and innovative taste solutions. "Creating flavours is more than just creating a taste; it is an art form that can transform ordinary products into extraordinary ones," Nault states.

In her role as the Managing Director of Senovia AMEA, Nault engages in collaborative efforts with clients to nurture enduring, mutually advantageous relationships that align with the company's dedication to advancing flavour innovation. Moreover, she affirms her commitment to enhancing the capabilities of internal teams by providing guidance and expertise, thereby fostering a culture of excellence and satisfaction among stakeholders both within and outside the organisation. Join in Senovia's fusion of art and technology as we gain perspectives on industry complexities, commitment to innovation, quality, and safety, and the establishment of new standards in flavour creation through their liquid solutions.

What sets Senovia apart from other food flavour manufacturers in the region? We distinguish ourselves from existing industry players by offering complete end-to-end assistance and bespoke flavour services regardless of company size, ranging from global corporate entities to start-ups. We understand that each brand has its own story to tell and a specific vision to fulfil – therefore we collaborate closely with our customers to craft flavours that truly embody their brand essence. We also believe in a well-rounded approach when it comes to the services we provide. From the creation of customised flavours to the matching of popular profiles, we consistently innovate, discover new ways to use flavours and help navigate the rules and regulations in different countries. By doing all this, we offer our clients not just a service, but a partnership that helps them move forward and achieve success, because when they win, we win.

What prompted Senovia to choose Dubai, UAE, as the location for its product research and development centre? With our headquarter in Switzerland and our production facilities in Germany, we wanted to build a hub closer to our regional clients. As a geographic epicentre and influencer across the AMEA region, the UAE aligned best with our strategic and operational

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objectives to deliver food flavour services to companies within the region. The UAE has developed into a regional and global hub for numerous sectors including F&B which has derived credible demand for flavourists like ourselves to explore new markets, build new connections, and establish a reputable brand image while developing fresh perspectives on innovation. Its ease of doing business and cosmopolitan population also offer many opportunities to network and forge long-term partnerships. With our strategic UAE research and development centre, we can serve our client base across the GCC and AMEA region.

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Can you share some insights into the product research and development centre in Dubai and how it aligns with your regional expansion strategy? Our research and development facility is where creativity meets science, and where innovation is not just an idea, but a flavour you can actually taste. The centre is equipped with state-of-the-art equipment to develop tailored solutions and welcomes a team of experienced professionals to ensure the best flavours are crafted at the highest standards of quality. The centre also offers product science support for flavour optimisation. The R&D centre based in the UAE exclusively specialises in the

development of flavour products. Its strategic location allows it to effectively meet the demands of both local and regional markets, capitalising on the UAE's influential position within the region. The nation’s thriving F&B industry, constant influx of tourists, strong trade relations, and advanced technology adoption has attracted F&B product manufacturers across the globe and expert flavourists like us to explore the region’s potential. It is also seen as a

“We believe that sustainability is not just a choice, but a responsibility.”

major trend-setter from which regional nations may adopt similar strategies. Therefore, it constitutes an ideal market to test the waters and lay the foundation of our planned regional expansion.

How do Senovia's flavours cater to the specific tastes and preferences of the Middle Eastern market? The innovation and creation team have deeply rooted ties with the region providing them a clear understanding of the regional preferences. Whilst this is helpful for the development of general flavour profile, it is our close collaboration with local and regional F&B product manufacturers which allows us to cocreate the flavours desired by their target audiences. Certain flavours enjoy popularity in the region, and we assist brands in navigating the distinctive intricacies of these flavour profiles. For example, regional herbal and botanical flavours such as saffron,

cardamom and ginger have stood the test of time and are likely to continue their popularity due to their health benefits and traditional appeal. We also foster constant innovation and continually stay ahead of trends to identify emerging preferences within the regions we cover to optimise our portfolio and offer well-suited ready-made solutions to our customers.

How do you envision the brand’s presence contributing to the growth and innovation of the food and beverage industry in the Middle East? Flavour is arguably one of the most important elements in F&B products. By supporting F&B manufacturers in the region to offer end consumers unique flavours, we are aiding the growth of their markets and facilitating new and innovative ways of approaching target audiences. Sometimes, adopting regionally standard flavours is not the only innovative way to enter or sustain market presence. Finding the ideal flavour mix while maintaining other key elements related to the product like textures, aromas and ingredient ratios need to also be considered. Flavour companies like Senovia help F&B product manufacturers increase cost and resource efficiency and sustain consistency in quality – two factors which are vital for industry growth. When manufacturers have reliable partners who can offer them this kind of predictability,

then future strategy planning becomes less complicated and the vision for growth becomes clearer.

How does Senovia prioritise sustainability and responsible sourcing in its flavour manufacturing process? We are committed to making a positive impact on the environment and the communities we serve. We believe that sustainability is not just a choice, but a responsibility. That's why we have integrated sustainable practices into every aspect of our business. Waste Reduction: Our flavour production processes are designed to optimise efficiency and reduce waste generation. Additionally, we actively promote recycling and proper waste management practices within our facilities to minimise environmental footprint. Energy Efficiency: We are dedicated to conserving energy and seek to minimise our consumption in the flavour creation and manufacturing process. By embracing renewable energy sources and implementing energy-saving measures, we are also working towards a greener and more sustainable future. Community Engagement: We believe in giving back to the communities that support us. Through various initiatives, we strive to make a positive difference beyond our operations.

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Continuous Improvement: Sustainability is an ongoing journey, and we are committed to continuous improvement. We regularly evaluate our practices, set goals, and implement innovative solutions to further enhance our sustainability performance. By staying at the forefront of sustainable practices, we aim to drive positive change within our industry.

How do you see the food flavour industry evolving in the coming years? And what's next for Senovia? The global flavour industry is constantly evolving on the technology side and along with end-consumer preferences. Particular trends that are currently influencing the industry and show promising opportunities include: Unique flavours: The hunt for new and unique flavours might be an everlasting human ambition. Exotic flavours from localised dishes, tropical fruits, and crosscountry flavour fusions such as ‘Japanese guacamole’ or ‘Zaatar chicken wings’ are increasingly becoming popular. F&B

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product manufacturers are constantly exploring the vast realm of flavours to find the next big hit and sustain their market shares while differentiating themselves from competition. Natural flavours and Sustainable Practices: In response to a global surge in health and environmental awareness, consumers are increasingly advocating for natural flavours and sustainable practices, compelling F&B manufacturers to adapt. Herbal flavours, recognised for their perceived health benefits, have created a premium market for flavoured foods, fostering the growth of wellnessfocused products like kombucha, kefir, and cereal bars. It is crucial to note, however, that while natural extracts are sourced directly, their processing may involve encounters with various chemicals, challenging the assumption that a "natural flavoured label always signifies a healthier product". Sustainability, though not inherently tied to flavours, significantly influences the supply chain, emphasising the importance of renewable energy

resources, waste minimisation, and collaboration with sustainable suppliers. Moreover, the increasing popularity of plant-based products, driven by their lower environmental impact, is expected to spur further developments in flavoured plant-based meat and mylks. Technology: a crucial factor in the creation of flavours that meet both local and international quality standards, driving ongoing innovative advancements. The industry is witnessing a continuous pursuit of novel approaches for accelerated flavour development, cost reduction in manufacturing, and streamlined market entry. Notably, modern quality control methods like Chromatography (GC-MS) and Near-infrared (NIR) spectroscopy, employing state-of-the-art equipment, play a key role in composition analysis for accurate food labelling. Additionally, Artificial Intelligence is increasingly employed to comprehend flavour preferences, explore ingredient combinations, and forecast trends, thereby optimising the overall flavour development process.

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What is your favourite dish on the menu? At Local, we have a very diverse and creative menu. My favourite will have to be the Kataifi Prawns. The dish is made of fried kataifiwrapped prawns, with muhammara dip and lemon garlic aioli.

Tell us about the dish.

What makes it a standout dish? The Kataifi Prawns feature the fusion of fresh seafood and the sweetness of kunafa dough. There is an option to dip each bite into a zesty lemony sauce or a slightly spicy muhammara dip. The flavours are heavenly with a perfect balance of crunchy exterior and sweet interior, inviting diners to savour every bite until the plate is emptied.

Where do you source the ingredients from? Originating from the pristine waters of the Gulf Sea, our Tiger Prawns are paired with locally crafted kunafa dough, creating a harmonious blend of flavours. With most ingredients being fresh and readily available, this exquisite dish can be recreated in the comfort of the home as well.

Photography SUPPLIED

The Kataifi Prawns highlights exquisite flavours of Gulf Tiger Prawn, meticulously prepared with precision. Each prawn is

delicately peeled, leaving the tails intact, and undergoes a thorough process involving cutting, cleaning and marinating with a blend of salt, white pepper, cumin, lemon juice and extra virgin olive oil. Simultaneously, extra prawns are minced and seasoned with salt, white pepper, Arabic seven spices and chopped parsley. The marinated Tiger Prawns are generously filled with a well-seasoned prawn mixture and wrapped in kunafa dough. These prawns are then deep-fried to perfect golden-brown hue, resulting in a dish that is as visually stunning as it is delectable. To complement the rich flavours, this exquisite creation is served with a dipping sauce that perfectly enhances the overall culinary experience, promising a symphony of tastes and textures with every bite.

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second layer is yellow chilli powder and the third layer is green chilli. To balance all the chilli flavours, we have used creme fraiche and in-house raw mango coriander chutney.

What makes it a standout dish?

My favorite dish on Carnival by Tresind menu is Paneer Tikka Khakra, mille-feuille, sambal, vellow & green chilli.

Our distinctive and entirely creative approach is evident in the presentation of Paneer Tikka in the unique Mille Feuile style. The combination of its distinct texture and taste contributes to its uniqueness. Additionally, the incorporation of potato khakhra adds an unprecedented textural element to this beloved Indian dish, making it a truly one-of-a-kind culinary experience.

Tell us about the dish.

Where do you source the ingredients from?

Whenever we say Paneer Tikka, we think of a spicy cottage cheese dish steeped in green chutney and universally, it is loved by everyone. In this dish, at Carnival by Tresind, we played with different varieties of chilli. The first layer is fermented chilli, the

We source yellow chilli powder from Lucknow, India. The green chilli of Indian origin and the red chilli of Thailand origin are sourced locally. We have a special vendor who makes malai paneer.

What is your favourite dish on the menu?

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AN EXPLORATION OF GASTRONOMIC ARTISTRY From her roots in Kyiv to her role as Executive Chef in Dubai, Alena's journey reflects her ongoing commitment to reshaping gastronomy.


ailing from Kyiv, Ukraine, Alena Solodovichenko has emerged as a culinary virtuoso, currently spearheading the team at Sfumato within ME Dubai Hotel. With a distinguished career spanning over 15 years in the realm of fine dining, Chef Alena's journey is marked by an unyielding passion for culinary excellence and a unique ability to enthral the discerning palates of connoisseurs. “I embarked on my career journey at the age of 19, and a year later, I boldly approached the Head Chef where I was working and expressed my ambition to become a sous chef someday. Back then, he just laughed at me, as it was unusual to envision a woman in such a role. However, after two years of unwavering dedication, I achieved my dream, despite the initial skepticism. Moreover, later I became the first female head chef of a restaurant chain consisting of 16 venues, and was entrusted with the role of a crisis manager, overseeing the most demanding locations.” Through the years, she refined her skills, cultivating a profound understanding of culinary artistry and unveiling an innate talent for crafting masterpieces that transcend the ordinary. In the course of this interview, we explore her evolutionary journey, from beginnings in Kyiv to her current position as the Executive Chef at Sfumato and Soiree in Dubai.

How do you balance your commitment to culinary excellence with staying creative and innovative in your approach?

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My cuisine is all about honesty and authenticity. I always keep in mind that the real taste of the ingredients is crucial, and my role here is to highlight the natural flavours without overshadowing it. We experiment with different techniques, pay close attention to feedback, and apply it where necessary. As for creativity, I always have a notebook or a phone by my side to take down new ideas that come up throughout the day. When it’s time to start working on a new menu I already have a bunch of ideas ready to be explored. For me, the key is to be creative and open-minded all the time.

Could you provide an overview of Sfumato and Soiree? Both these venues are truly special to me. In Sfumato, we take the notion of casual dining to the next level by bringing something new even to the familiar dishes, and looking at the original flavours from a different perspective to bring a unique twist to it. Take our signature Borsch, for example: we take a traditional Ukrainian dish, add a twist — smoked pear that sets off the flavour of slow cooked beef, — thus, creating a new experience for our guests. I also take pride in our breakfast menu, which has a lot of amazing options, and includes hearty dishes that fill you with energy for the whole day. Soirée is a grape bar, but gastronomy is an important part of its DNA. We made a bold decision by introducing street food in the menu, because let’s be honest — when you are relaxing and hanging out with a glass of funky grape or a concoction, it is sometimes best paired with a classic hotdog or hot and crisp French fries.

Photographs SUPPLIED

Edition 61 / The Pro Chef Middle East 27


How do you approach menu creation and the overall dining experience at these venues, considering the diverse clientèle in Dubai? I’m always deep into the creative process and in tune with my ideas. Dubai is evolving rapidly and is quickly catching up with gastronomic capitals of the world. This city has truly set the bar high so we need to continuously strive to maintain these high standards. I was amazed by the quality of local ingredients when I first arrived in the region, and I still find a lot of inspiration in them while creating the menu. There are so many farms in the UAE, farming is prioritised in the region and is something that a lot of people here really care about. I have experimented with a lot of local ingredients and home-grown produce and the result was exceptional which made me realize that I must incorporate these ingredients into my menu somehow.

What are some of the signature dishes or culinary concepts? One of my favourite dishes in Sfumato is the Beetroot stracciatella. We bake the beetroot first, and then dehydrate it. This technique preserves the taste of the beets, making it even brighter and sweeter. We then create the sauce from rosemary and black currant and lastly use fresh stracciatella, adding a creamy texture to the dish. At one point, I was quite fascinated how ingredients of the same colour tend to match perfectly. I also recommend trying Borsch as well as the Potato Vareniki with truffle, which I promise will be a true revelation. In Soirée, I take pride in our signature Beef hotdog. The secret to this classic creation is the usage of high-quality ingredients. From the soft, slightly scorched brioche bun to the juicy sausage. it is the just the perfect dish to indulge in on a Friday night out.

Of course, I added my own personal touch and flair to each dish, and made the flavours more delicate and elevated. At the end, the core idea is all about fun and simplicity. Furthermore, we recently decided to introduce Sfumato’s menu to Soirée as well, so now guests can order any dish, if they feel like treating themselves to a full dinner.

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Given the dynamic F&B landscape in the Middle East, how do you ensure that your venues remain relevant and adapt to changing tastes and trends? I believe that identity is crucial. I’m not trying to please someone, but to show people my vision, and hopefully make them fall in love with it. In order to remain relevant, you should not only think about tastes and trends, you should continue

down your own route and strive to stand out with your own unique offerings. When you are truly honest and authentic, you are relevant and interesting.

What do you believe are the key elements that have contributed to your success and the positive reception of your culinary creations? I believe having the right team is the key to success. It is the team that empowers you, and it is only when the whole team shares a common vision, that we all strive to achieve the same culinary goals in the kitchen. Not just that, the kitchen can get pretty harsh sometimes, and it’s up to the team to either be dedicated to their goals and bring their best work everyday, or leave it all behind. So far my team has been a true asset that has contributed to the restaurant’s success. Throughout this journey, we have been fortunate enough to witness the results of our dedication, hard work and passion from our customers’ positive feedback and comments, making every second of our career worth it.

What are some emerging culinary trends that you find particularly exciting or intriguing? In my opinion, the good news is that gastronomy is getting closer to people. Chefs follow this trend, creating everyday accessible dishes that can still be ingredient rich and magnificent. At the same time, I am fond of the trend where restaurants have started to become more localoriented, with new venues opening in the clusters where people actually reside. When it comes to culinary trends, I would like to first highlight JapanAdjacency, which is still a thing. Chefs with different cultural background take inspiration in Japanese gastronomy, including minimalistic setting, usage of certain ingredients, etc. It is especially a fascinating process in a melting pot like Dubai, where a lot of people from Southeast Asia can appreciate it. I personally also admire Chef Izu Ani’s work. Secondly, I find the colour trend very exciting, especially when chefs use natural dye to make dishes brighter and more vibrant. Comparing regular creamy pudding and purple Philippine dessert Ube, it is fun to see how colours can easily change the perception and make dishes more enticing.

Lastly, I think immersive entertainment is back and better than ever. Guests can expect more trolleys in the dining areas of top-notch restaurants, and staff entertaining them while they have their dinner.

What are some of the challenges you face as a chef in the region, and how do you navigate them? When I first arrived in Dubai, I did not have the experience of working while

communicating in English, so it took some time for me to adapt to the new format of documentation, special terms, and more. Overall, the way of working in the kitchen in the UAE is slightly different from the one in Russia or Ukraine. As for the products, I sometimes miss certain ingredients, such as northern berries (for example, cranberry), but in general the market in the UAE is so rich, that it just wouldn’t be fair to say it’s a true challenge.

What's next for Sfumato and Soiree? While we can’t disclose the exact location and timing yet, I can share some great news with you. Sfumato and Soirée are coming to Abu Dhabi in 2024. We’ll announce the details in the beginning of the year, but the deal is signed, and we’re happy to start working on bringing the Sfumato and Soirée experience to Abu Dhabi. Edition 61 / The Pro Chef Middle East 29


Hero Image source: 3 Fils Dubai

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Embarking on a culinary exploration signifies a profound journey, dedicated to sourcing the finest ingredients. Fremantle Octopus, specializing in the production of the world's most premium species of octopus, proudly operates the largest of only two MSC-certified, sustainable Octopus fisheries globally. This distinction positions it as a preferred supplier for high-end restaurants across the globe.

Beyond its gourmet diet, including lobster, abalone, prawns, and scallops, Fremantle Octopus caters to a healthconscious palate, lauded for its low cholesterol content. In the realm of gastronomy, where excellence is paramount, Fremantle Octopus stands as the key ingredient in an epicurean masterpiece—one that captivates the taste buds, satisfies the conscience, and transforms every dish into a gourmet sensation. Fremantle Octopus transcends mere taste, offering a guilt-free indulgence for food enthusiasts seeking both flavour and healthier choices. Explore the culinary possibilities with Fremantle Octopus—a celebration of sustainability, premium quality, and exquisite taste.

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CRAFTING COASTAL ITALIAN FARE Introducing Luca Crostelli, the passionate Head Chef behind the newly-opened Cala Vista at Jumeirah Mina A’Salam

Photographs SUPPLIED


uca's culinary journey began in the nurturing embrace of his family's award-winning restaurant, where he imbibed not only the techniques of Italian cuisine but also a profound appreciation for its essence. His formative years were spent amidst the fragrant melodies of his mother's kitchen, laying the foundation for a lifelong passion for gastronomy. “My mom is a constant inspiration for me in everything that I do. Her success in her personal and professional career fuels my hunger for excellence, and her influence is heavily embedded in my culinary style. I'm proud to carry forward the traditions and passion for food that I inherited from her. And even prouder that I get to work alongside her under Jumeirah,” he revealed. Venturing beyond the familiar confines of home, Luca embarked on a pilgrimage across Europe, honing his craft in the prestigious kitchens of Michelin-starred establishments. These years were a testament to his unwavering dedication to mastering the art of cooking and his pursuit of excellence. At Cala Vista, diners embark on a journey of indulgence and discovery, guided by Luca's expertise, as his commitment to preserving tradition shines in every meticulously crafted dish, while his passion for utilising the finest regional ingredients. Edition 61 / The Pro Chef Middle East 33


How has your family-owned restaurant background influenced your journey to becoming the Head Chef at Cala Vista? Growing up in a family-owned restaurant surrounded by my mother and grandmother was my biggest inspiration in pursuing a culinary career. From sneakily eating pieces of fresh pasta freshly rolled by my grandmother when she wasn’t looking to shadowing my mother around the kitchen, I developed a deep passion for the culinary arts from a young age. It also instilled in me not just the skills to manage a kitchen but also the importance of creating a welcoming atmosphere for guests. This experience has significantly shaped my journey in becoming the Head Chef at Cala Vista, where the concept of a ‘tradi-chic’ restaurant feels like an extension of the warmth and hospitality I learned from my family.

What's the concept behind Cala Vista? Cala Vista is more than a culinary destination; it's a celebration of Italian tradition and a welcoming space for a memorable dining experience. We embrace sunkissed simplicity, celebrate the essence of la famiglia, and uphold an unwavering commitment to the Italian way. I aim to stay grounded in my Italian heritage and have curate a menu that presents a hearty and comforting mix of traditional Italian dishes designed for sharing. My mission is to have guests craving for more with each bite.

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In the competitive culinary landscape, how do you see Cala Vista standing out? Cala Vista stands out through a fusion of passion, authenticity, and commitment. The stunning backdrop of Burj Al Arab Jumeirah and Jumeirah Mina A Salam adds a unique touch to the warm and social atmosphere, making Cala Vista an exceptional choice for those seeking not just a meal, but an unforgettable culinary journey. Its iconic view and alluring Italian charm sets it apart in the culinary scene here in the city – from leisurely lunches to sundowners and late dinners, there’s no better place.

Can you tell us about the suppliers you've chosen for Cala Vista and the criteria you consider when selecting them? One of my earliest and most influential experiences was working with the talented Gianfranco Vissani, which has driven my focus on consistently seeking out the

best regional products and incorporating traditional techniques to stay true to my Italian roots. We choose suppliers based on the quality of products, prioritising freshness for the most authentic Italian cuisine. Criteria include not only the product quality but also the level of service they provide. Our goal is to serve fresh, high-quality ingredients sourced responsibly.

What are your personal favourite dishes on the menu? Could you share the inspiration behind them? One dish I'm particularly excited about is the Tortelloni Alla Norma—it's a simple yet incredibly tasty Sicilian recipe I discovered during my travels. Transforming it from dry pasta to a fresh pasta experience is my innovation. The use of fresh pasta crafted with love is my passion, made with egg s, particularly egg yolk – my most treasured ingredient – brings a level of elevated comfort that is unmatched.

Could you elaborate on the process of testing and refining dishes before they make it onto the Cala Vista menu? Given my extensive background in fine dining, the menu creation at Cala Vista combines the knowledge I have acquired over the years of fine dining with traditional cooking techniques from my childhood. I consult with my mentors, and particularly my mom, during the process, seeking feedback to continuously improve each dish. It's a collaborative effort to ensure perfection.

Given the global emphasis on sustainability, how does Cala Vista contribute to reducing its environmental footprint, both in terms of sourcing ingredients and managing kitchen waste? Cala Vista is committed to sustainability by minimising wastage while still prioritising fresh ingredients. We focus on using local suppliers, ensuring that food is not wasted, and implementing a menu design that minimises waste by utilising the same ingredients in different preparations. Edition 61 / The Pro Chef Middle East 35



Photographs SUPPLIED

Meet Executive Pastry Chef Maxence Barbot, the creative force behind the delectable delights at Shangri-La Paris since November 2019

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riginating from Brittany, Chef Barbot's culinary journey began early, bonding with his mother over the family's cherished 'Beatrice Cake,' a mouthwatering chocolate gateau with ganache. “Ever since I was very young, I’ve loved making cakes with my mother. I’m always on the lookout for new things, and it's easy to incorporate the products that marked my childhood,” revealed Chef Barbot. Graduating from catering college La Guerche in 2011 marked the start of Barbot's rapid rise, including a notable finalist position at the 'Olympiades Internationales Des Métiers' in London the same year. He honed his craft at prestigious Parisian venues, under the tutelage of culinary luminaries such as Christophe Michalak and Jean-Marie

Hiblot. Barbot's passion and talent propelled him to success, earning him accolades like runner-up in the 2013 French Plated Dessert championships. His career took him through esteemed establishments like Le V Restaurant and Relais Dessert Restaurant, before returning to Plaza Athénée where he ascended to Pastry Sous Chef. At Shangri-La Paris, Chef Barbot infuses his creations with personality and innovation, delighting guests with classics like Vanilla Caramel Millefeuille and Chocolate Profiteroles. Annual festivities and collaborations, notably with Chef Samuel Lee of Shang Palace, offer fertile ground for his imaginative desserts, such as 'La Fleur' with its intricate layers and a hint of traditional Chinese spirit, Moutai. Chef Barbot's love for his craft shines through in his approach to dessertmaking, viewing each creation as a journey

of transformation and an opportunity for artistic expression. He thrives in a multicultural environment, drawing inspiration from his diverse team and constantly pushing the boundaries of his creativity. Guests at Shangri-La Paris can savour Chef Barbot's masterpieces during lunch, dinner, and Sunday brunch at La Bauhinia, and indulge in sweet delights during afternoon tea or via the hotel's mobile sweet trolley, 'the cakery.' With Chef Barbot at the helm, every bite is a testament to his dedication to the art of pastry.

Graduating from catering college La Guerche in Brittany in 2011 marked a pivotal moment in your career. How did your education contribute to your approach to pastry? Whether in Brittany or elsewhere, a diploma is still a diploma. Only the rigorous involvement of students in improving their techniques will enable them to progress faster than others. Without passion and hard work, it's impossible to advance in your career.

You've worked alongside influential figures such as Christophe Michalak and Jean-Marie Hiblot. How have these experiences shaped your style and philosophy as a pastry chef? I had stars in my eyes when I started my first job at the Plaza Athénée, working with Christophe Michalak and Jean Marie Hiblot. We had a fantastic team, and that first experience will always be remembered for having met people who were passionate about their work every day. Christophe had 3,000 ideas a second, while Jean Marie, my first Chef, who has sadly passed away, was a real big brother to us all and shaped my personal and professional vision. Edition 61 / The Pro Chef Middle East 37


Can you take us through your creative process when developing new desserts? and what inspires you? Our profession allows us to imagine many things, whether in the form of a curve or a colour. Creativity is everywhere. I'm interested in reinterpreting our classics using traditional gourmet codes, but I also prefer to integrate a visual design of the dessert.

How do you strike a balance between preserving the classical aspects of French pastries and introducing innovative elements to keep your creations fresh and exciting? Given the opportunity to have a wide range of products at our disposal to embellish and modernize them, we owe it to ourselves to uphold the traditions' codes.

How would you describe the evolution of your pastry style over the years? The culinary evolution has varied according to product knowledge, fruit approach, and seasonality. The recipes have been significantly reduced in sugar or colouring to allow for the natural fruit colour and taste.

Having worked with notable figures in the culinary world, how important 38 The Pro Chef Middle East / Edition 61

do you think mentorship is in the realm of pastry? There are people in our lives who have had a lasting impression on our careers and who will always be etched in our memories. Like my first chef, Jean Marie, who was so attentive and kind to every member of his team, or our teacher Vincent Boué, who took part in the Meilleurs Ouvriers de France three times with unfailing motivation.

Are there specific trends or techniques you're excited to explore in the coming years? Over the coming months and years, I'll be exploring and perfecting my panettone and pandoro making. Panettone and pandoro are time-honoured Italian festive specialties, each with its unique characteristics and methods of preparation. The commitment to perfecting these desserts implies a reverence for tradition and a dedication to mastering the precise techniques required to achieve their distinctive textures and flavours. While panettone and pandoro have wellestablished recipes, there is also room for creative expression within these traditions. The exploration and perfection of these

desserts might involve experimenting with variations in flavour profiles, innovative ingredient combinations, or unique presentation styles.

Are there specific elements of Emirati cuisine or traditions that you are excited to explore and potentially incorporate into your creations? The cultural influences of the UAE will influence the choice of tastes, such as the flan café cardamone, the bulle d’amour for honeyed aromas or the orange blossom for the desserts. The inclusion of flan café cardamom highlights a fusion of local and international flavours. Cardamom is a popular spice in Middle Eastern cuisine, and by incorporating it into a classic dessert like flan, I was aiming to create a blend that resonates with both local and global palates. The reference to bulle d’amour, infused with honeyed aromas, indicates a celebration of natural sweetness and local ingredients. The use of these local elements in classic pastry forms hopefully showcases a creative reinterpretation, resulting in desserts that are both familiar and exciting, marrying the best of traditional and contemporary culinary approaches.

Inverted Puff Pastry 360g dry butter 145g flour T55 (2) 340g flour T55 (1) 12g fine salt 135g water 110g lump butter 3g white vinegar 1 The day before (Kneaded butter): a) Work the dry butter with a mixer hook to give it a supple texture. b) Add flour (2) slowly at very low speed, incorporating well each time. c) Spread the kneaded butter into a rectangle and set aside in the fridge. 2 The following day (Distemper): a) Mix all ingredients (ending with flour (1)) in a bowl with a hook to form a homogeneous mixture. b. Form the dough into a rectangular shape and refrigerate with the butter overnight before kneading. 3 Dip the pastry into the butter and give it a double turn, then set aside in the fridge overnight. 4 The next day, complete with a double turn and a single turn simultaneously. Store in the fridge for 3 hours before freezing until ready to use.

Flans Assembly and Baking 1 Roll out the pastry to 1.5cm thickness and cut into strips 25cm long and 5cm wide. 2 Line the 8 x 4cm circles and place the 6 x 4.5cm circle inside. Store in a cool place and bake at 165°C for 25 minutes.

Vanilla Flan 10 portions

Cream Flan Ingredients: 650g milk 230g liquid cream 100g sugar 15g egg 60g egg yolk 40g cornflour 2g vanilla bean 1 Heat the milk, cream, and vanilla. 2 Blanch the eggs and yolks with sugar, then add cornflour. 3 Cook to make a pastry cream (1 minute per liter of milk). 4 Blend well and chill for at least one hour. 5 Break up the cream using a whisk and pour 110/120g per individual flan (up to the level of the puff pastry). 6 Store in the freezer.

Puff Pastry Preparation Single-layer 3T 500g flour 150g lump butter 12g salt 190g water 250g tourage butter 1 The day before (Tempering): a) Mix all ingredients (except flour) with the kneaded butter using a mixer hook. b) Shape the pastry into a rectangle and let it rest overnight in the refrigerator with the kneading tourage. 2 The following day: a) Wrap the butter in the tempera and give it two simple turns. b) Refrigerate overnight. c) Finish with a final single turn, return to the desired thickness, and chill for 3 hours before freezing until ready to use.

Finishing • Bake half a sheet of puff pastry, then cut out 4.5cm diameter circles for the removable bases. • Cut a strip of inverted puff pastry 25cm long by 2.5cm wide. • Moisten the strip with water and place two strips of 3-turn puff pastry on top. • Place directly in an 8 x 4cm circle and add an inner circle measuring 6 x 4.5cm. • Bake at 165°C for approximately 12 minutes. • Once cooked, remove the inner circle and place a 4.5cm circle of puff pastry at the bottom. • Fill with the pudding mixture up to the level of the outer circle. • Leave to rest for 20 minutes, then bake at 180°C for 15 minutes. • Chill for an hour, remove the mold, and enjoy.

Edition 61 / The Pro Chef Middle East 39

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MEDITERRANEAN MAGIC Head Chef Riccardo Stevan at Novikov Café shares two signature dishes from the menu

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Sea Bass Fillet Mediterranean Style Serves 1 105g sea bass 80g crushed tomatoes 10g capers 10g Kalamata olives 10g garlic 10g onion 10g rosemary 2 basil cress Baby basil leaves for garnish

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Method 1 Cook the sauce for 5 mins by boiling the crushed tomatoes, then add the garlic, onions, Kalamata olives, and capers and cook well. 2 Marinate the sea bass for 2 hours with garlic, onions, and rosemary. 3 Grill the seabass on both sides until well done, then put in the oven at 200C for 7mins. 4 Add the sauce to the plate and top with the sea bass. Garnish with baby basil leaves.

Sauteed potatoes with crispy onions and chives 50g Agria potato 20g butter 2g salt 2g pepper 2g onion 2g chives

Method 1 Slice the potatoes to 4mm. 2 Cook the potatoes in a large frying pan with butter, garlic, onion, salt, and pepper turning often until very lightly browned. 3 Garnish the potatoes with crispy onions and chopped chives.

Edition 61 / The Pro Chef Middle East 43


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Head Chef Brando Moros at 71 Steak and Grill, Emirates Towers shares his signature Coffee spiked steak

Edition 61 / The Pro Chef Middle East 45


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Coffee Spiked Steak 180g Black Angus flank steak 15g coffee rub 110g Papa Chorreada 10g sofrito 1g smoked paprika 1g leeks ash 1g nasturtium leaves

Method 1 Rub the steak with the coffee spices until completely coated. Let it sit in the fridge overnight to allow it to absorb all the flavours. 2 Light your grill and bring it to a high temperature. Make sure it is hot. 3 Place the leeks on the grill and let them burn until black but not grey ash. 4 Put them into a blender and blend them until powdery. Reserve. 5 Place your flank steak on the grill directly on the fire. Allow the steak to get nicely charred making a flavourful crust from both sides. 6 The temperature recommended for cooking the flank steak is medium. 7 On a plate serve the papa chorreada and dust it with smoked paprika and leeks ash. 8 Cut the steak in half and serve it on top of the papa chorreada as in the picture. 9 Serve sofrito to garnish and top it with nasturtium leaves. Enjoy.

For the coffee rub 50g Colombian coffee beans 15g black pepper, crushed 10g garlic powder 10g onion powder 12g Maldon salt flakes 5g smoked paprika 1g chili powder 2.5g coriander seeds whole 70g brown sugar

For the Papa Chorreada 105g spring onions 300g plum tomatoes 8g garlic 0.5g cumin powder 1g fine salt 0.5g black pepper, crushed 50g cooking cream 55g corn oil 50g potato 50g mozzarella cheese

1 Grind the coffee beans until a smooth sandy texture. 2 In a small-sized pan, toast the coriander seeds until they start releasing the aromas and then transfer them into a mortar and grind until you get a powder texture. 3 In a medium-sized bowl, mix all the ingredients until completely combined and set aside.

1 Into a medium size pot, add the corn oil and let it heat to medium temperature. 2 Finely chop the spring onions, tomatoes, and garlic separately. 3 Peel the potatoes and cut into chunky medium-sized pieces. Once the oil reaches medium temperature, add the spring onions and cook until it reaches a translucent colour, stirring continuously to avoid burning. 4 Add the tomatoes and garlic and keep stirring often until it reaches a vibrant colour and aroma. 5 Add the potatoes, cumin, salt, pepper and cooking cream. Lower the temperature and cook until the potatoes are completely cooked, and it becomes a creamy consistency. 6 Add the mozzarella cheese once ready to serve, allowing the cheese to melt well.

For the sofrito 100g white onions 200g sweetcorn 75g sherry vinegar 50g caster sugar 275g red bell pepper 2.5g fine salt 2.5g black pepper, crushed 1 Chop onions and bell peppers into brunoise. 2 Boil the corn until soft and grill until you get a nice charred colour. 3 Cut the grains from the cob and set aside. 4 Bring a medium-sized pan to medium-high temperature and cook the onions until translucent colour. Add the bell peppers and allow to cook, stirring constantly until soft. Add the corn and mix well to incorporate the flavours. 5 Deglaze with the sherry vinegar and add sugar. Cook for about 3 minutes until all flavours are incorporated. Season well with salt and pepper and reserve.

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AROUND THE WORLD A peek into the global culinary landscape reveals a variety of exciting developments

KINGDOM OF SAUDI ARABIA The Saudi Culinary Arts Commission recently held an open meeting to explore the possibility of joining the global Delice Network. This network aims to boost the culinary industries of 25 member cities worldwide. Saudi Arabia, represented by Sakaka in the Kingdom's northwest, could become a part of this network. The meeting, part of a series led by the commission, involved culinary experts discussing the significance of this potential collaboration. Saudi Arabia is actively working to promote its local culinary heritage, enhance economic opportunities in the sector, and establish itself as a top destination for food and culture.


Tanmiah has introduced a significant environmental project involving the planting of 100,000 trees in Manama, Bahrain. This endeavour is in harmony with both the Saudi Green Initiative and the Middle East Green Initiative, showcasing the cooperative environmental endeavours of Saudi Arabia and Bahrain aimed at addressing the impacts of climate change through afforestation. The inauguration of this initiative, under the slogan "Planted in Saudi Arabia, to be grown in Bahrain," was led by Dr. Khaled bin Abdullah Al-Abd Al-Qader, who serves as the Executive Director of the National Center for Vegetation Development and Desertification Control.

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INDIA Moti Mahal, a culinary brand with a remarkable 104-year history, has announced its plans to venture into Europe this year. The expansion strategy entails the establishment of restaurants in Europe, with the primary goal of introducing its renowned tandoori cuisine to the region. The brand has an established presence in the USA, Africa, New Zealand, Maldives, Colombo and the Middle East.


This is Food and Drink. This is Wales. With an abundance of distinctive quality, authenticity and heritage, Wales has a long and proud tradition of producing outstanding food and drink. Delicious, natural ingredients are grown and gathered from its landscapes and shores by skilled and dedicated communities of farmers and fishers. @FoodDrinkWales Food_Drink_Wales f FoodDrinkWales l Bwyd a Diod Cymru | Food and Drink Wales

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