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© Jérôme Bryon / Les Gens dee l’A ’’At Ateli e er el e

A shared passion for excellence

The Valrhona Ecole du Grand Chocolat Whether in Tain l’Hermitage, Paris, or Tokyo, the world of creativity represented by Valrhona’s Ecole du Grand Chocolat knows no boundaries when it comes to sharing its expertise with pastry chefs around the world. Drawing on over 20 years of experience, Valrhona’s Ecole du Grand Chocolat focuses its efforts in three main areas: training, expert advice, and recipe development. ecole@valrhona.fr valrhonapro.com v a l r h o n a t v. c o m Distributed by Chef Middle East LLC- PO BOX 26 747- Dubai- UAE- tel: +971 4 3473455 - www.chefmiddleeast.comBranch offices : Abu Dhabi UAE +971 2 55 11 830 - Doha-Qatar +974 460 2200- Umm Al Quwain + 971 6 766 6437 - Muscat, Oman + 968 245 66 239











EDITORIAL All’s not well at sea. Islands slipping under the water and the world’s best salmon is diseased.



PIMP MY PLATE The chef: Ben Tobbit from The Ivy. The challenge? Reinvent a Greek soup that only has four ingredients!


TRAVEL All of us work with Filipinos but what do we know of their food and culinary history?



EDITORIAL BOARD Our industry colleagues who help guide The Pro Chef ME.



OUT AND ABOUT Take a farm to table Californian chef and introduce him to camel meat - what happened? Plus the winner of the Australia Unlimited MENA 2014 cook off.

FACE TO FACE In the hot seat this issue are Chef Sebastian Nohse from JW Marriott Marquis Dubai, UFS’ Mads Houlberg, evian Badoit’s Elio Pacheco and Brazilian Chef Helena Rizzo.

THE LAST WORD Young UK designer Chris Godfrey provides the last word on convenience foods with his 12-course meal in a can. What dishes would you include if you had the chance to create such a monstrosity?


RECIPE CORNER Great recipes from Pure at Hilton Dubai, Ritz-Carlton Dubai and Porte des Indes.



MARKET FOCUS What does the US cheese sector have to offer the fine dining chef, apart from award-winning product. And what kit do chefs really want and what are manufacturers supplying. We ask the questions. ROUND TABLE Editor Dave Reeder gets a grilling from a selection of Jumeirah chefs about ther current state of the market, service issue and staying true to concepts.

May 2014 / The Pro Chef Middle East


UP FRONT / editors letter

The dangers of the sea I’m sure that there is no connection at all with the cinema release of Noah, in which Noah’s wife utters what may be the year’s best laugh line: “The snakes are coming too?” However, what is happening with the world’s oceans is no laughing matter. First, we have the news that the Carteret Islanders of Papua New Guinea have become the first entire community to be displaced by climate change, with their traditional home expected to be under rising seas by next year. You may not think that the fate of 40 families is major news but they have been shadowed by scientists for at least two years as tides have washed away their crops and rising sea levels poisoned those that remain with salt. Other islanders face the same fate and, already, the Maldives government is buying land in Australia in preparation for the seemingly inevitable day. So, as the oceans swallow food sources, we’re confident that they will feed us through increased fish farming, aren’t we? Well, don’t celebrate too soon: salmon farming industry figures reveal that sea lice numbers are out of control in parts of the west coast and western isles of Scotland, source of much of the best salmon. In Wester Ross, for example, lice numbers have been consistently over thresholds for a full year and the latest aggregated sea lice data, published by the Scottish Salmon Producers Organisation (SSPO), shows that in Q4 of 2013 sea lice numbers on farmed salmon were massively out of control in a number of areas. The latest SSPO quarterly sea lice report (for October to December) reveals that average lice numbers were over thresholds in 13 out of 30 areas for which data is reported by the industry. The isles of Mull, Islay and Jura, the east of Lewis, North Uist and South Uist had sea lice levels well over the thresholds for treatment. The Salmon & Trout Association Scotland (S&TA(S)) is calling for a cull of all the fish in the very worst affected farms - the kind of decisive action taken by the Norwegian authorities when they were faced with a similar problem. Why are sea lice on fish farms such a threat to wild salmonids? Mainly because the impact of sea lice on wild salmon causes a very high loss (one third) of those returning to Irish rivers and both wild salmon and sea trout are in decline in Scotland’s ‘aquaculture zone’, in contrast to populations that have stabilised on the east and north coasts where there is no fish farming.


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UP FRONT / editorial board

Meet the board

The Pro Chef Middle East is keen to serve its readership by addressing those areas of key interest, To help that task, we have invited a number of respected and experienced members of the F&B world to form an editorial board to help guide us into the future.

BOBBY KRISHNA TM PRINCIPAL FOOD STUDIES AND SURVEYS OFFICER FOOD CONTROL DEPARTMENT DUBAI MUNICIPALITY Indian-born Bobby Krishna brings a real passion to his job enforcing food hygiene and safety regulations to the F&B sector in Dubai.

MARC GICQUEL Regional Director of Food & Beverage, Arabian Peninsula Hilton Worldwide Born and educated in France, Marc Gicguel has wide experience of different parts of the F&B sector, from Disneyland Resort Paris to Jumeirah Restaurants and Nestle Professional before joining Hilton Worldwide.

CHRISTIAN GRADNITZER Corporate Director Culinary Jumeirah Group German-born Christian Gradnitzer moved a couple of years back from kitchens to management and is now a key element in Jumeirah RnB’s plan to establish Jumeirah Group as a leading operator of successful restaurants and bars globally.

MICHAEL KITTS Director of Culinary Arts and Executive Chef The Emirates Academy of Hospitality Management UK chef Michael Kitts’ career has combined distinguished work in kitchens, global competition success and a major focus on mentoring younger chefs, all of which make his currenty job an ideal fit.

UWE MICHEEL Director of Kitchens, Radisson Blu Dubai Deira Creek President, Emirates Culinary Guild German chef Uwe Micheel is a highly visible member of the regional F&B scene with two decades of experience in the Gulf and a key role in driving the success of UAE-based chefs at culinary competitions worldwide.

MARK PATTEN Senior Vice President, Food & Beverage Atlantis, The Palm Dubai In place at Atlantis since pre-opening in 2007, Australian native Mark Patten has had a highly successful and celebrated career across the world. He now oversees more than 400 chefs and numerous outlets at the resort.

SAMANTHA WOOD FooDiva A distinguished ex-Hilton PR executive, British-Cypriot Samantha Wood now combines food journalism, hospitality consulting and the highly acclaimed FooDiva food blog.


The Pro Chef Middle East / May 2014



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UP FRONT / out and about

Fram garden to desert Gourmet Abu Dhabi hosts many exceptional chefs every year, but one of the more interesting ones almost slipped under the radar: Chef Christopher Kostow from the three-star The Restaurant at Meadowood. The contrast between Napa Valley and the deserts of Abu Dhabi could hardly have been more extreme for him.


The Pro Chef Middle East / May 2014

Awarded 'Best Chef: West' by the James Beard Foundation, Chef Christopher Kostow stepped out of his comfort zone on a journey to the isolated Arabian Nights Village deep in the Al Khatem desert. He was a guest of Chef Saeed Fawaz, who has been honoured by the Emirates Culinary Guild for his authentic representation of Arabian cuisine. On the special menu of the village's Al Maqtam restaurant, was roasted camel - a treat traditionally reserved by Arabs and Emiratis for special celebrations, particularly weddings. It was first scrubbed with salt and vinegar before marinating for 24 hours in an aromatic paste of local spices, including garlic, ginger, green chilli, turmeric powder, cardamon, coriander, white pepper, fresh tomatoes, tomato paste and corn oil. Next, it was next steamed in a stock of bay leaves, cinnamon powder, coriander, cloves, cardamon, onion, celery, black pepper and corn oil in an oversize, deep lidded pot, in which the camel was placed on a steam tray ten centimetres off the pot's bottom and covered with date palm leaves. After four hours of steaming over gas, hot charcoal on top of the metal lid let the meat roast for an hour. The final dish Hwar ma'a machboos was served up on a giant dish as the centrepiece of an Arabian feast. "The camel meat was absolutely delicious,

"The desert is an amazing place it's not a place where I've spent a lot of time, but it's almost like a mindset. It's so striking in its aesthetic and its vastness and in how extreme it is.” like roasted lamb but less gamey with a soft texture and unctuous fat. We all really enjoyed it," Chef Kostow said of his first taste of Emirati food. "It's always very cool to learn traditional cooking techniques as they have a lot of relevance to modern cooking. There's nothing new as such, but it's interesting to have an understanding of what was done in previous years. I also think it's imperative to use cooking as a window onto a given culture, so it is very interesting to learn how traditionally these things were prepared. I found it particularly interesting the amount of techniques actually employed in the preparation of this dish: there's steaming, there's roasting and smoking."


out and about / UP FRONT

Anna Jentgen hard at work.

Anna Jentgen presenting her dish to the judges.

Anna Jentgen from from Emirates Academy of Hospitality Management wins!

Ready, steady, cook! Encouraging students and emerging chefs to embrace and experiment with Australian food products, a recent cook-off hosted by Masterchef Tarek Ibrahim, saw contestants from four local culinary schools heat things up in the kitchen


As part of the Australia Unlimited MENA 2014 event to promote further bilateral trade, investment and cultural ties between Australia and the MENA region from April 13 – 17, a cook-off between 12 top culinary students was held at the Marco Pierre White Grill, Dubai in the Conrad on Sheikh Zayed Road. Hosted by Meat and Livestock Australia’s Masterchef Tarek Ibrahi, his fellow judges were Executive Chef Terry Styles from the Conrad Dubai and Australian food blogger Sarah Walton, also known as ‘The Hedonista’. Contestants from the Emirates Academy of Hospitality Management (AEHM), The European International College, International Centre for Culinary Arts (ICCA) and The School of Culinary and Finishing Arts (SCAFA) battled it out on the stoves for the chance to win a return ticket to Australia with Qantas Airways, in addition to a week’s training with Chef Terry. One student from each of the four culinary schools competed against each other in a threeround competition, where they were presented with a mystery steak to be cooked, plated and served to the judging panel within 35 minutes. During the competition, Chef Tarek reminded participants: “We are looking for cooking done correctly. It’s all about how the meat is cooked

and complemented with Australian produce. It’s the art of simplicity because after all, marinating a good quality steak is not a necessity, it has enough natural flavour itself and it must be cooked to maintain those flavours.” Bringing the competition to a close, Anna Jentgen from EAHM was announced as the winner, followed by runners up Haile Amanuel and Polly Smith from SCAFA. “Everyone did an outstanding job and provided us with exactly what we wanted, great steaks cooked simply and using Australian products, while showcasing hospitality education expertise. I consider everyone a winner,” concluded Chef Terry.

"We are looking for cooking done correctly. iI’s all about how the meat is cooked and complemented with Australian produce. It’s the art of simplicity." May 2014 / The Pro Chef Middle East


FEATURES / market focus

More than meets the eye Angélique Hollister, Vice President, cheese marketing, US Dairy Export Council explains what sets the US cheese industry apart from its competitors to become the world’s largest exporter and an increasingly frequent winner in international cheese contestss.


s a chef, you are likely looking for the best ingredients to set your business apart. Well, look no further and read on. The next couple of minutes will open your mind to a world of amazing ingredients and resources to move your business forward. While the United States has long been the world largest cheese producer, historically most of its production was consumed domestically, leaving little for the world to enjoy. But after a couple of decades of gradual increase in international sales,

the US cheese industry became, in 2013, the world’s largest exporter surpassing New Zealand and all major EU shippers. With a genuine commitment to serving foreign customers’ growing appetite for cheese, US suppliers now deliver more than 316,000 metric tons of US cheese to markets around the world. Exports to the Middle East region alone have more than doubled in the past five years, reaching over 43,000 metric tons last year, truly showing an increased market interest in new and reliable partners who can consistently deliver high

quality cheeses. Given this incredible growth, it’s not surprising to see US cheese now appearing on more international menus than ever before. And while a large majority of the cheeses currently exported by the United States is primarily mozzarella and Cheddar - two of the most demanded cheeses in the world - the story doesn’t end here. The United States has, in fact, a much wider selection to offer international chefs, retailers and food manufacturers alike. Every year, a

US cheese selection, USDEC 2014



The Pro Chef Middle East / May 2014


market focus / FEATURES

It’s not surprising to see US cheese now appearing on more international menus than ever before. And while a large majority of the cheeses currently exported by the United States is primarily mozzarella and Cheddar - two of the most demanded cheeses in the world - the story doesn’t end here. Pepper jack, USDEC 2014

Angélique Hollister large portion of US milk is converted into over five million metric tons of cheese, offering more than 600 varieties to choose from. As a country of immigrants from the Old Continent, some of these varieties of course include European-style cheese like Brie, Swiss and Gouda, to name a few. But that’s not all! American cheese makers are continuously innovating and coming up with new cheeses. Collectively referred to as ‘American Originals’, this category includes already globally well-known cheeses such as Monterey jack, cream cheese, Colby and pepper jack. It also comprises countless varieties of artisan and specialty cheeses. Indeed, US cheese markers also craft incredible and award-winning high-end cheeses. Their quality is recognised well beyond our borders, with US cheese makers proudly competing alongside their European counterparts in globally recognised cheese competitions and consistently winning top honours. US cheese, whether specialty or commodity, has won the hearts of judges and cheese experts around the world. Most recently, the United States won 82 medals at the 2013 World Cheese Awards (London) and 181 medals at the 2014 World Championship Cheese Contest (Madison, WI). There is truly a US cheese for every taste and every use and the US Dairy Export Council (USDEC) has over the years strived to unveil this well-kept secret. Today, chefs from Mexico City to Tokyo and everywhere in-between are using US cheese in many savory, sweet and highly functional applications. But buying cheese from the United States for your culinary creations means much more than just great cheeses, it also gives you access to a world of unparalleled resources to accelerate your success in the marketplace. From finding a local distributor and understanding how to market US cheese to ideation support and technical troubleshooting with cheese experts, USDEC will partner with you every step of the way. So, the next time you are looking for a cheese to serve on your menu, imagine all of the possibilities with US cheese. There is truly more than meets the eye.

The US Dairy Export Council is a non-profit, independent membership organisation that represents the global interests of US dairy farmers, proprietary processors and cooperatives, ingredient suppliers and export traders. For more information, contact the USDEC Middle East office at amfime@cyberia.net.lb or +961 1 74 378 or 74 1223.



May 2014 / The Pro Chef Middle East


FEATURES / market focus

Tyson Podolski Chef De Cuisine, Prime68, JW Marriott Marquis Dubai

Tarek Mouriess Executive Chef, Fujairah Rotana Resort & Spa

The wish list?

Although it may be true that a great chef needs little more than a favourite knife, a sauté pan and a spoon, the reality is that chefs are constantly seeking shortcuts to relieve the pressure in the kitchen - from blenders, to sous vide machines, anti-griddles to dehydrators. We take a snapshot of the market, speaking to both suppliers and chefs, to understand the latest trends and what chefs actually use, together with what’s on their wish list for the future.


e start by asking three chefs about their views on equipment trends and what they’d like to see in their kitchens.

What equipment trends are you seeing in the market? Tyson Podolski, Chef De Cuisine, Prime68, JW Marriott Marquis Dubai: I've noticed a couple of things, firstly things like Josper ovens or other high end charcoal ovens. I think the need to have really good, reliable equipment is driving this trend. The second trend is sous vide items like immersion circulators. Christopher Thompson, Head Chef, Ruth’s Chris Steak House, The Address Dubai Marina: The equipment trends for this year are definitely more high-tech then they ever have been before, with forward thinking machinery and implants in the kitchen for both restaurants and private homes. Induction stoves are becoming more frequent and convection ovens are showing great improvement in functionalities. For me, the top trend is definitely induction stoves, especially here where we have a high turnover of covers, as they are reliable, have great technology, extremely easy to clean and maintain and the performance is


The Pro Chef Middle East / May 2014

highly superior than open flame gas stove. Tarek Mouriess, Executive Chef, Fujairah Rotana Resort & Spa: 2014 has marked a trend of eco friendly equipment. I personally believe that the focus on environment friendly equipment in the kitchen is here to stay. I prefer gas as its more economic while induction cooking units are making waves in the kitchen arena. Which products sell best to chefs? Podolski: Chefs by nature are multi-personality people - one side of us loves gadgets and always looks to see what new gadgets have come out. We love to play with new things and experiment! But our other personality always comes out, our frugal side. We like getting equipment that will keep going for a year! So I feel we really look for the best of both worlds, a well-made gadget and we generally rely on companies that we have had good longterm relationships with. Thompson: I believe that all chefs will agree on one thing: top products for chefs are durable and reliable such as Montague broilers, Rational convection ovens, Inox kitchenware or, less known in this market, Subzero and Wolf appliances. There is no specific product that sells best in my opinion, as all chefs have different cuisines, ideas and trends. However, we do all have a convection

Christopher Thompson Head Chef, Ruth’s Chris Steak House, The Address Dubai Marina

oven and a fridge in our kitchen and if those aren't functioning properly and you have 200 covers on the floor, you are in trouble! Mouriess: Swiss and German products are very popular amongst chefs. Belgium equipment is popular too. Are you adapting to more pressure on cost or are you demanding more functionality from suppliers? Podolski: Again it's a two way street. You have to realise that not only do your costs rise but so do your suppliers costs. In Prime68 boutique steakhouse we work with suppliers to get the best possible produce but also to provide a better forecast of use, to benefit both parties. Thompson: Tricky one. I have seen a dramatic cost increase not only in Dubai but Internationally. I understand that suppliers must make their margin of profit as well as chefs, but sometimes they exaggerate a bit too much. I like to deal with the suppliers face to face, testing products with them and build a close working relationship so we work together on costings ensuring all parties are happy. By building a relationship with a supplier, they are then more inclined to support my kitchen by lowering costs here and there. Mouriess: From my perspective, it's both really! We have to adapt to pressure on cost depending on the size of the Hotel, operational requirements and budget constraints while on the other hand, we have push for functionality from the suppliers to enable us to give the best of products to our guests. We push for durable and high quality products to ensure that we do not lose our costs in replacing low quality products is not affected. What product innovations would you like to see? Podolski: Not necessarily an innovation, but I would like to see the availability of more local products from the Middle East. Thompson: What first comes to mind are deep fryers, under-counter fridges and shelving. These are the basic tools in most kitchens and could do


market focus / FEATURES

TO YOUR SPECIFICATION MANITOWOC - GARLAND SUITE This enables chefs to build their kitchens exactly how they want. With multiple applications across one counter, such as a hob, wok, griddle, braising pan and more - all built in to one unit. The main benefits include low heat emissions, ease of cleaning and safety, plus low energy consumption. Also, remote generators allow for a plug and play operation - in case of technical issues, it is equipped with a spare generator so that a kitchen is always operational.

QUIET OPERATIONS What equipment trends are you seeing in the market? Mick Jary, Sales Project Manager, Manitowoc, Middle East: The key trends we can see is consumers looking for reliable innovative solutions, bringing added value to their business. They want equipment to be easier to operate, more cost effective and to be energy efficient and green. Equipment requirements today are calling for more multi-functional equipment on a smaller footprint using smart control panels. Are you seeing more pressure on prices or are chefs demanding more functionality? Both. Pricing is imperative as budgets are still strained in the industry after the last recession but chefs want the more multi-functional equipment with the latest software capabilities. The only way to combat these demands is to look at life cycle costing and RoI of equipment.

CONVOTHERM MINI 2IN1 A kitchen all-rounder that can be used for roasting, grilling, steaming, au gratin cooking, convenience deep-frying, baking and regenerating. It works off one main control panel allowing ease of use for two separate cooking chambers, potentially working in two different modes, with one smart controller.

with a little innovation on their functionality. The regulation on temperature for fryers in the current market is still rustic and they are also a nightmare to clean. Under-counter fridges currently come with a solo function on chilling as standard and are not 100% reliable overnight - I would love to see new products on the market with special functions such as a blast chiller and temperature gages on different levels which would improve functionality greatly. The design on heavy-duty shelving could be updated to something more attractive and easier to keep clean. Mouriess: This is an interesting question. I would love a water grill and solar equipment. They all are economically faithful and will complete my job. A totally solar run kitchen would be lovely to see too. If you had to pick one go-to piece of equipment, what would it be? Podolski: Other than the chef's knife, I would say blast chiller here in Dubai, not just to beat the summer heat, but to quickly cool down food and to blast chill my ice cream bases.


Where is the market competition hottest? In all sectors but probably more in retail. This is where the demand for speed of delivery, ease of use, reduced footprint, energy efficiency and ease of use for the operator is required. All manufacturers have also identified this as the growth market and therefore target this aggressively. What product innovations can we expect from you over the next two quarters? Having redesigned our product line on the basis of detailed research and intensive discussions with users in the field worldwide, our objective is to maximise quality and customer satisfaction.

Thompson: Induction stove! I have had many years of experience with them and work with induction morning to night at Ruth's Chris. There are no risks of burns, fires, or pot handles becoming incandescent leading to disasters like dropping beautifully cooked scallops on the floor! Mouriess: It is my braising pan and convention oven. It cooks everything! What products seemed like good ideas at the time but haven’t proved their worth? Podolski: The mini smoker. Having been a chef in a BBQ restaurant and smoking quite a few items here with our big smoker, I just don't feel it actually enhances a product and is more of a show piece. Thompson: The humble tin opener is the first one that comes to mind. I have gone through so many, my advice to any chef is buy a heavy-duty table mounted can opener, which will save you time and money in the long run. Non slip cutting board mats also don‚Äôt hold their value, they get worn out quickly, crack and stain, making them unhygienic and unusable - instead of buying these now I tend

ELENCO GROUP - M-ICLEAN DISHWASHER A revolutionary new dishwasher from Meiko offers eye-catching and informative LED illumination, one touch controls, language selections and self-sufficiency. It monitors key machine components, such as the filter and rinse arm. And service-friendly design makes the machine easier to clean.

SILENT BLENDING The Santos Silent Blender is a quiet heavy duty blender capable of making any kind of iced drinks, soups, smoothies and more. The blender can crush any kind of ice cubes or frozen fruits because of its tin coated blade. Its motor is brushless with a sound enclosure which makes it near enough silent. The machine is also safety censored, so that the blade stops as soon as the sound chamber is opened.

to use a damp tissue or a cloth which is just as effective as these non-stick boards. Mouriess: The conveyor pizza oven was an interesting addition to the culinary equipment family. But it really didn't cook the items and was just a fancy piece of equipment. Equipment? All a good chef needs is the right knife and some heat. Right? Podolski: We are fortunate in Prime68 to have a beautiful charcoal grill and really sometimes the best things are the simplest. A quality cut of meat and asparagus cooked on charcoal, with a little sea salt can truly be amazing. Working with small farms taught me to let the ingredient shine and not the gimmick. Thompson: Though a lot of the equipment available on the market makes life easier in the kitchen, at the end of the day it is an added extra. Simple cuisine with a few good ingredients paired the right way is still the best type of cooking. Mouriess: Yes, some heat and a knife can do the best jobs.

May 2014 / The Pro Chef Middle East


FEATURES / market focus

CLASS IN THE KITCHEN MUDDLE ME - 9 TRAY STAINLESS STEEL EXCALIBUR DEHYDRATOR Excalibur's stainless steel dehydrator offers the perfect combination of industry leading air-flow mechanics and materials. Case exterior is made of stainless steel and the case interior is polycarbonate. It features Excalibur’s patented Parallex Horizontal Air Flow and Hyperwave Fluctuation Technology, the most efficient heat/dry combination on the market. The dehydrator has an adjustable thermostat with a 95F to 155F temperature range that is low enough to preserve active enzymes in fruits and vegetables and also high enough to meet safety standards for dehydrating meat for jerky.

ALL-IN-ONE! PACOJET 2 Pacojet is a unique food processor used worldwide by chefs to produce a large variety of both sweet and savoury recipes. Pacojet takes the work out of making frozen desserts, from 100% natural sorbets, made only from fresh fruit, to smooth ice creams, which can be either full fat, yoghurt-based or dairy-free. Pacojet can also be used to process savoury recipes ranging from light, airy mousse and fine farces to vegetable and herb concentrates which provide the basis for a wide variety of recipes.


The Pro Chef Middle East / May 2014

What equipment trends are you seeing in the market? Richard Burton, Director, Burton Sous Vide: As the profile of chefs and high end cooking continues to rise, consumers want to recreate chef level dishes at home. The Burton approach is to work on this trend with appliances that offer stress free, simple, time saving cooking. Are you seeing more pressure on prices or are chefs demanding more functionality? There is a certain pressure on prices but the product must be right. Our machine is primarily aimed at the domestic market but is of commercial quality, which is new in the sous vide marketplace.

BRADLEY 4 & 6 RACK DIGITAL SMOKER Temperature, time and smoke are completely controllable so a chef can decide on how much smoke they want, how long the food is going to be smoked for and at what temperature. Perfect for creating gourmet foods or just enjoying the flavour that smoking brings, the smoker offers an easy way to roast, smoke and barbecue.

ANTI-GRIDDLE The Anti-Griddle by PolyScience is a traditional cook top with a twist: the device quickly freezes sauces and purees instead of heating them! This unique innovation opens a new dimension in freezing sauces and purees, cremes and foams. Develop solid or semi-frozen creations with stable, crunchy surfaces and cool, creamy centres. The dual-textures create a surprising and unique experience in restaurants.

BURTON SOUS VIDE Forty years after the microwave revolutionised home cooking, an innovative UK company has developed the Burton Sous Vide. This allows chefs to cook food precisely at low temperatures in a water bath. It allows cooks to seal food in airtight plastic pouches, preserving and protecting it with no wastage, locking in flavour and nutrients.

What production innovations can we expect from you over the next two quarters? We will be continuing to pioneer the very best in energy efficient insulation in our machines.

What trends are you noticing in today's kitchen equipment industry? Duncan Russell, Business Development Manager, Muddle ME: Now it’s all about control, accuracy, stability and functionality. We look for this in all our products and find that chefs are looking to have more control of these features in their hands. In my opinion it is also about having specialised tools for specialised jobs. Sous vide for accurate temperature controlled cooking, dehydrator for moisture extraction at low temperatures, Pacojet for consistent purees and portioning and so on. Are you seeing more pressure on prices or are chefs demanding more functionality? This differs establishment to establishment and chef to chef. I would say the focus is more on getting the right tool for the job. The complications that come along when corners are cut on quality outweigh the small premium that is paid to get the best tool for the job. Cheap equipment is false economy, having to replace a cheap machine three times a year with ten call outs is a lot more expensive than purchasing a top quality unit and having peace of mind.

EASY TO OPERATE MKN - FLEXICOMBI MAGICPILOT STEAMER Due to its touch and slide operating concept ths combi steamer can be operated similarly to modern smartphones and the complex requirements of professional kitchens can be implemented easily. It allows chefs, with only a few touches, to bring up integrated information and recipe steps. With six cooking modes, italso features the MKN StepMatic function for combining basic cooking methods individually.


The Sous Vide Professional™ by PolyScience

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9 Tray Dehydrator by Excalibur

Stainless Steel Cream Whipper by Best Whip

FEATURES / round table

The tables turned! Normally, of course, we gather a monthly selection of chefs and industry players to question them about the state of the market or their thoughts on a particular topic. However, following a leisurely lunch with Jumeirah Group’s Christian Gradnitzer, Dave Reeder was invited, as editor of The Pro Chef ME, to face a group of Jumeirah chefs and let them ask the questions about the market and his perceptions. An interesting experiment.


The Pro Chef Middle East / May 2014


eep in the bowels of Madinat Jumeirah, through heavy wooden doors and down a series of staircases and ramps, Segreto is an often overlooked gem in Jumeirah’s crown. It was also the venue for the Jumeirah chefs chosen to kick off the inaugrual session of an ‘Ask the editor’ initiative. Gathered around a table were Sydney Stranger (Chef de Cuisine, Dow and Anchor, Jumeirah Beach Hotel), Chris Lester (Executive Chef, Caprice Holdings), Christian Gradnitzer (Group Culinary Director, Jumeirah Hotels & Resorts), Peter Avram (EAM - F&B, Madinat Jumeirah Resort), Neil Foster (Executive Chef, Jumeirah Zabeel Saray), Lloyd Carter (Development Chef, Jumeirah Restaurants) and Luigi Vespero (Head Chef, The Rib Room, Jumeirah Emirates Towers). More had been expected but inclement weather and the usual sudden demands of the kitchen kept a few more participants away. The session began with Christian Gradnitzer giving the background to the idea, encouraging free dialogue and encouraging


round table / FEATURES

think is going to be the major growth area, where people know they are going to get good food and service, but their wallets are not going to suffer as they walk through the door. It's a combination of affordability and a more casual way of dining that I think will succeed as we progress. Lester: Do you think people are more price conscious these days? Absolutely, yes. Everyone's rent is going up every year, prices are increasing and people are becoming more aware of what money they have left to play with. Moving on from there we have casual dining, which I think will always do well. It's where people go and feel comfortable, where they know they'll get good food, not the best, but somewhere that always satisfies them and is good value. So I think it'll be the two bottom segments that will grow. I don't see this high-end celebrity chef model lasting much longer which is a shame to have to say because we all like to see these guys, but I think it's a trend that won't last much longer because it doesn't generate enough profit. Luigi Vespero: Can you see Dubai becoming a 'foodie' destination, such as other cities around the world like London or Paris? Frankly, I don't because as a city I don't think Dubai truly understands what its overall concept is. For a food based holiday, if you asked most food enthusiasts if they'd like to go to London, Paris, New York or Dubai, I don't think they'd pick Dubai. When they're here the food is great, but I don't see food as the major selling point of Dubai.

the chefs to take full advantage of the opportunity. And so the questioning began! Chris Lester: Do you believe that free standing restaurants have a bigger place in the market, than they have done in the past? Dave Reeder: I've lived in Dubai for 12 years now but used to visit for a month or two every year for perhaps another decade before that. As you’d expect, change has been enormous. When I first came here the outlets for eating out were extremely limited, so the growth has been amazing. I think, in general, we are seeing that the independent restaurants have raised the bar for a lot of hotel-based restaurants and shown them a different approach, a different attitude towards customers and the way they present things, which is great. From the other side, I think too many hotels now are adopting a cookie-cutter approach where you can see the development stage consisting of a checklist of safe options - ‘We


must have an Italian and a Japanese and a lobby lounge and all-day dining and so on’. So you get a lot of repetition in the market. On the other hand, independent restaurants are coming along and taking a much more unique approach, which is resonating better with the public and staff. Not that every standalone is successful, of course. Lester: Moving forward to 2020, how do you see the industry as a whole and all restaurants moving forward? Well, if we look at three segments - fine dining, concept/casual fine dining and casual dining - I think that fine dining as a whole will simply become more of a luxury for most people, because competition is increasing and people cannot keep up with them all financially. I think in order to succeed, hotels are going to have to cut back a little on their fine dining outlets and make room for more affordable concept restaurants. Moving down from that we have casual fine dining, which I

Christian Gradnitzer: What do you see as the biggest challenge in the market for local restaurants? I think the challenge is loyalty. People in Dubai are not necessarily loyal, they are quite materialistic and so they attend all the latest openings and venues but do not automatically return. Also, the challenge for local restaurants is to be innovative and to be different. For hotel based restaurants especially, inside many properties here there is a tendency to have many outlets and most commonly hotel guests do not eat inside their hotel that often. Peter Avram: What do you think seasonality has to do with F&B outlets in Dubai, does it have an effect? I don't think it has too much of an impact here, also I don't believe you go to a city just for the food. You go for the culture, the ambiance and the environment. Gradnitzer: How should we make our restaurants better? What can we do as individuals to be better? I think the primary thing is to look at getting back to basics. I know chefs love to be creative, as do I, but on a whole I think customers appreciate food that isn't over complicated and they understand what they are getting. Although I don't eat

May 2014 / The Pro Chef Middle East


FEATURES / round table

meat, one of the reasons I believe steak houses continue to be extremely popular is that people know exactly what they are going to get: steak, fries and salad. In many cases, chefs are trying to over complicate their menus. And one of the successes of standalones is that their menus tend to be simpler and stick to a concept. I think the single most important thing you can do as a chef is talk to your customers, they really do appreciate it and it creates a personal approach. People love the feeling of communication. The problem nearly everywhere in this town faces is service. It is atrocious here with untrained staff, low wages and people coming from different food cultures. The bottom line is that diners need to feel engaged with the chef and understand the concept. Neil Foster: Do you think generally because we are in a hotel or resort, we concept ourselves as being too rigid? Yes, there is a big craze here for hotel dining and to satisfy customers I think it has developed the reality that F&B teams have not been creative enough and are just sticking the safe methods of 'what works in hotels' and it's too standard and too rigid. Christian Gradnitzer: Are we losing the original concepts? Yes, because there is always someone along the line worrying about the easy, plain option foods,

“My idea of a good review, which would positively be promoted by social media, is written by someone who understands the chef's intentions and then reviews the food in relation to this intention, because everyone can have a bad day and you can't judge a place on one single dish.” what everyone will eat. For example, dulling down the flavours of traditional Mexican food to meet the taste buds of what say a European would eat. It shouldn't be like that because that's where the restaurant loses its authenticity. Gradnitzer: So what's the secret behind a successful concept restaurant? My personal view is that if the concept is right and you stick with it, then it will find success. But you have to own it and you have to have the guts to say that you really believe in your restaurant and its concept, even if it doesn't work after the first three to six months. But then of course you face the pressure as a chef from the owners who are looking for profit. Lester: Would you say restaurants here are mainly financially driven? Absolutely. Foster: Do you think as hoteliers or standalone restaurants, we make our decisions on a niche of the market instead of the whole market? That's quite difficult to answer because the market varies so much. Avram: Do you think restaurants spend enough time or resources really identifying what concepts are required or in demand in the market today? Not at all. I think one of the issues with this, which tends not to be picked up on, is that there are chefs working in kitchens all over the world who genuinely are not passionate about food, so outside of work they don't spend time thinking about it. I meet a lot of chefs here who speak about using local produce, however never attend the local markets or actually take the time to learn about what is going on around them. Vespero: Looking at service standards, what are restaurants doing here to improve the widespread issue of service? I think a lot of people I talk to don't want to admit that there is a problem and are happy to deal with a 25% turnover rate in staff - this is how it is here and they go with it. However, if chefs work with the service team to create a passion for food, I think things will improve immensely. The trouble is that again, people are not being paid enough and are not being given a career progression path, they are just looking short term. The service team


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FEATURES / round table

play a big role in the success of a restaurant, for example there is the Japanese restaurant I go to in the Hyatt Regency and, even if I don't go for a year or two, the restaurant manager always remembers and greets me. These personal touches make all the difference to the customer. Lester: We have all been targeted by the likes of TripAdvisor and Facebook. What affect do you think social media has on restaurant operations? Frankly, I think in general that social media is a disaster for restaurants. The problem is that so many people tweet about their meals and the restaurant, but actually know nothing about the food, chef or the chef's intention. Some bloggers, not all, have absolutely no idea what they are talking about. You have people writing reviews and making comments on-line who actually have no understanding of the food they've had. My idea of a good review, which would positively be promoted by social media, is written by someone who understands the chef's intentions and then reviews the food in relation to this intention, because everyone can have a bad day and you can't judge a place on one single dish. Lloyd: Which hotel gets it right in your opinion? Who is getting the general public through their doors to eat? I'd personally say the Vida hotel because they have such a big focus on F&B and their outlets as singular entities, they are also very accessible. I would think somewhere like the Fairmont on Sheikh Zayed Road, it does really well at attracting people and everyone goes there. Also the Marriott Marquis because they don't rush things and they get things right when they do it. Gradnitzer: I think looking towards the future it would be great to get a scenario like this where we have Chefs de Cuisine and Sous Chefs in a room discussing ideas and methods of improvement for the restaurants because they are at the forefront of everything, although perhaps they don't receive as much media attention. They are big players in the restaurants making and their input really could make a difference. I really think it's important for our employees to understand that no matter who you are and what level you are at that you can come out and make suggestions of improvement, the whole team counts. Behind the success of a restaurant's DNA is everyone. It's down to PR and marketing, many press releases and so on do not bring focus to the other chefs in the kitchen. Instead they push forward the Executive Chefs and F&B Directors, which shows a lack of understanding of the structure within the kitchen. Let me throw a question at you guys - which is how I feel more comfortable. For example, to address some of the points we have been looking at, what restaurants would you pick as favourites in Dubai that you go back to regularly because of the continuous good food, service and atmosphere? Where


The Pro Chef Middle East / May 2014

do you go and why? What draws you back to them? Stranger: La Serre. Good service, great food. Nice ambience, everything about it is just spot on. Lester: Smiling BKK, probably. I go quite regularly to the old one and always get recognised, it's cheap and cheerful, something that is totally different to the restaurant concepts I'm involved in, so it's something away from work and different. It's such a wonderful concept place - a good, simple, consistent place and it works. Gradnitzer: I actually have a few. One to mention is Caspian, an old Iranian restaurant that always serves up fantastic food, without fail. I'd also say La Petite Maison, Jones the Grocer and The Noodle House. I go to these places because I crave their dishes and they are consistently good. Being consistent is the key. Avram: I often go to Shakespeare, it's simple, casual, affordable and non-intrusive. I enjoy the food and the experience. Also Jumeirah's Tokyo@ The Towers - the interaction is fantastic there and we always have a great time with the chefs when we go. Foster: I'm actually pretty easy going when it comes to food, I enjoy variation, because I spend so much time in the kitchen I really just enjoy good,

simply food. I actually really like Tom & Serg, it's quirky, easy and enjoyable. Carter: At a higher end, Zuma, the biggest reason why is because every time you go back after trying their sushi and see the same chefs time, you just crave to try it again because it was so good the last time. It's a treat, I believe in their chefs and they always get it right. Pizza Connection in the Greens - pizzas cooked in a wood ďŹ re oven, seats for about eight people, that's all it is but it's fantastic. Baker & Spice because it's like a proper healthy coffee shop with great food and a great concept, I crave their food. Vespero: I've not been here too long to experience many restaurants, but one place I really enjoy is Al Nafoorah, I absolutely love this restaurant. It's the simplicity the venue and food provides, back to basics and it's just right. I think if you listen to yourselves, you're all identifying the problem and the solution. What you've all done and picked are places that are simple, have recognisable concepts that are delivered every time. It's as simple as that. Simple foods, simple concepts at their best - this is what works. Round table held at Segreto in Madinat Jumeirah.




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pimp my plate / CHEFS

Full of beans! Who better to give a Greek dish to reinvne than Brit Ben Tobitt, Head Chef at The Ivy. His challenge? Reinvent the traditional Greek bean soup, Fasolatha, into something suited to his international brasseriestyle menu. The result? A delicious soup offering the perfect balance of rustic and smoothed ingredients, combined together with a twist!


eveloping a sense for good quality ingredients as a child while visiting the Borough Market in London, Chef Ben Tobitt grew up inspired by his qualified chef father and his mother, who shared a true passion for hearty, home-made food. "A lot of the methods I use, I learnt from my mum as a kid," admits Chef Ben while preparing the vegetable stock for his rethink on Fasolatha. Staying true to his background and The Ivy's sophisticated-chic menu, Chef Ben explains that the challenge of revamping one of Greece's most favoured, nourishing soups motivated him to create a new candidate dish for The Ivy's 'soup of the day' selection. "To be honest, we do a lot of soups here at The Ivy and they are very popular. I had no idea prior to this feature that this particular soup was even Greek! I'm going to play around


with the ingredients a little more and hope to create something more rustic, which will be served in the typical Ivy way - at the table," he said. What did he think about doing a re-take on Fasolatha? “Well, with a grand total of four main ingredients, I thought the recipe was quite limiting, so my first thoughts were that I wanted to add a few other things into the mix and make it a bit more rustic. I did really want to add some meat, perhaps bacon. But then that takes away from the dish being vegetarian and I didn't want to change it completely. “ Would he consider putting this on the menu? "Definitely, we are always changing our soup of the day and this would be a great option. Surprisingly, we have a very high demand for soups here, which shocks me in this climate - perhaps it's the safe, cheaper option!”

FOOD FESTIVAL The Fasolatha Festival originated in Macedonia and is now a major cultural event in many Greek communities across the world. Food is a major part of the festival. Apart from Fasolatha (bean soup), olives, Renga (smoked herring) freshly baked Florinian bread (Pogatsa) Gyros, Souvlaki, Kebabs and Loukoumathes (honey cinnamon-soaked donuts) are also served. Fasolatha is one of the heartiest dishes on the Greek vegetarian table and a mainstay during Lent.

May 2014 / The Pro Chef Middle East


CHEFS / pimp my plate

FASOLATHA, IVY STYLE SERVES 4 INGREDIENTS 4 plum tomatoes, roughly chopped 1 plujm tomato, peeled and diced 1 large white onion, 3/4 sliced and 1/4 diced 1 garlic clove, finely chopped 1 large carrot, peeled and diced 1 stick celery, washed, peeled and diced 20g chopped fresh parsley 100g chickpeas (soak in water overnight and boil in salted water until tender. Cool and remove outer skin. Or use tinned.) 40g Greek feta 10g pea shoots (optional) 5g purple cress (optional) 500ml vegetable stock 25g unsalted butter 20ml olive oil

salt and pepper to taste small bowl ice water METHOD ∙ Begin by bringing a medium pan of salted water to the boil. Once boiling reduce heat to a simmer and add diced carrot. Cook for two to three minutes or until tender. Remove carrots and place in ice water for five minutes, drain and set aside. ∙ Place a larger saucepan on a medium heat and add the butter not allowing to colour. Add the sliced onion and garlic, then cook for few minutes taking care not to colour - reduce heat if necessary. ∙ Next add the roughly chopped tomato and a pinch of salt, stir well and allow to cook slowly for around ten minutes, stirring every few minutes again taking care not to colour. ∙ Add vegetable stock and bring to the boil, reduce to a simmer for five minutes and remove from heat to

cool down for around 15 to 20 minutes.

∙ While waiting for soup ingredients to cool down, heat olive oil in a small saucepan. Add the diced onion and celery, then cook for two minutes again not allowing to colour, next add the carrots and cook for further one minute stirring continuously. Remove from heat and stir in chopped parsley. Blend to a soup consistency - if a little thick you can add more stock - and strain into a saucepan, place saucepan on a medium heat to make soup hot again. ∙ To serve, take four small warm pasta bowls and place a small stainless steel/ or plastic ring 4cm wide and 3cm deep in the centre of each bowl. Spoon in the carrot, celery and onion mix pressing down firmly. Scatter around the bowl the chick peas and feta evenly. Remove ring from soup bowl and pour soup around vegetable mix. Garnish with pea shoots and cress if using, drizzle with a little olive oil and serve.

FASOLATHA (GREEK BEAN SOUP) SERVES 7 INGREDIENTS 450g small dried white beans 3 carrots, peeled and sliced 1 onion, peeled and chopped 3 stalks celery, chopped (leaves included) 1 cup tomato sauce 1 cup olive oil salt and pepper


The Pro Chef Middle East / May 2014

METHOD ∙ Soak the beans in water overnight. ∙ Strain the water and place the beans in a pot with new water. Bring to a boil, remove from heat and strain. ∙ Replace the beans, add the rest of the ingredients and enough water to cover all the ingredients and simmer covered for an hour.


CHEFS / face to face

Just a few months into his appointment as Director of Culinary at the JW Marriott Marquis Dubai, Sebastian Nohse believes he’s on track to make the hotel the leading F&B destination in the Middle East. Already in place are some iconic outets and the newly opened second tower will add more restaurants to the portfolio later this year.


The Pro Chef Middle East / May 2014


face to face / CHEFS


erman native Chef Sebastian Nohse now leads a team of 280 chefs, managing 22 kitchens and operate an array of dining outlets including Rang Mahal Indian restaurant, Nawwara and Prime 68 at the JW Marriott Marquis Dubai. After his experience at Madinat Jumeirah, however, he’s not fazed by the size of the operation or the forthcoming outlets in the recently opened second tower of the hotel, though those won’t start rolling out until year end. He received his culinary training at the Berufsschule Essen Ost Catering College in Germany. Since then he has worked at a number of world-renowned restaurants within fourand five-star hotels including Fontainebleau Miami Beach and the Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong. “My vision is to make the JW Marriott Marquis Dubai known as the number one dining destination in Dubai by creating authentic and memorable experiences whilst ensuring our team delivers an intuitive and personalised service," he insists. Tell us about your childhood. I grew up in Essen, which is close to Cologne. I come from a family of teachers and my father was the principal of one of Germany’s largest schools. It’s an industrial city and I was definitely a city boy, growing up away from the pretty areas of the city. Food? I remember there being berries everywhere which we picked and we used to go often to the Netherlands and would always bring back rhubarb. Were your parents interested in food? Well, both my mother and grandmother were very good cooks in the German rustic style, so I got good exposure. My interest in food developed early - I baked a lot with my grandmother. No mixes! Everything was handmade, of course. In my last year at school, I arranged an apprenticeship - six days a week for three years. we were a large family and we had a culture of food prepared at home - it was simple, sure, but quite seasonal. When I started cooking as an apprentice, it did take me some time to get used to the difference. Then I did my army service and cooked for the officers’ mess. The army was tough - I lost 20 kilos in ten months! So, after the army, you entered the profession properly? Yes, I jumped in at the deep end and went to work in La Provence, a one-star restaurant with 35 covers. There was just the two owners and me putting out a seven course degustation menu. I tell you, I really learned a lot and got my real passion for food. For me, that was the first milestone in my career, developing that deeper instinct for food. Of course, the work was really challenging as we made everything from scratch but it was very enjoyable. You’d found your metier?


To be honest I was still in transition. I felt I was growing apart from my friends because my life was so totally different to theirs. Anyway, after nearly 18 months at La Provence, I decided I need to move abroad to learn to speak English. I first tried the USA but, instead, went to England and worked for the Marriott in Swiss Cottage in London. It was challenging to be in a new city but the work was less stressful. After a few years I loved to another Marriott property, Hanbury Manor - a phenomenal property. For the first time I was in charge of a restaurant - the Oakes Grill which was brasserie style. What do you think you learned in the UK? Apart from the language? I think mainly being able to think about and understand food as much more international than I was used to before. In Germany, food is very traditional and maybe twothirds of menus are pretty much the same. Being exposed to a variety of cuisines and styles really changed the way I looked at food and it was a pretty big step for me to eat Indian or Chinese or Thai dishes. In terms of my time at Hanbury Manor, the big change was becoming a decision maker. I was doing a 120 hour week - HACCP was just coming in at the time so that was another change. The worst thing about the experience? My English was Cockney English because of the people in the kitchen in Swiss Cottage! That changed when I moved on to the Dorchester, working the Rib Room. I didn’t stay there long - it was very old fashioned and I was spending my time doing paperwork with a Sous Chef managing the restaurant. After six months I’d had enough - I wanted to get back to cooking and working in the kitchen again with passionate people. So I went as Senior Sous Chef to The Greenhouse in Mayfair 70 covers, 21 chefs and one of the hardest jobs of my life! Every day was a challenge to get through. In service, there was such a demand for perfection - it was an atnosphere where mistakes were just not allowed. A lot of pressure. But I learned a really valuable lesson: how things go wrong. It was a special time. Then I met Anton Mossiman and spent six month working with him - a very inspiring chef. I always thought it interesting that he never really capitaised on his talent. He could have been one of the big names. No, that wasn’t what he wanted. He wasn’t into chasing a star. It’s not that he lacked ambition, just that he wanted to cook the food he wanted to cook in his place. He didn’t need other people’s judgment. After that I needed a change of scene, a new challenge. That’s when you came to Dubai for the first time? Yes, Chef de Cuisine for Al Muntaha at the Burj. That was 2004 and I got the job after a 40 minute phone interview. I needed to experience a new

May 2014 / The Pro Chef Middle East


CHEFS / face to face

culture but it was harder here than I expected - at that time product quality was hard to manage, the workforce was different to what I’d experienced and I felt a lot of restrictions based on what guests were demanding. The job for me was not interesting enough to make me want to stay and in 2005 I went as Executive Sous Chef to the Mandarin Oriental in Hong Kong. Why Hong Kong? I’d wanted to go to Asia and the Mandarin Oriental was a great property with a refit and a great Executive Chef, Sean O’Connell. In fact, the whole team was amazing with a phenomenal skill level and hardly any staff turnover - the head butcher had been there over 40 years! The kitchen was so produce oriented that my time there really opened my horizons, plus the whole local street food scene. Where next? Miami. After two and a half years in Hong Kong, I moved to the Fontainebleau Miami Beach as Executive Chef, my first time. It was crazy - the staff was all Hispanic and I hardly spoke any English while I was there. we had 12 restaurants and three celebrity outlets - Mario Batali, Scott

Conant and Hakkasan. Then I moved back to Dubai in 2009, partly for the kids but also because my wife had many good friends here from the time she lived before in the city. Working at The Address Downtown, I think it was the first time we started to love Dubai - it seemed to have changed so much so quickly. Competition in thye F&B sector meant that the product process had been solved and suppliers were now accountable. Next I went to Madinat Jumeirah as Executive Chef. Jumeirah has a very strong corporate culture and chefs are expected to manage what comes into their kitchen from a potential 12,000 product list. So I’d spend a lot of time meeting with suppliers and making clear our expectations about quality and so on. It was a challenging job too with so many staff reporting to me. And now you’re here. What’s your direction moving forward? As Executive Chef, you have to understand that you can’t be cooking in all your restaurants so it’s about setting expectations and managing staff. We all work hard but you also have to be accountable and part of my role is to inspire people to go the extra mile. With the staff turnover we have in this industry, there’s a lot of

opportunities for the right staff to advance and develop. I believe in promoting through the ranks and I think if you encourage people to see their career development in place then there won’t be so much movement. Obviously, the outlets were already in place when you came on board. Any issues? No, it’s an amazing set-up and it was the easiest take-over of my career. There’s a difference, of course, between opening and operating - now we’re at the stage of understanding our market more. Do you expect to make major changes? No, I believe we can become a major dining destination and we have some great offerings. We may make some changes to remain current but my focus is also on the new outlets for the second tower. One clear thing for me is that we need to stay true to our concepts. We want people to remember their experiences with us and I thinkl we can sum up our approach as casual food with sophistication. We have quality environments here but we also have to deliver approachable experiences. I think we can all learn from Atul (Kolchhar) about delivery.

“In Germany, food is very traditional and maybe two-thirds of menus are pretty much the same. Being exposed to a variety of cuisines and styles really changed the way I looked at food and it was a pretty big step for me to eat Indian or Chinese or Thai dishes.”


The Pro Chef Middle East / May 2014


CHEFS / face to face

Food on the move A Danish Australian married to a Thai might be accused of living the food fusion dream but for Mads Houlberg, MD of Unilever Food Soutions for the Middle East, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, that’s only half the story. His whole unplanned career has, he believes, suited him ideally to his current role.

“We’re fighting against the perception that chefs can do it better themselves, but a key element in a good restaurant is consistency. Together with convenience and cost savings, that’s where we can help.”


The Pro Chef Middle East / May 2014


face to face / CHEFS


lmost a two decade veteran of the food service industry, Mads Houlberg claims that he’s “a chef by tradition, with a restauranteur father’. However, his early life in Australia didn’t inspire him with a love for food as the country was just moving out of being one of the “buffet cuisines of the world’. So what did inspire you? I was working in Cairns in Northern Australia where there was a fair bit of Australian tourism and I just fell in love with the whole concept of understanding your customer. So I moved to Japan to understand the cuisine because nobody in Australia ever seemed to understand what Japanese customers wanted. I worked there for about four and a half years in a very traditional environment. Now, of course, Japanese food is very evolved but, for me, part of the appeal was understanding the background to food. Japanese food packaging is second to none and they have absolutely the best distribution model for fresh produce. I got very passionate about this whole sexy idea of sourcing from a particular place and understanding just what that meant. Then my career took a real shift. What happened? I met this guy, a very wealthy man who ran a trading company. He was looking for someone to source fish for aquariums and, since I’d fallen in love with the whole distribution scene, that meant I could get an understanding of the supply chain. This wasn’t food? No, it was sourcing and transporting live fish for aquarium tanks. Getting to grips with the global logistics of that was fascinating. After a while, to evolve, I realised that I needed to understand the beverage sector. You’re jumping around! Well, my overall game plan was to open up my own restaurant someday so I needed to get a grasp of the whole industry. Anyway, after a time I joined the suit and tie brigade and spent six months doing media buying for a radio station! I assume this comes back to food... Yes, I took a job as sales rep for EOI Foods out of Sydney. It was part of Unilever and it was a way for me to get back into the food side. In fact, my background meant I was well suited to call on chefs because I understood their needs. I got onto national accounts, did some menu development and then, in 2003, joined Unilever’s global marketing team. A couple of years later I moved onto global sales and then, in 2010, was asked to consolidate operations across Asia from Singapore. And then Dubai. Yes, a couple of years back. Last year we were successful and we’re now putting renewed focus on our heartland brands like Knorr and Hellmann’s.


WHAT PEOPLE WANT UFS’ first World Menu Report focused on transparency around food when eating out-ofhome. It revealed that consumers globally were calling for the provision of more information about their food when dining out. The second, 'Seductive Nutrition', revisited the important topics of health and nutrition, this time looking at what chefs and operators can do to meet the needs of guests who want to make healthier meal choices and become part of the solution to the bigger issue of tackling obesity. Respondents globally made it clear that they wish to eat more healthily when dining out. 66% of people said that they will seek the healthier option on a menu, even if they don't end up choosing it. 71% of guests agreed that when eating out they prefer to treat themselves. This highlights the struggle between intention and choice - essentially, what people want to eat more often than not wins over what they think they should eat. It is clear from these figures that whilst people have good intentions around eating more healthily out-of-home, this does not always translate into action.

How is the market here? For me, it felt like coming home with everyone having a common agenda. People aren’t afraid to try things here and there’s a real progressiveness in the market. Business is good and we’ve never had such a large operation in the region before. In terms of food service, people see the US as the trendsetters but like to mimick Japan. I’m seeing Dubai as the test bed for the region. Can you name a few outlets that impress you? And why? I like Eataly. In fact, I don’t think you could build a place like that in many cities of the world with so many great ideas all together. Jones the Grocer has done an outstanding job taking its concept and cutting and pasting it globally with consistency and uniformity. Tom & Serg are really delivering a new style of cafe culture to Dubai. The city is interesting and developing fast though clearly we’re not yet at the stage of Melbourne or New York. In fact, it’s a melting pot and people are just trying to figure out what they want us to be famous for. And your personal taste? I say, ‘Go Nuts!’ Just explore flavours and take the real opportunity for fusion here. Somewhere like JBR is phenomenal and it’s interesting to look at what the response will be from hotels. I think one niche area for expansion will be really good teas and coffees, premium waters. What’s the challenge in selling to chefs? We chefs have a basic approach - we like simplicity

Further findings suggest a lack of consumer knowledge, a ‘Nutritional Knowledge Gap’ around some recommended nutritional allowances - at least 75% of respondents from each of the ten countries were unable to name the recommended daily allowance of fat. This shows us how even though some people are aware of their daily nutritional intake in terms of fat, salt and sugar, ultimately, the healthier meal option on a menu is not always clear to them. From the report insights, we can assert that this issue is exacerbated by the fact that healthier options are frequently perceived as less appealing for three key reasons: 45% say they think the healthy dishes are smaller in size, 57% believe them to be more expensive and 43% perceive them as less tasty. This last point is where making the food sound as delicious as it tastes works - healthier options must be provided but without appearing to be a poor second to the more indulgent alternative. Overall, the report illustrates the need for food providers to make small changes to their menus to ensure guest satisfaction and drive more business.

when it comes to running a kitchen. UFS is not here to replace their culinary skills but can save them time and pressure, allowing them to put their effort into creativity in the kitchen. Of course, you’ll know the reaction from many people when they saw Marco as the celebrity face of Knorr. Yes, but I know how that deal came together and it wasn’t UFS who made the first move. It comes down to this: ‘Can I afford the gas for eight hours to make a demi-glace or can I use a quality product?’ The challenge is the perception that chefs can do it better from scratch, but key to a good restaurant is consistency. That vwe can guarantee year round, together with convenience and cost savings. This is where we can help. What’s missing in the local food scene? Well, the amount of produce available here is just awesome and the quality coming in is often fabulous. But what I’m not seeing, from a chef’s perspective, is a chef’s deli. It’s just not there. I love the cafe culture here but I think it’s still in an embryo stage with franchises still dominating and not enough independent operators. Can UFS differentiate itself in the market? We differentiate ourselves through our innovative and quality products from around the world, as well as through our various campaigns and promotions. In fact, this year to celebrate Ramadan we're offering customers a promotion - cash back or a donation to The Red Crescent.

May 2014 / The Pro Chef Middle East


CHEFS / face to face

Back to the source

Bottled since 1826, evian is the world’s leading brand of premium natural mineral water, with every drop of it taking more than 15 years to ďŹ lter through mineral rich glacial sands in the French Alps. It is a brand of Danone. Elio Pacheco, GM of evian Volvic Export brings us up to date.


The Pro Chef Middle East / May 2014


face to face / CHEFS


lio Pacheco has more than two decades of experience in the food service sector, serving for the last five years with evian Volvic Export as its GM covering almost 120 countries including Europe, Africa, the Americas and French overseas territories. The company’s strategy is to appoint one master distributor in each territory in order to focus on what Pacheco calls the ‘personality’ of the individual brands. On a brief visit to Dubai he discussed strategy. What is the longterm strategy for premium waters? Well, the reality is , of course, that supply will gradually reduce even as demand increases. Do we have more than a decade left? One response, of course, is to expand our offerings - so, for example, when we saw the demand for a sparkling companion to evian, then we were able to offer Badoit. However, when I was responsible for bringing the brand to the US we faced a real issue of export through a lack of capacity. Yes, we can add boreholes but the value of our brands relies on the quality and composition of our waters - we cannot compromise on that.

THE NEW LOOK evian has premiered its newly-designed bottle in the UAE, adopting a symphony between substance and form. Sleeker and with cleaner lines, the new bottle leans on transparency to celebrate its contents with a label-less look. "We're very excited. Our new bottle allows evian's honest and natural personality to make a new connection with consumers. evian has been the icon of the category globally for three decades. We wanted to remake the brand so consumers would be reminded of the water's purity and freshness," said Renaud Marchand, Middle East Zone director for evian, Volvic Export of Danone. The new bottle design is available now in the 500ml and 330ml sizes for hotels, restaurants and cafes, with other formats set to debut in the following months.

brands, we’re very true to their origins and we don’t filter or over claim on benefits. With evian, for example, we are highly committed to and engaged with the the community around the source and we make strenuous efforts to protect it and the quality of our water. So local farmers use no pesticides or chemicals. Doesn’t that hurt them financially? We provide suitable financial support for them. At our bottling plants, we pick 1,000 bottles at random every day for testing - for us, it’s all about quality. What would you say to someone who points out that, at the end of the day, it’s all just drinking water? Yes, it is but it’s drinking water of the highest level of quality where the consumer can be absiolutely clear about its origin and its lack of processing. Companies should be the protectors of their natural qualities and, in this sector, very few premium waters actually come from a single source. We work by one simple belief: don’t take more than nature puts back.

Badoit has done well internationally? Yes, we’ve launched into more than 100 countries and expect to achieve 150 in time. Many people realise that it is the best complement for food because its carbonation does not compete with the taste buds.

Is there a sustainability story here? We have been reducing the carbon footprint of our evian operation for many years - we do not greenwash, we deliver. So, for example, half of our production leaves the factory by rail - we’re the largest such operation in this market sector.

If supply is a problem, then couldn’t you have created a sparkling form of evian? Because, as a company, we would never tamper with a natural product. So, for example, you’ll never see a flavoured evian. Yes, we could make evian more popular but we are firmly plced in the premium sector. In this market, each player puts their reason for the brand in front of consumers and each water, in some sense, has some special benefit. In any case, we are not at full capacity.

How does distribution divide up? It varies between the brands. Badoit is quite new to exports so the figures are nothing like those of evian but we believe we have the opportunity to become the number one premium sparkling water in the world.

What are the challenges of selling premium water? Let’s look at our entry into the US market. Firstly, we had to find the right bottling partner and went with Coca-Cola who were able to cope with 12,000 in nine months. But the real problem we faced? Consumers who’d ask ‘Why should I buy bottled water? We already have Coke!’ Is that generally a problem for the industry, in terms of the claims that some suppliers make for their products? I think so in some territories, although things are very regulated in Europe. Certainly with our

How do you innovate in this market? Well, as I’ve said, we’re not going to produce new flavours of evian or anything like that so our options lie around the areas of packaging and form factor. The new design for evian is an example of this innovation, holding true to the traditional product but emphasising key values like purity and origin. Yes, at times finding the differentiation between competing brands can be a challenge - why me? But premium water is an affordable luxury and one of the few items in the world that you can drink all day with no effect. What excites you still about this market? It’s an amazing sector to work in with unlimited potential - we did double digit growth last year. In the UAE, evian is now the number five brand by value and we believe we can improve on that even though most other brands are priced more cheaply.

“We’re not going to produce new flavours of evian or anything like that so our options lie around the areas of packaging and form factor. The new design for evian is an exampl e of this innovation.”


May 2014 / The Pro Chef Middle East


CHEFS / face to face



The Pro Chef Middle East / May 2014


face to face / CHEFS

The world’s best? Helena Rizzo of Mani Restaurant, in Sao Paulo, Brazil has been named the 2014 Veuve Clicquot World's Best Female Chef. She was honoured at The World's 50 Best Restaurants Awards, sponsored by S.Pellegrino and Acqua Panna, in London.


ompleting an impressive one-two, Chef Helena Rizzo has topped last year’s win as Veuve Clicquot Latin America's Best Female Chef award at the inaugural Latin America's 50 Best Restaurants with the new title. Born in Brazil, she moved to Sao Paulo aged 18 to pursue a modelling career, began working in kitchens part time and, before long, had turned her back on modleling to follow a gastronomic dream. After working with some of the most influential names on the Brazilian food scene including Emmanuel Bassoleil, Luciano Boseggia and Neka Barreto, she spent two years running the kitchen at Sao Paulo's Na Mata Café before moving abroad to research new techniques. Stints in Italy and Spain followed, including time at El Celler de Can Roca, currently the highest ranked restaurant on The World's 50 Best Restaurants list. It was here also that she met her future husband and partner in the kitchen, Spanish chef Daniel Redondo. Rizzo returned to Sao Paulo in 2004, with Redondo following her in early 2005, ready for the next step of their journey. Mani Restaurant opened its doors in 2006 in a Sao Paulo suburb with the couple working alongside one another in the kitchen. Their clever cooking, respectful of traditional Brazilian culinary practices and ingredients, is married with modern technique and sprinkled with Spanish influence. A signature dish, which epitomizes Rizzo's cooking, is her interpretation of Brazilian classic Maniocas, baked and served with tucupi froth, coconut milk and white truffle oil. As a winner of The Veuve Clicquot World's Best Female Chef award, Helena Rizzo joins a group of exceptionally talented women including luminaries Elena Arzak of Spain's Arzak, Anne-Sophie Pic of Maison Pic in France and last year's winner, Nadia

Helena has talent, sensibility and passion. She is authentic and faithful to her roots. - Chef Joan Roca, El Celler de Can Roca


Santini of Dal Pescatore in the Italian countryside. 2014 will also see Rizzo release her first cookbook and open a second, more casual, restaurant. What does being crowned The VC World's Best Female Chef mean to you? It means recognition of the work that I, Dani and our entire team have been doing. I am not and have never intended to be ‘the best female chef in the world’, especially because this is a difficult judgment to make. Each one of us can be the best in a particular situation, at a given time for a certain person. Of course, I’m very happy and honoured to receive this award and I'm grateful for it! This award is a recognition of my work and of the work of our entire team. Why has Mani been so successful? At Mani, we try to do our best every day, sometimes we get it wrong but sometimes we get it right. I hope that this award makes the gastronomic world open its eyes to the work of female cooks and to the wonderful kitchens we have in Brazil.

What effect did winning have on you? The award made me very happy, I was thankful for the recognition. However, I never positioned myself as a girl, I just tackle my job as any other cook would. And the effect on the restaurant? The award has attracted a different kind of patron from those that usually come to the restaurant. It’s nice for us to welcome new people and those from different parts of the world. For someone who has not eaten at Mani, how would you define your cuisine? Our cuisine is directly associated with our personal histories, our memories and backgrounds and with the way we perceive today’s world and everyday life. And your biggest inspiration? There are so many people who inspire me, in the kitchen, in music, in cinema. To me, the biggest inspiration is life itself.

May 2014 / The Pro Chef Middle East


CHEFS / face to face

What did you learn from El Celler de Can Roca? It was my greatest school, my most intense cooking experience and that has stayed with me. We’re always searching for that authenticity. How has Mani evolved since it opened? I think the engine of ‘evolution’ is to be curious, to always want to learn and improve whilst respecting the moment, other people and yourself. We work very hard and we are dedicated. We just try to improve every day. If you had to choose one starter, one main course and one dessert from Mani what would they be? The cashew ceviche, the ox cheek with taioba purée and bone marrow and then the butterfly ginger mille feuille. What would you like the world to know about Brazilian cuisine that they do not know already? The diverse range of ingredients we have, which each day run the risk of becoming extinct. For example, yucca plant, jaboticaca fruit and some types of flour, beans and passion fruits. What is the best dish you have ever eaten? There are so many dishes and so many moments! It’s hard to say. Recently, I had a blue corn tortilla stuffed with pork and a lot of chilli pepper made by Lourdes Hernandez, an incredible Mexican chef, who lives in Sao Paulo. That night I went to bed with my mouth watering thinking of that flavour. What tips or advice would you give to the younger Helena? Always follow your heart. Be honest to yourself and to others. Never try cigarettes. They’re addictive - big time!

HELENA RIZZO'S MANIÓCAS SERVES 4 INGREDIENTS 50g baby potatoes 50g white carrots 50g yellow sweet potatoes 50g pink sweet potatoes 50g potatoes 50g taro 50g water yam 40g baby leeks 40g baby carrots 30g baby radishes 30g baby beetroots 250ml tucupi 250ml coconut milk


The Pro Chef Middle East / May 2014


∙ Preheat the oven to 200C. ∙ Peel and cut the root vegetables. ∙ Bring a pot of salted water to the boil. Throw in

20ml white truffle oil 20ml extra virgin olive oil 3g soya lecithin salt sprouts and organic leaves

the vegetables and cook until al dente. Remove the vegetables from the pot and place them in a bowl of iced water to stop them cooking further. ∙ Place the root vegetables on a roasting tray, season and cover with olive oil. Roast for five minutes or until they have a crispy texture on the outside. ∙ For the sauce, while the vegetables are roasting, mix the tucupi and coconut milk in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Add the soya lecithin and the white truffle oil. With a hand blender, make a foam of the mixture. ∙ To serve, remove the roasted vegetables from the oven and arrange on four plates. Pour the sauce around the vegetables and garnish with sprouts and organic leaves.


recipe corner / CHEFS

Italian delight Sven Schmidt is Junior Sous Chef of Pure at Hilton Dubai The Walk. He's been in Dubai for two and a half years, after three years spent at Hilton Hotel Berlin. Pure is a chic and modern lounge, bar and restaurant offering a bird's eye view over the beach, sea and the Palm Jumeirah - a great setting to enjoy twilight dining and custom blended drinks. The menu, devised by Executive Sous Chef Matiyas Ayala, is based on a sharing concept.



200g Peruvian asparagus 1 red onion 1bunch chives 70ml ponzu vinegar 210ml olive oil black truffle, to taste 50ml truffle oil 100g rocket

Sponsored by:

METHOD ∙ Cut the asparagus in brunoise, then blanch in salted water for a few second before quickly cooling down in an ice bath. ∙ For the dressing, cut the onion in brunoise, chop the chives and mix with the blanched asparagus. Add

one part of ponzu, three parts of olive oil and one part of the truffle oil. ∙ To serve, cut the burrata cheese in two, top with the dressing and freshly sliced truffle on top, garnishing with some rocket.

May 2014 / The Pro Chef Middle East


CHEFS / recipe corner

Eating locally From a childhood on a small farm in Canada to his role as Executive Chef at Ritz-Carlton, Dubai, Eric Meloche has always been passionate about local produce. He still has “fond memories of eating French beans and rhubarb fresh from the soil”, as well as “planting corn and potatoes to help feed the family”. Now his new menus in Dubai reflect his desire to use locally sourced ingredients.

LOCAL FLOWER CRAB SALAD WITH WHITE RADISH, BABY CUCUMBER, LEMON AND CHILLI SERVES 4 CRAB SALAD INGREDIENTS 4 local flower crabs, steamed and meat picked 2g tomatoes, diced 15g spring onions, chopped 15g crème fraiche


The Pro Chef Middle East / May 2014

15g mayonnaise salt and pepper, to taste METHOD ∙ Season the crab meat and mix with all the ingredients. ∙ Add a little crab salad to a sheet of radish. Fold to make a roll or cylinder shape. ∙ Place the roll on a plate and spoon cucumber dressing all over. ∙ Garnish with chillies, cucumbers and lemon zest.

BABY CUCUMBER DRESSING INGREDIENTS 1 baby cucumber 10ml rice wine vinegar 25ml rape seed oil 5g sugar salt and white pepper, to taste METHOD ∙ Blend the cucumbers with the wine vinegar and sugar until smooth. Slowly add the oil to let the dressing thicken slightly. Season with salt and pepper.

RADISH INGREDIENTS 150g radish, peeled 30ml water juice of 1/2 lemon 4 red chillis, for garnish 20g baby cucumbers, diced zest and juice of half a lemon METHOD ∙ Slice the radish into thin sheets with a knife or mandolin. Marinate with the water and lemon juice for five minutes - to let the radish soften.


recipe corner / CHEFS


arrange with the fennel, crispy potatoes and vine tomatoes along with a drizzle of the purée. Garnish with fresh basil, freshly grated lemon zest and rock salt.

SERVES 4 SEA BREAM INGREDIENTS 20 small vine tomatoes, blanched and peeled 4 tbsp olive oil 1 tbsp sherry vinegar 2 (500g each) red sea bream (kofer), scaled and fileted few basil leaves, for garnish zest of half a lemon pinches of rock salt, for garnish METHOD ∙ Place the tomatoes in a lightly oiled pan and cook in the oven at 90C for one hour. In a small saucepan, heat the olive oil and sherry vinegar, remove from the heat and add the tomatoes. ∙ Place a pan over high heat, add the sea bream skin side down, reduce the heat to medium, and cook until the skin is crispy - about two minutes. Turn the filets over and continue cooking for another minute or so, until the filets are just cooked through. ∙ Place the fish on a plate and

STICKY KHOLAS DATE CAKE WITH CINNAMON TOFFEE SAUCE SERVES 4 DATE CAKE INGREDIENTS 125g kholas dates, finely chopped 3g bicarbonate of soda 185ml boiling water 35g beef suet (fat trimmings) or butter 60g dark muscovado sugar 60g light muscovado sugar 1 egg 165g self-raising flour 3g baking powder pinch of salt white chocolate shavings (optional)


CONFIT OF FENNEL INGREDIENTS 1 bulb fennel extra virgin olive oil peel from half a lemon 2 garlic cloves METHOD ∙ Preheat oven to 90C. Place all the confit ingredients items in a small pot with olive oil and cook in the oven until tender - approximately 90-120 minutes. ∙ Once cooked, slice the fennel to eight pieces. SPINACH PUREE INGREDIENTS 250g spinach salt and pepper to taste METHOD ∙ Blanch the spinach in boiling, salted water, then place in an ice water bath. Once chilled, remove spinach, squeeze to remove excess liquid and place in a blender. ∙ Blend spinach to a smooth purée and adjust seasoning.

METHOD ∙ Preheat the oven to 180C. ∙ Place the chopped dates and bicarbonate of soda in a bowl, cover with the boiling water. Set aside. ∙ In a separate bowl, combine the suet with the light and dark muscovado sugar, then add the egg. Gently fold in the flour, baking powder and salt. Add the chopped dates and liquid to the mixture and stir to combine. ∙ Fill buttered moulds or ramekins approximately three-quarters full, cover with foil and bake for 25 minutes. Test the cakes with a skewer - it should come out clean. ∙ Place the cake on a plate, garnish

CRISPY POTATOES INGREDIENTS 2 local potatoes 100g butter 4 sprigs thyme

salted water. When tender, drain the potatoes and let dry. Peel potatoes and crush with a fork into large breadcrumb texture. ∙ Sauté in butter until golden brown. Add the thyme towards the end to infuse the flavour.

METHOD ∙ Cook the potatoes in their skin in

with chocolate shavings and pour toffee sauce all over. The cake tastes great with vanilla ice cream. TOFFEE SAUCE INGREDIENTS 120g butter 65g dark muscovado sugar 65g light muscovado sugar 125ml heavy cream 5g cinnamon powder pinch of salt METHOD ∙ Combine butter and sugar in a saucepan and heat until melted. ∙ Add the cream, bring to a simmer and cook for four to five minutes until thick. Add cinnamon and salt before taking off the heat.

May 2014 / The Pro Chef Middle East


CHEFS / recipe corner

The French touch La Porte des Indes, a critically acclaimed Indian restaurant concept with successful existing venues in London and Brussels, has opened at The Address Dubai Mall. Group Executive Chef Mehernosh Mody shares some of its recipes with us.


he last of the major European powers to trade in India through the French East India Company from the middle of the 16th century, the French continue to have an influence. At the creation of the Union of India, there were still five French controlled districts: Pondicherry,

Karaikal and Yanam on the Bay of Bengal, Mahé on the Arabian Sea and Chandernagor in Bengal. The first four of these now make up the union territory of Pondicherry, known by many by the Tamil version of the name, Puducherry or ‘New Town’. La Porte des Indes reflects the

cuisine of the French influenced dishes representative of Pondicherry. Group Executive Chef Mehernosh Mody spent months there in 1996, fully immersing himself in the traditional FrenchCreole communities and researching guarded recipes from French, Tamil and Creole families.


1/2 tsp turmeric powder 4 tbsp yoghurt 200ml coconut milk 2 tbsp desiccated coconut 300g fresh or frozen crab meat, flaked and with moisture gently pressed out 3 tbsp sweet corn kernels salt to taste crab shells, for serving (optional) micro herbs, for garnish

METHOD ∙ Heat the oil in a pan and add the mustard seeds. When they splutter after a few seconds add the curry leaves followed by the onions. Simmer gently until the onions are translucent. Add the garlic and sauté for one minute then add the turmeric powder and sauté for ten seconds before lowering the heat and adding the yoghurt. Simmer

SERVES 6 INGREDIENTS 3 tbsp vegetable oil 1 tsp mustard seeds 1 curry leaf 1/2 large onion, chopped 5 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped


The Pro Chef Middle East / May 2014

for a minute, add the coconut milk and the coconut. Continue to simmer for three to four minutes to reduce. ∙ Add the crab meat and corn saving some for garnish - and mix well, bring to the boil and season. Garnish with the micro herbs and the remaining corn, in the crab shells, if using. Note: can be served warm or cold.


CHEFS / recipe corner

ROUGAIL D'AUBERGINE SERVES 6 INGREDIENTS 500g aubergines 3 tbsp vegetable oil 1 tsp mustard seeds 2 large onions, chopped small piece of ginger, peeled and finely chopped

ROSE AND RASPBERRY PHIRNEE SERVES 6 INGREDIENTS 1l whole milk 50g basmati rice, crushed into granules 50g sugar 2 tbsp rose syrup 100ml double cream 60g raspberry jam or jelly 100g fresh raspberries handful of pistachios, chopped for garnish handful of blueberries, for garnish handful of redcurrants, for garnish 6 white chocolate swirls, for garnish (optional)


The Pro Chef Middle East / May 2014

2 red chillies, finely chopped 2 green chillies, finely chopped 1 tsp turmeric powder 100ml coconut milk 3 tsp lemon juice salt to taste fresh red chillies, cut into strips, for garnish toasted mustard seeds, for garnish

METHOD ∙ Prick the aubergines and wipe with a little oil. Bake in a heated oven at 200C for 20 minutes. Remove and set aside. When cool enough to handle, cut in half lengthways, scoop out the flesh and blend to make a purée. ∙ Heat oil in a saucepan and add the mustard seeds. When they splutter, add the onions and fry

until translucent. Add the ginger, red and green chillies and sauté for two minutes. Lower the heat and add the turmeric and aubergine purée. Cook stirring over a low heat for ten minutes, then add the coconut milk and stir for two minutes. Add the lemon juice and salt. Garnish with red chillies and mustard seeds. Serve with naan breads.

METHOD ∙ Reserve 100ml of the milk and bring the remaining milk to boil in a pan. Add the reserved milk to the crushed rice to make a paste and then add the paste to the boiling milk. Stir continuously and cook till it thickens. Add the sugar and bring to a boil. Then add the rose syrup and cook for a few minutes. ∙ Stir in the cream and raspberry jelly and remove from the heat. Allow to cool down at room temperature. ∙ Add the berries and transfer to a wide-brimmed margarita glass or serving bowl. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Garnish with pistachios, blueberries, redcurrants and the white chocolate swirls, if using, then serve.


LEISURE / travel

The melting pot In a region abundant with Pinoy presence yet apparent lack of Philippine food outlets, Sophie McCarrick sets out to find the true identity of Filipino cuisine.


espite large populations of Filipino nationals working internationally and in the Middle East particularly, food cultures from the island nation remain vastly unknown. The scarce presence of Philippine food outlets in the region leaves us wondering what's cooking in the typical Filipino home. In order to get a closer look at the mysterious cuisine, The Pro Chef ME dined with a local Pinoy family and spoke to Philippine-born head chef Andrew Paderes at Claw Crab Shack and Grill, Souk al Bahar, for insight. Constituting a unique blend of eastern and western cuisines, Filipino food has been shaped by a number of factors. Drawing from culinary influences of the Chinese, Malays, Americans and more, a large quantity of Pinoy recipes were inspired by Spanish cooking during three centuries of Spanish colonisation in the Philippines. Add to the mix a variety of cultures, traditions and socio-economic situations from the country's seven thousand plus islands and the result is Filipino cuisine.


The Pro Chef Middle East / May 2014

"I find that the Filipino restaurants that you do find here are really low profile when it comes to location and operation, meaning that they are just here to cater to mostly Filipino expats.” - Chef Andrew Paderes Although all of these elements play a role in making the cuisine what it is today, Filipinos are also ingenious cooks who create original, flavourful dishes from globally inspired recipes using special Pinoy touches - family kitchen secrets, local ingredients and indigenous cooking techniques. To suit the Philippines’ tropical backdrop and adapted to the country's varied geography, seafood and fish contribute to many of the traditional dishes, in addition to chicken and pork. Other main food sources include citrus fruits, garlic, onion and tomatoes, with rice as a staple. Signature ingredients of South-East Asia are also present, including coconuts and a pungent fish

sauce called patis - although the Pinoys are not as liberal when using chillies as many of their neighbours. Chef Andrew explains that: "Filipino food is a combination of many culinary influences from countries all of over the world, such as Chinese, Spanish, Malay, Indian and the indigenous combined. Flavours in our food are very rich and have big accents of sweet, salty and spicy. Natural herbs and spices are most commonly used in our dishes and we seldom use processed ingredients like butter and cheese, except on our desserts." Several dishes represent the native cuisine and are enjoyed countrywide, including adobo, which


travel / LEISURE

ADOBONG PUSIT INGREDIENTS 500g medium-sized squid, cleaned and ink separated 1 large onion, chopped 2 medium tomatoes, chopped 1/2 cup soy sauce 1/2 cup vinegar 1 cup water 5 cloves crushed garlic 1 teaspoon sugar salt and pepper to taste 2 tbsp cooking oil METHOD ∙ Heat a wok or cooking pot then pour in cooking oil. When the oil is hot enough, sauté the garlic, onions, and tomatoes. ∙ Add the squid then cook for a few seconds. ∙ Add the soy sauce/vinegar/water mixture and bring to a boil, then add the earlier set aside ink then salt, ground black pepper and sugar to taste. Stir and simmer for three minutes.


PINAKBET INGREDIENTS 250g pork, thinly sliced or minced - use fish, meat or shrimps as an alternative 1 large eggplant, sliced 1 medium-sized bitter melon, chopped 250g squash, chopped into 2x1” cubes 6-8 okra 1 bunch string beans cut to 3” length 1 bundle fresh spinach or kangkong (water spinach) - optional 3 large tomatoes, sliced 1 large onion, chopped 1 small ginger, minced 3 cloves garlic, crushed and chopped 5 tbsp shrimp paste 1 cup water 5 tbsp cooking oil


salt and pepper METHOD ∙ Heat a wok or cooking pot then pour in cooking oil. When the oil is hot enough, sauté the ginger, garlic, onions and tomatoes. Add 1/4 cup water and simmer for three minutes. ∙ Add the pork and cook for five to seven minutes. If using fish, meat or shrimp, they can be added along with the other vegetables towards the end. ∙ Add the shrimp paste and simmer for three minutes, then add the remaining water and bring to a boil. Add the squash and cook for five to seven minutes until soft. ∙ Add the remaining vegetables and mix well. Simmer for five minutes. Serve hot with steamed white rice.

tAdobo: This could be considered as a national dish, made with either chicken, pork or both, marinated and braised in soya sauce, vinegar and a lot of garlic. tLechon: A spit roasted whole pig, with really crispy skin. tCrispy pata: Ham hock, pre boiled with aromatics and then deep fried. tChicken inasal: Chargrilled chicken marinated in lemon grass, calamansi (local lemon) and garlic. tBulala: This is the Filipino version of the Milanese Osso bucco. Beef shank simmered for hours to produce a natural beef flavour, in a rich broth. tPancit: Stir fried noodles, in a range of varieties such as flat, thick and thin. tSinigang: Like adobo, it's almost a staple in every household. A soup dish with either pork, beef of seafood. Served with vegetables in a tarty, tamarind extract broth. tLumpia: The Filipino version of a spring roll. An assortment of fresh vegetables which are sometimes mixed with meat or prawns. They come deep fried or freshly rolled in an egg wrap. tLongganisa: A local sausage that is semi-sweet and contains a lot of garlic. tKare kare: So good it's named twice! A rich peanut sauce stew with oxtail and trip, served with sautéed shrimp paste.

May 2014 / The Pro Chef Middle East


LEISURE / travel

CHEF ANDREW PADERES’ BEEF KALDERETA INGREDIENTS 1.5kg beef short ribs 1.5 tbsp sweet paprika powder 1 cup Vienna sausage (optional) 4 cloves garlic 1 medium size onion 1 stalk celery 2 bay leaves 1 cup cubed potato (prefried) 1 cup cubed carrots (prefried) 1 cup mixed peppers 1 cup fresh tomato 4 or 5 chillies, finely chopped 1/4 cup soy sauce 2 cans liver spread 1/3 cup sweet pickle relish 2 tbsp tomato paste 1/2 cup grated Cheddar 1/4 cup ground peanut (optional) 1/2 cup olive oil salt and pepper to taste

METHOD ∙ Season the beef short ribs with salt and paprika. Drizzle with olive oil and set aside for 15 minutes. ∙ Use a pot big enough for all ingredients. Heat the remaining oil and brown the short ribs in batches. Note: it will steam out if you dump all in one go. ∙ In the same pot, sauté the onion and chopped garlic until soft. Add the celery until light brown, then add all seared beef. Stir heavily to mix. Add the bay leaf, tomato paste and stir to coat evenly. Add half the

chilli and soy sauce. Sauté for two minutes.

∙ Pour in stock until meat is covered. With the lid on bring to the boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to a simmer until the meat is tender (add more stock as it reduces). When tender, add tomatoes, liver spread, pickles and tomato paste and simmer until tomatoes soften. ∙ Add remaining chili, mixed peppers, prefried carrots and potatoes. Continue simmering for another three minutes. Remove from the boil and stir in Cheddar cheese until melted. Season.

SINIGANG NA VLO NG SALMON INGREDIENTS 2 salmon heads 1 pack sinigang sa sampaloc mix (1l pack, tamarind base soup mix) 1 large tomato, cubed 1 large onion, cubed 1 large ginger, crushed 1 bundle fresh spinach or lettuce, or kangkong (water spinach) 1 bundle leeks or spring onion, cut into 2" length 1 long green chilli 2 tbsp fish sauce 1l water salt and pepper to taste

LECHON KAWALI INGREDIENTS 500g pork belly 4 tbsp salt 2 tbsp whole pepper 5 dried bay leaves 1l water 3 cups cooking oil METHOD ∙ Bring water to boil then add pork belly plus 3 tbsp


The Pro Chef Middle East / May 2014

of salt, pepper and bay leaves. Simmer for 30 to 45 minutes or until meat is tender, then remove pork and let it cool. When cool, evenly spread 1 tbsp of salt on the meat and set aside. ∙ Heat a wok or cooking pot then pour in cooking oil. Add the meat when oil is hot and cook until the immersed side is brown and the meat’s texture is crispy. Flip the meat to cook the opposite side. Remove the meat from the pan and cool.

METHOD ∙ Bring water to boil then add tomato, onion and ginger and simmer for five minutes. Add the fish sauce and sinigang sampalok mix and simmer for five minutes. ∙ Add the salmon head and cook for another five minutes, then season and add spinach and leeks. Turn off the heat and cover the pot for five to seven minutes. Serve with hot steamed white rice


travel / LEISURE

can be made with a mix of chicken, pork, squid, or vegetables. Adobo, which means to marinade in Filipino, is a dish stewed in vinegar and soya sauce with garlic, peppercorns and bay leaves. Day to day and a popular serving within the family home is sinigang, a slightly sour broth or soup, which can be made with vegetables, pork or fish. Followed by lechon, a crispy spit-roasted pig basted regularly in a sauce made from pig's liver, vinegar, sugar and herbs, or kare kare, an oxtail and beef stew cooked using a peanut sauce. Still today, dishes in the Philippines also heavily rely on ingredients used by the country's original inhabitants, such as mango, coconut, pansit noodles and bean curds. Presence in the food scene Of the locally residing Filipinos that The Pro Chef ME spoke to, many agreed that there are few, if any 'decent' eateries in the UAE where they can go and enjoy authentic dishes from their home country, with several revealing that when Filipino food is cooked in a restaurant outside of the Philippines, dishes tend to become flavourless and re-adapted to suit international tastes. Chef Andrew commented: "Working as a chef and with big restaurant brands for many years, I have always really wanted to see a high flying Filipino restaurant concept in Dubai's food scene that could cater to international palates, in terms of menu, engineering, restaurant design and service. Although it's not yet been adapted here, I remain very optimistic that there will be one in the near future." He notes, however, that there are however a number of Filipino restaurants in the fast food sector established across the UAE. "There are a few big fast food brands from the Philippines that are franchised here and are doing very well, including

the likes of Chowking, Max's and Bacolod Chicken BBQ House." Hinting that there are perhaps authentic Filipino food spots around town, he explains: "I find that the Filipino restaurants that you do find here are really low profile when it comes to location and operation, meaning that they are just here to cater to mostly Filipino expats. I must say that it's also great to see that big supermarkets here such as Geant, Lulu and Westzone offer a Filipino products section." Keeping it traditional Typically, Filipinos today will dine with silverware, however in certain places of the Philippines a special style of native eating called kamayan, using only fingers, is still practiced. This style of

eating traditionally involves dishes being laid out on banana leaves, where diners will sit around on the ground and eat everything by hand, with no utensils, napkins or bowls. During this practice, don't worry about licking your fingers to clean them off - everyone will be doing the same! A speciality from the Philippines unlikely to be found in restaurants around Dubai, however, is a ‘delicacy’ known as balut, a popular street food consisting of a boiled duck egg with a feathered embryo inside. Perhaps not everyone's cup of tea, but one definitely encouraged to try by the locals, though it's not to every Filipino's taste.... In a nut shell, the only way to truly understand and appreciate Filipino food and its identity is to dig in and try it!

FILIPINO STYLE! Dip it good - Many Filipino dishes are accompanied by a range of sawsawan (dipping sauces) or condiments. Rice at the ready - A basic staple in the Filipino diet, always cooked fresh and steamed, or sweetened and sticky for desserts. Pucker up - Vinegar is used as one of the main preservatives in Filipino cooking and forms the base of many traditional dishes, like adobo. Stock up - Always remember garlic, tomato and bagoong (fish paste). Without these three key ingredients, you won’t get far in the Filipino kitchen Fiesta! Fiesta! - It's party time when the Spanish-influenced Filipino dishes come out. Typically, they involve more expensive ingredients and preparation. Homestyle treat for editorial staff, courtesy of Troy and Maria Maagma.


May 2014 / The Pro Chef Middle East


LEISURE / last word

A man with a can

Young UK designer Chris Godfrey provides the last word on convenience foods with his 12-course meal in a can. What dishes would you include if you had the chance to create such a monstrosity?


eals in a can are always a no no, sorry, let’s be a bit more specific, that’s any type of full meal in a can. We’ve already seen things like full English breakfasts stuffed into tins and whole Sunday lunches dumped in pans direct from a can but this next canned meal features no less than 12 fine dining courses neatly packed within cylinder shaped metal shell. The idea of the 12-course can comes from the artist Chris Godfrey. The project is called ‘All in One’ and was made as a comment against the canned food market and the ever growing gimmicks used to differentiate food products. Speaking about his strange concept, Godfrey said: "Contemporary culture means on every trip into town that you're bombarded with gimmicks galore. Gimmicks often diminish their products to turn a profit; downgrading on the content but selling you something thats '50% more'. The All in One 12 course meal offers the average Joe the chance to dine like royalty without the washing up." The layout of courses is sure to turn a few heads and as far fetched as this may all seem we like that the artist is just trying to highlight a growing problem by taking it to the very extreme.



The Pro Chef Middle East / May 2014



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Profile for The Pro Chef Middle East

The Pro Chef Middle East - May Issue, 2014  

The Pro Chef Middle East - May Issue, 2014