The Pro Chef - Edition 39

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Welcome The Pro Chef Middle East is back – and I couldn’t be more excited to share with you the Autumn relaunch issue. After a short period of time in incubation, it became apparent that the need for a professional gastronomy-led platform for chefs to share their talent was needed in the Middle East. And so, here we are in print once more – and online at! Simultaneous with the F&B industry’s strong growth in the region, every day, the skill, talent and downright culinary genius of chefs grows in tandem, and this publication will act as a base to showcase all those who drive the sector forward – from chefs, suppliers and distributors, to farmers and fishermen. Let’s face it, the love, education and intrigue for great cuisine continues to flourish daily, and the need for food will never cease. In turn, we feel it vital that the stage be set for the culinary community to come together and share stories, network and learn from one another, in each of our quarterly editions. In the GCC alone, population growth is forecasted to maintain a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 2.4 per cent to reach 57.6 million by 2019, according to Alpen Capital. As a result, regional food consumption will rise by a CAGR of 3.5 per cent to hit 51.9 million tonnes annually, meaning that roles held across the F&B sector will only continue to evolve. Meanwhile, it was reported by Euromonitor International, that more than 80,379 cafés and restaurants were listed as operating in the GCC today, with a further 11,332 expected to open by 2021. While I hope that The Pro Chef Middle East will act as a haven for sharing news, inspiration, challenges and developments during this journey of substantial growth, most of all, I hope that you enjoy reading this issue, as much as I enjoyed writing it.

Printwell Printing Press

See you next season, PUBLISHED BY

Head Office:


Media City, Building 4, Office G-08 Dubai, United Arab Emirates, PO Box 13700 Tel: +971 4 440 9100 Fax: +971 4 447 2409 Email: A publication licensed by Dubai Production City, DCCA

© Copyright 2017 CPI Media Group. All rights reserved. While the publishers have made every effort to ensure the accuracy of all information in this magazine, they will not be held responsible for any errors therein.

Autumn 2017 / The Pro Chef Middle East



Culinary news from the Middle East and beyond. From upcoming food events, to ingredient innovation, we cover it all.


We follow the movement of chefs across restaurant and hotel kitchens in the Middle East, as they enter into new roles.


Every issue, we discover ingredients that chefs worldwide are loving, and go to the source to find out more.



What would a chef be without a knife? Here, we look into the latest knives out on the market, that chefs can't wait to get their hands on.


Chefs are known for loving a bit of uniform variety when in the kitchen. Find the latest, trendy chefwear here.


We go one-to-one with chef Keller to hear why dining out should be an emotional experience, no matter the concept.


The master sushi chef and international business man tells what it takes to maintain standards across restaurants.


Educating diners on ingredients is the key to understanding the complexities of Indian cuisine, says chef Atul.

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The Pro Chef Middle East / Autumn 2017


Step into Reif's kitchen at home to learn a little bit about his life away from the pass.






Robert Renton of Truebell Food services comments on the UAE's distributor market.


Awatif Alaabdi of Food Emporium explains why strategic partnerships in the F&B industry are vital for growth in business.


Virgilio Martinez explores his native cuisine, and celebrates Peru's ingredients.


Recognised as the world's fastest butcher, Cunyet Asan of Gunayadin Dubai explores the beef market.


Why are so many chefs today moving from the kitchen to the big screen? We explore the ever-popular trend here.


We take a look at some of the latest plates being used in restaurants around the world, by Villeroy & Boch.


Chef and co-owner Daniel Humm of Elevenson Madison Park in New York, the #1 ranked restaurant in the world, shares a selection of his recipes with us.


Nathan Outlaw talks the importance of supplier transparancy, sustainable fishing, and the increased demand for bass.


Gregoire Berger of Ossiano, Atlantis The Palm shares his sourcing methods and a selection of his recipes.


Riyadh Hassan of Aramtec, discusses trends and demands being witnessed across the Middle East's pastry industry.


We look back at the Final round of the Taste New Zealand Chef of the Year cooking competition.


We take a look into the science behind food, with the help of reknowned mathematician Irakli Lolaze. By accident, his world was re-routed, and it all came down to zooplankton.

Autumn 2017 / The Pro Chef Middle East


News bites UP FRONT /

Culinary news from the Middle East and beyond

Gulfood returns

Celebrating the best culinary achievements across the region, The Pro Chef Middle East Awards 2017 returns on November 6, 2017 at Habtoor Grand Beach Resort & Spa, Dubai. For four consecutive years, the awards have recognised the biggest accomplishments and triumphs across the Middle East's F&B sector. All nominees are drawn exclusively from the best independent eateries, bars and culinary schools, along with the best 4 & 5 star establishments across the region. For more information regarding categories, nominees and tickets, please visit

From October 31 to November 2, 2017 at Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC) Gulfood Manufacturing 2017 returns and will showcase 1,600-plus exhibitors all specialising in food. Trixie LohMirmand, Senior Vice President, Exhibitions & Events Management, DWTC, said: “Dubai’s geographical location, political stability and world-class infrastructure support the food processing sector and food export trade. The continued growth of Gulfood Manufacturing is further evidence of how the world’s leading food industry providers view the show as a must-attend and Dubai as a preferred destination to both house and grow their global business.” Gulfood Manufacturing 2017 will open from 10am – 6pm on October 31 and November 1, and 10am – 5pm on November 2, 2017. The show is only open to F&B trade professionals and visitor attendance is free of charge. For more information, please visit

Global Gastronomy Exchange Series at At.mosphere At.mosphere, Burj Khalifa has kick started its Global Gastronomy Exchange Series, which brings together culinary experts from across the world to help pin the restaurant and Dubai on the world’s gastronomic map. The culinary exchange concept will see the restaurant’s executive chef, Christopher Graham, cook in celebrated kitchens all over the world and other masters of gastronomy take over at At.mosphere, Burj Khalifa in return.


The Pro Chef Middle East / Autumn 2017

As the first exchange for this year, in September chef Graham took over the kitchen of ‘Fleur de Lin’ in Belgium. The fun continues in November, when chef Sergio Herman (three Michelin stars) will run the pass at At.mosphere with a tasting menu inspired by

dishes from his restaurant, The Jane, in Antwerp. Formerly, Herman cooked for 25 years in his family restaurant, Oud Sluis, in Zeeland in the Netherlands, which was featured in the top 50 of The World's 50 Best Restaurants for eight years running.


The Pro Chef Middle East Awards 2017

Rüya Dubai’s chef Collin Clague nominated for The Best Chef Awards 2017 Colin Clague, executive chef of the home grown Anatolian restaurant, Rüya at Grosvenor House Dubai, has been nominated for the Best Chef Awards, to be hosted in Warsaw on October 25 this year. Culinary maverick Colin, who has taken on the mission to elevate and polish Anatolian cuisine on a global scale, is shortlisted for the Top 300 World Selection. This prestigious accolade identifies the best chefs in the industry worldwide whilst the voting system is based on votes of chefs, journalists and professionls in the international culinary sector. For more information, see

Cream cheese developments Fonterra’s foodservice business, Anchor Food Professionals, has launched a new soft style cream cheese to provide more versatility and convenience for its foodservice customers in the Middle East. According to the company, The Anchor Food Professionals Soft Style Cream Cheese offers a richer cream cheese flavour, better bake stability and softer texture, and is part of Anchor Food Professionals’ strategy to capitalise on changing consumer trends in the Middle East including a shift towards premiumisation. Alastair Bruce, General Manager, GCC for Anchor Food Professionals, said: “With rising incomes and rapid growth of out-of-home dining, food and beverage operators are increasingly seeking premium dairy solutions to meet the demand for excellence, convenience and great taste – but at the same time, affordability. We’ve developed our new Soft Style Cream Cheese especially for the Middle East region, to meet local chefs’ preferences to work with a softer style of cream cheese without losing its full dairy flavour.” Anchor Soft Style Cream Cheese is manufactured locally in Fonterra’s Dammam manufacturing facility, which also enables shorter delivery times to its customers.

CIA to teach Insta skills Come May 2018, one of the world’s most prestigious cooking schools, the Culinary Institute of America (CIA), will offer two new courses that focus on food photography and food styling, according to a report in The New York Times. With alumni including the likes of Grant Achatz, Anthony Bourdain and Roy Choi, CIA’s future students will be taught camera and lighting skills, shot composition and cooking tricks to make their plates more visually appealing and ‘Instagrammable’ on social media platforms. The aim of the new courses is also to provide students with certain skills should they choose a food career away from the kitchen, such as in food education or media.

S.Pellegrino Young Chef Award event comes to Dubai For the first time, Dubai will host the Africa & Middle East semifinal event for S.Pellegrino Young Chef Award, one of most coveted awards for young professionals in the culinary industry. On October 16, 2017 ten semi-finalists from the Africa & Middle East region will compete at International Centre for Culinary Arts in Dubai for entry to the grand finale. Representing the UAE, chef Aditya Kumar Jha from Tamba Abu Dhabi, chef Mario Christianto from The Exchange Grill Restaurant in Dubai and chef Nigel Lobo at The Eloquent Elephant are among the top 10 semifinalists from the region. Other semi-finalists from the Africa & Middle East’s region include: sous chef Jorge Alexis Falcon Valera from Cantina Kahlo in Bahrain; and from South Africa chef de partie Ianca Stryom at The Restaurant at Waterkloof, chef de partie Garth Rauben Heimer, The Restaurant at Waterkloof, sous chef Georgios Spandos from Palm Hotel & Spa, chef de partie Paul Prinsloo at The Restaurant at Waterkloof, chef Sheldon Raju from Sheldon Raju Cosultancy in South Africa and sous chef Vusumi Ndlovu from The Saxon Hotel Villas and SPA. For more information, please visit

Autumn 2017 / The Pro Chef Middle East



Join The Pink Brigade Founded by chef Robbie Stokes in 2014, The Pink Brigade is a campaign which highlights the importance of early detection as the best protection against breast cancer. The 2017 campaign promises to be even bigger and better than previous years, which has seen The Pink Brigade raise nearly Dhs200,000 to date, through the sale of their unique personalised chef jackets and pink aprons generously supplied by loyal supporters A. Ronai. This year, The Pink Brigade has introduced a beautiful pink headscarf to complement their successful kitchen range which is already proving to be very popular among professional chefs as well as women who love to spend time in the kitchen. The Pink Brigade founder, Chef Robbie Stokes, knows only too well the importance of early detection having lost his wife Claire to breast cancer in January 2015, one month before her 40th birthday. “It’s now been two and half years since Claire sadly died from having secondary breast cancer and it has been very hard for us as a young family living without her. The Pink Brigade was created to show women across the UAE and beyond, that our industry cares about them and wants to help in any way that we can. We are proud to continue this with the launch of The Pink Brigade in 2017” said Chef Robbie. All sale proceeds from the campaign are donated to The Pink Caravan, a pan Emirate breast cancer awareness initiative that was launched in 2011 and fights to improve the lives of those affected by cancer as well as lobbying for the creation of the UAE’s National Cancer Registry. Chef Michael Kitts, Director of Culinary Arts at the Emirates Academy of Hospitality Management says “I believe that everyone in the world at some stage in their lives, has been affected by this terrible disease we call cancer. We must never give up the fight to beat it. The catering industry is one of the closest, most dignified ‘families’ in the world and we believe that families are there for each other. I am personally proud to be a part of that ethos and shall support my Pink Brigade family in 2017 and beyond”. If you would like to get involved and support The Pink Brigade or find out how to purchase your jackets, aprons or head scarves, please get in touch by emailing or visit nourish. ae/the-pink-brigade/.

Leading the way Virginie Basselot, Executive Chef of La Réserve Genève,is named “Female Chef of the Year 2018” by the Gault & Millau guide Representing a new generation of female chefs, Virginie Basselot shares culinary emotions through her refined and elegant cuisine. Recently, the Swiss edition of the famous Gault & Millau gourmet guide awarded her the much-coveted "Female Chef of the Year"

title, honouring Le Loti at La Réserve Genève as one of Geneva’s best restaurants.








Chef ME inaugurate new distribution centre in Dubai, worth Dhs75 million Chef Middle East, a leading regional supplier of quality foods to the hotel, dining and airline industries, inaugurated its new Dhs75 million distribution centre at Dubai Investments Park (DIP) earlier this year. The purpose-built distribution hub is the first of its kind for the food industry in the region and hosts one of the most high-tech facilities in the sector. It offers a fully integrated, technology enabled logistics centre, allowing Chef Middle East to offer an efficient and reliable end-to-end cold chain solution. The current distribution centre is triple the size of its predecessor and includes over 7,000 square meters of temperature-controlled storage areas that can accommodate up to 8,000 pallets of chilled, frozen, and ambient food and food related products. The new distribution centre features cutting-edge technology in warehouse and fleet management systems, voice-pick technology, fleet GPS and a world-class culinary innovation centre. It also houses an open plan development kitchen stocked with equipment suitable for introducing and designing new food concepts under the supervision of a dedicated award-winning culinary chef. The centre’s multi-temperature storage, its superior and broad range of product availability make it ideally situated to both leverage the company's scale and its upgraded supply chain operations.


The Pro Chef Middle East / Autumn 2017




A chef ’s ultimate car? Chef and TV personality Jamie Oliver and Jaguar Land Rover have joined forces to create a kitchen on wheels. Jamie’s bespoke family SUV comes with a host of cooking features including a slow-cooker, barbecue, ice cream maker, olive oil dispenser and will even churn butter as you drive. Jamie’s Discovery is the only Land Rover in the world that has a toaster in the centre console and a rotisserie driven by the power take off. Other ingenious features include a slow-cooker that sits beside the engine, a pasta maker, a gas hob and a deployable dining table and worktop. There is even a herb garden and spice rack in the rear windows. Jamie Oliver said: “I gave Land Rover a massive challenge to create the ultimate kitchen on wheels. I dreamt big and asked for a lot, and what they’ve done has blown my mind. I didn’t think they’d actually be able to put a slow-cooker next to the engine and an olive oil dispenser in the boot, but they did.”

'Third wave' coffee industry to reach $4.4 billion by 2021 The ‘third wave’ coffee movement is fuelling growth of the Middle East’s coffee industry, which is expected to climb to US $4.4 billion by 2021, according to Euromonitor International. The new movement has seen a shift in consumer appreciation of coffee as an artisan, specialist and quality experience, rather than a commodity. As a beverage with multi-cultural appeal, coffee consumption in the region is growing twice as fast as the global average, putting pressure on the foodservice industry to stay relevant to its customers. Catch coffee exhibitors at the Gulfood exhibition, including the likes of Bella Coffee, Bravilor Bonamat, Cimbali, La Marquise International, Lelit Espresso, Quality Espresso and Schaerer. “In a world of constant innovation, it has never been more important to stay ahead using the latest technologies. Our range of coffee machines provides a new experience to help cafes engage more with their customers, from our latte art printer to our touch screen coffee machines,” said Olga Cassidy, marketing manager at La Marquise International.


The Pro Chef Middle East / Autumn 2017

In the era of molecular cuisine and zero-waste cooking, what makes or breaks a restaurant is not necessarily the food – it's the design, believes the Draw Link Group. The group’s latest Growing Trends report says that the latest concept design trend in the GCC region is a one-stop-shop venue where people can have a nice dinner, enjoy a drink with friends/family and take to the dance floor. Trends for 2017 include: THEMES AND CONCEPTS: People enjoy going out to a restaurant that has a theme because it usually portrays a story. Concept based designs are used in several types of settings and can vary from ice cream parlours and coffee shops to casual and high-end restaurants. This helps deliver a very individualised feeling to the diner and is positively more inviting and energising. FUNCTIONALITY: Design a space that has function at its forefront. This look allows a restaurants’ food to stand out, while at the same time, people can dine in a well thought out setting that is visually appealing. The ones that can effortlessly satisfy the most functionality on a single platform will emerge as industry leaders. LIGHTING DESIGN: People are viewing lighting as more than just a lighting source, instead they look at it as artwork. In this informal and rustic design age, lighting design has built its own trend; pendant lamps, recessed mood lighting and spots have started replacing chandeliers and vintage lamps. Customised lights have gained popularity too. For more information, see

Sean Connolly makes Dubai debut Chef Sean Connolly has opened his first restaurant in the Middle East, a contemporary brasserie serving steak and seafood, which will take up residency at the top of one of the UAE’s most iconic buildings, Dubai Opera. ‘Sean Connolly at Dubai Opera’ is an informal brasserie, with an uncomplicated and produce driven menu that can be enjoyed in the main restaurant, the bar or at the rooftop terrace with impressive views of the Burj Khalifa. British born Chef, Sean Connolly, has over 25 years’ experience in the kitchen and has become a household name for both his restaurants and his entertaining TV series’, which are broadcast in 35 countries worldwide. His trademark downto-earth cooking style and infectious enthusiasm for food has also earned him an array of awards and industry accolades throughout the Southern hemisphere.

TRUFFLES and everything nice We source the best fresh truffles in season and produce a superior line of black and white truffle oil, butter, sauce, carpaccio, juice and truffle honey. Apart from truffle we import the best Italy has to offer including Halal cold cuts, vinegar, olive oil, pasta, grilled vegetables, olives and other gourmet products. Used by the top chefs across the UAE and beyond.

Call italtouch (The Truffle Man) today: +971 4 887 9969 or email:




Cavalli Club, Fairmont Dubai

The Courtyard, Boulevard Kitchen and Nezesaussi Grill, Manzil Downtown

Hailing from Italy, chef Francesco Pescatore recently joined Cavalli Club in the role as head chef. Bringing with him a wealth of experience to the position, Francesco most recently worked as junior sous chef at La Petit Maison in Dubai, he oversaw the opening of the new Roberto’s in Abu Dhabi as junior sous chef, and previous to that he held the same position at Zuma in London. Chef Francesco also understands what it takes to work in a Michelin starred kitchen, after holding the position as chef de partie at the 2 Michelin starred Sketch restaurant in London, England. In his new role at Cavalli, Francesco has implemented a new menu, boasting dishes like salt crusted sea bass, beef tartare with mustard mayo and truffle pearls, black cod with smoked celeriac puree and extra virgin olive oil foam, cold langoustine ravioli and whole lobster. Desserts are also something spectacular at Cavalli, with the well-known La sfera (Italian for sphere), a delicious chocolate ball which melts when hot chocolate sauce is dripped onto it.


The Pro Chef Middle East / Autumn 2017

Manzil Downtown has welcomed Salvatore Barcellona as head chef of the hotel, where he will lead the culinary operations of the property’s dining venues, including The Courtyard, Boulevard Kitchen and Nezesaussi Grill. A native Sicilian, Salvatore launched his culinary career in 1996 in Italy and went on to acquire over 20 years of experience in a number of reputable hotels and restaurants across the globe, including Germany, the USA and most recently in the UAE. In his new role, Chef Salvatore’s main responsibilities include managing the food preparation process, and putting together a varied menu that honors fresh, high-quality seasonal and local ingredients for a sustainable cuisine. With Mediterranean roots and a diverse culinary background, Chef Salvatore’s cooking style is inspired by a large arsenal of influences, yet maintains authenticity with homegrown techniques.



LUDOVIC AUDAUX, COMPLEX EXECUTIVE PASTRY CHEF Grosvenor House and Le Royal Meridien Beach Resort & Spa Dubai With the position of complex executive pastry chef at both Grosvenor House and Le Royal Meridien Beach Resort & Spa, Ludovic Audaux recently joined the team, bringing with him more than 14 years of experience. In the new role, he will be responsible for the day-to-day pastry and bakery operations of the hotel, as well as menu development, training for the 16 outlets and ensuring that the highest levels of quality are maintained at all times. Ludovic was born and raised in France and got his first job in a bakery at 15-years old. Two years later, Ludovic obtained his diploma as a bakery chocolatier glacier and worked for the esteemed Restaurant Achille in Paris for a year before he graduated as a pastry chocolatier. In 2001, Ludovic began working at Paris, Le Petit Zinc. After a year, he moved to Le Meridien Paris, where he was demi chef de partie for L'Orénoc. After four years, Ludovic worked at luxury French restaurant, Le Jardin d’Ampere, in his first position as pastry chef. After a further two years perfecting his art, in 2010 he moved to the Middle East and worked for prestigious hotels in Doha, Qatar and Dubai, UAE. In June 2015, he joined the Al Habtoor City Complex-Dubai and became the executive pastry chef for St. Regis, W Dubai, and The Westin hotels.




Asado, Palace Downtown

Mint Leaf of London, Dubai, DIFC

Cucina, Courtyard by Marriott Dubai Green Community

Josefinna Vallve has joined Palace Downtown’s Argentinean outlet, Asado, as chef de cuisine. A graduate of the prestigious Gastronomic Institute D’Gallia, where she earned distinction as a member of the honour roll, her career to date includes stints at fine dining establishments where she helped to craft dishes that paid homage to Peruvian cuisine, which has become increasingly popular with diners in recent years. Using her experience and cultural background, Asado is launching a new lunchtime concept of a Grape and Harvest Lunch in October 2017. In addition, chef Josefinna has introduced new menu items including Merluza con Arroz Negro y Salsa de Langostinos (Chilean sea bass with squid ink risotto), and Tira de Asado (slow-cooked short ribs with creamy mashed potatoes).

Mint Leaf of London has appointed Pradeep Khullar as its new executive chef, who has spent months behind the scenes developing an innovative menu, ahead of the new season. Bringing a wealth of knowledge and refined skills, having worked for notable restaurants throughout the last decade both in India and Dubai, Khullar’s new à la carte menu is packed full of new flavours and spices. Signature starter dishes include stuffed portobello with truffle dust, cooked in tandoor and topped with a rich truffle and mushroom sauce, parmesan crumble and truffle sand, alongside the introduction of their boneless duck seekh kabab with plum and chevre mousse which is skewered, seasoned and topped with a goat’s cheese mousse to bring out the flavours. The chef brings creativity and flare to the main menu through his rara mutton with seared foie gras dish, which is pounded lamb, cooked on a slow heat with onions, tomatoes, served with seared foie gras, bringing a buttery element to the flavour. “Joining Mint Leaf of London at such a momentous time has been a great challenge and opportunity for me. With the brand evolving, at the juncture of its third anniversary, I am delighted to have created a new menu for Mint Leaf of London with my signature style of cooking. We have changed the menu to showcase the significant change at the restaurant, which will be the cornerstone for the brand going forward,” said Khullar.

Courtyard by Marriott Dubai Green Community has announced the appointment of Artyom Hakobyan as the new chef of Cucina, the hotel’s Italian eatery. Originally from Armenia, Artyom joins the Marriott family with seven years’ experience and a love for molecular gastronomy. With a degree in Culinary Arts, he got his first official break at the Mama Mia Pizzeria in Yerevan, Armenia. He then moved to Ankyun in the same city as demi chef de partie and after a year, Artyom travelled to Abu Dhabi to join Porto Bello at the Grand Millennium Al Wahda as demi chef de partie. After this, he joined Mazina at The Address Dubai Marina as chef de partie specialty where he worked for almost two years. In his new role at Courtyard by Marriott Green Community, Chef Artyom will be looking over the daily operations of Cucina, the hearty Italian restaurant located within the hotel.

Autumn 2017 / The Pro Chef Middle East



PLANKTON Providing an authentic taste of the sea


n ingredient high on the ‘to try’ list for chefs this year is plankton. The truly innovative ingredient aids itself well in things such as risotto, pasta, sauces, marinades, ice creams and sorbets, among others. Reduced to a powder form, plankton is an ideal ingredient basic for heightening the taste of dishes, particularly as this authentic flavour from the sea can be eaten by coeliacs, vegans, vegetarians and even those with fish or shellfish allergies – making it a well-received ingredient in kitchens. Simply add a little water to re-hydrate the powdered plankton, then it's ready for use in many recipes. As pictured, microalgae, also known as phytoplankton, were the first living organisms on planet earth. Enriching the atmosphere with 50% of the planet’s oxygen, they form the base of the marine food chain, and constitute a food source for zooplankton which, in turn, feed fish and crustaceans. As the primary producer of the marine ecosystem, phytoplankton forms the origin of the food chain, and is what enables the existence of all of Earth’s seas and oceans, and the concentration of oxygen we need in the atmosphere. Composed of vegetable species, phytoplankton, can produce an emission of light called bioluminescence, a nocturnal glow that sees the the sea in a shade of electric blue, colouring the waves in the darkness. This effect is also utilised by chefs who create luminous phytoplankton-based cocktails.


The Pro Chef Middle East / Autumn 2017

Inspiration for use of plankton • To enhance risotto with


cream and scallops • In bread, served with seaweed butter • Spherification with peas, served with hake • Pickled and served with oysters • Injected into vegetables, such as cherry tomatoes • As a savoury ice cream served with lobster

Autumn 2017 / The Pro Chef Middle East



KELLY OYSTERS High-quality oysters, from Galway, Ireland


t a small inlet on Galway Bay in Ireland, the ideal combination of pristine seas and clean, fresh water provides the ultimate habitat for oysters to feed and thrive, and it is here that the Kelly family harvests oysters that have been described by chefs as some of “the best flavoured in the world”. Michael Kelly started selling oysters from his beds at Kilcolgan, on Ireland’s west coast, nearly 60 years ago, and now the business is run by his sons Diarmuid and Micheal, who continue the tradition of harvesting by hand daily to ensure absolute freshness. The succulent oysters are then packed in seaweed and sent to restaurants and superior food outlets around Ireland, Europe and the Middle East. The Kelly’s Oysters range includes wild native oysters and farmed native oysters. Daily harvesting from Kelly’s Grade “A” Oyster Bed ensures freshness. Preparation of individual orders in their EU standard Dispatch Centre guarantees a quality product which is delivered from “Shore to Door” within hours locally, next day nationwide, and within three days globally.


The Pro Chef Middle East / Autumn 2017



This knife by Global, is precisely balanced with a 7-inch blade for fish butchering and hard vegetables. The blade is made of high-tech molybdenum/vanadium stainless steel, while the edge retains razor sharpness exceptionally well. The handle is stainless-steel and molded for comfort, and dimpled for safe grip. Priced at Dhs425 from

This hand-crafted kitchen knife is from Sugimoto-Hamono, of Tsukiji, Japan, home of Tokyo's famous fish markets. The blade of this knife has been hand forged from high grade chromium molybdenum alloy stainless steel, and has a dark wood ergonomic grip fashioned from hardwood. Priced at Dhs370 from

HANDCRAFTED BLOC KNIVES, ENGLAND Ben Edmonds is a knife maker from England, who started Bloc Knives through his love for craftmanship. Along with his artistic team, Ben designs and crafts knives for professional chefs using materials like carbon steel, solidwool, and stabilsed woods. Prices range from Dhs900 for a paring knife, to Dhs1,520 for a chef’s knife, from


The Pro Chef Middle East / Autumn 2017



CHAN CHI KEE, 21,5CM THIN CLEAVER Handmade in Hong Kong by Chan Chi Kee Cutlery Co. this cleaver is popular among chefs specialising in Chinese cuisine. Priced at Dhs370 from

SHUN 6" GOKUJO BONING/FILLET KNIFE This knife is designed to be the perfect blade for boning meat or filleting fish. The thin profile allows for a small amount of flex which makes separating meat from bone a precise action. The blade of all Shun Classic knives is forged from VG-MAX ‘super steel’. They are then clad on each side with 16 layers of a softer stainless steel. The D-shaped pakka wood handle is mated to a welded stainless-steel bolster and end cap for perfect control and comfort. Dhs430 from

FINGAL FERGUSON HANDMADE KNIVES, IRELAND Fingal Ferguson is a knife maker from West Cork, Ireland. His high-quality, handmade knifes have become so in demand that the waiting list spans a couple of years (best get your name on the list now!). Average prices are around Dhs1,100 for a chef knife and up to Dhs1,960 if materials like stainless Damas and exotic handle are used. Available from

ISEYA VG10 33 LAYER DAMASCUS HAMMERED NAKIRI KNIFE, 180MM Made by Yoshinori Seto, all Iseya knives are handmade and crafted from quality blades of forged Damascus steel. The 33-layer Damascus steel used in making this razor sharp Japanese knife is hand hammered to ensure the strength of the blade and at its core is one of the best steels used in kitchen knife production due to its superior edge retention, sharpness, and being stain resistant. Dhs405 from

Autumn 2017 / The Pro Chef Middle East






OF •










Shirt tail apron by Sharon Reed Dhs220,

Linen bib apron with screen print by Sharon Reed

Bragard Perigord chef jacket




Classic Houndstooth ladies Polka Pants Dhs340,

Birkenstock Boston clogs Bragard Verana women's chef jacket with pocket



Autumn 2017 / The Pro Chef Middle East



Colour block apron by Tilit Dhs312,

Kinfolk chef apron

Long horn cow leather knife roll Dhs3,489,

Ultimate cotton chef pants, varied patterns Dhs132,

Ducase by Bragard, Monaco jacket Dhs588,

20 The Pro Chef Middle East

/ Autumn 2017



ONE-STOP QUALITY F&B SOLUTIONS WITH CHEF MIDDLE EAST Brought to you by Chef Middle East – a leading regional supplier providing a one-stop solution for all quality food and beverage requirements to the hotel, dining and airline industries – Taste of Autumn event is set to welcome Culinary, Procurement and F&B professionals on October 17, 2017, at La Ville Hotel & Suites, City Walk, Dubai, to bring focus around brands collaboration and menu solutions for those working at outlets across all hospitality sectors from luxury 5-star hotels to the latest trendy burger joints.

During Taste of Autumn, discover Chef Middle East’s new beverage portfolio with the official launch of French syrup brand 1705 by Cherry Rocher and the latest range of non-alcoholic beverages, following its recent acquisition of local company, Limeline Premium Beverages. Chef Middle East expects this merger to benefit their customers by providing them with direct access to innovative drink brands and to strengthen its position as the one-stop shop solution provider for the GCC’s foodservice industry.

“Taste of Autumn” is a one-day invitation-only event, where Chef Middle East will provide both suppliers and customers with a unique and exclusive platform to meet and interact; discuss the latest food trends, share knowledge and industry’s insights and taste products sourced from all over the world. Amongst an impressive line-up of globally renowned cooking talent, the visitors will have the chance to meet Pastry World Champion Julien Alvarez and discover his latest dessert recipes. The event will also feature Celebrity Chef Vicky Ratnani cooking up some flavorful rice dishes with his own twist, plus 2 Michelin Star Chef Philippe Garret creating innovative foie gras recipes for the fast-approaching festive season and many more cuisines and activities for a well-seasoned day out.

Synonymous with Chef Middle East’s growth and strengthened market presence, the company recently announced the launch of its brand new and refreshed website – With significant uplift in design and user experience, the website has been redesigned to help users navigate easily on both desktop and mobile devices, with an added new feature that enables you to search any product available in the entire Chef Middle East portfolio, and to get you familiar with the range in a click of a button. The new website represents just one more element as part of the company’s ambition to grow into the region’s leading one-stop solution.


Tuesday 17th October, 2017 from 10am to 7pm WHERE?

La Ville Hotel & Suites, City Walk, Dubai BY CHEF MIDDLE EAST.



RSVP only at




Photographs SUPPLIED



The Pro Chef Middle East / Autumn 2017

IT’S ALL ABOUT FINESSE… Chef Thomas Keller’s professional and personal influence in the culinary industry sees him laced among the most decorated chefs in the world. In approach to Bouchon Bakery’s Dubai debut this year, chef Keller shared with us why he believes a great meal is an emotional experience, and why it’s fundamental for chefs to be developing relationships with suppliers. By Sophie McCarrick


homas Keller is a chef who needs no introduction. Famed in the industry for his impeccably high standards and exceptional culinary skills, chef Keller is the first and only American-born chef to hold multiple three-star ratings from the Michelin Guide. At present, his restaurants carry seven Michelin stars in total: three at Per Se, three at The French Laundry, and one at Bouchon Bistro – all located in the US. He’s also the first American male chef to be designated an ‘Ordre national de la Légion d'honneur’ (Chevalier of The French Legion of Honour), the highest decoration in France, presented by chef Paul Bocuse on behalf of French President Nicolas Sarkozy in 2011, in recognition of his lifelong commitment to the traditions of French cuisine and his role in elevating cooking in America. Bringing with him enormous wealth of culinary expertise, chef Keller made his Dubai debut in September this year, as

he opened Bouchon Bakery at Jumeirah Beach Residence – as part of a franchise partnership with international retail franchise operator M.H. Alshaya Co. Here, he tells more, and shares his with us his philosophy for success…

You’ve just opened Bouchon Bakery in Dubai – what attracted you to the Middle East? It was in Paris that I learned what an important role bakeries and bistros play in neighbourhoods and communities. Whether it’s a crusty, fresh-baked loaf of bread or a simple meal skillfully crafted from the highest-quality ingredients, these pleasures pull people together to dine and discuss their lives. Bouchon Bakery in Dubai is an inviting place that inspires people and communities to gather and enjoy being with one another. We are pleased to make this extension our first outside the United States and partner with Alshaya because of their commitment to excellence.

“When ingredients arrive at the restaurants they are, in one sense, already finished. At the stove, we have no control over how an animal was raised or the way a peach was harvested. As chefs, all we can do is to carefully select our suppliers and then work with them to ensure we get the best possible ingredients.” Autumn 2017 / The Pro Chef Middle East



was raised or the way a peach was harvested. As chefs, all we can do is to carefully select our suppliers and then work with them to ensure we get the best possible ingredients. Developing relationships is a fundamental part of any great chef’s work. At our restaurants, all we have accomplished through the years has been made possible through partnerships with extraordinary purveyors. Our responsibility as chefs, then, is to support these individuals by executing dishes for our guests’ enjoyment that highlight and elevate the fruits of their labours.

Talking on trends, we hear you’re not one to jump on the bandwagon. Why is this? I’m only against trends because the true definition of a trend is something that has an end. So why would you want to be trendy? It doesn’t make sense to me. The other thing about trends: what

Get to know chef Keller… Your favourite ingredient? I always have salt, vinegar and olive oil on hand.

“We've seen a move toward chefs owning restaurants and that has changed America's culinary reputation and legacy.” How would you define your food style, and what has influenced you the most over the years to continually grow in your role? I turn to a grounding, guiding principle that a great meal is an emotional experience. We try to make it an extraordinary one by welcoming guests into a beautiful place, one filled with a staff that cares about it as they do about their home, and making new memories for our visitors. Our chefs are dedicated to culinary details, fundamental


The Pro Chef Middle East / Autumn 2017

techniques and delivering the very best products to the table.

Many chefs I talk to speak of their admiration of your respect for food. Over the years, how did you and how do you continue to communicate to chefs all over the world the importance of respecting an ingredient? When ingredients arrive at the restaurants they are, in one sense, already finished. At the stove, we have no control over how an animal

Favourite country to eat? California has the best produce available in our country (United States) and in Napa Valley we are fortunate to have extraordinary restaurants. Which brand of knifes do you use? I have been using MAC Knives in my restaurants and at home since 2000; their superior quality lends itself to precision and control, both of which are fundamental for tasks in the kitchen. Who is most influential person for you, in the kitchen? The person who most influenced me was my mother; the things I learned from her at home have influenced me in the kitchen: work ethics, paying attention, details, efficiency and keeping things clean and organised. Best moment of your career so far? Being the first American chef to win three Michelin stars; being honored with the French Legion d’Honeur and winning the Bocuse d’Or this year. I have been so blessed beyond belief in my career.

is a food trend? This food is in this year and out next year. There are certain trends that are very important, don’t get me wrong, but the overreaching definition of trend is something, when you apply it to food, doesn’t make sense. I'm more interested in movements – things that begin with integrity that will last and remain with us for a long time. We've seen a move toward chefs owning restaurants and that has changed America's culinary reputation and legacy.

What are some of your favourite food related movies? I consulted on ‘Ratatouille’ and helped guide the culinary education of the Pixar team. It’s a very clever film with an important message about ideals. I am also a fan of Spanglish.

How did your journey in the kitchen begin? My family had a great impact on my path to the kitchen. I grew up watching my mother manage restaurants, and my first job was washing dishes after school, learning the importance of hard work and discipline. Later,

my brother Joseph, already a cook, taught me technique and guided my early years. When I first started cooking, it was the rituals of the work that I enjoyed: I took pleasure in striving daily to improve whatever it was I was doing, whether it was loading the dishwasher rack for perfect efficiency, or trying for two years to perfect making hollandaise sauce. Then I went to work for Roland Henin, a chef who showed me that cooking is not just a job. Cooking is about having awareness and sensitivity to the point that you feel a connection to the food and your guests. It is not about satisfying yourself, but about nurturing other people. Two years after opening The French Laundry in Yountville, CA (on July 6 this year, we celebrated our 23rd anniversary), I began thinking about furthering the success of the restaurant, of having an impact on the industry, perhaps of even establishing a legacy. Eventually these vague thoughts became distilled in a philosophy that I can best sum up in one key word, "finesse." Finesse is so important to me that we have plaques on the walls in the French

Laundry and Per Se kitchens that spell out the definition: "Refinement and delicacy of performance, execution or artisanship."

For all our chefs reading, what would your word of advice for progression in the industry be? A great meal is not one that just fills you up. A great meal is a journey that returns you to sources of pleasure you may have forgotten and takes you to places you haven’t been before. As chefs and restaurateurs, our job is to welcome our guests onto this journey and guide them through it. This will always be the most important thing, not the chef or the trend. It’s important to remember that a great meal is not about the food and wine. A great meal is an emotional experience. We try to make it an extraordinary one by establishing a beautiful place, one filled with a staff that cares about it as they do about their home, where we can care for you as the most important guest in it. We are meticulous about culinary details, fundamental techniques and a kitchen that delivers the very best products available. No detail or element can be less important or more important than another.

Autumn 2017 / The Pro Chef Middle East





Characterised as a major style setter internationally in the world of Japanese cuisine, master sushi chef and executive chef of Katsuya Worldwide, Katsuya Uechi, launched Katsuya by Starck earlier this year at Jumeirah Al Naseem, Dubai. In conversation with us, he details his expansion plans for the Middle East, talks the importance of fresh fish to Japanese cuisine, and maintaining quality standards across restaurants. By Sophie McCarrick


The Pro Chef Middle East / Autumn 2017

“Almost all fish used at Katsuya is imported from Japan, US or Europe. Fresh fish is the most important element in a Japanese kitchen.” expansion plan to develop into other states and countries world over. Here’s what he shared with us…

You recently opened Katsuya in Dubai – what attracted you to launch in this region? Dubai is so very multicultural and it felt like the right fit because the restaurant brings in people from all over the world who enjoy our food. Not everybody likes Japanese, it is an acquired taste, but there seems to be a huge market for it in Dubai.

How many restaurants do you have internationally, and how often do you visit each outlet? Approximately 20 locations. I visit each location if I feel the need to go or if they need my help, but I don’t have a set schedule. I personally train each executive chef who heads the various kitchens, so I know the restaurant is in good hands.

Photographs SUPPLIED


orn on the small island of Miyako in Japan, Katsuya grew up in Naha, the capital city of Okinawa, where he was raised by his parents who were very active in the restaurant business. After graduating from Osaka Tsuji Culinary School, he went on to do a couple of apprenticeships in Osaka and Tokyo, and got his first job at a first-class Okinawa restaurant. He moved to the U.S. with his wife in the year 1984. After working as an executive chef at a few local Los Angeles restaurants, he decided to become independent. He started his first restaurant in Ventura Boulevard in Los Angeles, an area that is often referred to as ‘Sushi Ginza’ meaning ‘Sushi Corner.’ Chef Katsuya received high praise for his original sushi creations. The restaurant’s reputation spread throughout the city by word of mouth, attracting a variety of clientele. In 2006, Katsuya received the highest score possible from professional restaurant critique publication, Zagat. He analysed the eating habits of the American public and stepped outside of what is considered to be traditional Japanese cuisine, mixing the former with California style cuisine. This innovation ignited the new sushi trend that spread like wildfire. Chef Katsuya is very much respected among his peers for this accomplishment. Today, Katsuya is one of the finest Master Sushi Chefs in the world. He is famous for his distinctive style and first-rate execution of high quality sushi. Katsuya is not only an accomplished chef, but also possesses a keen sense of business. From the local Los Angeles area where he began, he has an

Autumn 2017 / The Pro Chef Middle East



how do you ensure consistency? What training processes are your chefs required to take? It is important to ensure that every customer is treated with importance and served delicious food. Consistency is a core value at Katsuya. Every dish will look and taste the same every time it is ordered. Every drink will be prepared in the same fashion no matter which bartender makes it. Every guest will be treated with the same excellence in guest service, regardless of who they are. It all begins with making sure that the kitchen is kept clean and chef’s always helping one other out – this is the basis of everything. Each executive chef is personally trained by me and unless each dish is perfect, they don’t take the next step.

For young chefs aspiring to become a master in Japanese cuisine, what would your advice be to them? Sense is important. Always demand a technique, knowledge, and an exercise, these are important to improve your skill. And never give up.

With so much travelling, are you able to get hands on in the kitchen often? Yes, but it is rare that I instruct during operation hours. If it’s needed, I teach and work with other chefs after operation hours.

Sushi relies heavily on highquality, fresh fish. Where do you source your fish from for Katsuya? Almost all fish used at Katsuya is imported from Japan, US or Europe. They are flown in fresh and delivered to the restaurant based on our requirement – fresh fish is the most important element in a Japanese kitchen.

Which types of fish are bestsellers in the restaurant? The most popular are tuna, yellowtail and salmon.


The Pro Chef Middle East / Autumn 2017

We hear there’s bigger expansion plans for the brand to come across the Middle East in Dubai, Qatar and Bahrain, tell us about the concepts and when they’re expected to open… As you know, the design and unique décor is done by Philippe Starck while I create Katsuya’s authentic, original Japanese dishes. This is the common concept that flows throughout the all locations. The next opening will be decided following the success of the Dubai opening.

Inside the kitchen at Katsuya Dubai, who mans the kitchen when you’re not around? His name is chef Sean, and he is an incredible chef!

Katsuya is renown internationally for its high standard Japanese offering –

Get to know chef Katsuya Favourite country to eat? Japan Which brand of knifes do you use? I have many kinds, but "Ne no Hi" brand is the one I have the most of Your ‘go-to’ meal? Japanese style steak Preferred fish for sashimi? Tuna Who is your culinary inspiration? Celebrity chef and restauranteur Mr. Nobu Matsuhisa - I really respect him

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At the forefront of modern Indian cuisine internationally, chef Atul Kochhar of Rang Mahal by Atul Kochhar at JW Marriott Marquis Dubai, explains why there’s no strict methodology when it comes to cooking, and why educating diners about ingredients is the key to helping them understand the complexities of Indian cuisine. By Sophie McCarrick

Every person has their own individual style. It’s very much like fingerprints. Every person has their own fingerprints which are their very own and it’s different from anyone else’s. In the same context, the way that you would use your ingredients and the way you would make a concoction from them, would be your own unique way of doing it. When you read a recipe or when you see a chef cooking you only get the general idea of

30 The Pro Chef Middle East

/ Autumn 2017

what they’re trying to do but when you cook the same thing yourself, you do it with your own hands. In India there is a saying, “It’s all in the hands”. There is no strict methodology when it comes to cooking. I always tell my cooks, pour your heart into it and the more you love what you’re doing, the better the end product is going to become.

Do you feel international diners of today understand the complexities of Indian food – or are at least getting better at understanding? I think education on Indian cuisine is important but I don’t think it needs to

Photographs SUPPLIED


uring your career so far, you’ve revolutionised Indian cuisine, making it more contemporary. Is this something you set out to do at the start?

be emphasised more than any other cuisine. I think education on developing the understanding of ingredients in general is probably the most important aspect and that understanding develops over time. For example, if someone has never used parsley before, the first time they try it, they may not like it and think it’s awful. But then, over time, they may try it again and start using it and they may begin to find that it works well with different ingredients –they might find it works well with butter, or that it works well with garlic and after experimenting like this, before they know it, they will be using parsley like they have been using it for ages. It’s the same thing with spices. There are no boundaries, rules or regulations. Once you start experimenting, you will learn to know what works and what doesn’t work. And then it gets easier and people will start to use them in their everyday cooking. I think people are already quite aware of Indian food but I feel that food education on understanding ingredients and learning how to experiment with them to create new flavours is important.

You trained with Oberoi Hotels in India, tell us about that experience… I trained at Oberoi Hotel Management and worked for Oberoi hotels in India. During the process, I picked up the knowledge to cooking with different cuisines. I worked in different principles. I was posted in French fine dining and then Italian. I also did Chinese and Japanese and Thai cooking. Then I decided I think now I’ve learnt everything I could have and I would like to do my own food and that’s where the Indian cuisine came along.

Vegetarianism is extremely popular across India. As a chef growing up there, were you able to train and practice with a wide range of meats? Vegetarianism is extremely popular but chicken, lamb and fish are all

widely available. As a young chef training at Oberoi, a 5-star hotel, we had the opportunity to train and practice with the more ‘exotic’ meats like duck and game.

With restaurants internationally, how do you manage your schedule to ensure consistency across all of your outlets? It is imperative to put in place effective strategies so that each outlet offers the same level of service, quality and consistency that guests have come to expect from them. This is possible only by personal intervention. Hence, I oversee all concept and design plans and work closely with the team to ensure that standards are kept at a high always. My quality assurance manager works with other staff to establish procedures and quality standards and to monitor these against agreed targets. It does mean that I travel a lot, interacting with our guests. However, I believe that listening

and reacting to feedback always gets results. There must be a manager who can manage the staff efficiently and build a successful team, be it in the kitchen or on the restaurant floor. To me, it boils down to good training and hard work.

India itself is a melting pot of varied cuisines and specialities. Which region is your favourite in Indian for its culinary offering? I travel to India at least three to four times a year for both social and professional reasons. Every time I go there the country doesn’t stop to amaze me – for good and bad reasons. There is so much to learn from India because each and every state is a country by itself and each has its own cuisine. There are lots of things to learn about the different cuisines, it just amazes me. I try not to label a city in India as being my favourite as I would find myself going there again and again. I keep my mind open and like to explore

Autumn 2017 / The Pro Chef Middle East



“I think education on Indian cuisine is important but I don’t think it needs to be emphasised more than any other cuisine. I think education on developing the understanding of ingredients in general is probably the most important aspect and that understanding develops over time.” different places and pick up different influences as I go along. I don’t actually think that there is a single state in India that I haven’t visited. I’ve been to each and every state.

If you could open a restaurant in any location around the world next year, where would you choose and why? New York, it’s very cosmopolitan and there is an upward trend for Indian food there.

When writing new recipes, where do you find inspiration? Keeping the menu fresh with innovative dishes and my reinterpretation of some of the great


The Pro Chef Middle East / Autumn 2017

Indian classics provides a dining experience that both delights and entices in equal measures. Sometimes the changes are a gentle and other times a more radical overhaul; my inspiration is mostly an evolutionary process, a gentle nudge from where I live, it could be something I have seen or an exciting new chef that inspires me.

For chefs looking to climb the ladder, what’s the secret to successfully balancing an expanding business and family life? The work/life balance is something I always and have always struggled

to juggle. I want to spend more time with my family, but the opportunities of expansion puts a lot of pressure on anybody’s personal life.

What are your thoughts on restaurants that tone down authentic Indian cuisine to suit varied palates? This is something that all restaurants do, and maybe not even notice they do it. Particularly, Indian restaurants are serving food that has been adapted, but not authentically Indian.

You’ve mentored and continue to mentor chefs coming through the ranks. As a leader in the kitchen, what legacy do think is most important to leave chefs with? 1) Love your food. 2) Keep your head down, by being honest and doing what you're told. 3) Learn to respect ingredients. 4) Learn to respect people who are already in the industry because there's a lot you can learn from them - a lot of young kids learn a few things and become very arrogant, you should never stop learning. You learn every day.

The Pro Chef Middle East Awards celebrate the achievements of those continuously raising the bar in the Middle East’s F&B sector. Voted for entirely by industry peers, these awards are a one-of-a-kind achievement and a prestigious stamp of approval. Voting will remain open until the 23rd October with the winners being revealed at an awards ceremony on the 6th November 2017. Cast your vote for who you think is the best in the industry here: Presenting Partner

Venue Partner

Water Partner

Kitchenware Partner

Beverage Partner

Tea Partner

Official Publication

Event Partners

Media Partner




Chef Reif Othman is the culinary talent behind the UAE’s most exclusive chef’s table, The Experience by Reif Othman and PLAY Restaurant & Lounge at H Hotel, Dubai. But what is it that he keeps in his fridge at home, cooks when he’s not running the pass, and does for fun in his spare time?


The Pro Chef Middle East / Autumn 2017



Five ingredients always in his fridge at home



Bird eye chili

Get to know Reif Othman


hef Reif Othman has had an outstanding culinary career to date, boasting global recognition and a celebrity status through his culinary expertise. His passion for food began early on in his native Singapore, where he helped his mother in the kitchen and studied at the Shatec Culinary School. Reif began gaining international recognition for his culinary talents in 2007 when working with One Rochester Group in Singapore as group executive chef for some of the city’s top restaurants and hotels. Consequently, Reif was recruited to join the Zuma Dubai team as executive chef in 2009 and quickly moved up the ladder as he displayed extensive talents being both creative and disciplined in the kitchen. His distinguished career has been awarded with the following accolades; Chef of the Year by BBC Good Food Middle East, The Pro Chef Middle East Awards, What's On Awards and the Zuma Regional Executive Chef in 2014. In 2015 Reif moved on from this role as regional executive chef at Zuma for Dubai and Abu Dhabi, for the opportunity to propel his culinary career to new heights as the director of culinary at R.A.W. Galadari Holdings & Absolute F&B Facilities Management.

Haagen dazs ice cream

Herbs (any)

Spices and herbs always in Reif’s kitchen

Bay leaf

Juniper berries


Ras el hanout


At home, his favourite pieces of kitchen equipment are


Scanpan pans

His ‘guilty pleasure’ food from the cupboard is…

When he eats out in Dubai, he loves going to…

Instant noodles from Japan, for sure! After late night hours, they are fast and easy.

WOX in Grand Hyatt. Simple and consistent. It offers value for money as well.

Favourite meals to cook at home

If he could travel to any country in the world for its food, he’d go to…

R.F.C (Reif ’s fried chicken), linguine aglio olio, braised haricot vert in vegetable stock, or Singaporean chicken rice.

Japan. Without a doubt!

When he’s not in the kitchen, for fun he likes to…

One chef, one evening. Reif would choose to cook with…

Go for a desert trail bike and or motor-cross.

My mentor David Mollicone.

Autumn 2017 / The Pro Chef Middle East


EN JOY P RE M I U M S WISS EDU C ATION IN DU BAI Offering the best in bakery, pastry and chocolate, the Richemont Masterbaker Centre For Excellence in Baking & Pastry, offers chefs the opportunity to advance in their careers by mastering the fine art of Swiss baking and pastry in a professional setting mentored by world class chefs – all from the convenient location of Jumeirah Lakes Towers, Dubai. FIND THE RIGHT COURSE FOR YOU


ABOUT LOOKING TO START OR FURTHER YOUR CAREER AS A PASTRY CHEF? The Richemont Masterbaker Centre For Excellence in Baking & Pastry is the only centre in the Middle East, dedicated towards providing intensive Modern Pastry & Bakery education program designed exclusively for professional chefs. Masterbaker – a name synonymous with bakery and pastry ingredients in the GCC since 1992, has dedicated its efforts in advancing two culinary segments. Richemont, Switzerland’s leading Centre of Excellence for bakery and confectionery established in 1945 offers specialised, professional modern training programs. The two prestigious institutions have come together to provide a comprehensive Modern Pastry & Bakery education program that focuses on helping professional chefs take their knowledge and skill to the next level.


Richemont Masterbaker Centre for Excellence in Baking & Pastry is set up to provide intensive and fast paced courses for chefs who are from the Bakery or Pastry fields, or for students looking to begin a career in either of the fields. The institute has two separate classrooms for Baking and Pastry. A separate theory room with audio/video capability completes the facility – all set across the best in class facilities on 5,500 sq. of premium space. Courses are designed by The Richemont Centre of Excellence in Switzerland are recognised by KHDA and are delivered by three masters for each class of 16 students. Most of the course work is hands on training.

Group discounts, early bird entries and sponsorships available!



Chefs successfully completing any of the below programs are awarded a Certificate of Excellence which is approved and accredited by the Richemont Centre of excellence in Bakery & Pastry located at Luzern in Switzerland. European Bread & Baking Course - This Professional European Bread and Baking Program is for professional bakers who want to upgrade their baking knowledge. They will learn how to create special breads and understand the underlying science of making great breads. Completing this program successfully would enable bakers: • To specialise in the field of baking and undertake craft baking operations. • Further advance in their career to becoming Head Bakers & Executive Bakery chefs. Advanced Pastry Course & Techniques – This program exposes students to the diverse world of Swiss confectionery (cakes, cream cakes), ice creams and fine chocolate production. Although fast paced and compact, this program provides a complete introduction to modern pastry making, chocolate and ice cream production and advanced pastry techniques and knowledge. Completing this program successfully would enable students to: • Specialise in the field of Modern Pastry, Chocolate & Ice Cream. • Further advancement in their skill development and career towards Head of Pastry or Pastry Chefs. • Be familiar with the art of pastry presentation. Professional Chocolate Course & Techniques – The pastry course also exposes students to the diverse world of fine chocolate making. This portion of the course will provide chefs with the mandatory platform of knowledge and skills in chocolate works. Additionally, will bring students to the wonderful world of professional chocolate making course focusing on the application and different modern techniques in confectionery through theoretical and hands-on learning approaches. Completing this program successfully would enable students to: • Specialise in the field of chocolate along with other useful kitchen techniques. • Further advancement in their skill development. • Be familiar with the art of chocolate production and presentations and its application.

• Swiss Bread and Baking MasterClass Kitchen: Fully equipped, can accommodate 16 students. • Pastry, Chocolate and Ice Cream MasterClass Kitchen: Fully equipped, can accommodate 16 students. • Seminar room, for discussions, presentations and theoretical sessions.

HEAD OF ACADEMICS BAKERY Chef Roland Eitzinger – A certified Master Pastry Chef & Confectioner with over 30 years of experience, Chef Roland offers a rich blend of international industry experience in the art of Baking & Pastry. He worked for leading and reputed hotel properties in Dubai, Hong kong and in Europe as a Master & Executive Chef. In his previous assignment Chef Roland was actively involved in planning and training his colleagues on a day to day basis and was spearheading a young pastry and baker development program for the entire group in the region.Chef Roland has lead as an Executive Pastry Chef with some of the leading well-known hotel properties in the region like Raffles, Madinat Jumeriah–Al Qasr, The World Trade Center Hotel, Emirates Towers Hotel, Mandarin Oriental and La Rose Noire Group. PASTRY & CHOCOLATE Chef Christiane Trilck – Trained in Culinary at the RBZ University, Germany for three years as a MasterChef, Chef Christiane comes with a over 20 years of passion, skill and art in pastry making. She has been an Executive Pastry Chef at The Waldorf Astoria, Versace Hotel, Madinat Jumeirah in the UAE, Intercontinental Phoenicia in Beirut & The Grove Watford. Her experience as key pastry trainer includes Hilton Hotels, Waldorf and Conrad Hotels across the Arabian Peninsula.

Professional Ice Cream Course & Techniques – This portion of the pastry course exposes students to the basics and certain uses of ice creams and its production. The students learn the difference between ice creams, sorbet and parfait and creation of each with other different and unique ice cream flavors. Completing this program successfully would enable students to: • Specialise in the field of ice cream making. • Further advancement in their skill development and their career. • Be familiar with the art of ice cream making

Richemont Masterbaker Centre of Excellence Bakery & Pastry


Richemont Masterbaker




QUALITY VS PRICE Robert Renton, general manager of Truebell Food Services comments on the UAE’s want for premium product in a climate of declining budgets and increased competition.


s a leading distributor in the region, talk us through the importance between maintaining the quality vs price ratio... In an increasingly competitive hospitality landscape, combined with other mitigating factors we have seen more and more focus on cost management in the market. To maintain a competitive edge, we have had to either put pressure on our own suppliers, or look at alternative suppliers – often in regions that are less affected by the depreciating US Dollar. Staff knowledge

has also been critical, as very often inferior lower priced products don’t perform to the standards expected from five-star properties and many of the independent restaurants in the UAE. By training our staff correctly, it’s easier to focus on the benefits of a high-quality product over a ‘look alike’ competing product.

Consumers of today are becoming more and more educated about food, and in turn, more demanding about the source and traceability of the food they’re eating. How does this affect you as a

distributor, in terms of selecting farms and brands to work with? The consumer in the UAE market today is far more aware of food quality, and wants to know more and more information on the product they are eating. Several examples to illustrate how we are looking to change what we are shipping to Dubai could be a new chicken we have sourced where no growth hormones or antibiotics have been used in production, a new organic beef we are negotiating in Australia and a glutenfree bakery range of pre-packed items. We’re putting extra resources into this

Autumn 2017 / The Pro Chef Middle East



“To maintain a competitive edge, we have had to either put pressure on our own suppliers, or look at alternative suppliers – often in regions that are less affected by the depreciating US Dollar.” area, as we only see these changing habits becoming more and more apparent across the business.

As the market evolves, in which ways are you able to help culinary teams now, that you perhaps couldn’t in the past?

When occupancy declines in a hotel, how would you recommend chefs and procurement teams maintain food standards, without clamping down on quality of ingredients? This is particularly important during the challenging summer months, where both occupancy levels and yields are relatively very low. This summer we looked at ways where we could work with chefs on a ‘basket’ of high quality products that they have historically purchased through other suppliers, and offered a discount encouraging increased revenues at a lower margin. This has resulted in a win-win scenario for both parties, helping to maintain standards, and mitigate the effect of the challenges the summer invariably brings.

Over the last 12 months, in which food divisions have you witnessed the highest decrease and increase when it comes to decline and demand of products? We’ve certainly seen a decline across our US prime beef sales, offset by major increases in sales of Australian beef. Whilst the quality of the latter is excellent, pricing can be as much as 30% cheaper than some of the US cuts. We’ve also seen a downward pressure on some of our premium bakery products, as hotels move to in-house production particularly during the summer period.

Looking at the market, over the last 12 months we’ve sadly seen the opening and quick closure of many restaurants. Where do you feel these outlets are going wrong? We’ve seen the growth of standalone outlets evolve over the last eight to ten

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/ Autumn 2017

on overall costs obviously impacts our own commercial well-being. We’re trying to develop a portfolio and salesforce targeting the evolving standalone restaurants, as strategically this has been identified as an area that will continue to grow quickly. Within this channel, we see less emphasis on costs – although of course it is important – and more emphasis on a cash margin approach focusing on enhancing consumer experience through some of the factors I mention earlier.

years, but the number of successful openings has been led by a far fewer number than there are openings. The highly successful restaurants never compromise on quality of the food offering, the beverage offering and intricate service at every consumer touch point. Reactions to a reduction in number of covers or average spend is met with a drive to improve at the outlets that will continue to succeed. Many new openings start strongly, but when or if the number of covers starts to decline, an immediate reaction is to cut costs. This of course further exacerbates the decline, instead of addressing it and cash flows run dry, often followed (sadly) by closure.

What problems do you face as a distributor in the Middle East, catering to a wide-range of in-house and standalone restaurants? The greatest problem we face as the market grows in terms of hotel numbers is undoubtedly pressure on food costs across the major five-star hotel chains. These properties remain an integral part of our customer mix, and their pressure

Within the standalone channel, we’re trying to get closer to key chefs and understand their needs better. We’ve employed people who know the channel well, and have the experience to work with these chefs and satisfy the needs of their respective businesses. This could be anything from sourcing products from the most exotic locations, to providing a daily delivery smaller than what we are used to delivering before a certain time in the morning. It’s something we are trying to improve all the time, and a very different model to working with the classic four- and five-star hotels. Both channels remain of strategic importance and we’re always trying to improve the way we work to satisfy the needs across the channels we work with.

Truebell Food Services Truebell has been a specialist in importing fine food and beverage brands from all around the world for the retail and food service industry in GCC region for over 30 years. During this time, Truebell has established a reputation as experts in sourcing, handling, re-exporting and delivering products to clients in the GCC region. For more information:


For reservations of group booking rates contact us at or call us at 04-3794044.



路 Very rich in antioxidants

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Awatif Alaabdi of Food Emporium




Awatif Alaabdi of Food Emporium explains why strategic partnerships in the F&B industry are vital to growth in business.


ell us about Food Emporium and the services that it offers..

Food Emporium is a market leading food distribution service in the GCC, partnering with major brands in the food industry from USA, Europe and Asia. Food Emporium distributes frozen, chilled, dry food to major airlines, hotels, restaurants and catering industries, as well as the retail market where we are present at the major stores and supermarkets.

How do you work with your partners to increase business? At Food Emporium we develop strategic partnerships with our partners to introduce valuable brands into the GCC market, our strength is in devising solid marketing and sales strategies that we execute to gain market share throughout wholesale and retail food business as

well as accompanying our partner to grow their business in the region in terms of strategic planning and operational efficiency. Our large and deep network of distribution and sales points, and logistical and operational excellence are the cornerstones of the value we propose to and benefit our partners from.

Looking at ingredients, over the past 12 months, what sort of products have you witnessed an increased demand for, and a decreased need? We have been on a steady growth throughout our products spectrum; we have seen a solid growth in our diversified and customised bakery division which is optimised by Food Emporium’s own productive capacity, and proprietary products, in addition to major international brands. We have

seen an increasing demand in our catering division and specifically in the sandwiches' offering we provide for major restaurants and coffee shops, etc.

For restaurants looking for unique and exclusive ingredients, how easy is it for Food Emporium to source these for them? The productive capacity of Food Emporium enables us to customise unique offerings for restaurants, in addition to a wide spectrum sourced globally from major brands. We believe in providing a holistic solution for restaurants and coffee shops either through our extensive partners' products, or through our productive capacity and creative chefs.

For those looking for bakery services, talk us through the offering that Food Emporium provide… Our bakery division provides all the raw ingredients necessary for a bakery, we also provide to our clients’ frozen bakery products from prestigious brands that we bake in our facilities, as well as a wide range of daily prepared and baked products with a premium quality that are parts of Food Emporium productive capacity. For more information, visit

Autumn 2017 / The Pro Chef Middle East




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Virgilio Martinez


As chef-owner at Central Restaurante in Lima, Peru, which ranks fifth on The World’s 50 Best Restaurants List, Virgilio Martinez is an advocate for Peruvian cuisine around the world – and was chosen as this year’s recipient of the coveted Chefs’ Choice Award 2017. He has a Michelin star to his name, is a leading star on the popular Netflix series, Chef’s Table (season three), made his Dubai debut less than one year ago with LIMA Dubai at City Walk, and at present is easily one of the world’s most accomplished culinary talents. In a one-toone with The Pro Chef Middle East, Martinez explains why he feels Peruvian cuisine is finally getting the attention it deserves. By Sophie McCarrick

Autumn 2017 / The Pro Chef Middle East




cting as a melting pot of cuisines, Peru has welcomed culinary influence from all over the world for years. The world, however, hadn’t heard much about Peru’s culinary offering, until recent years, when the country’s fare went from strength to strength across international food markets. Peru's modern-day cuisine features influences from Japan, Italy and Spain, amongst others, and utilises a variety of ingredients not regularly seen in most kitchens. Sourced from the depths of the Pacific, to the valleys of the Andes, Peruvian ingredients have much to offer. “It is the extreme contrast between the regions and what they offer that inspires me and my cooking,” says Virgilo, who throughout his career to date has really helped to put Peruvian cuisine on the map – and rightly so. Talking more on the subject, here’s what he had to say…

Peruvian cuisine has evolved a lot over the last ten years, why do you think this is? It is a consequence of more and more people travelling more frequently, discovering new and authentic food experiences. It is not

just a case of following trends, it is sharing gastronomic experiences through meals, which in turn has an evolutionary effect.

How have you found the process of sourcing Peruvian ingredients in Dubai? It’s not as difficult as we thought. Dubai has a well-established structure to enable sourcing ingredients from many countries around the world. Bearing in mind that at the end of the day Peruvian cuisine has been heavily influenced

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by visitors to the country for thousands of years so we aren’t just using ingredients from the Amazon, but from regions such as Asia as well. The food that we offer at LIMA Dubai is different to LIMA London, we have had to adapt to the location, to its limitations and to its benefits as well. We take what is Peruvian tradition and blend it to meet the demands modern life styles. Quality is important to us, so we are happy to use ingredients from different areas such as tomatoes from Italy, fish from japan and meat from

TO TRY Peruvian ingredients • Papa amarilla (yellow potato) • Culantro (eryngium foetidum) • Ají amarillo (yellow chili) • Yuca (cassava) • Maíz morado (purple corn) • Oca (oxalis tuberosa)

Autumn 2017 / The Pro Chef Middle East



"From extreme altitudes in the mountains, to the valleys of the Andes and the lush green of the Amazon, there is life flourishing and it excites me to be able to represent that in my dishes." Australia. But saying this, where we can we work with Peruvian producers, so you will still find ingredients from the Andes and the Peruvian jungle on your plate.

For suppliers reading this, what products would you like to see more availability of in Dubai? Although in Dubai quinoa is very well known, I would like and hope to see more Andean grains and more fruit and vegetables from the Amazon available in the region. The varieties area so diverse and the ingredients work well for a variety of cuisines.


The Pro Chef Middle East / Autumn 2017

Tell us how the different regions of Peru inspire your cuisine… It is the extreme contrast between the regions and what they offer that inspires me and my cooking. From extreme altitudes in the mountains, to the valleys of the Andres and the lush green of the Amazon, there is life flourishing and it excites me to be able to represent that in my dishes.

Your cuisine is known for encompassing ingredients from varied altitudes, why is this? It is very Peruvian to be connected

Get to know Virgilio Martinez What’s one piece of equipment you couldn't live without? My knife, it is a basic tool, but so essential to the whole cooking process. What’s your preferred knife brand? I don't stick with one specific brand, I simply focus on quality and their benefits for certain tasks. But I am a fan of a sharp Japanese blade. Biggest pet peeve about the culinary industry? The over exaggeration of a dish adaptation, I like to work with source elements. Guilty pleasure meal? My guilty pleasure is caviar. Favourite country to visit for its food? Japan.

to our surroundings, I wanted to work in a way that expressed the diversity of Peru's altitudes and ecosystems. The factors have such a dramatic effect on the produce grown in the areas, but still within a relatively close proximity. Using ingredients from a variety of altitudes truly embodies the ethos of Peruvian cuisine.

What’s your main mission while working in the culinary industry? I think those working in gastronomy do have an important role. Tasting, sharing and creating food is one of the best ways to learn about a culture and experience another country without leaving your own. I want to grow with peoples taste and I am always striving to make things better.

Peruvian cuisine has come so far in recent years. How do you see the cuisine evolving further over the next ten years? It is difficult to predict the evolution of a cuisine, but with constant improvements in technology and flow of new ideas I am sure we will see further twists on traditions in the not too distant future. I hope that there will be positives changes in sustainability as well. As we become more aware of the impact on our environment,

we will look to find new ways to produce, prepare and enjoy food.

What’s the biggest misconception of Peruvian cuisine? That Peruvian cuisine is just ceviche and pisco sours. This is such misconception, due to the cultures that make up Peru’s history and the range of ecosystems and altitudes, the cuisine is so diverse.

What was it like filming Chef’s Table? It was a great experience. It was wonderful to be able to engage with people around the world via Netflix, people I would have never had the opportunity to connect with and share my story. The episode focused on Peruvian nature, what Central is about and a bit of my personal life. I saw it as an opportunity to promote my region worldwide.

How have you found the market so far in Dubai since opening LIMA Dubai? It’s not yet been a year, but time does seem to fly in Dubai. The city continues to grow very fast, it is evolving and it is an exciting time to be in the market. I enjoy the different pace of Dubai to London and Peru and I am excited to see LIMA Dubai continue to grow as well.

When opening new outlets, how do you find your head chefs? Are they people who have worked with you for some time? Yes, where possible I like to select chefs I have worked with before as it is all about connection and understanding. First, we look at the person, then we look at the technique, our head chefs must live and breathe the LIMA story, but also be able to make their own mark.

In most Peruvian restaurants, ceviche is highlighted on menus. Are there any Peruvian dishes you feel deserve a little more time in the spotlight? Dishes like Tiraditios, Causas, Huatias, Carapulcras, Sudados, Tiger’s Milk and Pachamancas. You will find these all on the LIMA Dubai menu and slowly the team are educating guests on these dishes and allowing them to discover more about the variety that comes with Peruvian cuisine.

TO VISIT A selection of Peruvian restaurants in Dubai • LIMA Dubai, City Walk • Waka, The Oberoi Dubai • Garden, JW Marriott Marquis Dubai • Coya, The Four Seasons Dubai

Autumn 2017 / The Pro Chef Middle East




Recognised as ‘the world’s fastest butcher’, meat master Cüneyt Asan, the owner of Günaydın Dubai at Souk Al Bahar, talks beef. By Sophie McCarrick

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Looking at the beef market, which countries do you think have the best quality product? Some of the countries producing the best quality beef include Argentina, where a majority of livestock are allowed to roam freely and feed on grass rather than corn, which results in better fat distribution throughout the meat. Japan has incredible Wagyu beef since this breed of cow has a genetic predisposition to produce meat that’s highly marbled with fat, creating an extremely succulent, tender cut with

Photographs SUPPLIED

Beef business

aving specialised in butchery for more than 50 years’, chef Cüneyt Asan has earned titles including ‘The Professor of Meat’ and ‘Fastest Butcher in the World’. Although based in Turkey full-time, the meat professional visits Dubai monthly to oversee operations at his restaurant, Günaydın Dubai. From sourcing beef to serving, here’s what chef Cüneyt shared with us – including details of his experience as mentor to the ‘meat internet sensation’, Salt Bae…

a high percentage of healthy omega 3 fatty acids. There is also Australia and America; both are highly popular for their top-notch beef quality.

Across all of your restaurants, which type and cut of beef do you find is most in demand from your guests?

At Günaydın, we order American and Australian beef, as well as Wagyu beef from Japan.

At the steakhouses, the most preferred meats are tomahawk, T-bone, Dallas and rack of lamb. In our kebab restaurants, the most preferred kebabs are adana, urfa, alinazik and seasonally keme kebab and yenidünya kebab.

When looking at where cows are reared, what crucial aspects are you looking for a farm to have?

You’ve been titled ‘the fastest butcher in the world’. How did you earn that title?

Abundant space is a great start. When cattle are confined and stressed, this is reflected in the taste and texture of the meat. When looking at where cows are reared, I look for a clean environment, from the cows’ bedding, to the equipment used – ensuring that farmers eliminate illnesses to the best of their ability. Nutritious food and water, even allnatural smart supplements ensure that the cows are treated well. It is important to keep cows happy and healthy in order to deliver high-quality beef

This was a titled given to me by other chefs in the industry, my peers and subordinates. It is due to my years of experience handling meat, no matter the cut, size or texture.

Where do you source your beef from?

Let’s talk knives! To do your job, your knife is a key tool. Which type and brand do you favour most for butchery? I have an exclusive, custom-made set of knives. I am a person who is in love with his job and I take this set of knives with me wherever I go. From time to time, I put on my apron and put on a show where I demonstrate cutting meat with these knives. There are a few quality brands that stand out in the market. Indeed, we choose the type of knife according to the task at hand. There are separate knives for cutting the meat, chopping the meat, skimming the meat, or deboning the meat. That is why trying to use a single of type of knife for every task will only slow the process and even makes it impossible to complete the tasks at times. The types of knives we use include chef’s knife, chopping knife, trimming knife, skimming knife and fillet knife.

We hear it all started for you at ten years of age in a butcher shop! How did this come about? After moving to Istanbul, I started working as an apprentice at the Bostancı Butchers’ Market at the age of 10. By the time I reached 21, I had developed my skills and grew from an apprentice to a master of my craft. However, soon after I had to put my passion to a pause and join the military service. After paying my dues to the country, I went back to the butcher shop I had

What’s your favourite breed of cattle to cook with and why? Wagyu, which is any of the four Japanese breed of beef cattle. Wagyu cattle have a genetic predisposition to produce marbled meat from the high levels of fat, which yields a beef that contains a higher percentage of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids than typical beef. I prefer Wagyu Black cattle as they have higher fat content as compared to the three other Wagyu cattle.

Autumn 2017 / The Pro Chef Middle East



“When looking at where cows are reared, I look for a clean environment, from the cows’ bedding, to the equipment used – ensuring that farmers eliminate illnesses to the best of their ability. Nutritious food and water, even all-natural smart supplements ensure that the cows are treated well. It is important to keep cows happy and healthy in order to deliver high-quality beef.” previously worked at, which was then owned by the two brothers Nimet and Ismet Yalçın. They eventually offered me a partnership, to help keep the butchery’s legacy alive. The butcher shop was called Günaydın (‘good morning’ in Turkish), and was first established as an American bar and a library, breaking new grounds as a first of its kind in Turkey. Within five years, Günaydın established a meat production farm in Malkara-Tekirdag in order to produce its own meat and supply raw meat to restaurants and factories in Istanbul. By 1992, my partners and I were the meat suppliers to the majority of Istanbul’s restaurants. Due to popular demand, we decided to launch our first restaurant in Çamlık, Küçükyalı. Following its success, the second branch in Bostancı, located on the Anatolian side of Istanbul, was launched in 1994 and the list kept growing with the addition of Kozyatagı, Etiler and Suadiye branches.


The Pro Chef Middle East / Autumn 2017

What does it take to become a meat master butcher like yourself? Success doesn’t happen by accident, it requires effort. I became a meat master for the sheer love of meat. It is true that you have to love what you do in order to work with immense dedication and excel at it. Over the years, I formed an indescribable bond with meat. I understood the inner workings of various meat cuts, how to handle it with care by hand, how to treat it, how to best season it – which is minimally, so the authentic taste of the meat isn’t removed. To develop, I watched other chefs at work, and how they best improved their methods to prosper at my own craft.

What food trends are coming out of Turkey at the moment? Trends at short lived. Turkey doesn’t have food trends, but food legacies. It is evident that doners and kebabs are highly popular world over. There is also the desired Turkish dessert, katmer. The dessert hails from East of Turkey and has a history of over

5,000 years. Turkish coffee and Civan Er’s mantı (Turkish ravioli) are also becoming prominent around the world.

You mentored Salt Bae – what was that like? Did you know he’d eventually become an online sensation? As is the case with most teachers, watching their students learn, grow and excel is always a heartwarming feeling. It gives me great pride to watch the little boy who started out at Günaydın restaurant in Turkey work his way to start his own culinary enterprise and succeed at it. Becoming an online sensation can almost never be predicted for anyone, but he has always been theatrical and charismatic, so it is no surprise that he has won such a great fan-following in the digital realm.

For aspiring chefs of today, what’s your word of advice? Be ready to face the pressure, believe in yourself and work hard. If possible, get the best training out there. There are more learning tools available nowadays than there were when I started and professional training can really ease the journey. No job is too big or too small, expect to start as a sous chef and be a dish washer if you have to, as long as you keep learning and keep improving. Always be humble and always be nice no matter what your position may be.




all him a cooking virtuoso, Rocco DiSpirito was born with a gift – the ability to deliver great food, almost instinctively. To watch him is to see muscle memory in action – he doesn't just cook a dish, he is the dish. Shades of Bruce Lee or Star Wars' famous injunction here – he is the Force. He started cooking in his teens and many consider him the most talented American chef of his generation. Now in his early 50s, however, there is something different about him: he hasn't cooked in a restaurant kitchen for a dozen years or more.


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That's not to say he's disappeared. On the contrary, he's now a media 'personality', equally at home on Top Chef or Dancing with the Stars, even selling frozen foods for Bertorelli's or Kraft meal-starter kits. He has, in other words, made the shift from golden boy of the US restaurant scene to perpetual C-list food celebrity who’s available to rent. A long way from the day, some two decades ago, when he launched his restaurant Union Pacific which, with its take on modern American cuisine, propelled him into the limelight to become one


In every profession, from writing to athletics, there are naturals. People who seem to know instinctively what to do and then do it better than everybody else (mostly). The same is true in F&B and a prime example of that trait is demonstrated by chef Rocco DiSpirito. Never heard of him? You should have. By Dave Reeder

of the first TV-driven celebrity chefs in the States. Now, of course, with Twitter and Instagram, YouTube channels and obscure cable TV shows, we can hardly move for Z-list celebrity chefs and home cooks, but DiSpirito was amongst the first to go for the money and lose credibility amongst the profession. Want to hear what Anthony Bourdain said about him? No, seriously, you don't… Of course, it's possible to be a credible chef and retain your kitchen chops – Bourdain is a perfect example of a chef who branched out into writing and documentary work, as well as chat shows, but is always, without doubt, about the food and keeping it real. The other side of the ocean, Britain's Gordon Ramsay seems hardly ever off our TV screens, but nobody doubts the quality of his restaurant empire. Even more so, perhaps, is 'cheeky chappie' Jamie Oliver, whose food empire delivers what the public wants even as he's the front guy for TV shows, a food magazine and licensed products from olive oil to herbs and spices. DiSpirito could have been one of the greats – after all, he gained fame just as the F&B world was maturing fast. Instead, he chose easy celebrity and, once you're on that treadmill, how do you get off? He could've contributed, perhaps significantly, to the art form. But he didn't. He came into prominence at the exact moment mainstream celebrity became an option for chefs, and he chose celebrity. Rocco DiSpirito hopped on fame's hamster wheel, and Rocco DiSpirito has been running on that wheel ever since. Born in Queens in the mid-1960s, he was already making money working in a pizzeria by the age of 11, moving to a professional kitchen a mere four years later. This schooling in fine dining prepared him, a scant year later, for the Culinary Institute of America where he was top of his class. A stage in Paris at Le Jardin des Cygnes followed by Boston University's school of hospitality, paid work as a chef de partie and then a stint as a personal chef. Not a bad grounding. After graduation, he worked at one of the biggest New York City restaurants of the 1990s, Lespinasse, under Swiss chef Gray Kunz, followed by two executive chef jobs but, unfortunately, both restaurants failed under him even though legendary food critic Ruth Reichl's review of Annabelle said that "the restaurant's chef,

Rocco DiSpirito, is someone to watch". A year later, Union Pacific opened and DiSpirito was installed as the executive chef, changing the owners' original concept of Asian fusion to his own vision. Again, Reichl recalls: "Most of the time, you're eating copycat food and you can tell the influences right off the bat. But eating Rocco's dishes, I thought, 'He's cooking from some other place, out of his head.' The food was shockingly unique. As a critic, you're dying to find chefs like him." Her review gave the place three stars. And fame followed. Food and Wine named him America's Best New Chef. Gourmet named him the Most Exciting Young Chef in America. He was a James Beard finalist for best chef in NYC three of the next four years. Julia Child insisted on going to Union Pacific to try the food. By 2003, with the publication of his James Beard award winning cookbook, Flavor, DiSpirito had the culinary world at his feet. He made a decision: with the irresistible rise of reality TV – remember Big Brother and American Idol? – he would shake up the TV culinary world with a series about opening another restaurant. For a food-TV culture largely made up of staged studio programmes with Emiril Lagasse, Paula Deen or Bobby Flay, The Restaurant could be a game changer. It followed the opening of Rocco's, a casual Italian place DiSpirito wanted to create in tribute to his heritage, with even his mother making meatballs

“Do chefs have an obligation to use their talent to make people happy? As much as I would like to say 'yes', the answer is 'no'. A chef's life is hard.”

Autumn 2017 / The Pro Chef Middle East



“They [chefs] have about eight or nine years of talented cooking before they burn out and need to figure out something else. It's a brutal profession, so it's hard to blame Rocco for picking the celebrity angle over the chef angle.”

in the kitchen. Just one problem: the villain of the piece, the money man restaurateur Jeffrey Chodorow. From the start, the show became a train wreck with DiSpirito losing the fight to have an intimate Downtown space to Chodorow's insistence of a massive restaurant at 22nd and Broadway. According to William Grimes of The Times, "Every chef who opened a restaurant in that location, the restaurant died quickly". By the second season of the TV show, the tensions were front and centre. DiSpirito is criticised for never being in the kitchen, not answering phone calls or e-mails, even not delivering full financial information. It took its toll on the chef and matters came to a head in 2004 with the end of the show and an injunction preventing DiSpirito from entering his own restaurant. He never worked in a restaurant again, instead following the book writing path, with frequent stops along the way for TV spots and product hype on the QVC shopping network. So the restaurant chef slipped away and, in its place, stepped the kitchenware and pasta promoter, the cookbook author

– Rocco's Five Minute Flavor, Fabulous Meals with 5 Ingredients in 5 Minutes and Now Eat This!: 150 of America's Favorite Comfort Foods, All Under 350 Calories, for example – the TV presenter, the triathlon runner and, finally, health food crusader, promoting everything from organic protein powder and raw vegan organic dark chocolate bliss bars to so-called choco-nocco butter. Welcome to the celebrity world. Unfortunately, it's not a world were talent has much effect. Instead everything is about branding, or promoting, or whether you can claw your way up the celebrity pile by becoming a Kardashian tweet buddy and so on. In a perfect example of American capitalism at its rawest, you have become the product. Back to Reichl: "With Rocco, I get the sense he didn't control his own destiny. He was young and hungry and he didn't have anyone looking out for him. And so he just moved onto the next thing." So, should we blame him? Do chefs have an obligation to use their talent to make people happy? As much as I would like to say 'yes', the answer is 'no'. A chef's

Awards received by Rocco DiSpirito James Beard Award for his book Flavor America's Best New Chef, by Food and Wine Magazine Most Exciting Young Chef, by Gourmet Magazine Best Chef: New York City by James Beard Foundation - three times Sexiest Chef Alive by People Magazine James Beard Award: Best Cookbook - Cooking From A Professional Point of View


The Pro Chef Middle East / Autumn 2017

life is hard. Offers may only come once and it's rare to have good advice to hand and so, with no savings and no serious pension plan, a chef will think 'I need to go for it', if only to make the crazy hours, hard work and doubtful futures somehow worthwhile. The irony of a chef's life being that if they do take care of themselves and have time off, then they're not in the kitchen creating the next great thing… New York magazine restaurant critic Adam Platt sums it up: "A lot of chefs who get early adulation go through this process. They have about eight or nine years of talented cooking before they burn out and need to figure out something else. It's a brutal profession, so it's hard to blame Rocco for picking the celebrity angle over the chef angle. He just happened to come along during this tear in the dimensional fabric where everything changed." But what's DiSpirito's take on all this? We don't know. He's insulated by his PR people and the rest of his new world. However, there's a telling section near the end of the first season of The Restaurant, on voiceover, he says: "I realised if I was going to turn it around, it needed to start here in the kitchen, the one place I knew I would get it right. I'd forgotten how good it feels to be in the kitchen again. This is my art. This is my game. This is what I know." Let's hope he finds that feeling again.


AMARAH The Amarah collection combines a dynamic brushstroke pattern with fine craquelé glaze effect with charmingly archaic artistic skill. The result is originally elegant crockery that shines the spotlight on kitchen creations in an attractive way. In order to provide the hotel and gastronomy centre with even more harmonious design options for table and buffet, Villeroy & Boch is expanding the colour spectrum of Amarah with two new natural tones: Date Flower adds sunny notes while the bold green tones of Reed appear soothing and balancing. Amarah Date Flower and Amarah Reed are positively made for wellness hotels, spa facilities and the popular, natural trendy kitchen, but also work in casual dining and gourmet cuisine regardless whether in the lobby, lounge, bar or on the terrace.

NEWWAVE STONE Natural designs and structured materials are becoming more and more attractive and are on trend. The NewWave Stone collection boasts gentle curves and a modern design. Classic white combined with a modern stone look will make it the focal point of any dining table.

PICKING PLATES We take a look at some of the latest plates being used in restaurants around the world by Villeroy & Boch, available at Sara Hospitality

Artesano Montagne is a carefully decorated winter dish line that brings romantic luster from the beginning of fall to the end of winter. The fine décor is inspired by Norwegian knitting patterns and translates the typical snowflake and little diamond into a warm gray and a muted red design on white ceramic.

COLOURFUL LIFE Whether it’s to set a breakfast table, a summery brunch, lunch or dinner in a laid-back atmosphere – the premium workmanship of Colourful Life dishware makes any meal a refreshing and very colourful experience. Items include simple coffee cups, egg cups, bowls and plates and even dishes for couples. Large pasta plates and lovely mocha cups guarantee enjoyment.


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PASTA PASSION This collection is inspired by traditional Italian pasta dishes, but open up other diverse uses such as for risotto, salad, lasagna and even desserts. The Pasta Passion line consists of special plates with intelligent features. All the plates have a practical surface for utensils preventing the fork or spoon from slipping off the plate when it is being carried. The spaghetti plate for longer noodles possesses an integrated twisting indent in which spaghetti and similar long pasta can be perfectly twirled onto a fork even without a spoon. The inside of the plate is divided in such a way that the sauce stays where it belongs – and not just with pasta, but even with fish, for example. Designed without the classic bottom surface, guests can enjoy short pasta like penne or farfalle, or even risotto or couscous from Pasta Plate L and thanks to the steep side walls, even the last noodle or grain is easy to get onto the fork or spoon.

GENESIS BY AFFINITY Genesis is powerful, expressive, versatile. Just like Genesis by Affinity. The new décor puts strong colours on the table. The design of Affinity is dedicated to round and oval forms with a bit of finesse, which gives the dishes a discreet and stylish look. The pure white series consists of a total of 71 different articles, many of which are stackable. Beyond the basic set there are additional products like multi-tiered service plates, compartment plates, cloches and dispensers. With Genesis by Affinity now 29 decorated articles are being added including cup and plate variations, bowls, platters and pitchers out of which a complete table setting can be made or which can be combined with pure white Affinity pieces. All pieces of Affinity and Genesis by Affinity are dishwasher, microwave and oven safe. The high-quality premium porcelain is so durable that Villeroy & Boch provides a 10-year warranty for flatware covering chipping.

ARTESANO NATURE Inspired by natural living, this line is based on originality and natural materials. Warm colours create a cozy atmosphere. Fitting this lifestyle Villeroy & Boch presents Artesano Nature in the soft tones of blue, green and beige with a vibrant, handcrafted brushstroke décor. Artesano Nature consists of ten basic articles: coffee cup with saucer, four flat plates, a deep plate, two bowls and a mug.

ANMUT SAMARAH Anmut Samarah is a unique, refined décor that advances to become a real highlight in both a classic as well as modern ambience – as an eye-catcher in the lobby lounge or as an exclusive decorative statement on the tables of the best restaurants. The range of items for Anmut Samarah opens up diverse applications for the superior hotel and gastronomy trade from elegant breakfasts through to exquisite lunches and a stylish tea time all the way to fine dining in the evening. Alongside flat and deep plates there are cups and saucers in multiple sizes, as well as a gravy boat, a round and an oval platter, a salad bowl and small bowls in various sizes. A teapot, pourer and sugar bowl round off the range.

Autumn 2017 / The Pro Chef Middle East



STELLA VOUGE The white relief décor of Stella Vouge melts together with the delicate, round shape made of extremely fine premium bone porcelain and its discreet warm matte gold highlights lend charm and elegance to any table presentation. This range includes flat plates in various sizes and pattern versions, various large, deep plates and bottom plates accompanied by underplates. The underplate and bread plate are available both in white relief as well as in white relief with detailing in elegant matte gold and thereby add a particularly fine character. Stella Vogue stands for fine dining at the highest level.

FRENCH GARDEN Villeroy & Boch's traditional French Garden porcelain design is distinguished by its great variety. A wide selection of patterns and items make this line an ideal companion for those outlets serving Afternoon Tea. All the patterns from the French Garden collection can be combined to create countless fresh new looks. Vibrant colours (light green, lime green) and stylised tendrils create the backdrop for the heart of the design: lots and lots of fresh fruit.

L’ORIENTAL FOR VENICE SIMPLON ORIENT EXPRESS The legendary Venice Simplon-Orient-Express is undoubtedly one of the most famous trains in the world. Its vintage carriages enable its guests to step back in time to rediscover an age of romance and elegance. Part of this experience, of course, is unique high-quality tableware present in three on-board restaurant cars. The “L’Oriental” décor has, as the name suggests, an oriental theme: majestic water birds meet oriental reeds and grasses. The black glaze of the petit fours plate provides an unusual and captivating contrast to the coloured birds and grasses.

BBQ PASSION Grilling is a worldwide megatrend – and that’s the case across all gastrocategories. In many kitchens around the world grilled food is at the top of the menu. BBQ Passion consists of steak plates in the sizes of XL, L and M and a dessert plate that thanks to its formally integrated grip is especially easy to handle. The generous XL plate is perfect for a big piece of meat or fish. It has its own compartment for barbeque sauce or dip. The plates in size L for smaller portions or hamburgers have two compartments for sauces and/or sides. On the dessert plate sweet compositions, whether grilled or not, can be attractively presented. The small lip prevents anything from spilling over or dripping. Two serving plates are also part of the collection in sizes XL and L, which include indentations for skewers. Integrated drip grooves ensure that rare or medium-rare steaks stay juicy without becoming soggy. A narrower, longer plate with a separate area for mustard or sauce is ideal for serving a traditional Thüringer Bratwurst, grilled cheese, corn on the cobb or even desserts like petit fours.

SARA Group Locations: Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Riyadh, Khobar, Jeddah, Beirut For more information:

Since its foundation in 1967, SARA Group has become one of the leading retail, project, and wholesale distributors of high quality ceramics, world class hospitality products, beautifully designed chinaware, glassware, and cutlery, plus luxury bathroom products.

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We bring a fresh perspective to help you create spaces you love. SARA Hospitality Ground Floor, Showroom # 3, Eiffel 2, Sheikh Zayed Road Dubai - United Arab Emirates +971 4 385 6069






aniel Humm is the chef/co-owner of Eleven Madison Park, The NoMad and NoMad Bar at The NoMad Hotel and the fast-casual concept Made Nice, which makes up the Made It Nice restaurant group led by chef Daniel and Will Guidara. His cuisine is focused on the locally sourced ingredients of New York, with an emphasis on simplicity, purity, and seasonal flavours. A native of Switzerland, he was exposed to food at a very young age, and began working in kitchens at the age of 14. From there he spent time in some of the finest Swiss hotels and restaurants before earning his first Michelin star at the age of 24. In 2003, Daniel moved to the United States to become the executive chef at Campton Place in San Francisco, where he received four stars from the San Francisco Chronicle. Three years later, he moved to New York to become the executive chef at Eleven Madison Park.


The Pro Chef Middle East / Autumn 2017

Over the course of Daniel's tenure, he and Eleven Madison Park have received numerous accolades, including four stars from The New York Times, six James Beard Foundation Awards (including Outstanding Chef and Outstanding Restaurant in America), three Michelin Stars, and the #1 spot on the World's 50 Best Restaurants list. In 2011, Daniel and business partner Will Guidara purchased Eleven Madison Park from Union Square Hospitality Group, and the following year also opened the critically acclaimed NoMad. Since its opening, The NoMad has garnered three stars from The New York Times, one Michelin Star, and a James Beard Foundation Award. Together with Will, he is the author of Eleven Madison Park: The Cookbook, I Love New York: Ingredients and Recipes, The NoMad Cookbook and the forthcoming Eleven Madison Park: The Next Chapter.

Photographs SUPPLIED


Chef and co-owner Daniel Humm of Eleven Madison Park in New York, the #1 ranked restaurant on this year’s World's 50 Best Restaurants list, shares his recipes with us.

minutes. Cool to room temperature. Pulse briefly in a food processor until pea-sized. Add the dried caramelised onions.

Arctic char

1 (3-pound) arctic char, filleted, pin bones and skin removed Salt 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil Place the char in a plastic container. Cover completely with salt and let cure in the refrigerator for 1 hour. Rinse thoroughly in cold water and pat dry. Preheat the oven to 140°F. Place the char in a roasting pan, skin side down, and brush with olive oil. Bake for 15 minutes. Brush with olive oil again and return to the oven for another 15 to 20 minutes, or until the fish begins to flake.

White balsamic pickling liquid 1 ¾ cups white balsamic vinegar 3 tablespoons salt

In a medium bowl, stir together 1 ¾ cups water and the vinegar. Add the salt, stirring until it dissolves.


Cucumber variation with slow-cooked char and smoked crème fraîche Smoked crème fraîche

1 cup crème fraîche 2 tablespoons lemon juice 2 teaspoons salt ¾ pound (6 cups) apple wood chips 1 pound (8 cups) charcoal (not briquettes) In a small bowl, whisk together the crème fraîche, lemon juice, and salt. Transfer to a small pan over ice. Soak the apple wood chips in cold water for 5 to 10 minutes. Line the cooking surface of a large cast-iron skillet with aluminum foil. Place the charcoal in the pan and set over high heat until the coals are white-hot. Remove from the heat. Drain the apple wood chips. Place three quarters of the soaked chips on top of the coals and return the skillet to the burner until the chips begin to smoke. Place the skillet in the oven on the lowest rack. Place the bowl of crème fraîche on top of a tray of ice and place in the oven as far away as possible from the skillet. The crème fraîche should stay as cold as possible during the smoking process.

Serves 8

Smoke for 2 hours, checking the smoke level every so often; the smoke should be heavy and constant. It may be necessary to add more wood chips. Remove the crème fraîche from the oven and transfer to an airtight container or vacuum-seal in a sous vide bag. Keep in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 days.

Everything crumble

2 cups bread flour ¼ cup sugar 2 tablespoons sesame seeds 2 tablespoons poppy seeds 1 tablespoon salt 1 ¼ cups butter, room temperature ½ cup dried caramelised onions Preheat the oven to 325°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Combine the flour, sugar, sesame seeds, poppy seeds, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer. Incorporate the butter, mixing at mediumhigh speed. Spread the mixture onto the prepared baking sheet and bake for 20

2 Persian cucumbers 5 lemon cucumbers White balsamic pickling liquid 8 cucamelons (Mexican gherkins) Cut 1 Persian cucumber in half lengthwise and slice on a mandoline into 1/8-inch-thick strips. Cut the other in half and slice into rounds. Store in ice water. Cut the lemon cucumbers in wedges and place in a sous vide bag with the pickling liquid. Vacuum-seal. Cut the cucamelons in half lengthwise and store in ice water.

To finish

⅓ cup smoked crème fraîche ½ cup everything crumble Arctic char Extra-virgin olive oil Cucumbers 16 teaspoons char roe 16 sprigs bronze fennel 40 sprigs salad burnet 8 tablespoons freshly grated horseradish Spoon 2 teaspoon-sized dollops smoked crème fraîche on a plate and place a tablespoon of everything crumble between them. Break the arctic char up with a fork and arrange it on and around the crumble. Garnish with the cucumbers, 2 teaspoons char roe, 2 bronze fennel sprigs, 5 salad burnet leaves, and 1 tablespoon grated horseradish. Repeat with the remaining ingredients, to serve 8.

Autumn 2017 / The Pro Chef Middle East



John Dory poached with citrus, daikon radishes, and olio nuovo Chicken stock

10 pounds chicken backs and necks 15 pounds ice cubes 1 cup diced leeks, white part only ½ cup diced celery ½ cup diced celery root ½ cup sliced shallots ½ cup diced fennel 5 white peppercorns 1 bay leaf 1 sprig thyme Rinse the bones well under running water for 5 minutes. Place the bones in a 20-quart stockpot, top with the ice, and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Skim all of the impurities and fats off the top as it simmers. After the stock is skimmed, add the leeks, celery, celery root, shallots, and fennel. Make a sachet by wrapping the peppercorns, bay leaf, and thyme in a piece of cheesecloth. Add the sachet to the stock. Simmer, uncovered, for 3 hours, skimming every 30 minutes. Strain and chill over ice.

Dried citrus

2 pink grapefruits 2 navel oranges 2 blood oranges 2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar Preheat the oven to 175°F. Cut off the top and bottom of the citrus fruits. Remove the rind, along with any white pith. With a paring knife, cut between the membranes to yield individual segments of fruit. Line up the segments on an acetate-lined baking sheet and sprinkle with the confectioners’ sugar. Place in the oven overnight to dehydrate. Cool to room temperature. Trim the citrus into ½-inch pieces and store in an airtight container.

Citrus beurre blanc

1 ½ cups grapefruit juice 1 cup orange juice ½ cup lemon juice 2 pounds cold butter, cubed 1 ½ teaspoons salt Combine the juices in a medium straightsided saucepan and reduce to 2 cups over high heat. Lower the heat to medium and whisk in the cubed butter, little by little, until all the butter is fully emulsified. Remove from the heat and season with the salt. Keep warm until ready to use.

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Serves 8


2 cups shelled edamame 1 tablespoon chicken stock 1 tablespoon butter ½ teaspoon salt Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add the edamame and cook for 2 minutes. Transfer to a bowl of ice water, and, once cold, drain. Gently peel the outer membrane off the edamame. Heat the edamame and chicken stock in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Once warmed through, add the butter and reduce to glaze, about 1 minute. Season with the salt.

Pickled daikon

1 cup white balsamic vinegar 1 cup sugar ¼ cup salt 1 jumbo daikon radish, about 3 inches in diameter Make a pickling liquid by heating the vinegar with the sugar and salt in a small saucepan over medium heat. Thinly slice the daikon on a mandoline and cut the slices with a ring cutter that is 1 ¾ inches in diameter. Place the daikon slices and 3 tablespoons of the pickling liquid in a sous vide bag, making sure that the slices do not overlap. Vacuum-seal. Alternatively, bring the pickling liquid to a simmer in a small saucepan over medium heat. Place the daikon slices in a large bowl and pour the hot liquid over them. Cool to room temperature.

Daikon vinaigrette

1 ½ cups chicken stock ½ cup daikon pickling liquid (from pickled daikon recipe) 1 ½ teaspoons honey 1 cup canola oil ⅛ teaspoon xanthan gum (0.3 gram) 1 teaspoon salt 1 pinch cayenne pepper Combine the chicken stock, daikon pickling liquid, and honey in a small saucepan and reduce by half over medium heat. Chill over ice. With a hand blender, slowly emulsify the canola oil into the reduction and gradually sprinkle in the xanthan gum. The vinaigrette should be white and slightly thickened. Season with the salt and cayenne and store in a squeeze bottle at room temperature until ready to use.

Poached john dory

8 cups chicken stock 5 cloves garlic, peeled and cut in half 5 sprigs thyme 1 ½ tablespoons plus 1 ½ teaspoons salt ½ cup cornstarch 8 John Dory fillets Preheat the oven to 300°F. To make the poaching liquid, combine the chicken stock, garlic, and thyme in a large pot and bring to a rolling boil. Season with the 1 ½ tablespoons salt. In a mixing bowl, whisk together ½ cup water and the cornstarch. When the chicken stock is at a full boil, whisk in the cornstarch mixture and boil for 3 minutes to cook out the starch. Strain into a deep baking dish and allow to cool to 140°F. Place the baking dish in the oven to keep the poaching liquid warm. Season the John Dory on both sides with the remaining 1 ½ teaspoons salt. Place the fillets in the poaching liquid and poach until the fish can be easily pierced with the tip of a knife, 6 to 7 minutes. Using a fish spatula, remove the fillets from the poaching liquid and drain them on paper towels. Rest the fish for 1 minute.

To finish

4 scallions Poached John Dory Citrus beurre blanc Fleur de sel Pickled daikon Edamame 32 sprigs petite Spanish tarragon Dried citrus 8 teaspoons daikon vinaigrette 4 teaspoons olio nuovo Trim off the green tops of the scallions so that 3 inches remain on the bottom. Shave the scallions on a mandoline, starting with the root end, about 1/16 inch thick. Reserve the scallion shaves in ice water until ready to serve. Spoon 2 tablespoons of the citrus beurre blanc on top of each John Dory fillet to coat evenly. Season with fleur de sel. Place the glazed poached John Dory in the center of a plate. Arrange 6 daikon pickles and 2 tablespoons of edamame on and around the fish. Garnish with 2 scallion shaves, 4 petite Spanish tarragon sprigs, and 1 tablespoon dried citrus. Finish with 1 teaspoon of the daikon vinaigrette and ½ teaspoon olio nuovo. Repeat with the remaining ingredients, to serve 8.

Autumn 2017 / The Pro Chef Middle East



Serves 8

Duck, lavender-glazed with fennel and peaches Duck jus

10 pounds duck carcasses, cut into 2-inch pieces 4 tablespoons duck fat 4 cups sliced onions 2 cups diced carrots 2 cups diced celery 2 cups diced leeks 2 cups diced celery root 5 tablespoons tomato paste 2 cups port 3 cups red wine 10 sprigs thyme 2 bay leaves 25 peppercorns 3 pounds chicken feet 2 gallons chicken stock Preheat the oven to 375°F. Line 2 large rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper. Spread the duck bones in a single layer on the baking sheets and roast the bones in the oven until golden brown, 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes, turning the bones over once after 20 minutes. Melt the duck fat in a 20-quart stockpot over high heat. Sauté the onions, carrots, celery, leeks, and celery root in the duck fat until they caramelize, about 7 to 10 minutes. Add the tomato paste and sauté until caramelised, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the port and reduce by half. Add the red wine and reduce to syrup consistency. Make a sachet by tying the thyme, bay leaves, and peppercorns in cheesecloth. Add the chicken feet, carcass bones, and sachet to the stockpot and cover with the chicken stock. Bring to a simmer over medium heat and skim the stock of all impurities and fats that rise to the top. Simmer, uncovered, over low heat for 5 hours, skimming every 30 minutes. Strain through a fi ne-mesh chinois and reduce to 1 quart. Strain again and chill over ice.

Duck spice

1 cup Szechuan peppercorns 1 cup dried coriander seeds ½ cup cumin seeds 1 cup dried lavender flowers

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In a spice grinder, grind the Szechuan peppercorns, coriander, and cumin until roughly ground. Transfer to a bowl and stir in the lavender flowers.

Roasted ducks

2 Muscovy ducks, head on 2 cups lavender honey Salt Duck spice Dry the ducks completely with paper towels. Use meat hooks to hang them by their necks in a refrigerator with good air circulation. Allow to age and dry for a minimum of 8 days and a maximum of 14 days. When ready to cook, preheat a convection oven to 375°F. Remove and discard the neck, feet, and wing tips, and truss the ducks with butcher’s twine. Rub thoroughly with honey, being sure to coat all of the skin. Season with salt, then coat evenly with the duck spice. Place on a roasting rack and roast for 8 minutes. Rotate the duck and return it to the oven for another 8 to 9 minutes. Remove from the oven, and rest for 12 to 15 minutes before carving.

Duck sauce

3 lemons 4 limes 2 oranges ¾ cup sugar 3 pods star anise 1 tablespoon butter 2 cups duck jus ½ teaspoon raspberry vinegar ½ teaspoon salt Zest and juice the lemons, limes, and oranges. Combine the juices in one bowl and the zests in another. Place the sugar in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Caramelise to a very deep amber colour. Add the star anise and the citrus juices to stop the cooking. Reduce by three quarters, or until thick and syrupy. Add the zest and butter and chill. In a separate pot, heat the duck jus and add 1 1½tablespoons of the citrus syrup. Season with the vinegar and salt.

Compressed peaches

3 very firm but ripe peaches ¼ cup Sauternes

Cut the peaches into quarters and slice each quarter into thin half-moons. Arrange the peaches in a sous vide bag and add the Sauternes. Vacuum-seal and allow them to marinate. Remove them from the bag when ready to serve.

Peach confit

8 large peaches 2 tablespoons olive oil 2 tablespoons lime juice Salt Black pepper 1 tablespoon confectioners’ sugar Preheat the oven to 200°F. Cut each peach into quarters. Slice cut each quarter into 3 half-moons. You should have 12 wedges per peach. Dress with olive oil, lime juice, and salt. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Arrange the wedges on the parchment and sprinkle with pepper and the confectioners’ sugar. Bake for 45 minutes.

Fennel tears

2 fennel bulbs ½ cup white wine 2 tablespoons Pernod 3 pods star anise ¼ teaspoon fennel seeds 4 pieces lemon peel ½ teaspoon salt Pull apart the fennel petals and trim the tops and the bottoms to make even widths. Cut them into 1 ½-by-¾-inch isosceles triangles. Using a paring knife, round of the bottoms to form tear shapes. Trim them to 1/8-inch thickness. Combine the white wine, Pernod, star anise, fennel seeds, and lemon peel in a small saucepan over medium heat and reduce by half. Add 1/4 cup water and the salt. Place the fennel tears and 1/4 cup of the cooking liquid in a sous vide bag. Vacuumseal and steam at 195°F for 35 minutes. Transfer to a bowl of ice water. Once cool, remove the fennel tears from the bag.


Bring a saucepan of salted water to a boil. Add the fennel fronds, cooking for a few seconds, until just wilted. Transfer to a bowl of ice water and, once cold, drain. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the diced fennel and potatoes and sweat until soft and translucent, about 15 minutes. Add 2 ½ cups water and simmer for 25 minutes. Puree the cooked fennel and potatoes in a blender until smooth. Blend in the blanched fennel fronds and season with the salt. Pass the puree through a fine-mesh tamis and chill over ice.

To finish

8 tablespoons fennel and potato puree Roasted ducks Brown butter Fleur de sel Compressed peaches Peach confit Fennel tears Duck sauce Warm the fennel and potato puree in a small saucepan over low heat. Carve the breasts off of the roasted ducks. Slice into even pieces and brush with brown butter and season with fleur de sel. Put 2 duck slices on a plate. Spoon the fennel and potato puree onto the plate and garnish with the compressed peaches and peach confit and the fennel tears. Finish with the duck sauce. Repeat with the remaining ingredients, to serve 8.

Fennel and potato puree

¼ cup fennel fronds 2 tablespoons butter ½ pound fennel, diced (¼ inch) ½ pound La Ratte fingerling potatoes, peeled and diced (¼ inch) 1 ½ teaspoons salt

Autumn 2017 / The Pro Chef Middle East






Chef Nathan Outlaw’s style of cooking is one of simplicity, with complex flavour combinations that showcase seasonal and responsibly sourced ingredients. With a raw talent for working with fish and seafood, he talks the importance of supplier transparency, sustainable fishing, and the increased demand for lobster, scallops, turbot and bass. By Sophie McCarrick

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Autumn 2017 / The Pro Chef Middle East




athan Outlaw is a chef from England, who knows his stuff when it comes to fish and seafood – with two Michelin stars under his belt to prove it. Originally from Kent, Nathan now calls Cornwall, in the southwest of England his home and is a proud ambassador of all things Cornish. The critically acclaimed chef announced his collaboration with Burj Al Arab hotel, Dubai, UAE in 2016. Nathan brings his culinary expertise to the property’s under water Al Mahara restaurant in the form of technical seafood cooking with complex flavours and only the finest sourced ingredients. Al Mahara is Nathan’s first international venture, and his menu at the restaurant takes inspiration from his restaurants in Cornwall and London, all of which hold Michelin stars. Nathan’s career began in his home county of Kent at Thanet College, where he studied professional cookery. His launch onto the professional stage was with the late Peter Kromberg at the InterContinental Hotel, Hyde Park Corner in London. Throughout his career he has worked alongside Eric Chavot, Gary Rhodes and John Campbell. However, his love for seafood cookery was ignited when he visited Cornwall as a young chef to work with Rick Stein. Nathan achieved his first accolade as a professional chef in 2014/15 and was named as the AA Chef’s Chef of the Year. In 2015 his reign continued when he relocated his flagship restaurant, Restaurant Nathan Outlaw from Rock to the historic fishing

village of Port Isaac and it retained its two Michelin stars as well as earning four AA Rosettes. It also retained its place at number 4 of the ‘Top 50 Restaurants in the UK’ in the Good Food Guide 2015. Nathan has explored many avenues of the culinary world in his career so far, from education to writing and television. In 2012, Nathan’s interest in the education and training of young chefs saw him join forces with Cornwall College to open Academy Nathan Outlaw offering NVQ level 2 and 3 student chefs and Level 3 Front of House students enhanced learning opportunities. In 2013 Nathan’s first book ‘Nathan Outlaw’s British Seafood’ (Quadrille) was named ‘Best Cookery Book’ by the Food and Travel Awards, his second, ‘Nathan Outlaw’s

“When talking to suppliers, I want to hear that they are fishing, farming or producing responsibly. That means that I need transparency and evidence to back up their claims. Without evidence, I won’t buy.”

Fish Kitchen’ (Quadrille) was published in 2014 and the third, ‘Nathan Outlaw’s Everyday Seafood’ was published in April 2016. Nathan’s easy manner, enthusiasm and obvious passion for his work make him a hit with audiences of all ages both at food festivals and hugely popular British television programmes such as ‘Saturday Kitchen’ and ‘Masterchef Professional’. The seasoned chef went one-to-one with us to tell of his take on sustainable fishing, what’s in demand, and why Dubai caught his attention. Here’s what he shared…

Were you always passionate about fish and seafood growing up? What took you down that route in the kitchen? Not really. I grew up eating fish fingers and the odd piece of cod. I didn’t really begin to get interested in cooking and eating fish until I began working in professional kitchens. However, once I started, I couldn’t stop. The whole thing fascinates me from the way fish and seafood develop and live, to the fishing industry with all its history and traditions then on to the actual cookery itself. I realised that if I wanted to learn about seafood cookery, the only place to go as a young chef was to Rick Stein in Cornwall, so that’s what I did. He kept me prepping fish for a whole year before letting me get involved with the actual cooking. At the time I wasn’t too impressed but I now realise it was the best grounding I could have had.

What attracted you to launch Al Mahara in the Burj Al Arab? The General Manager at the time visited one of my restaurants in Cornwall and approached me about opening here. When the e-mail came in suggesting this, I laughed thinking it was a huge practical joke because I never thought I’d be asked to open in such an iconic venue. However, I came out to have a look around and was amazed by what I saw. Then I was told that much of the seafood used was imported from the UK and I saw some in the kitchen that was from Cornwall. Once I knew that I could get the quality of fish I wanted, it made up my mind.

I think the concept of sustainability is often misused and misunderstood in the seafood industry. What does the term mean to you? It’s simple really. It means that the fish and seafood, and other ingredients used are fished or produced with respect and in


The Pro Chef Middle East / Autumn 2017

Autumn 2017 / The Pro Chef Middle East



not easy to come by. Other than that I’d suggest Robert Welch knives. Well made, well balanced and they stay sharp.

What dish would you say best represents your offering? I can’t suggest one dish. I’d say all my dishes look simple but are actually very complex with subtle layers of flavour, always allowing the seafood to shine. I don’t do heavy sauces or fussy plates. Of course, that means there’s nowhere to hide so it has to be prefect every time.

such a way that future stocks are protected. It also means that the benchmark is determined according to area. With seafood you can’t make a blanket judgement because the situation will be different in different waters. If we don’t embrace sustainability, there will come a time when we will no longer be able to enjoy certain foods. That is sheer madness.

What species of underutilised fish do you think chefs should be introducing on menus? Anything that is sustainable and isn’t found on the High Street – gurnard, lemon sole, John Dory, megrim, squid, cuttlefish, crab. It’s up to us to show the public what wonderful species of seafood they’re missing out on!

As a chef, what answers do you want to hear from suppliers when asking things like: Was it wild-caught or farm-raised? What method of catch was used? What method of transportation is used? When talking to suppliers, I want to hear that they are fishing, farming or producing responsibly. That means that I need transparency and evidence to back up their claims. Without evidence, I won’t buy. I need to make sure that I’m getting what I want and not being hoodwinked.

Let’s talk knives! Which brand do you favour most for filleting fish? I’m lucky, I have mine hand made by an Irish knife maker called Fingle Ferguson. There’s a 5 year waiting list though so they’re

Looking at the seafood market, which locations do you think have the best quality product? Without a doubt, my home county of Cornwall. The fish and seafood we have off the Cornish coast is, in my opinion, the best in the world and we have a huge variety to choose from too.

Since launching at Al Mahara, how have you found the process of sourcing reliable suppliers in the Middle East, offering high-quality product? Initially we were importing most of the produce but we are working closely with producers to improve the offering they can give us. I’m very keen on being able to use local producers and growers but it will take time to build partnerships that work for everyone. Already though, as quality improves, we are beginning to incorporate local produce into our menus and hope to continue this process indefinitely.

Do you source any of your fish and seafood locally in the Middle East?

Get to know chef Nathan Outlaw What’s your favourite type of fish to eat at home with your family? I love mackerel, fresh from the sea and simply barbecued. What kind of seafood would you like to see more of on menus? Cuttlefish, it's highly underrated and delicious when cooked properly. Favourite place in the world to visit for its seafood offering? San Sebastian area, Spain. Five ingredients you’ll always have in your home kitchen? Vinegar, oil, salt, cheese, bread Guilty pleasure food? Cake, any type!

Having worked with a supplier for the last six months we’ve started sourcing from a fish market in Abu Dhabi. Two species we put on the menu recently include Pink Eared Emperor and Orange Spotted Trevally which are both sustainable species fished from the Gulf.

For suppliers reading, what products would you like to see more availability of in Dubai? The more fresh produce such as fruit and vegetables that I can source here, the better but it has to be consistent in quality. It will be great to see more local producers coming on-board and I’m very excited about the future.

Across all of your restaurants, which species of fish do you find is most in demand from your guests? Lobster, scallops, turbot, bass.


The Pro Chef Middle East / Autumn 2017

Recipes by Chef Nathan Outlaw Roasted wild Cornish turbot 1.5kg Whole turbot, cleaned 1 Onion 1 Fennel 1 Leek 5 Garlic cloves 1 Celery stick 2 Thyme sprigs 10g Butter

1. Pre-heat oven to 200C. 2. Cut the vegetables into mirepoix. 3. Sweat vegetables in butter. Place on a roasting tray. 4. Season fish with Cornish sea salt. 5. Rub the butter over the fish. 6. Add the thyme sprigs. 7. Roast the fish for 20 minutes – or until the core temperature reaches 65 degrees. 8. Rest before serving.

Autumn 2017 / The Pro Chef Middle East



Scallops baked in the shell, seaweed butter and burnt lime For the seaweed & parsley breadcrumbs

60g Parsley 1 Lemon – zest only 1 Garlic clove - finely chopped 180g Dried cheese breadcrumbs 4tbs Dried Seaweed

For the breadcrumbs

200g White bread – crust removed 75g Cheddar cheese – grated


The Pro Chef Middle East / Autumn 2017

To serve

Burnt lime – The dish is served with a burnt lime – lime cut in half and blackened on the plancha to give the lime juice a cooked and less acidic flavour. 1. Pre-heat oven to 220C. 2. Prepare and wash the scallops. Clean and dry the shells. 3. Place 3 medium size scallops in a scallop shell. 4. Sprinkle with salt. Add 8g seaweed butter. 5. Add one tablespoon of seaweed and parsley breadcrumbs. 6. Place the scallops on a tray and bake for 5-6 minutes. 7. Serve immediately with the burnt lime.



The Pro Chef Middle East / Autumn 2017


SEAFOOD As chef de cuisine of one of Dubai’s best seafood-led concept’s, Ossiano at Atlantis The Palm, Grégoire Berger talks sustainability, sourcing and shares a selection of his recipes. By Sophie McCarrick recipes GREGOIRE BERGER

Autumn 2017 / The Pro Chef Middle East




nown for his culinary creativity, chef Grégoire Berger’s journey in the kitchen began at 18 in Brittany, France at the 16th century Domaine de Rochevilaine. He went on to gain experience in Michelin starred restaurants, starting as senior chef de partie, then working his way up the ladder. Chef Grégoire has been chef de cuisine of Ossiano since February 2015, and under his leadership, both restaurant and chef have won numerous awards, including the S.Pellegrino Young Chef Awards 2016, and The Pro Chef Middle East 2016 Award. Here’s what he shared with us…

Over the last decade, restaurant diners and chefs like myself have become more sophisticated and understanding of the need for sustainable fishing. Seafood chefs are taking on the mission of sourcing fish carefully, to not encourage overfishing or to threaten certain species in any way. Here at Ossiano we are very careful about traceability and only use sustainable


The Pro Chef Middle East / Autumn 2017

Photographs SUPPLIED

As a seafood and fish-led restaurant, how do you ensure that Ossiano supports sustainable fishing?

products or methods of cooking, it’s simply more reliant on what’s rare or unusual rather than what’s creative or new. For example, everyone wants to use Yuzu at the moment, however in Japan this is everywhere and has always been a popular citrus fruit to use. Creativity and trend setting to me is about not following recipes or tradition but instead questioning everything to create the impossible; pulling together the most unlikely of molecules, and making them fit. That said, I do of course constantly read books, websites and keep eyes on all the major culinary players on social media. Inspiration comes from everywhere. Nothing in this world is new anymore, but it’s how you make an idea, a taste, a dish yours, that makes it so special.

Where do you find your culinary inspiration?

“Our seabass is live caught from a small town in France, and some of our fish are supplied by France Ikejime, a company who use the more humane Japanese ikejime method of processing their fish.” varieties of the local and international species, which are found on our menu. We achieve this by working with local fisherman and small suppliers in various locations, who know and love their seas and have an affinity with that location. For example, our seabass is live caught from a small town in France, and some of our fish are supplied by France Ikejime, a company who use the more humane Japanese ikejime method of processing their fish. The company pride themselves on using small boats and knowing the fisherman who catch their fish.

Which suppliers are you able to source the best in quality ingredients from? We only source the very best ingredients from across the globe. I tend to try and find the most reliable and strong suppliers initially and then work with Classic Fine Foods to import them into Dubai. Whilst my seafood is most specific, I get my truffles from Gaillard in France, my olive oil comes from Xavier Alazard from Les Baux, Provençe, and I get the most amazing asparagus from Sylvain Erhardt, who harvests some 30 ton¬nes of the delicious produce every year in France.

What are some of this year’s ‘in’ flavours and ingredients that you’ve been focusing on recently? Whilst I constantly read about new trends and what’s going on in the culinary world in terms of innovation, I tend to steer away from cooking ‘on trend’ food and rely more on telling a story with my dishes. All of my dishes are inspired by a particular moment or event in my life and I like to bring this to life for the diner in a non-verbal way, through taste and smell. Some of our most powerful memories all involve taste and food and I want our diners to leave Ossiano with their own memory, that hopefully they can recall for years to come. For example, in the height of the hot Dubai summer I always miss Morocco, which is where my wife is from. So currently all I want to do is bring the smell, taste and sounds of Morocco to life through my dishes, this means I am currently cooking with Agrum a great deal. This is my ‘on trend’ ingredient right now.

On the back end of winning various awards last year, how is it that you stay on-trend? As mentioned above whilst I don’t think there is anything wrong with using ‘on trend’

As mentioned I do of course look to the big names in the culinary world to keep me inspired, but if I’m honest 90% of my inspiration comes from my own life and the lives of the people around me. For example, my daughter was eating this delicious looking peanut, banana and blueberry jam sandwich the other week. The flavours and texture just worked so beautifully and she enjoyed it so much, that I came in immediately and set about reworking a banoffee pie to replicate the sandwich. It was an absolute masterpiece, inspired by a 3-year-old child’s lunch! Subconsciously, when you eat something, your brain is always comparing it to what you've had previously; it tries to find a similarity. The more powerful the story behind the food, the more it evokes the memory, which in turn enhances the flavour. As children, we have such a raw pleasure in the smallest of things with most of us fondly recalling our younger years as some of our best. I therefore take the most pleasure in recreating dishes from my childhood and that of my daughters. What I tend to do is if I think something may work I create the entire dish in my head first, matching flavours and ingredients that come from roughly the same country or location to ensure they suit. Then I visualise the shapes and geometry to sense how best this will look on the plate. Once I’m happy with it in my head, I then set about making it a reality and 99% of the time it works.

What’s the most popular dish on the menu at Ossiano with guests? My prized floating island. This is essentially a take on my absolute favourite French dish, the Galette de Sarrasin, however the ingredients are not what they seem. The only way to know is to visit us and try it in person.

Autumn 2017 / The Pro Chef Middle East



Yellow tail ‘ceviche’ with bell pepper and raspberry sorbet, red chili and pomegranate Prep time: 1 day in advance for the sorbet Cook time: 45 minutes

Yellow tail

250g yellow tail 1cl extra virgin olive oil 2 pcs red chili 1 lime juice 1 lime zest 1 chopped shallot 1 chopped coriander Cut the fish in cubes then marinate in olive oil combine with lime juice, zests, shallot, coriander and chili. Let this sit for 5 minutes then remove from the marinade and refrigerate.

Bell pepper sorbet 6 pcs bell pepper 20g water 15g sugar 5g honey 7g sorbet stabiliser 80g raspberry puree 1 lemon juice 5 drops Tabasco 1 tbsp soy sauce Salt, to taste

Boil water, sugar, honey and stabiliser and wait until it cools. Cook bell peppers in oven with olive oil, salt and pepper cover with aluminum foil for 45 minutes. Allow to cool down. Remove seeds and skin and blend together to obtain 300g juice, then mix with the sugar and honey syrup, raspberry puree, lemon juice, Tobasco, soy sauce and salt. Use an ice cream machine to create the sorbet and keep in the freezer.

Garnish and decoration 1 pomegranate 10 pieces of raspberries 10 lemon segment 10 coriander cress Chopped chives, to taste Pansy flowers


Remove fish from the fridge and plate with sorbet, garnish and decorations as desired.

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8 servings

Black cod miso Prep time: 1 day in advance to marinate the fish Cook time: 45 minutes

4 servings

Cod marinade

800g black cod filet 5cl apple cider vinegar 100g white miso 20g brown sugar Warm vinegar, add miso paste then cook 5 min, then add sugar. Cool down and marinade the cod (cut in 180g portion) for 12 hours in the fridge.

Black cod glaze

100g apple cider vinegar 200g white miso 40g brown sugar 60g honey Warm vinegar and add miso paste then cook 5 min, then add sugar and honey (using to brush the cod).

Zucchini cream

4 zucchinis (green) 2 thyme sprigs 2 garlic cloves 30cl chicken stock 60g cream cheese 10ml lemon juice 30g butter Olive oil Salt and pepper, to taste Warm the olive oil, then add zucchinis, thyme, and garlic, then add chicken stock and cook on high heat. Cool down a little bit, then add cream cheese and mix in the mixer. Finish with butter and lemon juice. Keep mixture in the squeeze bottle.

Zucchinis garnish 1 zucchini (green)

Cut zucchini as desired; blanch in salted water. Keep in the chiller.

Homemade pasta 1kg flour 6 whole eggs Salt, to taste Olive oil

Mix flour and eggs, add seasoning and keep in the chiller 1 hour before use. Use

pasta machine to make pasta, from 8mm to 0.5mm. Cut as desired than spread olive oil to avoid becoming sticky. Cook 2 minutes in boiling salty water when serving.

Scallops sausages

280g scallops 2 white eggs â…”cl lemon juice (find perfect balance) 4g salt 20g parsley puree (more or less) Mix scallops, salt, eggs and lemon juice in the mixer, then cool down in ice bath. Whisk properly, add parsley puree. Make sausage on cling film (diameter 0.5 cm) and cook at 85 degrees 4/5min then cool down. Portion as desired.

Almond milk

400g whole milk 100g almond Salt Pepper Roast almonds in the oven until blond coloration then put in the milk, put to ebullition then allow to infuse 30 min, mix with the mixer, then strain (keep almonds on the side). Rectify seasoning, if required.

Almond crumble

110g mixed almonds (from Almond milk) 8g glucose

10g olive oil Salt Pepper Mix all together then dry 40 minutes at 130 degrees, then keep in dry place.


200g clams 1 banana shallot 1 lemon juice 1 bunch of parsley Olive oil, as needed Warm olive and add diced shallot, cook 2 minutes then add clams, stir 1 minute then add lemon juice and chopped parsley. Cover and finish to cook 2 minutes (more or less).


Cook fish in oven for 4 to 5 minutes. Put a spiral of cream on the plate, plate nice pieces of crumble around it. Warm Zucchini garnish: clams and scallop sausages in bit of chicken stock with butter, strain and keep on dry tissue, add bit of Maldon salt and chopped chives. Plate it into the cream spiral. Cook the pastas for 2 minutes in boiling salty water then plate on the middle. Brush fish with glaze and burn it with blow torch. Warm almond milk and emulsify it with hand blender. Put nice clouds on the plate and finish with any herbs.

Autumn 2017 / The Pro Chef Middle East



North Sea langoustine, leek and smoked goose agnoletti, brown onion emulsion, buckwheat Prep time: 3 hours


Cook time: 2 hours

Pasta dough raviolis

500g flour 4 whole eggs 8g salt Parsley puree for colouring, to taste Olive oil Mix flour and eggs, add seasoning and keep in the chiller 1 hour before use. Use pasta machine to make pasta from 8mm to 1mm. Use a cutter of 4cm and 5cm.

Leek mix

20 pcs baby leeks 20g cured goose (or smoked duck) 4 garlic cloves Thyme 200ml chicken stock 1 tbsp olive oil 100ml cream Infuse garlic and thyme into chicken stock 1 hour. Char leeks on the grill then chop. Cook with olive oil until soft then pour cream and reduce, add chicken stock and goose sliced and reduce until dry. Check seasoning. Cool down and use to stuff raviolis.

Spread a bit of water around the 4cm pasta disk, put on the middle a leek mix, then cover with a 5cm pasta disk and squeeze all around with your fingers to close properly. (Cook 2 minutes in boiling salty water when serving).

Egg yolk dressing 15 whole eggs

Cook whole egg water at 64 degrees during 1 hour 35 minutes. Cool down, remove yolk and mix with pepper and salt until smooth paste. Keep into a piping bag

Onion foam

10 white onions 2 liters whole farm milk 250g heavy cream Burn onions in 18O degrees oven. Remove skin and infuse into the milk during 2 hours. Cook inside of onions with cream, add salt pepper and cook 1 hour, mix. Combine infused strained milk and cream mix, rectify seasoning, emulsify to order.

Buckwheat tuile 40g melted butter


8 servings

The Pro Chef Middle East / Autumn 2017

120ml water 20g buckwheat flour Salt and pepper, to taste ½ tbsp squid ink Mix all together and make tuile in non-stick pan.


8 pcs langoustine Roll langoustine with a skewer stick to give a round shape. Heat a pan with canola oil then colour langoustine each side for 2 minutes, serve immediately.


Buckwheat seed deep fried Chopped chives Herbs


Put egg yolk dressing on the middle of the plate then cover with onion foam, put langoustine and ravioli on the top, cover with a buckwheat crisp top up with herbs, chives and buckwheat seeds.

After Eight – Ossiano’s signature dessert

Mix all together then cook at 85 degrees (crème anglaise) then pour on to:

Prep time: 1 day in advance for spherification and sorbet Cook time: 30 minutes

250g dark chocolate 50g jivara chocolate Fill a syphon gun and charge two times, keep in fridge.

Make syrup with water and sugar, then at 50 degrees add glucose and stabiliser, then boil. Mix on the side the lemon juice, mint leaves and grind it, then add the syrup on top and infuse for 2 hours. Cool down, add milk, and strain. Put in paco bowl and keep in the fridge overnight (or use and ice cream machine).

Chocolate sauce (spherification)

Chocolate soil

Mint gel

75g cocoa powder 60g sugar 40g glucose 250ml water 60g (40g water + 20g sugar) syrup 1 gelatin sheet Mint essence

Mix cocoa powder, sugar, glucose, water and syrup together, boil for 10 seconds and then add gelatin. Allow to cool down then add mint essence. Freeze in half sphere mold and then glaze in sosa vegetable gelatin (50g per liter of vanilla syrup) to set as a spherification.

Chocolate foam (syphon) 425g milk 100g cream 20g honey 2 egg yolk 35g sugar

100g butter 100g brown sugar 100g Caster sugar 100g almond powder 100g flour 50 to 100g cocoa powder Mix all together, keep in the fridge then grate it and cook in the oven at 155 degrees for 12 minutes.

Mint sorbet

450g water 250g Caster sugar 27g glucose 4.5g stabiliser 150g mint leaves 75g lemon juice 250g milk Mint essence

(1): 220g mint puree 110g syrup (2): 3g agar agar 5g sugar For (1), bring puree and syrup to boil, and then add (2) agar and sugar mixed, boil again for 10 seconds. Keep the chiller overnight, blend and pass through a sieve.


On the plate spread soil, mint gel and put into a chocolate sphere on the middle. Fill the sphere with chocolate espuma, gel and sorbet, crumble and close with a chocolate spherification.

10 servings

Autumn 2017 / The Pro Chef Middle East



in pastry

Riyadh Hassan, sales and marketing manager for the pastry division at Aramtec, shares development updates from the dessert industry.

Popping Boba

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ell us about the latest products and ingredients on the market available for pastry chefs…

Popping Boba is a new concept dessert material which we’ve seen being introduced in many pastry kitchens. It comes in a ball shape with a very thin exterior skin filled with fruit juice, which is good to look at and eat. Delicious and fun, the juice-filled balls burst in the mouth to deliver a deep fruit flavour. It is now very popular in Europe and USA and can create a variety of menus.

Over the last 12 months, which ingredients have you witnessed an increased demand for in the pastry sector? This year, we have seen the demand for ‘ready to roll’ sugar fondant increase dramatically. Our sales for ‘Pettinice Fondant by Bakels’ have tripled this year, when compared to last. Bakels Pettinice RTR fondant is considered one of the first ‘ready to roll’ fondants, and it is the preferred choice of most professional bakers. It tastes great, is easy to use, it doesn’t tear easily and it has great texture and molding ability.

Let’s talk chocolate! When it comes to low versus high-quality baking chocolate, what’s the difference? The high-quality chocolate is usually made from single origin or a type of premium cocoa bean. The low-quality chocolate is produced out of beans from various sources that are mixed according to recipes to produce a moderate chocolate taste. The highest baking chocolate is manufactured by choosing only whole roasting beans implementation no nibs or mass roasting with conching for more than 72 hours.

Desserts are renowned for being pretty to look at. What are you witnessing in the market in terms of decorating trends? Aramtec is a leading distributer of cake and pastry decorations and our distributed brand is Dobla, which stands for innovations in chocolate and doing things differently. At this moment in time, a move back to ‘Nature’ is trending. Early this year, Dobla launched a new range of chocolate decoration, inspired

“We have seen the demand for 'ready to roll' fondant increase dramatically. Our sales for ‘Pettinice Fondant by Bakels’ have tripled this year, from last year.”

by nature. Each decoration is unique in design and as beautiful and imperfect as nature itself. According to international and panel research, consumers of today are showing an increased preference for imperfections in desserts and an overall natural look when it comes to decoration.

For pastry chefs overlooking various hotel outlets – as a supplier, how do you cater to high volume demands? Aramtec owns 80 delivery vehicles and it delivers to all seven Emirates. We have a team of dedicated staff

Autumn 2017 / The Pro Chef Middle East



Riyadh Hassan

with many years of experience in dealing with high volume demand, and they’re assisted by Aramtec’s state-of-the art HACCP Certified Warehouse with efficient layout. The 110,000sq.ft. facility in the Al Quoz Industrial Area of Dubai allows us to store a lot of items in bulk quantities to cover the demand in peak season.

Of the ingredients offered by Aramtec, what products to you have on offer to pastry chefs that offer uniqueness? Our new range of Filigrano Tart Shells by Hug Food Service, is a high-quality

Aramtec Aramtec is a 100% locally owned company established in 1979 with main activities in importation and distribution of premium food products throughout the UAE, supplying the finest hotels, restaurants, institutions and retail markets. Some of Aramtec's premium brands include; Pillsbury, Green Giant, Hunts, Pomi, Hungry Jack, Orville, ACT II, The Jelly Bean Company, American Foods Group, Pureland Angus Beef, Lutosa, Dobla, Martin Braun, Hug, and many more. Aramtec prides itself on having the HACCP Certification and its procedures are priority. For more information:


The Pro Chef Middle East / Autumn 2017

short crust pastry made out of 100% Swiss butter. The dough is also quite special as well as particularly thin and straight edged. The tart shells are shelfstable for up to 12 months from date of manufacture and stably thaw from frozen in a comprehensive selection of sizes, shapes and flavours of savory and dessert tartlettes.

What are the most premium pastry ingredients supplied by Aramtec to pastry divisions? We provide premium quality premixes from Braun which is easy to use – in just a few steps you get delicious desserts. The highly versatile Braun collection is ideal for hotel restaurants and bakeries. We also provide Bakels comprehensive bakery line from sponge and muffin mixes to custard mixes. Never the less, Heistand is known as a time and labour saving brand name, supplying freshly baked croissant and assorted Danishes are available from frozen and don’t compromise on quality. We also supply Rich’s, which is America’s number one non-dairy whipping cream and frozen cookies.

The chefs will go head-to-head in a mystery box cooking challenge at The Emirates Academy of Hospitality Management on October 22, 2017 in the hope of being crowned BBC Good Food ME Chef of the Year. #BBCGFMEAWARDS

Appliance Partner

Mystery Box partner

Venue Partner

Prize Partner

Official Publication





Last month, six professional chefs from kitchens across the UAE went head to head in a mystery box cook-off in the JLT-based SCAFA kitchen, to be in with a chance of taking home the title ‘Taste New Zealand Chef of the Year 2017’ and a gourmet trip to New Zealand


hroughout the year, thirty professional chefs from restaurants and hotels across the UAE headed to SCAFA (School of Culinary and Finishing Arts) in JLT, to battle it out in three live cooking heats – seafood, meat and poultry – for the Taste New Zealand’s Chef of the Year Competition 2017. Across the three heats, two chefs were selected as winners from each round, and welcomed back to the heated final last month. In the final, the six finalists went head to head in a ‘mystery box’ event that challenged chefs with preparing three delicious canapes each, plus a main meal using a minimum of three ingredients from a secret basket comprising premium ingredients from New Zealand. The judging panel for the final included industry leaders Reif Othman

from Play Restaurant & Lounge and The Experience by Reif Othman, Martin Cahill from DUKES Dubai, and editor of The Pro Chef Middle East and BBC Good Food Middle East, Sophie McCarrick. After a heated cook-off, a winner was selected by the judges, but will be kept secret until the victor is crowned as Taste New Zealand 2017 champion at The Pro Chef Middle East Awards on November 6, 2017 during a glittering gala dinner at The Habtoor Grande Resort & Spa. The prize? A once in a lifetime return trip to New Zealand to experience the best of New Zealand's food and beverage first hand. The Pro Chef Middle East would like to thank all 30 chefs who participated in the Taste New Zealand Competition this year! We wish all six finalists the best of luck and look forward to revealing who the winner is in November!


Mohamed Khalil

Joseph Madurawala

Marwan Sardouk

Bonny Gomes

Salvador Carrillo

James Knight-Pacheco

Anantara The Palm Dubai Resort

Lapita Hotel, Dubai Parks and Resorts, Autograph Collection

Bin Hendi Enterprise

Jumeirah Beach Hotel

Le Royal Meridien Beach Resort & Spa

Vida Downtown Dubai


The Pro Chef Middle East / Autumn 2017

Text by SOPHIE MCCARRICK | Photographs by Maksym Porieckin




Autumn 2017 / The Pro Chef Middle East





ooplankton are very, very small animals that float on large bodies of water, whether oceans or lakes. They feed on tiny plants, known as algae. Scientists had discovered that algae would grow faster with more light. However, there was a paradox: this increased food supply for zooplankton should see them thrive, but the opposite was true. Loladze thought he had the answer: by speeding up their growth, algae had been turned into a kind of junk food. So there was plenty for the zooplankton to eat, but that food was less nutritious. The result? They were starving. Together with colleagues, he published a paper on the process but also starting thinking about how much further this problem might exist. Could the same problem affect grass and cows? What about rice and people? The background to the question is quite easy to express: plants aren't getting more light, instead they're getting more carbon dioxide. Yes, they need both to thrive. So, logically if more light gives us faster-growing, less nutritious 'junk food' algae, then wouldn't

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more carbon dioxide have a similar effect? And that would have major implication for humanity, dependent on the results in the human plant food chain... Loladze's research didn't really help. Scientists had already established rising carbon dioxide levels, but had done little research into the effect on the quality of the plants in our food chain. Continuing his maths career for the next 17 years, he kept a very close eye on scientific literature for any relevant studies and data. The results? An inescapable conclusion: the junk-food effect he had seen many years before now appeared to be occurring in fields and forests around the world. “Every leaf and every grass blade on earth makes more and more sugars as carbon dioxide levels keep rising,” he noted. “We are witnessing the greatest injection of carbohydrates into the biosphere in human history – [an] injection that dilutes other nutrients in our food supply.” He joined a small but increasingly worried group of researchers concerned about the future of our food supply. Could carbon

dioxide have an unexpected effect on human health, for example? More importantly, perhaps, he and fellow researchers were starting to ask the biggest question: instead of mineral, vitamin and protein content measurably dropping in food sources over the past half century or more because of breeding and choosing crops for higher yields rather than nutrition, could we have been focusing on the wrong question? So the atmosphere itself may be changing the food we eat. Plants need carbon dioxide to live the same way humans need oxygen and everyone is agreed that levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere are rising: from about 280 parts per million pre mechanised farming to double that today and a likely 550 parts per million within the next 50 years. No problem, then? Well, not quite. Take the view of Lamar Smith, a Republican who chairs the US House Committee on Science, who claims that we shouldn't worry about rising carbon dioxide levels because it’s good for plants and what’s good for plants is good for us. “A higher concentration of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere would aid


It was 1998. In Arizona State University, mathematician Irakli Loladze was studying for his PhD. Then, by accident, he came across a biology puzzle that would reroute his passion and future. And it all came down to zooplankton.

“The implication, however, was clear: increasing carbon dioxide in the atmosphere was reducing the protein in staple crops. What that meant for human survival was unknown.” photosynthesis, which in turn contributes to increased plant growth,” he said. “This correlates to a greater volume of food production and better quality food.” Yes, but… The research mentioned earlier showed that greater volume and better quality may not be linked – in fact, they might be inversely linked. In other words, the best explanation is that as rising carbon dioxide levels increase photosynthesis, the plants will grow, but at the same time they will pack in more carbohydrates like glucose at the expense of other essential nutrients such as protein, iron and zinc. Jump forward to 2002 and Loladze was by now a postdoctoral fellow at Princeton University, where he published a seminal research paper in the leading journal Trends in Ecology and Evolution. Here he argued that rising carbon dioxide and human nutrition were completely linked thanks to a global shift in the quality of plants. However, he pointed out a key issue in addressing this problem - a severe lack of data. The lack of discussion was so thin, in fact, that in thousands of journals that he reviewed, he found only one paper that

ASK YOURSELF There are big questions that are difficult, but not impossible, to answer. 1. How does rising atmospheric carbon dioxide change how plants grow? 2. How much of the observed long-term nutrient drop is caused by the atmosphere? 3. How much are other factors, like plant breeding, having an impact?

looked at the issue, in this case in terms of rice. This 1997 paper, found a drop in zinc and iron in a crop that, for billions of people, is a staple crop. The implication, however, was clear: increasing carbon dioxide in the atmosphere was reducing the protein in staple crops. What that meant for human survival was unknown. Loladze argued that, if these nutritional shifts were happening throughout the food chain, then we urgently needed to study and understand the issue. Which is where we run into another issue: answering this question needed someone with a deep knowledge of plant physiology, agriculture and nutrition, as well as maths. The last he could handle, but as a young academic, how was he going to interest maths departments in solving agricultural and human health problem? His life became a mix of seeking funding and collating any published data. A chance of an assistant professor position in Nebraska opened up, on condition that his research attracted funding, but the odd mix of maths and biology put off grant bodies. "I don’t think people grasp the scale of this,” he recalls. Certainly most top nutrition experts are unaware of the research in this field. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics suggested medical nutritionist Robin Foroutan, who commented: “It’s really interesting and, you’re right, it’s not on many people’s radar. We don't know what a minor shift in the carbohydrate ratio in the diet is ultimately going to do.” However, some scientists are aware of the issues and are working to change things. Researcher Kristie Ebi, from the University of Washington, has spent 20 years studying the impact of climate change and global health. "It's a hidden issue,” she says. “The fact that my bread doesn't have the micronutrients it did 20 years ago - how would you know?" She believes that the carbon dioxide/nutrition has been slow to break through because, “this is before the change. This is what it looks like before the change." It’s also difficult to run farm-scale experiments on how carbon dioxide affects plants, without effectively turning a whole field into a laboratory. However, the experiments that have been done have shown scientists that plants change in important ways when they’re grown at increased levels of carbon dioxide: looking, for example, as crops like wheat, rice, barley and potatoes, increased carbon dioxide levels have been shown to drive down key minerals like calcium, potassium, zinc and

Autumn 2017 / The Pro Chef Middle East



Irakli Loladze

iron, in fact by about 8%. And the same levels of decreased protein content of crops have also been observed. Now, 8% may not seem a great deal but recent research has shown the potential effect. In the developing world, for example, plants are a crucial protein source and these decreased protein levels are estimated to put as many as 150 million people at risk of protein deficiency by 2050. Think of the impact of that on India. Think also of the impact of a loss of zinc, which is critical for maternal and infant health - researchers believe that the more one billion mothers who live in countries where iron levels in the diet are expected to drop could lead to even wider public health issues of anemia. And even in major Western economies, where protein shortage is not an issue, this shift in the proportion of sugars in plants could boost already dangerous rates of obesity and heart disease. The good news? Finally, Loladze's initial research is being taken seriously with a number of new studies on nutrition in the US. One example is a look at bee food. For bees, the wild flower goldenrod is important as a protein source for the Winter. Because it's a wild plant, it hasn't been bred into new strains and so hasn't changed as much over the centuries as cultivated crops like wheat. In the Smithsonian Institution, there are hundreds of samples of goldenrod that date back to 1842, allowing researchers to see how a single plant has changed over


The Pro Chef Middle East / Autumn 2017

“There was plenty for the zooplankton to eat, but that food was less nutritious. The result? They were starving.� time. The result is scary: since the Industrial Revolution, the protein content of goldenrod pollen has declined by a third, which pretty much matches the rise in carbon dioxide. This may help to explain the global decline in bee populations - the lack of protein in Winter months makes them more vulnerable to other adverse factors. Yet, even understanding the problem is only half the answer - reformulating crops is not an overnight job, in fact it can take over a decade and a half to breed new strains that can be harvested. Add to that the factor already discussed that researchers studying factors like yield and pest resistance are not looking at nutrition, plus the sheer cost of research, that generating enough data to draw any conclusions is not a simple issue, despite the global importance of the problem. Of course, research is happening and teams of American researchers working

with colleagues in China, Japan and Australia have added a study of vitamins to their research into the nutritional profile of rice. So, for example, researchers are planting varieties of rice, wheat and soy saved from the 1950s and 1960s in plots around America where previous researchers had grown the same varieties decades ago, to better understand the effects of rising carbon dioxide levels. Others, also in the US, are looking at coffee to see whether caffeine levels decline. An important figure in this new scientific movement is Samuel Myers, formerly a doctor but now a climate researcher at Harvard. He is heading the Planetary Health Alliance, which is a global attempt to study the effects of climate on human health. He sees the impact of changing carbon dioxide levels on nutrition as critical to a wider understanding: "This is the tip of the iceberg. It's been hard for us to get people to understand how many questions they should have." A major breakthrough occurred in 2014, when Myers and other scientists published a large, rich in data study in Nature. This looked at key crops grown in Japan, Australia and the US and clearly showed that rising carbon dioxide levels led to a drop in protein, iron and zinc. Finally, the issue began to attract real media attention. Also in 2004, Loladze - by now teaching maths in South Korea - published his own paper, which was the result of more than a decade and a half of data collection on the same subject - the largest study ever on rising carbon dioxide and its impact on plant nutrients. His key finding? That his 2002 hypothesis appeared to be true - looking at 130 varieties of plants and more than 15,000 samples collected over three decades, the overall concentration of minerals (ie calcium, magnesium, potassium, zinc and iron) had dropped by 8% on average, whilst the ratio of carbohydrates to minerals was going up. In other words, the plants, like the algae before them, were turning into junk food. And the future? What does this mean for humans, since our main food intake is plants? Investigation is only just beginning and is being hampered by a political arena in which just introducing the word 'climate' can derail a discussion about funding. At the same time, it will also require scientists to stop seeing their worlds as discrete disciplines. However, solving these dilemmas is critical to our future.

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