The Pro Chef, 2012 October

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- New season’s menus


- Alternatives to alcohol


- Snacking in La Serenissima 00 Cover October 2012_Final.indd 1


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EDITORIAL Who are going to be the winners and losers in the increasingly competitive restaurant scene?


FROM THE WALK-IN Details of some recent studies - canned foods are now a mainstay in the American diet, drought means costlier wheat and the baking dilemma.


THE EGGS FACTOR What’s in the fridge of Chef Jack Brennan from the award-winning Rib Room? Not very much, it seems.


OUT AND ABOUT News of The International Fine Food Festival, students shining at The Emirates Academy of Hospitality Management and a first look at iba 2012.


SOURCING Authentic Italian cheese from Sharjah? Yes! And these artisan products are delicious!


PRODUCT FOCUS The gourmet frozen dessert sector is one of the most dynamic in the US market. Will it follow suit here?


COUNTRY FOCUS The wine is world famous, of course, but France produces so many more delicious drinks.


PIMP MY PLATE Reinvent a Mexican classic? No problem at all, says Nina’s Chef Girish Nair.



ON THE PASSE Head Chef Ben Tobitt is evolving the menu at The Ivy Dubai, resolutely demonstrating that, while it may look British, The Ivy Dubai has an international outlook.


FACE TO FACE Chef Tonneto Ernesto at Cavalli Club, Chef Simon Conboy at Rivington Bar & Grill and Head Sommelier Jacquie Lewis at Zuma all have plans for the new season.


BOOK SHELF An English-language food magazine from Sweden with a very personal approach and a highly developed design sensibility. What else to call it but ‘Fool’?


TRAVEL Most tourists go to Venice for the romance, the architecture and the canals. Dave Reeder goes in search of the food instead. Plus surprisingly modern food from Belgrade in a photo-feature.


THE LAST WORD A stunning infographic that shows an enviable skill in reducing the complexity of subjects to clear visual explanations, demonstrates the relationships between cooking utensils.


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After the heat, the heat! A

nother hot summer starts to slip away and chefs are returning to Dubai like migrating birds after their long breaks back home or from food-centred travels. The combination of extreme heat and Ramadan this year has meant that, more than usual, the UAE fine dining scene has been, of necessity, fairly quiet over the last few weeks. Now it’s all set to change! The new season is starting with plenty of anniversaries around. Rhodes Mezzanine is five years old already! The Ivy is coming up to 18 months since opening! And hasn’t the year sped by for table 9 by Nick and Scott as well as Toro Toro? We’re hearing of numerous relaunches and repositionings, from Fire & Ice to Maya, not to mention some major new openings. The new JW Marriott will offer 17 outlets and we can finally reveal the new home of Chef Takahashi - Tomo at Raffles Dubai. All this is exciting the local fine dining community, but it must be a worry for many chefs and F&B directors. There is, after all, only a limited pool of disposable income out there and a combination of the desire for the new hot spots and an attachment to the existing cool favourites means that diners will find it harder to be too experimental or cover all the options. Even food writers that I know, who regularly eat out five days a week, can barely cover the ground. What will it be like as we move into 2013 and the next wave of hotels opens with their multiple restaurant options?


So who will be the winners? The fear is that F&B directors seeing shrinking margins will pressure chefs to reduce costs. However, that could well prove to be a shortsighted step: restaurants like table 9 by Nick and Scott or Rhodes Mezzanine or La Petite Maison didn’t gain their devoted followings by offering cut-price ingredients. No, in the upper reaches of the fine dining market, quality and careful selection of produce is a given.


What other options are there? Some no doubt will cut back opening times to reduce staff costs. Others may race faster down the discount/special offer route. Still others will close.


It may be easy to forecast the certain winners and the guaranteed losers in this game, however it would be a brave industry watcher who could accurately foresee the fate of the majority of the field. Interesting times, indeed.


Head Office, PO Box 13700, Dubai, UAE Tel: +971 4 440 9100 Fax: +971 4 447 2409 Group Office, Dubai Media City Building 4, Office G08, Dubai, UAE A publication licensed by IMPZ

Dave Reeder Editor

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© Copyright 2012 CPI. 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.

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From the walk-in

Threat to grain supplies The worst drought in 50 years has devastasted US agriculture, causing massive cuts in crop yields and rapidly rising prices for corn and soybeans.


0% of the US’ crop land is experiencing a severe drought or worse, according to the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture), meaning that more than half the US counties are now officially natural disaster areas, thanks to higher than normal temperatures. Less than a fifth of US farmers have confidence in their crops, with the vast majority seeing only worse times ahead. Last year, the United States delivered just under a third of global soybean stocks and just over a third of global corn stocks, demonstrating its importance in the global supply chain for these crops. Now, with the impact of the drought, prices of soybeans increased by a quarter in the first half of the year and corn prices in the future are anticipated to reach record levels. Both crops are widely used in animal feed so price rises affect general food prices. The British Poultry Council, for example, believes that, unless the price of corn and soybeans stop rising, the UK’s poulty industry’s feed expenditure will rise by over a third this year. Short term rises in commodity prices are only part of the problem though. Increasing use of emission-friendlier ethanol blended gasoline will slow, as the fuel is largely derived from soybean crops. So, not only will general food prices rise, so will the cost of production and transport. And the problems just get worse. The latest US

drought is the third food commodity spike in five years - Asian rice shortages in 2009 drove rice prices up and the 2010 drought across Russia affected global wheat prices. Between June 2010 and February 2011, there was a 121% increase in wheat prices in Russia and an export embargo. The US government has given no indication it will follow

a similar protectionist route, but such examples demonstrate how easily the interconnected net of global food supply can be impacted. Another heat wave in Russia at present is expected to pose major risks to wheat and other crop exports just when they are most required. Expect more rises in food commodity prices before year end.

Yes, we can! Canned foods are now a mainstay in the American diet - 90% of Americans now depend on them as part of their produce intake.


hockingly, four out of ten Americans say they have limited access to either stores or markets selling fresh fruits and vegetables. That why over half of them feel canned food is central to their dietary needs. Part of the reason is that almost 60 million Americans either participate in nutrition assistance programmes or are unemployed. In an average week, Americans consume more than five cans of

fruits and vegetables and over 50% of Americans agree that canned fruits and vegetables can be as nutritious as fresh. Sherrie Rosenblatt, MarComm VP, Can Manufacturers Institute, claims: “Canned foods play an important role in helping Americans meet the government’s recommended dietary guidelines for fruits and vegetables. In these more difficult economic times, families can stretch their grocery budgets by choosing canned foods.”


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From the walk-in

Baking health or indulgence? Bakers face a dilemma. Some customers want more and more innovative treats; others are demanding healthier items, with reduced salt and fats.


n the half decade leading up to 2011, the global bakery market grew at 1% CAGR per annum, finally reaching sales of almost $460b. Most of that growth came from emerging economies, whose populations did not share the concerns of consumers in developed markets who increasingly see baked goods as unhealthy foods. Asia Pacific (thanks mainly to China) and Latin America are the key growth areas though, as we have seen from the explosion in cupcake sales in Dubai, for example, the Middle East is catching up. In response to static or negative growth in sales across Western Europe and North America, some manufacturers have split the market in order to boost or at least maintain retail sale values. The contradictory bifurcation of focus between health and indulgence means that healthy high-fibre products are jostling for shelf space next to sugarcoated treats. Are both objectives are achievable? That remains to be seen.

The industry has also focused hard on global convenience and snacking trends which are based on portability and functionality. So products such as wraps and sandwich pockets are creating new profitable niches, while more globalised consumer markets are opening up more opportunities for packaged ethnic products outside their home territory. As we would expect, though, American flavour combinations like salted caramel continue to expand into new markets, leading the way for increased sales of cupcakes and the like. Another trend is the spread of single portion cakes and snack packs, which can both be sold at a premium and marketed as helping to combat obesity! In Russia, for example, one in ten of all retail packaged cake sales now come from such new products. An ideal future would see the development of healthy but indulgent products that would satisfy all tastes and preferences.

A HEALTHY BITE Health and wellness bakery is strong in North America and Western Europe, with American household eating around seven times as much organic products as anyone else. These include seeded and multigrain breads, perceived as healthy and costling more than white bread. Seaweed is now being used in artisanal bread to reduce the use of salt. In China, breads routinely include fruits or vegetables, either as toppings or ingredients. Western Europe leads in the consumption of gluten-free baked goods, partly because they’re seen not just as meeting dietary requirements but also because they’re a healthy food choice. Ancient cereal grains are also increasing in use, such as amaranth, quinoa, corn, oats, spelt, millet and teff.


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Picking the world’s finest teas, for the world’s finest connoisseurs.


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The eggs factor

No time to shop! Every month, we invite a chef to be brutally honest and share with us the actual contents of their home fridge - no cheating by pretending there are scores of luxury ingredients, that everything is neatly packaged and date stamped! We want reality - and Chef Jack Brennan gave us that!


till glowing from having made the ‘101 Best Hotel Restaurants Around the World’, Jack Brennan is Chef De Cuisine at the Rib Room, Jumeirah Emirates Towers. Another Gordon Ramsay protege, he began his career at the University College of Birmingham just six years ago, combining studying for his degree in Culinary Arts Management with freelancing as a pastry chef lecturer in the university, helping to train students. Leaving college in 2008, he joined Ramsay’s empire, inititally at Gordon Ramsay at Claridges under Mark Sargent, when it had one Michelin star. He spent two years there as Sous Chef before moving to Restaurant Gordon Ramsay (three Michelin stars) then, in 2010, to Gordon Ramsay at the Hilton Dubai Creek in a very senior role, as Executive Sous Chef in Verre. Prior to joining Jumeirah, he was Executive Business Development Chef for Bakkavor Group where he developed and promoted new products for major retailers such as Waitrose and Marks & Spencer. He then joined Jumeirah in April 2012 as Chef De Cuisine at the Rib Room. What’s in my fridge? Just this: Sweet chilli sauce: I love the depth of flavour and the sweet hit that it gives. It’s a great condiment to have at home for dinner parties and barbecues.

MAKING THE LIST As well as the Rib Room, another Jumeirah restaurant Al Mahara at Burj Al Arab made the Daily Meal’s first annual ‘101 Best Hotel Restaurants Around the World’ List. Based in the US, the Daily Meal is a large Web-based resource for food and drink information. The List, described as ‘a carefully curated collection’ of ‘the world’s most exemplary hotel feasts’, was compiled through recommendations from the Daily Meal’s editors, who have travelled extensively around the world, and by consulting various trusted sources such as Michelin. It includes restaurants from six continents, 40 countries and more than 80 cities. Mustard - now where’s the toast? Skimmed fresh milk: I am English and love a good cup of English breakfast tea! Eggs: Every day starts the same for me with an egg white omelette. Wholegrain Pommery mustard: I love the strong flavour of this mustard. Oddly enough, I really love it on toast!

Palm sugar: This is always there for cooking Thai Food. My favourite dish to cook for friends is a warming Thai green curry. Homemade smoothie: My own blend of grapes, apples, bananas, lime, orange and a few oats! Ketchup: No, not your normal Heinz but the real deal: Tiptree Tomato Ketchup from Wilkins & Sons in Essex. Original and best!

WHAT’S IN YOUR FRIDGE, CHEF? If you’d like to take part in our monthly bit of fun, then drop me a line and tell me why the contents of your fridge are interesting enough to be featured in this monthly bit of fun. If chosen, you’ll need to provide a hi-res image of yourself, a bio and an honest list of what’s actually in your fridge on the day you make the list. The more you can flesh out details of the contents, the better. We don’t just want to know that you’ve got tamarind juice in there, but why. Part of a healthy kick? Start of a marinade? And if you’ve got particular products in there, be like Chef Jack and name them: Tiptree not just generic tomato sauce. If you’re brave enough, you could also take photographs of the contents - but no cleaning up! You’re amongst friends here. We only have room for one fridge an issue, but hope to make this a part of our upcoming Web site. Mail me: Start the day with an egg white omelette.

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The eggs factor



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Out and about

Wecome to the festival The first International Fine Food Festival will take place at The Meydan Grandstand between October 30th and November 2nd 2012. Of interest to chefs will not just be gourmet products, both local and international, but also two new cooking contests for the region: The Golden Toque Middle East award and, for junior chefs, the Amuse Bouche contest. Founder Claire Tinston explains the thinking behind the new concept.


ith the UAE’s fine dining scene growing month by month and food lovers increasingly well served by specialist suppliers and shops, it seems obvious in retrospect to put together a gourmet event linking consumers to produce to importers to chefs. “Customers here face different decisions when shopping for food,” explains Claire Tinston, founder of the Festival and MD of Kraken Events. “The reliance on imported goods will always be there, however the interest and demand in fresh and local is growing. The Festival will reflect the best quality in both types from some passionate suppliers. This will be a celebration of food that consumers, exhibitors, farmers, distributors, buyers and, of course chefs can enjoy, share, taste and learn from.” She is particularly keen that the Posh Picnic exhibition area will focus on high quality produce, especially some that may not be widely known. “The Festival reflects the increase in demand for high quality produce in the region and the shift of dietary habits here from processed goods towards a more protein, dairy and high value ingredient market. This is an opportunity for the specialist producers to introduce their produce to the region and gives local farmers and suppliers the chance to interact directly with their customers.” So, farmers, producers, manufacturers and suppliers will be able to display their produce, which will also be used in the cooking competitions and in the Chef’s Table dining area. For example, one key local farmer exhibiting is Organiliciouz, a local organic farming initiative run by an Emirati family. Founded and headed by Obaid Bin Ghubash, it was established in response to the growing need for healthy, organic and sustainable produce in the UAE. Organiliciouz has been operating efficiently since 2010 and is one of the first farms to be awarded with the Emirates Organic Product Mark stamp. According to Bin Ghubash, “We feel very passionately about spreading awareness of the importance of a healthy diet and the benefits of organic food, especially for children’s health. This is the perfect platform for us to educate people on the benefits of eating organic and we will be unveiling the launch of Organiliciouz’ very own

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ࠞࡀ࠽ࡂ࠳࠱ࡂ࠷࠼࠵ ࡂ࠶࠳ ࠻࠽ࡁࡂ ࠾ࡀ࠳࠱࠷࠽ࡃࡁ ࠯ࡁࡁ࠳ࡂࡁ ࠷࠼ ࠺࠷࠴࠳߼߼߼࠽ࡃࡀ ࠴࠯࠻࠷࠺ࡇ߼߼߼࠽ࡃࡀ ࡅ࠽ࡀ࠺࠲߼߼߼ ࠚ࠳࠾࠯࠱ ࠽࠴࠴࠳ࡀࡁ ࡃ࠼࠷࠿ࡃ࠳ ࠯ࡀࡀ࠯ࡇ ࠽࠴ ࠳࠱࠽߻࠴ࡀ࠷࠳࠼࠲࠺ࡇ ࠾ࡀ࠽࠲ࡃ࠱ࡂࡁ ࠡࡃ࠾࠾࠽ࡀࡂ ࠽ࡃࡀ ࠻࠽ࡂࡂ࠽ࠈ ࠡ࠯࠴࠳ ࠔ࠯࠻࠷࠺ࡇߺ ࠡ࠯࠴࠳ ࠓ࠯ࡀࡂ࠶

ࠑ࠷ࡂ࠷ ࠞ࠯࠹ ࠚ߼ࠚ߼ࠑ ࠢ࠳࠺ࠈ ߹ࠇࠅ߿ ࠄ ࠃࠁࠃࠃࠂࠂࠀߺ ࠔ࠯ࡆࠈ ߹ࠇࠅ߿ ࠄ ࠃࠁࠃࠃࠂࠂࠄߺ ࠞ߼ࠝ߼ࠐ࠽ࡆ ࠀࠁࠆࠅࠂߺ ࠡ࠶࠯ࡀ࠸࠯࠶ߺ ࠣࠏࠓ ࡅࡅࡅ߼࠱࠷ࡂ࠷߻࠾࠯࠹߼࠱࠽࠻

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Out and about farmers’ market.” Other key exhibitors confirmed include Oakleaf European, a leading importer of food products and produce including cheese, fruits, vegetables, from authentic French markets; Balqees Honey, suppliers of Royal Sidr honey directly from the desert mountains and valleys of Yemen; Chez Charles, an on-line gourmet grocer supplying a selection of produce handpicked from across the world; Gourmet Point, a supplier of premium oils, jams and syrups including La Tourangelle; Astrea, an authentic and renowned Greek olives and olive oil supplier; and Eireann Group which supports small to medium sized Irish companies and then exports their products to the region. “We’re particularly keen to have exhibitors and sponsors who not only have quality products but are also adding to our understanding of food and sustainability” Tinston adds. As an example, Nespresso is a sponsor and is keen to announce

Finest quality olives and olive oil by Astrea.

that its recycling scheme for the coffee pods will soon start here. And some of the sponsors are involved in the cooking challenges, such as the most sustainable fish challenge or the grass-fed beef challenge, using Emerald Valley beef from Australia. Food can be life changing, so we need to ensure the best.” Chefs from the region and beyond will compete for The Golden Toque Middle East Award, with top prizes being a stay at the luxury Les Trois Rois Hotel in Basel complete with a six course dinner at two-star Michelin restaurant Le Cheval Blanc, plus a brand new kitchen provided by Teka. A panel of some of the most well respected names in the hospitality and fine dining industry, locally and internationally, will judge the senior and junior teams. Contestant chefs will be marked on their culinary skills and talent, as well as being encouraged to use ingredients provided by local farmers and artisan producers. “Feedback from the community has been enthusiastic,” she claims. “This is the first competition in the Middle East for chefs, run by chefs and about the chefs, which is why it has such appeal.” As well as the award of the Golden Toque Middle East trophy and medals, an Amuse Bouche contest will acknowledge the skills of individuals and teams of junior chefs competing for the Gold, Silver or Bronze Moustache 2012. Michael Kitts, Director of Culinary Arts at The Emirates Academy of Hospitality Management, helped to create a panel of local and international experts who will serve as judges. Kitts will also act as Salon Director. Five chefs will compete per heat, all working in the Meydan’s kitchen with a live feed to monitors around the Festival. Academy students will also gain invaluable hands-on experience working with the teams of chefs preparing meals for The Chef’s Table, which will act as the forum for a number of pop-up restaurants using ingredients from the Festival’s exhibitors and sponsors, with a Dhs250 a head charge for diners. Teams will represent hotels. Tinston expects up to 3,000 visitors over the four day Festival. She also has plans to extend the brand into 2013. “As well as bookings already taken for next year’s Festival, there’s a real possibility of Posh Picnics at racing or yachting events through the year. We are also debuting a Cookbook Club at the event which will allow local authors to meet their readers.”

“This is an excellent opportunity for specialist producers to introduce their produce to the region and gives local farmers and suppliers the chance to interact directly with their customers.” - Claire Tinston, Founder, The International Fine Food Festival.


The judges Claire Clark MBE One of the world’s top pastry chefs. British born Claire Clark has worked in some of the world’s best restaurants including Claridges Hotel in Mayfair and The Wolseley on Piccadilly. In 2005, she moved to California to become the head pastry chef at three-star Michelin The French Laundry. She is now working as a freelance Pastry Chef based in London. Kevin Viner A winner of some of Britain’s best professional cooking competitions including UK National Chef of the Year in 1998 and the AA’s Chef of the Year in 1999, voted by both his peers and colleague chefs throughout the trade. He was also nominated as one of the ‘Top ten chefs of the last decade’ by the AA. Paul Bates The executive chef at the InterContinental Hotel Park Lane in London. Previously he worked at both the Millennium Mayfair Hotel and the Millennium Knightsbridge Hotel. His tutor at college, Peter Barrett, also taught Gary Rhodes. John King A professional Chef for more than 30 years, he has worked in some of the most exclusive hotels, restaurants and casinos, such as the The Dorchester, Connaught, The Ritz Club, Le Caprice, Les Ambassadeurs, Crockford’s and the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Manila. He has won many awards for his culinary expertise, such as Gold Medal for Best Regional Team in the World at the 1988 Culinary Olympics. Gabi Kurz The wellbeing chef at Madinat Jumeirah and previously Chef de Cuisine at Magnolia. She grew up inspired by her mother who operated a vegetarian guesthouse in the Black Forest in Bavaria and by local produce. Peter Knogl Chef de Cuisine at the gourmet restaurant Le Cheval Blanc in the Grand Hotel Les Trois Rois, the top hotel in Basel.

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Out and about

Mick Kitts briefs the brigade before service.

Student success Final year students at The Emirates Academy of Hospitality Management planned, cooked and served a Gastronomy Dinner with paired wines on September 10th to 40 specially invited industry suppliers, chefs and press. Chef Michael Kitts, Director of Culinary Arts, oversaw the kitchen and ‘surprise’ Chef Gary Rhodes topped the evening with dessert.


t’s become something of a tradition for final year students at The Emirates Academy of Hospitality Management to put together a special meal towards the end of their final term. According to Michael Kitts, Director of Culinary Arts at the Academy, explains, “It really gives them great experience in planning, service and teamwork. In the past, we had one year who dreamed up the concept of an African restaurant, planned the decor and menus, created the recipes and then cooked the food.” The annual event is popular with the students and this year’s Gastronomy Dinner was no exception. Although none of the

team had studied cooking as a key part of their course, their enthusiasm, skill and dedication were exceptional, whether they were chefs for the night or serving staff. The evening began with welcome drinks and a selection of canapes for the selected guests which included food suppliers, chefs from the Jumeirah Group and some food press. The guests then moved to one of four tables, overseen by a large monitor screen so they could watch events in the kitchen. The first of six courses appeared, after a brief description of the dish and details of the paired wine. In general the food was of fine dining quality

except for one misjudged dish: a yuzo sorbet that was designed as a palate cleanser. Even for chefs at out table, with their known propensity for salt, found the idea more interesting than the execution: the pickled ginger found favour, but the very salty sorbet less so. Plating throughout was excellent, service attentive and the food great. The evening finished late with tea, coffee and an accomplished selection of petit fours. With students of this quality ready to enter the industry, The Emirates Academy of Hospitality Managment staff can take pride in what they imparted to them.

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Out and about

Plating the first course of cured salmon on marinated spiced avocado.

Date and walnut tart.

The ‘Wait “N” See’.

‘Surprise’ Chef Gary Rhodes shows how it’s done.

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Out and about

Bake, bake, bake! The unrivalled diversity of iba held in Munich covers all aspects of the baking and confectionery industry. First organised in 1949, it is now held every three years and profiles the entire range of products used by bakers, confectioners, caterers and café owners.


he international platform of iba showcases market trends and demonstrates the challenges of tomorrow’s ideas to its visitors. That’s important. So too for visitors is the ability to see, smell and taste the competition at this event and then go home feeling inspired by many new ideas. Amongst the key elements of the show are the baking, chocolate and pastry competitions as well as live demonstrations of production lines plus equipment for traditional bakers in action throughout the show. This year, 70,000 visitors from 177 countries saw 1,250 exhibitors spread across a dozen halls. According to Claudia Weidner, the Project Manager for the event held at Messe München, “This is the world’s leading trade fair for bakers and confectioners. It set new standards and thenpresented worldwide treands for years to come.” The next iteration of iba will be held in Munich in September 2015. In the next issue of The Pro Chef Middle East, we’ll have a full show report of this year’s event.

Deep frozen pastries on display.

Demonstrations are everywhere.

Artisan bread to the fore.

Technique and skill at work.

Visitors wait to enter the show.

Picture perfect rolls.

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1. Milk from Al Ain arrives three times a week and is immediately pasteurised before advancing to the cheesemaking process.

Sharjah’s Hamriyah Free Zone is not where you’d expect to find Italian cheesemakers hard at work turning milk from Al Ain into authentic artisanal mozzarella (as ciliegine, bocconcini, treccia, nodini or sfoglia), ricotta, scamorza and burrata from traditional recipes. 3. The whey drained off, the curd slabs are now ready for extrusion.

SAY CHEESE! Italian Dairy Products makes the following Italian cheeses: Mozzarella - available as the classic round shape as well as ciliegine (cherry-sized balls), nodini (knots), treccia (braids) or sfoglia (sheets). It is also sold in larger loaves for use in pizza topping.. Ricotta - a cheese by-product made from milk whey. Not strictly a cheese. Scamorza - saltier and more rubbery than mozzarella, available plain or smoked. Burrata - cream and pieces of mozzarella curd in a mozzarella pouch.

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2. After pasteurisation, the milk is treated with rennet and ‘cut’ to encourage the coagulation process which creates the curds.


ood purists insist that buffala mozzarella should be sourced from Campania in Italy, the origin of cow mozzarella (used on pizzas, for example) is less critical. Instead, texture and freshness are key which is why some mozzarella coming a short distance from Sharjah to some of Dubai’s top restaurants is better than produce having to be shipped from Italy and thus losing its freshness. Distributed to the trade by Admirals Trading, word of mouth amongst chefs in the UAE is seeing an increasing number of them making the journey to the factory to see for themselves what all the fuss is about. One even asked, half joking, if he could have a job there! “We win customers on the freshness factor,” claims Maria Luisa Panzica La Manna, the general manager of Italian Dairy Products. “Increasingly, chefs are keen to support local producers if the quality is there, because more and more people are concerned about the environmental impact of flying in food.”

The company was set up five years ago by three Italian partners - Leo Condemi, Silvia Angelotti and Pietro Rampino - although production only began in April of last year. Two cheesemakers from Italy use local milk to produce mozzarella, burrata, scamorza and ricotta. The 550sqm plant is currently at about half production capacity, with 7,000 litres of milk used every week over three days. Milk is delivered from Al Ain immediately after milking and production begins at 4am, using specialised machinery imported from Italy. What is clear is that this is a business with passion. Cheesemaker Alessandro Nicotra from Naples left school at 14 to make mozzarella and, unusually for an artisanal producer, was keen to leave Italy for this new venture in order to increase his skills and learn more about the art of cheesemaking. His cheeses are enjoyed by the royal family and by both first and business class passengers on Etihad. The cheeses have even been exported to the Seychelles and there have been enquiries from as far as the Maldives.

All the cheeses are made from local milk. “We could import frozen buffalo milk from Italy,” says La Manna. “But you’d lose the freshness.” None of the cheeses contain any additives or preservatives. Instead they are made from just four ingredients: pasteurised cows’ milk, rennet, salt and a starter culture. Milk arrives at the plant, is pasteurised at 72C for 15 seconds, then transferred to production tanks and the starter culture added. 30 minutes later, rennet is added and the milk coagulates before the whey is drained from the curd, which is then transferred to yet another machine and mixed with water at 90C to create the stringy quality required. Finally, the cheeses are extruded from a mould into the various shapes and sizes, stored in cold water and sent to the chill room. The whole process is finished by lunchtime. “What we care most about is the quality of the final product,” explain La Manna. “Some people say that our cheeses are expensive but the problem is that the raw ingredient - the milk - is expensive and there is a lot of competition for 5. Freshly made ricotta waits to be packaged.

4. Hot water is added to develop the stringiness required.

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6.Mozzarella being extruded through sized moulds.

it. We need to ensure the quality of the milk so we can’t just buy it from anywhere. We’re lucky to have found some great farmers but supply of milk, especially in the summer, is hard to maintain. We’ve looked at importing milk from, say, India but we can’t control the hygiene as well.” Would camel milk work? “No. It’s a very rich product but it’s very hard to get it to coagulate.” She’s very insistent that the mozzarella made here compares well with the original traditional Italian cheeses. “Every Italian is passionate about their country and every Italian cheesemaker will say their cheeses are the best from the best region. Some buffala mozarella in Italy is a mix of buffalo and cow milk - there just aren’t enough buffalo in the country so people use both types of milk at times! We are looking all the time at other sources of milk. Did you know that a cow is most comfortable at 8C so you imagine how stressed they are here…” The company uses a third party laboratory to test the milk. “We are, of course, very careful on

“SOME buffala mozarella in Italy is is a mix of buffalo and cow milk - there just aren’t enough buffalo in the country!” - Maria Luisa Panzica La Manna all food safety issues and are HACCP certified. It took some time to convince Sharjah authorities that our cheeses had a good shelf life but they eventually agreed to do the tests. They were quite surprised how good our products are! Now our mozzarella in water has a shelf life of 15 days, the mozzarella for pizza has 25 days and both burrata and ricotta have eight days.” Currently 50 hotels are using the cheeses, plus a

8. Cheesemakers often put on displays to show off their cheese skills.


7. Mozzarella ready to be finished.

number of standalone restaurants and pizzerias. One enthusiastic supporter is chef for hire Andy Campbell. “At the moment, I’m putting together my new menus and these cheeses will be on them. Customers who’ve tasted them have been really keen - one family even flew back to the UK with a supply! I’m passionate about local food but let’s be honest, not all local food is good. However, these cheeses are the real thing.”

Product focus

Chocolate temptation

Frozen delight

Popular carrot cake

The big freeze

A major industry sector in the USA, the frozen gourmet dessert sector is growing faster than the general food market. In fact, the USA now heads the world in per capita consumption of these products, either in restaurants or cafes or at home. Sweet Street Desserts is driving the trend.


ounded back in 1979 by Sandy Solmon, Sweet Street Desserts is widely recognised as the premier innovator in the frozen gourmet dessert market. This industry sector is one in which customers are constantly looking for the next best thing and driving for more innovation. According to Yannis Toutziaridis, EME Business Development Director of Sweet Street Desserts, “The size of the market in the whole region should be between $50-70m, but these figures are based on our own numbers and feel for the market rather than statistical data. It is definitely growing every year, gaining share from freshly made premium desserts.” The real opportunity now lies in providing fine dining restaurant quality desserts through food service partners to the casual dining sector. What F&B analysts point to is the extra revenue

that quality desserts bring to a menu, estimated at adding some 15% to the average bill. Plus, of course, many diners would then also choose a premium coffee to go with it. However, this strategy is only successful if the products are good and Solmon’s long tradition of using only the highest quality ingredients is a key reason for Sweet Street’s continuing success across its wide gourmet product range of cakes, deep dish pies, dessert bars, petit fours, individual desserts, premium cheesecakes and more. The word ‘gourmet’ gives the clue. Unlike many frozen desserts in the market, these use no binders, slurries and preservatives, only the finest ingredients, such as farm fresh whole eggs, pure chocolate, fresh fruit, choice nuts and real cream. The products have a five day shelf life in the chiller, are portioned for portion control and made with a homemade look and consistency.

Sweet Street Desserts does not use any fats or margarines that contain artificial trans fats in any products, though some do contain trace amounts of partially hydrogenated oils. The company is working with these suppliers to remove all trace amounts of artificial trans fats. Of course, trans fat naturally occurs in dairy products such as milk, butter and cream cheese. Innovation is key to success and the founder is in full charge of the advanced R&D facility. The company’s global expansion through partners to more than 30 countries has now seen the 150 plus product lines available in the UAE through Horeca Trade, now supplying customers in a number of casual dining chains. “We have been operating in the Middle East for the last five years,” adds Toutziaridis. “We’re certainly the leader in frozen gourmet dessert sales by sales, if not by volume.”


9/26/12 2:36 PM

Country focus

There’s more - a lot more - to the French drink scene than alcohol as we discover.

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Country focus


lthough most of us still see France as very much a wine drinking nation, per capita consumption has been dropping steadily for the last 100 years, partly through a general change in drinking habits based on health considerations and partly as consumers trade up to better - and more expensive - wines. However, France is still generally seen as producing some of the best and most iconic wines in the world, as well as a whole sea of artisan beers and ciders, aperitifs and digestifs, liqueurs and more. But the latest research from MINTEL shows that many French consumers are turning their backs on alcohol. Consumption fell by 6% between 1999 and 2004 to end at just under six billion litres. MINTEL’s five year forecast suggest that consumption in France will decline even more, as more of the young generation “have switched partly or entirely to non-alcoholic drinks”, according to Hanna Kivimaki, senior consumer analyst at MINTEL. This is in stark contrast to Britain where alcohol consumption increased by about 5% during the same period. “Wine is an integral part of the French heritage but the industry has lately lost its way. [Wine] is losing its traditional and central role as a meal accompaniment and for many water has become a more common drink at meal times,” Kivimaki adds. Of course, France’s agricultural and gastronomic heritage means that the French are used to access to a number of alternatives to wine, many of which use the highest quality ingredients and use old, artisanal methods of production. These include: water, fruit juices, soft drinks and syrups.


The water story Today there are more than 200 brands of French bottled water - a staggering figure. There are three types of water which can be officially defined as follows: Purified - Tap, surface or underground sourced filtered by using a series of membranes and carbon filters and sterilised using ultra-violet light and ozonation. Some brands then add put back some selected minerals. Spring water - Originates from protected



12-19 years

24-54 years


12% 53%






23% 5% 7%



11% 10%

1% Water

Hot drinks

Fruit juices

Soft drinks



underground sources that flow naturally to the earth’s surface. Mineral water - Originates from protected underground sources that naturally flow through geological formations collecting minerals along the way. These minerals give each specific water its unique taste. Many of the iconic French water brands grew out of the country’s long love with spa treatments, use of which is available as part of the country’s state health service. Through hydrotherapy and ‘taking the waters’, a link between water and health is part of the French consciousness. The Auverge, by itself, has 109 springs and is the richest area in Europe for mineral water. Key brands originating here include Volvic (water filtered from deep springs under major volcanic remains) and Vichy. The world’s leading mineral water Perrier naturally occurs from a spring in Verges, near Marseilles. Perrier is naturally carbonated from volcanic gas pockets that are trapped deep within the limestone rock. Perrier has planted and maintains some 1,235 acres to preserve the environment around the spring and act as a natural filter for the water. In addition, farmers and growers in the 8,650 adjacent acres are all certified organic. Vittel is one of the most famous still mineral waters in the world and is a leading global bottled water brand. It comes from the sophisticated and reputable ‘pure’ source in the Vosges mountains and has been officially recognised for its health benefits since 1903. The origins of Evian natural mineral water date back thousands of years to the birth of the French Alps. Over several ice ages, a natural filter developed, creating a one of a kind haven for pure water. Each drop of Evian starts off as rain or snow, travelling through a vast mineral aquifer deep within the mountains before emerging more than 15 years later at the spring in EvianLes-Bains. Badoit, recently available in the UAE, is a brand of mineral water obtained from natural sources at Saint-Galmier. The water is naturally carbonated, on its journey through granite rocks and subterranean gas deposits. Bottling began in 1838 but it was sold only through pharmacies until 1954.

[Source: CREDOC (Centre de Recherche pour l’Étude et l’Observation des Conditions de Vie)]

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Country focus The juice story According to Unijus, the Frenchnational interprofessional union of fruit juices, 1.64 billion litres of fruit juice were sold last year, stable from the year before despite a 7.6% price hike due largely to rises in the cost of packaging materials. This shows the French enthusiasm for juices. They are enthusiastic consumers of juices both at home and when dining out, with pure fruit juice making up half the market. Although organic fruit juice sales jumped 25% last year, it still represents a small part of the overtall market. Typically juices are made from apple, red and white grape, peach, raspberry, cranberry, pomegrante or pineapple. A growing segment of the market is the spakling fruit juice, often sold in glass bottle with a Champagne-type cork to convey some of the prestige and excitement of the premium wine. Vegetable juices are also highly popular. A desire for health and wellness is driving new product and flavour development in the French juice sector and the key players introduced ‘superfruit’ variants to their product lines last year. Eckes-Granini, for example, led the way into the new market with Joker le Fruit, the first superfruit 100% juice in France and with a selling price 8-10% cheaper than the leading superfruit juice brand, Ocean Spray. Orangina Schweppes also launched Oasis Superfruits (tropics and guava; pomegranate and blackcurrant; and orange and acerola). However, not all fruit drinks are pre-prepared. It is common in cafes in France to see people calling for freshly squeezed orange or lemon (watered down and with sugar) as a thirst-quencher. The soft drink story Nowhere in the world is immune to the marketing power of Coca-Cola and its competitors, but in France the soft drink story is deeper and more complex than in many other countries. Apart from its national iconic favourite Orangina, France has a whole range of what it calls the BRSA sector that is, ‘Boissons Rafraichissantes Sans Alcool’ or refreshing drinks without alcohol. Refreshing non-alcoholic drinks or soft drinks essentially contain water but also vegetable extracts, fruit juices, sugar or artificial colouring and aromas. They can also be sparkling (carbonated) or still: colas, fruit drinks, tea-based drinks, lemonades, tonics, bitters and so on. Soft drinks offer a large choice of flavours and tastes with various sugar contents responding to customer needs: sweet drinks which contain added sugar and/or sugars that are naturally present in fruits, reduced sugar drinks, lite drinks or no added sugar. The syrup story Syrup was created in France under the reign of Louis XIV and allows people to enjoy fruit all year round in refreshing drinks that may be cocktails, mocktails or just syrup and water. French syrups are made using excellent quality sugars, produced both in mainland France and in its island territories. The orchards in these regions provide superb fruits and other plants that lend


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10/1/12 9:29 AM 29/03/12 12:00

Country focus these syrups their flavour and real smoothness. The entire syrup production process is carefully controlled; the drinks are natural and must comply with strict organic specifications. The French word ‘sirop’ derives from the Arabic ‘charab’ (drink) and the concept of the sugared, concentrated fruit drink was brought back from the Middle East to France during the period of the Crusades. By the 18th century, syrups were firmly entrenched into French life with flavours such as camomile, violet and rose being suggested for use in the kitchen, as a drink at work or even to be taken at a pharmacy. Today, French syrups have been successful in adapting to new consumer tastes and habits, with leading brands such as Monin and Teisserie innovating aggressively. Alongside traditional flavours such as grenadine, mint and lemon, you can find apple, peach, cherry, passionfruit and raspberry syrups, as well as more exotic aromas such as rose, litchi and vanilla. New flavours heavily pushed by manufacturers this year are pink grapefruit, cactus, violet, caramel but the old favourites will take some shifting from their dominance: grenadine (27%), mint (16%), lemon (12%), strawberry (10%) and peach (4%). Also, organic varieties are appearing, old flavours being represented to a new market, new sugar-free offerings and creative new packaging for syrups is now appearing.

THE FRENCH HERITAGE As with all parts of the French gastronomy and agricuytural scene, tradition and heritage play a large part in the success and marketing of many key brands. We look in a little more detail at three of them : Monin Now celebrating its centenary, this leading syrup manufacturer now has 100+ syrups available in over 120 countries. Founded by 19-year old Georges Monin. The comopany is now the leading provider of premium flavouring products. The company began selling branded wines and spirits with a horse and cart and the slogan ‘A passion for quality’. Three Monin generations later, the same standards of quality and presentation have always been central to the company’s success, with the best natural ingredients sourced globally. Today, every bottle in production is lasered with a lot number - a way of tracing ingredients and the blender. It product line includes premium syrups, liqueurs, gourmet sauces, fruit smoothies and cocktail mixes. Production has doubled over the last five years and new flavours continue to be offered, such as basil, hibiscus and gingerbread. Last year, the company sold 40 million bottles of syrup.

Evian In 1789, the Marquis of Lessert enjoyed the water froma spring on the land of his friend Mr Cachat in Evian-les-Bains to the south of Lac Leman (Lake Geneva). Not only did he feel healthier in himself but his kidney stones were cured. The town and the water gained an instant reputation for health and the legend was born. A century later, the French Academy of Medicine officially recognised the health benefits of the water, even though thermal treatments and the drinking of the water in the town had begun in 1824. The first Société des Eaux Minérales (Mineral Water Company) was founded in 1829 was founded to bottle water from the Cachat Source. However, until 1859 when it officially became part of France, Evian was in Savoy so the French government had to reauthorised the bottling of the water. Today, Evian is owned by Danone Group, a French multinational and has broadened its activity to a range of healthy body products, face sprays and more.

Badoit Rising at Saint Galmier in the Loire region in France, Badoit emerges from its spring naturally sparkling, with a bicarbonate content that makes it the perfect accompaniment for food. Although the water was known to the Romans, it was recognised by Richard Marin de Laprade, Louis XVI’s doctor, as beneficial to health. At the end of the 1830s, the success of the thermal spa and water sales at Saint Galmier were such that the town asked Auguste Badoit, a young entrepreneur, to take over the exploitation of the spring. He created the French bottled water industry by selling the water as ‘thermal therapy at home’ and heavily promoted Badoit through pharmacies. By the time of his death in 1858, the company was selling one and a half million bottles a year. At the same time as Evian, it was recognised for its health benefits by the French Academy of Medicine. Today, also part of the Danone Group, it is widely associated with fine dining. Thierry Marx, Executive Chef of the Michelin starred Mandarin Oriental in Paris, calls it “The water that inspires me the most, both as a consumer and a chef. The taste of Badoit is unique. This product has long been adopted as one of my key ingredients.”

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Great fruity drinks, so easy to make ! Le Fruit de MONIN is an innovative one step replacement for traditional fruit purees. It is the easiest and most proďŹ table solution for creating amazing smoothies and cocktails. Just add Le Fruit, no need to add sugar or anything else. Especially designed for professionals, Le Fruit de MONIN has the true taste and texture of fruit for great fruity drinks!

For more beverage inspiration

see, Facebook and the MONIN App.

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9/26/12 21/09/123:42 09:03 PM

Pimp my plate


Step 1: The chicken pieces cut up and ready for marination.

Step 2: Adding the turmeric to the yohurt to build the marinade.

Step 3: The rest of the spices are added one by one.

Step 4: The marinade is fully mixed to ensure a smooth quality.

Step 5: The chicken pieces are covered in the marinade..

Step 6: The chicken pieces are skewered for the tandoor.

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9/23/12 4:32 PM

Pimp my plate

Taking the heat out Chefs love a challenge, so every month we ask a chef to take a traditional recipe from outside his normal repertoire and then reinvent it to be suitable for his restaurant’s menu. Thinking he would pick up on the chilli theme, we asked Chef Nair from Nina at One&Only Arabian Court to tackle the Mexican classic Chicken enchiladas. Only one problem: diners at Nina prefer the food a lot less spicy than most Indian outlets.


ike most chefs, Chef Girish Kumar Nair gained his love of food watching his mother cook as he grew up in Kerala. Little by little he began to help, drawn in by the smells of the food, especially fond of the multiple dishes prepared for the traditional Onam festival. At the age of 16 he announced he wanted to be a chef, but his parents persuaded him to stay on at school for another two years. “They explained that if I still wanted a career in food at that stage that was fine, but two more years at school would allow for other options such as an engineer,” recalls the Chef de Cuisine at Nina. By then the family was living in Chennai, where he attended college to study hotel management. “There was no degree in cooking, but outside of my management classes I was always in a kitchen cooking,” he says. after that he joined the Oberoi group of hotels, working first in the opening team

for the Oberoi Udaivilas and then the Oberoi Amarvilas, both in Rajasthan. “At each property I was working for expat chefs cooking various international cuisines, but at home of course we eat Keralan food. The great thing about working for the Oberoi was the strict training programme. I really learned a lot,” he says. He moved to Dubai in 2009 to work in Olives at One&Only Royal Mirage and then to Nina at the Arabian Court last year. “I’m now preparing my third complete new menu. It’s been interesting Nina is an Indian restaurant but it’s not Indian, if you understand me. When I arrived I was getting all kinds of comments from guests that the food was too spicy and I’m now using half or less of the chilli I began with! We cater for the European palate and mixing Indian tastes with non-Indian flavours. For example, the avocado salad uses avacados which aren’t used in Indian cuisine but

we add chaat masala to it. And everything we serve is made fresh, from the breads on up.” So how did he approach the challenge? “To be honest, it wasn’t that hard. I saw enchilada and immediately thought of a kathi roll - that’s an extremely popular street food in India, that originated in Kolkata. Normally a hotel would use fine flour but I wanted it more homestyle. As I explained, we don’t use a large amount of chilli so that’s a difference between my version and the Mexican original and I gave it a Nina feel by including pumpkin and goat cheese which are standard ingredients on our menu.” He only had one second thought. “I originally was going to include thyme but decided that would be just too much. I think what we came up with is interesting but for it to go on our menu we’d need to refine it a rather more. A roti is too obviously Indian so it might work better with filo.”



Step 2: For the roti filling, heat vegetable oil in a pan.

Step 3: Onions and garlic are added and cooked for two

Step 4: The spices are added to the cooked onions and garlic.

Step 6: The tomatoes are cooked until oil is released from the mix.

Step 5: The diced pumpkin is added to the pan.

Step 6: Finally, the shredded chicken is added to finish.

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Pimp my plate

Chicken enchiladas Serves 4 Ingredients: 1 small onion vegetable oil 2 small cloves of garlic 1 can of tomatoes 2 tbsp red chilli powder 1 tsp sugar water 12 tortillas grapeseed oil 2-3 cups of cooked chicken, shredded salt 2 cups grated cheese small iceberg lettuce avocado sour cream bunch of coriander

Method: 1 Sauté the onions and add the crushed garlic. Puree the tomatoes and add. Bring the pan to a low simmer and add the chilli powder to taste, plus sugar if the tomatoes are bitter. Dilute the sauce if it thickens too much. remove from heat. 2 Mix a quarter cup of the sauce and a quarter cup of the cheese with the chicken. Add salt and set aside. 3 Prepare the tortillas. Dip them one by one in the sauce and then heat in an oiled skillet until aire bubbles appear. Flip over and cook the other side for a few seconds. Keep the tortillas warm. 4 Place two spoonfuls of the chicken mixture in the middle of each tortilla, roll them up and place side by side in a baking dish. Cover with the remaining sauce and the cheese. 5 Cook at 350C for ten minutes. Serve with sliced lettuce dressed with vinegar and salt, avocado slices and sour cream. Garnish with coriander.

Chicken tikka, pumpkin and goat cheese roll Serves 5 Ingredients: Chicken tikka marination: 300g boneless, skinless chicken thighs 200g yoghurt 3g chilli powder 2g turmeric powder 25g ginger and garlic paste 20ml mustard oil salt Filling: chicken tikka shredded 10ml oil 200g onions 100g pumpkin, diced 10g ginger, finely chopped 15g ginger and garlic paste salt 100g tomatoes 2g turmeric powder 2g garam masala 2 tsp red chilli powder 2 tsp cumin powder 2 tsp coriander powder 5g chaat masala For the rotis: 350g chapati atta 2g ajwain (carom seeds) 3g salt 5ml oil 200ml warm water oil for drizzling all purpose flour for dusting Garnish: 200g onions, sliced 100g tomatoes, sliced 100g coriander, finely chopped 10ml lime juice mint chutney 100g goat cheese Method for the filling: 1 Marinate the chicken with the


Step 1: Measuring the ingredients for the roti into a mixing bowl.

Step 2: Now the hard work! Kneading the roti dough.

Step 3: After proving, the dough is meaured into equal balls.

Step 4: One by one, the rotis are rolled out by hand.

Step 5: Rotis ready for the flat top, which must be hot.

Step 6: Each roti only takes a few seconds to cook on each side.

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ginger and garlic paste and leave for 15-20 minutes. Mix all other ingredients together. to prepare the marination. Squeeze dry the chicken and add it to the marination, then cook it in a tandoor or the oven. When cooked, shred it. In a pan, heat oil on medium heat, add the onions and ginger, plus a little salt. Cook for two to three minutes then add the spices, mixing quickly to stop them burning. Add the tomatoes and cook till the mixture releases a little oil, then add the diced pumpkin. Finally

add the shredded chicken and mix well. Keep warm until assembly of the finished dish.


Heat a tawa or flat griddle. Divide the dough into ten equally sized balls, dust with flour and roll out to form rotis. Cook.

Method for rotis: 1 Combine the atta, add salt and mix. Rub the oil into the flour and add a small amount of water to form a dough. 2 Knead for a couple of minutes then drizzle a little oil over the dough and coat it. Cover and allow to rest for 15 minutes, then knead for another minute.

Assembly: 1 Mix the sliced onions, cilantro and lime juice to mixture .Divide into ten portions, placing each portion on the side of the roti close to you. 2 Cover with mint chutney and goat cheese. Roll then roll the roti tightly away from you. 3 Serve hot, with a side salad as garnish.

Step 3: Dress with coriander spread evenly on top.

Step 5: Roll the roti away from you, making sure it is tight.


Step 1: Spoon the chicken mixture on one side of the roti.

Step 2: Add cubes of crumbled feta cheese to your taste.

Step 4: Add the lime juice across all the other ingredients.

Step 6: Slice the roti in half and serve with a side salad.

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On the passe

The Ivy aims higher Passionate about quality ingredients and determined to make The Ivy Dubai a destination restaurant in Dubai’s busy food scene, Head Chef Ben Tobitt has just rolled out a new menu that combines some unusual ingredients with proven crowd pleasers. “I want to make people aware of what we’re doing,” he says.


he story of The Ivy brand goes way back to the First World War when owner Abel Glandellini and Maître d’ Mario Gallati opened a modest cafe in London’s Theatreland. It was popular from the start and became a fixture in the theatre world, gradually being expanded to the point that it now has a separate members’ only club on the same site. Gallati opened another classic, Le Caprice, in 1947 and Caprice became the name of the group. The Ivy Dubai is now a year and a half old, part of Jumeirah Restaurants, after the change from Caprice Holdings. The ook and feel copies the London restaurant, with the trademark stained glass windows and the cozy and old-fashioned feel of low-level lighting and comfortable leather chaits. But, according to Head Chef Ben Tobitt, the team is determined to plow its own furrow, producing food that appeals to the Dubai crowd whilst, of course, keeping one eye on the London operation as well. Tobitt is a longterm Caprice chef, who initially joined the group in January 2003 and spent four years working across the company’s leading restaurants including Le Caprice, The Ivy London and Soho House. Born in London, his love of food came from visiting Borough Market as often as he could and family holidays in France. After he gained his catering and hospitality qualifications, he started work at the London Hilton before he moved around a number of quality restaurants including The Thomas Cubitt in Belgravia and Wabi Restaurant in Horsham, where he worked as a Junior Sous Chef and Sous Chef respectively. After four years with Caprice, he developed restless feet and joined an American cruise liner before his first Dubai stint in April 2009 as Senior Chef De Partie for Mirai restaurant in Souk Al Bahar. The next year, he returned to the Caprice group to work for Urban Caprice, as well as some freelancing for other restaurants in the group

Tiger prawns piri-piri.


9/30/12 9:06 AM

On the passe

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On the passe

Shellfish cocktail.

Pan fried duck breast with celeriac purée and roasted beets.

Shepherd’s pie.

The Ivy.

Scandinavian iced berries with white chocolate sauce.

Homemade chocolate ice cream.

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On the passe including The Ivy London. In February last year, he returned to Dubai as part of the launch team for The Ivy Dubai, as Sous Chef. A year later he was Head Chef. How do you approach drawing up a new menu? I think the most important thing is finding out what people like. The food is never a challenge. You have to know your diners’ tastes and I believe we’ve learned that since opening in June of last year. So we aim to provide that as well as keeping one eye on what they’re serving in London. We don’t have the same menu but some dishes are on both - The Ivy classics, of course, plus dishes we’ve borrowed from their menu like Tiger prawn piripiri. We also have a lot more Arabic influenced dishes than they do. I was surprised, looking at the new menu, how un-English a lot of it is. Isn’t The Ivy well-known for serving British classics like Shepherd’s pie? Yes, of course there are British classics but it’s a mistake to think of us as an English restaurant. We haven’t been at all since we opened and The Ivy London has had a wide variety of international dishes for quite some time. Missconceptions about The Ivy exist. Firstly, that’s we are a fine dining restaurant - no, we’re a high-end brasserie. And, secondly, that we only cook British food. In The Ivy London, for example, they serve sashimi, Indian dishes and Thai-influenced sea bass. What excites you about the opportunity here? The team are just very excited about producing fresh, home made food with quality ingredients. We get almost all our fish from the UK, vegetables from France and England, lamb from Wales. We make our own pasta and pastries. We are going to introduce live jazz and we’ve opened up a private dining room, so it’s a good time here. We’re not trying to do London here but certainly we’re delivering to the same standard. So you use some local fish? Yes, prawns from Saudi and shari from here in Dubai. All the fish we use is from sustainable stocks and we check on that every month. We’re keen to be seasonable with fish too - for example, Dover sole was on the menu and then we took it off becasue it wasn’t in season. Are customers more understanding about some items not appearing on menus? I think so. The thing about Dubai is that you can get anything from anywhere but we follow the British and Australian seasons. Just now, beetroot and asparagus are hot items so when I started to develop a recipe using Welsh lamb, I was thinking

Herb crusted scallops with fish velouté. how to build on it with them and with artichokes. A lot of recipes evolve, especially when you have favourite ingredients - both halibut and Dover sole are massive sellers, for example. Do you have favourite ingredients? I used to love summer produce but I’m becoming much more interested in winter. We have some heritage salsify, for instance, which is great. Of course, here in Dubai we need to ensure that dishes are lighter than in London, so we tend to steer clear of heavy, braised dishes and fish pie. Though Shepherd’s pie is always popular! Overall, I think diners are more willing to try different stuff, which is great for a chef. Who dines here at The Ivy? Just over two-thirds are residents, which is great for us. We have a good number of locals eating

here, so we’re careful about using things like non-alcoholic jus. Tourists come in, of course - our chef’s plate, which changes every week, is popular. I’ve got chefs in the brigade from Singapore, Kenya, India and the Philippines which is great, as I can learn something from them all. You know, you can understand a mother’s taste in food when someone cooks a dish from back home. Personally, I’m a great fan of Japanese food. What marks your own style as a chef? One thing I’m passionate about is using cheaper cuts of meat. Many chefs take the lazy way but with the cheaper cuts you need more skill to get the best taste from them. So I make sure we use as much of any product as we can - even offal is making a comeback, though it’s a bit of a hard sell sometimes. We’re also moving towards tasting plates, especially in the private dining room.


9/30/12 9:06 AM

Face to face

Duplicating success Born in Sheffield, Simon Conboy, Head Chef of Rivington Bar & Grill, headed for London early in his career after realising that “there are only so many lasagnes you can cook in Sheffield”! He moved to Dubai to open The Ivy before transferring to the more relaxed Rivington where he can produce honest, relaxed food with a twist.

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9/23/12 4:42 PM

Face to face


ith grandparents who, for a quarter of a century, ran a restaurant in Eyam outside Sheffield, an uncle who was a chef and a father who ran a fish business, it was perhaps inevitable that Simon Conboy would become involved with food. He started in the family kitchen aged 12, went to local catering college at age 17 and then worked in local restaurants. But the big city called and, aged 20, he moved to London to work as the Junior Sous Chef at Café Fish, before moving as Sous Chef to the popular Bleeding Heart Restaurant in the City where he ran the sauce section. A year later, he shifted to Scott’s, which was yet to be re-invented as part of the Caprice Group, again as Sous Chef. His first job as Head Chef came in 2003 at the Level 2 restaurant at the Tate Modern then, after a brief period at the private members’ club Home House, he moved to the Lanes Bar & Restaurant at the Four Seasons, Park Lane. He then worked as Senior Sous Chef at The Forge restaurant in Covent Garden, before he worked at the British Grand Prix at Silverstone, with 850 covers a day. His last job before the shift to Dubai was at Le Deuxiéme. He’s now eager to make his mark in the casual Rivington family of restaurants, keeping to its general style but revealing both his own style and passion for food. How different is the menu here to that served in Rivington Grill in Souk Al Bahar? Well, the core menu is pretty much the same with the same food such as classics like roast beef or mussels, but the main point of difference comes with the blackboard specials. Also, because of our position here, we serve more seafood plus, of course, the addition of the bar means we have more casual food on offer as well, such as crab cakes or fish goujons. The blackboards are a great testing ground for new dishes. Overall, we try not to overlap too much because, of course, we tend to have different clienteles. What direction do you want to take the menu in? Being near the water here, I’d love to have daily fish specials from the market but menu planning is critical. I want us to be seasonal from Europe and the southern hemisphere, but we have to evolve to be different from both Souk Al Bahar and the Rivington Grill in London. How we’ll do that is through a progression led by the chefs. We see what other outlets are doing, decide on the seasonal ingredients and, of course, use our experience. I want to try new ideas even if that’s just giving an old Rivington dish a twist. At the end of October we’ll have a regular BBQ out on the terrace so the feeling will be much more laid back. We’re not about delivering a high-end fine dining experience here, just good, honest food in a relaxed atmosphere. Does London have any influence on the menu? Many of the London dishes just don’t translate to this market - we don’t serve pork, for instance. They also can focus on game and duck eggs,


Preparing the grill.

Seafood gets a grilling.

Healthy salads are a must!

Grilled and ready for the plate.

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Face to face which aren’t so available to us. It can be a bit of a challenge to get great produce - there’s a real lack of artisan producers here. However, chefs in London can get very spoiled as everything they want is available. You know, fish deliveries three times a day if they want. So it’s more of a challenge for you here? We certainly have to plan further ahead for sure. I’m pushing for great ingredients but we need better access to things like heritage varieties of vegetables or a quail farm for the eggs or small, specialist producers. I think the problem is that there’s no real food tradition here yet, unlike the UK where people are very hot on provenance. How has the shift from The Ivy been for you? It’s been a fairly smooth tradition. Of course, as a chef, you learn to adapt more as your career develops. My background is British cuisine so that’s where I’m comfortable but I love all sorts of food from Italian to south-east Asian. How would you define ‘British cuisine’? People love to pigeonhole cooking - you know, it’s this or this. Britain’s a food nation that has absorbed so much from the rest of the world in

terms of ingredients or recipes. Chicken tikka masala, for example, is now a classic British dish. And where would we be without the chip? I think British cooking today has a strong emphasis on quality produce and simple preparation, but it’s constantly evolving with ideas from everywhere being absorbed. Spaghetti Bolognaise? It’s not Italian any more, but British. I believe palates change and develop as people try different foods, especially as they travel more. There’s certainly much more interest in food in Britain today than at any time in the last 25 years. So you’re saying that British food is really a type of fusion food? Maybe, thinking of dishes like kedgeree. But then Spanish food has a real Arabic influence. Really, food is global and everybody steals! I love Brazil and that cuisine is a real melting pot of cultures and ingredients. One thing I am concerned about is that, with all this change, traditional dishes don’t disappear. I’m from Sheffield and there’s nothing better than a warm Bakewell pudding from nearby. Things I didn’t appreciate as a nineyear old, like a Finnan haddock, I now want to keep as part of our heritage. Food always goes in fashions but some things should remain.

I’m not suggesting you’re planning to move just yet, but what would be your dream job? Like most chefs, I dream of my own place. It would be produce led, cooked simply - in other words, the food I love to eat. I’ve done the whole fine dining thing, working 150 hours a week. Good, simple food is the dream. How do you see Rivington Bar & Grill developing? We’ll certainly listen to feedback and learn from our customers, as well as ensuring than dishes that they insist are on the menu stay there. I want to use more unusual ingredients - like samphire, sea purslane, lovage and borage - as well as filtering down some of the new techniques like molecular to suit our style. Above all, our food has to be honest and simple. I lived in Italy for a while and remember finding this small hotel just outside Pisa, with a small restaurant full of locals. You know the feeling - ‘this must be a hidden gem’ - but it was some of the worst food I’ve ever tasted! Perception is everything and I want people to recognise us as a great destination. The Dubai food scene is very dynamic and never stands still, so we need to be good to stand out when diners are spoilt for choice. All we need are more quality local producers.

Simple seared scallops.

The ever-popular burger and chips.

Soon the site of the regular Rivington BBQ.

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Face to face

Clubbing it From being overwhelmed by the scents of his grandmother’s cooking over an open fire in rural Umbria to the über-bling of Dubai’s Cavalli Club, it has been a long journey for Head Chef Tonetto Ernesto. However, with three decades of experience in kitchens behind him, he’s still as passionate about quality ingredients.


alk to any Italian chef and the chances are they will reminisce about the food of their childhood and their eyes glaze over as the memories flood back. For some, it’s their mother’s food that still stirs them; for others, it’s the food of their grandmother. For Tonetto Ernesto, it’s the latter that makes him smile still and keeps him passionate about what he cooks. With a diploma from the local hotel school, he entered professional kitchens and his career has been varied and distinguished. Since 2010, for example, he was Executive Chef at BiCE Beirut and Armani Aqua in Hong Kong. His experience means that, despite a deep love for Italian produce, he is open to new influences which are reflected in the Cavalli Club menu. What inspired you to become a chef? I grew up in Piemonte in the north of Italy, but we would spend time with my grandparents who had a small farm in Umbria, producing olive oil and grapes, most of which they sold to friends. She had no electricity in her kitchen so everything was cooked on wood. The food was amazing and I can still remember the taste of that food. It was very rural food - pigeon or chicken mainly - which they gathered or killed. The quality of the ingredients was very high. I went into the profession and that gives you all the techniques, but the taste of food is the most important thing. I remember when I was a boy there was a very popular book for boys, all about knots and things like that, but I wanted the one for girls which was about cooking! When I read it, I knew 100% what I wanted to do. What is your style? First the eyes, then the taste. What I want to do is two things: the view of the presentation and the taste of the food. There’s an argument about Italian food that, because it’s mostly peasant food, it doesn’t belong in a fine dining situation? What are your thoughts on this? You’re right, it’s not normally fine food but it can

be. The problem we face is this: it’s the quality of the ingredients leads to the way you cook. Now globalisation means that you can get almost any ingredient anywhere - black Tuscan pork, for example - so it’s easy for people to think they’re getting the authentic Italian taste. But each chef will treat ingredients differently. Suppose you give six chefs one zucchini each of equal quality. Do you think they will produce the same dish with the same taste? No, their different experiences and techniques will make a difference. I may cut the zucchini a different way because my visual sense is different. We all have technique but how you use it makes the difference. I like Japanese food, for example - the dishes are very simple but the technique involved is excellent. You develop your own style and your own taste. Tell us about sourcing. In Italy, you’re lucky that it has the best regional food, where ingredients match the dishes. Some of our produce is so good that we lose it out of the country - tuna from Sardinia is sold to Japan, for example. So, if you go around Italy, you learn so much through tasting. The situation here in Dubai is getting to the stage that you can talk to suppliers about particular ingredients and they will source them for you. I’m passionate about quality ingredients and the difference they make to dishes. You know, if ten different Italian chefs make the same simple dish - say, spaghetti with tomato sauce - then the ingredients and their love of cooking will make the difference. Some may choose this brand of pasta or a different tomato there’s a lot of difference possible with even small changes, but the key thing is to cook with passion. Without love for what you do you can never become a good chef. You’ve been in this business a long time. How do you keep the passion? I believe in never stopping learning. I began this when I was 13 years old - school in the winter, coooking in the summer. Now I’m 48 and I still learn something every day, from the best in the

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Face to face world or from younger members of the team who may have a different idea. What’s important is to try, try and try to do your job better. What frustrates you? I think the wrong perception people have of Italian food outside Italy. I mean, Caesar salad what is that? People expect it on the menu so the challenge is how to make it better, but people’s perceptions are so wrong and menus become unclear. In italy, a restauraunt is a restaurant and a pizzeria is a pizzeria. You don’t go to a restaurant for pizza! Of course, people want pizza here. I can make it, I did a stage in Italy but it’s not my skill so now I need to find a good pizza guy. The answer to this mess is to keep some ‘traditional’ dishes but keep adding my own style of food using the best produce I can find. I’m still learning new techniques and styles. Do you enjoy being in Dubai? It’s not an easy place - not having pork available for an Italian! I was here three years ago as part of the opening team for BiCE Mare and I started to learn then that customers have very different tastes. You know, Indians want more spice, people want their pasta softer and so on. What I want to do is match my experience with the culture here in Dubai and do good business for the company. However, to fully develop the menu, I need to push up the quality and really get to understand our customers. I’m working on a new menu every three months, which will keep the classics but build my own dishes into it. Any more plans? I’m going to change all the pasta. My taste is for big shapes and I’m going to introduce two or three homemade pastas onto the menu. For dried, I’ll work with the best brands and I need to find a good factory to ensure the quality. Ingredients are not hard to find. I think as people travel more, they get develop different palates and so we can dvelop what we do. I like a challenge. Do you source locally? To be honest, not really. Some herbs, perhaps. Of course, there are also problems of supply into Dubai at times - Italian meat, for example, but kobe beef is an incredible ingredient. What sort of food do you cook at home? At home, I don’t cook unless it’s for friends. Even then, I’ll cook it but not eat it. The preparation and the presentation is enough to make me full! I feel that I have already eaten.


9/23/12 4:41 PM

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5/31/12 6:05 4:19 PM 5/30/12

Face to face

Growing up in the outskirts of Melbourne, Jacquie Lewis was fascinated by her grandfather’s small family winemaking hobby, especially the garage full of bottles. But she never dreamed she’d become involved in wine as a career. Now she’s Head Sommelier of Zuma Restaurants in Dubai, heading up a team of seven other enthusiasts.


he Sake Service Institute in Tokyo has just awarded the title of Sake Navigator to Jacquie Lewis, making her one of an elite global association of under 29,000 members. The title is given to those who has undergone a rigorous training in sake knowledge and is expected to see sake more accepted by diners at Zuma, who can draw on her ability to match different styles and tastes to food choices. After college and time working in an office, she realised she was more passionate about wine than paperwork and so took a job at Ten Minutes by Tractor’s restaurant in Victoria in 2006 as Restaurant Manager and Sommelier, before a 2008 shift to the Mauritius as Sommelier for The One&Only Le Saint Geran which included a six month stage as Head Sommelier at Domaine des Andeols by Alain Ducasse in the Luberon. She joined Zuma last year as Head Sommelier.

What’s your take on the overall wine scene here in Dubai? I think diners are becoming much more knowledgeable about wine. That’s due partly, I think, to greater exposure of wine in the market - more people are writing about it and it’s nearly always paired with food on TV cookery or travel shows. That creates a curiosity. The other main driver I’m sure is the effect of the economic downturn. That has meant that people who enjoy wine and now are much more careful about spending wisely. They want to make sure that they’re getting value. So they’re more sophisticated now? Oh, absolutely. You know, before people might just ask for a Sauvignon Blanc but now they’re much more likely to say ‘I like a wine that’s a little bit dry and aromatic - what do you suggest?’

When did you become interested in wine as a potential career choice? I grew up on the outskirts of Melbourne and my grandfather, who was a lawyer, also had a small vineyard as a hobby. It was very much a family affair, with us all picking grapes and helping out and so on. I was fascinated by it, especially the garage where he stored them all the bottles. After he died, my father didn’t want to carry on with it but he kept some of the wine. I really never had any thought of the wine business as a career as I was growing up. So I started out working in commerce and did five years of that, although I began to work in a wine bar at weekends. That really helped me decide on my future. It just occured to me that this was absolutely the career I wanted and, in my mid-20s, I took a job as manager and sommelier at Ten Minutes by Tractor’s restaurant in Victoria.

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Face to face

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Face to face

And you loved it? Yes. However, there was a problem mainly because Australians are fiercely patriotic and about 70% of the wine drunk there is Australian. Nothing against it - a lot is excellent - but it means that you don’t get much variety, especially as the 30% of imported wines are the same old favourites. What I was missing was the whole world of artisanal wines, so I had to leave Australia and I was really fortunate to get a dream job in Mauritius. That doesn’t seem like an ideal location for someone wanting to learn more about the world’s wines. The One&Only Le Saint Geran had an amazing wine list with more than 1,000 wines and I also spent six months working with Ducasse in France. Because the hotel had such a reputation for wine, there’d be industry tasting every month, suppliers would send samples and I just learned so much - it was so educational. That constant exposure to wine and the ability to learn from it is what every sommelier dreams of. Would you say that the general level of sommeliers here in Dubai is high? Sadly, no. Nobody’s creating that level of industry excitement, suppliers aren’t constantly knocking on our doors to get us to try new things. All over, you have sommelier associations where people share knowledge, do comparative tastings and improve their skills but that hasn’t really taken off in Dubai yet. You need management to put trust in wine. I’d say there are probably around 20 ‘real’ sommeliers in town, which is a low figure when you consider the number of high end restaurants. Tell me about Zuma’s wine list? It’s one of the biggest in Dubai. We obviously buy through the main suppliers but, because of the volumes we deal in, we’re also able to import our own lines. About 10% of our list is exclusive to Zuma and I want to push that to perhaps 50%. I don’t want to go higher than that because it’s important to support local suppliers and, of course, we only import what we’re confident we can sell. That needs a knowledgeable staff and I’m lucky to have a big team of seven - most restaurants would just have one person. I have freedom on the list but, of course, get a lot of support and advice from the company’s head sommelier, who’s based in London.

If we let you choose one wine that was the only one you’d drink for the rest of your life, what would it be? Oh no, I have to have two! I’m a massive fan of red Burgundy. Okay, that’s a classic and maybe an unoriginal choice but the wine’s ability to change in the glass over a hour or two is amazing, assuming you can resist drinking it! My other wine is Moselle which always fascinates and surprises me. The grape involved, Riesling, is rather like Chenin Blanc in that is can deliver in so many different disguises. Moving onto sake, how difficult was it to extend your wine knowledge into a different area? What I discovered and am still learning about is how remarkably similar sake is to wine. It’s

not a single product and each sake maker relies on the terroir and matches his sake to the local food, partly through a choice of rice of which more than a dozen are used. I’m talking here of the artisanal varieties of sake which make up about 30% of production and is mostly exported - ‘industrial’ sake is rather like blended Scotch or NV Champagne with a fixed house style. How are sake sales here in Zuma? Good, though we sell four times as much wine. Sales have been growing steadily and we now have 38 different sakes, which I want to push up to a maximum of 50. Part of the excitement is explaining about different sakes to diners and helping them to match the right sake with their meal. I also want to introduce tasting flights.


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Hellman Ad.pdf

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5/31/12 4:11 PM

Book review

Don’t pity the fool… The last year or so has seen a resurgence of intelligent and offbeat food magazines, with the pack led by Lucky Peach from Momofuku’s David Chang. Now all eyes turn to Sweden and the launch of the stunning Fool from husband-and-wife team of Per-Anders and Lotta Jörgensen.


ombine one of the world’s top food photographers (Per-Anders Jörgensen) and one of Sweden’s leading magazine designers (Lotta Jörgensen) with a shared love of food and you can expect something pretty special from a high-end magazine about food. And the inaugural issue of Fool is certainly that - a magazine of great beauty that effortlessly mixes Per-Anders’ distinctively stark and beautful photography with Lotta’s art directing and their writing to champion the best restaurant food and most interesting produce suppliers. The couple met years ago when she was Art Director of Swedish Gourmet and hired him for some photoshoots. Close professionally and then personally, they married at the very stylish Spanish restaurant Mugaritz, a beautiful book with images by PerAnders has been published by Phaidon. They’ve wanted to publish the magazine for years and finally decided to take the chance. They say: “We created Fool out of a foolish love for food, because we wanted to tell the unique stories of all the fantastic people we have met. It is different to other magazines on food, taking inspiration from fashion, design and popular culture, working with photographs and illustrations the same way as fashion magazines. There are no recipes - no high end fashion magazine would have sewing patterns for clothes. Gastronomy needs to be taken seriously but with humour.” From its cover shot of chef Magnus Nilsson wearing a thick fur coat, the impression is that this is very different kind of magazine about food that’s more about celebration and more about

Photography ©Per-Anders Jörgensen

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Book review


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Book review inspiration than technique. “In a world where time has become a luxury, Fool does things differently. We allow ourselves to reflect, understand and take our time. We want to inspire our readers and tell stories that only appear if you look a little bit closer,” they say in the first issue’s introduction and mission statement. The contents are eclectic too, starting with a feature article by Tara Stevens with photographs by Per-Anders of the couple’s favourite spot, Mugaritz restaurant just outside San Sebastian. Taking an unusual approach, they focused on the staff foraging. As Head of the R&D kitchen, Oswaldo Oliva, puts it: “When you have been at Mugaritz for a while, you come to understand that a flower is a far greater luxury than a lobster.” Typical of the exceptional work in this magazine is a photographic essay of Peter Blombergsson, who supplies ducks to Magnus Nilsson’s Fäviken Magasinet restaurant in northern Sweden. Pages just highlighting the heads of five of the ducks demonstrate why this is both a labour of love and a very different kind of food magazine. My only caveat is that the first issue does rely heavily on their personal passions. The next issue is due in Novemember and it will be interesting to see how they expand the concept of food on a much wider palette of subjects and vdnture beyond their own favourites.

Photography ©Per-Anders Jörgensen

WORD FROM THE TOP Despite not being a native English speaker, Lotta Jörgensen kindly agreed to answer some questions about Fool. What background do you both have in the food world? Our food background: eaters. I am also a former Art Director of Swedish Gourmet and Per-Anders has, as a photographer, shot food and people around the world for many years. His latest book is the English Mugaritz book from publisher Phaidon. What prompted you to start the magazine? It is clearly a labour of love, but how did you gauge the financial prospects? Since we met, we have spoken about doing a gastronomic magazine. We were tired of working for others and we wanted to do a food magazine more as a combination of New Yorker and Vogue Italia especially since there are recipes everywhere. Why publish recipes from high end restaurants when Vogue Italia does not carry sewing patterns for high end fashion brands. Financially, we need to find someone who can sell ads for us or at least have some advertorial collaborations at some point. As it is now it is a risk. Why is it in English rather than Swedish? Does that limit its appeal at home? If we made a magazine in Swedish we could

only reach nine million people. Out of nine million people we would have around 500 potential hard core readers. Fool is a niche magazine, our market is more suitable for. The world! Can you describe who you’re writing and designing for? Who would you see as a typical reader of Fool? Our typical reader is s super foodie. Among those there are chefs, restaurant employees, food industry developers, lifestyle junkies and fashion people. We are doing the magazine for them so we believe we have reached our goal with the first issue. What other food magazines have or continue to inspire you? We like magazines like Meat Paper, Lucky Peach and Gastronomica, as well as great reportage magazines like New Yorker and Intelligent Life and fashion magazines like Vogue Italia and Port. These are great inspirations. Can you tell us something about your own personal tastes in food? What excites you? What heroes do you have that you plan to include in the magazine? We are omnivores with exceptions. We do not want to eat endangered species, meaning no more angulas (baby eels) and no sturegon caviar. We get all excited about well cooked food made by honest people with ideas rather than expensive ingredients. We have many heroes, they are everywhere and

they will all be featured in Fool at some point. Most food magazines use photography almost as food pornography. Your work is much simpler and more honest. Is that a reflection of how you think food should be prepared? Would you see the same style as appropriate for, say, a feature on Bocuse? I think our approach to the plate or the serving dish can be applied to any type of food. In our first issue we were focused on natural so it’s more ‘natural’. How do you see the magazine developing? I appreciate it is early days, but would you want to add books or video to the mix? It all depends on who will come along and help us financially. As it is now we are financing this ourselves. If we had the financial muscles there would be no end of things we could do. We have plenty of ideas. Dream meals? Dream food destinations? Dream meal would be sharing a dinner with all our parents (unfortunately, not all of them are with us any longer). Dream food destination? A Roman bacchanal in Roman times. Your most memorable meal? Our wedding dinner at Mugaritz 2001. Please visit

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City of spices: Venice A city of contradictions, Venice collapses under the weight of its own success. Once the heart of the world’s trade, now it’s a vanishing destination for the world’s tourists. Dave Reeder, with notepad and camera, details the city’s food past and where to find Venetian cuisine today.


s you approach Venice by plane, low over the impossibly coloured lagoon, the first sight of the city is always a reminder of much it owes to the sea the main islands even look like a fish on a plate! Then, as the water bus or taxi takes you across the water, reality strikes home as the damage to low outlying islands and the ubiquitous dirt appear. Venice may be dreamlike and romantic, but its very qualities are destroying it - infrastructure collapsing under the sheer weight of tourist numbers, residential population relocating to the mainland, serene beauty blighted by giant cruise liners and, of course, sea slowly reclaiming the city built on piles driven into the lagoon bed. Yet for centuries, Venice was the trade centre of the world, the key hub between east and west, Christian and Muslim cultures for almost five centuries. Unimaginable amounts of money made the city wealthy beyond any other city’s reach but, longterm, it was Venice’s position as a conduit

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Travel to ingredients and flavours that proved of vital importance. Its trading empire began with the simplest of ingredients - salt and pepper. Although the city had begun as a safe haven for local tribes attacked by the Romans, once it was properly established it used its wealth to bring mainland areas under its control. Produce from there combined with plentiful fish in the lagoon and spices imported by its large fleet proved to be an irresistible mix in the creation of a specific Venetian cuisine. Venice is made up of a cluster of islands that were originally swampy and salty - you can see this on some of the smaller outlying ones still. The lagoons between the islands are shallow enough to provide security from large fleets of attackers, giving the Venetians a key advantage as they gradually connected and built up the islands. Where most communities in this position would have been content to fish with the abundant seafood and shellfish in the lagoon, the Venetians developed a killer instinct for commerce and built a powerful trading fleet instead. The city’s wealth began with an attack on Comacchio, a nearby town that was the region’s main producer of salt. It now had the base commodity to build a commercial empire. Food trading was critical and grew as its power grew: pigs and wheat from Aquilegia were traded with onions and garlic from the inlands. In time, Venice imported wheat from Sicily, Barbary, Egypt, Greece, the Balkans and beyond. By 1,000, it was trading with the Islamic world and soon became the main importer of spices to Europe. The second food key to growth was another monopoly on a primary food commodity. This time it was pepper. More new foods and ideas arrived from the Islamic world and entered the Venetian diet: lemons, oranges and almonds on the one side, the concept of sweet and sour on the other, notably in the classic Sarde in saor (sardines in a sweet and sour sauce). From elsewhere, other ingredients were added to the city’s tables: pomegranates from Baghdad, cheese from Crete, sugar from India (another Venetian monopoly) and coffee from

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Pre-heat convection oven to 200 C. Place mushrooms and onion in a large bowl. In small bowl mix garlic, olive oil, herbs, salt and pepper; pour mixture over mushrooms and toss well. Place mixture on sheet pans in a single layer. Roast for 10 minutes; decrease oven temperature to 140 C and roast for another 30 minutes. Take mushroom mixture, chop ďŹ ne and chill. When chilled, mix in cheese and parsley. Place 10g of mixture into each ravioli and seal tightly. Filled ravioli can be steamed or boiled; they can be fresh frozen on parchment paper for later use.

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The U.S. Dairy Export Council (USDEC) is a free resource to help you ďŹ nd additional information on U.S. cheese applications and distribution channels. We are a non-proďŹ t, independent membership organization that represents the global trade interests of U.S. dairy producers, proprietary processors and cooperatives, ingredient suppliers and export traders.

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Travel Turkey. Then came a triple whammy: the loss of Constantinople, the discovery by the Portuguese of sea routes to India and the opening up of the Americas by the Spanish. New foods may have entered the diet, like tomatoes, but Venice’s long slow decline had begun. Its food traditions remained strong, although the Islamic influence faded over the centuries. Unlike most of Italy, pasta is not widely used (except the local speciality, the thick and coarse bigoli) as the Venetians prefer polenta or risotto (often combined with squid ink). But it’s the use of spices that marks the city’s culinary heritage as apart from most of Italy. There’s a world of flavour to be discovered in Venice - so let’s do some exploring. I’m going to allow you to do the culture bits on your own - one big tip is to get to Piazza San Marco at 8.30 before the crowds and be the first of the day up the Campanile and so on - including perhaps a tour up the Grand Canal and maybe even a hop over to Murano for some glass buying and a fish lunch. Let’s meet early evening in Santa Margherita Square, a busy buzzy spot in arty Dorsoduro. The plan for the evening is a wander around several bàcari (small bars) sampling cichèti, the uniquely Venetian-style small dishes. It’s like a Barcelona style tapas crawl, but with local specialities. The bàcari are uncommercialised, full of locals and a world away from the overpriced pizza joints that

Wide and fresh selections in the market; the calmness of the garden at the Peggy Guggenheim museum; water everywhere you look; and a trolley waits for the next rush at the Rialto.

THINGS TO EAT! Bigoli in salsa (Venetian spaghetti with sauce) Bigoli con l’anatra (Pasta with duckmeat) Pasta e fagioli (Pasta and beans) Sarde in saor (Sardines in sweet and sour sauce) Risi e bisi (Rice with peas) Risi coll’ua (Rice with sultanas) Salsa alla cacciatora (Cacciatore sauce) Anatra ripiena (Stuffed duck) Baccalà mantecato (Creamed cod) Fegato alla veneziana (Venetian style liver) Petto d’anatra in agrodolce (Duck breast in sweet and sour sauce) Seppie col nero (Cuttlefish in their ink) Fagioli in salsa (Beans in sauce) Fondi di carciofo (Artichoke ends) Patate alla veneziana (Venetian style potatoes) Radicchio alla trevigiana (Trevisian chicory) Baicoli veneziani (Venetian biscuits) Crema fritta (Fried cream) Frittelle di zucca (Pumpkin doughnuts) Torta nicolotta (Nicolotta cake) Torta sabbiosa (Sandy cake)


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Venetians demand the best from their fruit and vegetable sellers; equally picky about their fish; the beauty of the city, for once without crowds; reflections in the water delight.

KEY ORIENTATION You will get lost in Venice. Key to grasping the city are two simple facts. Firstly, it’s a collection of islands connected by bridges and walkways. Secondly, the canals are the streets, so buildings face the water and the alleys and cut-throughs were used by servants and workers. They link up with campi, originally small farming plots.

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Travel most tourists will flock into. Very close by is Do Mori, dating back to 1462. Stone floor, low ceilings and atmosphere. No wonder Casanova used to drink here! Moving on to the Cannaregio district, we’ll pass a number of good, reasonably priced eating places, especially around the Ponte del Cavallo, but a good choice would be red-shuttered Ostaria al Ponte directly across from the immense Gothic Basilica dei Santi Giovanni e Paolo and with a regular clientele of priests who enjoy plates of mixed meats, butter beans and white cheese, Musetto (a rich fatty sausage) and grilled radicchio. We’re close now to the Rialto market and it’s across the Grand Canal to find family bar Ca’ d’Oro, open now for over 130 years. Time for a change of pace and along the busy Strada Nuova for La Cantina for great wine or the house beer. Time finally for some proper sized plates of food so it’s off to small restaurant Alle Testiere, close to Santa Maria Formosa, where recipes back to the Middle Ages are used, such as Gnocchetti with cinnamon-perfumed baby squid. The place is a hidden gem and is well worth seeking out for when you want to do more than just snack. The key to eating well in Venice is to keep on the move, trusting the knowledge of the locals to find the small, unpretentious places that deliver great tasting food. Dsplayed on numerous small plates, you’ll discover the real Venice, reflected in its food and its far-reaching trade routes and cultural connections. La Serenissima indeed.

The beauty of the Grand Canal; the shadow of the Campanile over Piazza San Marco; transport via hand in a city without streets; and the small chillies that add heat to Venice’s dishes, on sale everywhere.

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Under the Patronage of H. H. Sheikh Mansour Bin Zayed Al-Nahyan Deputy Prime Minister of the UAE, Minister of Presidential Affairs and Chairman of Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority

26-28 November 2012 , ADNEC









Consider yourself a bit of a masterchef? Strategic partner

Compete alongside hundreds of other chefs across a range of disciplines at La Cuisine by SIAL For further information contact the Emirates Culinary Guild.

Register to attend SIAL Middle East free of charge at Culinary partners:

Co-located with:

SIAL, a subsidiary of Comexposium Group

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DO THIS! Go to the Rialto market for stunningly fresh seafood and great displays of vegetables and fruit. The small streets around the market have speciality food shops. Go to the island of Sant’Erasmo, the largest of all. It is quiet and peaceful, notable for being agricultural with the lagoon’s only winery. Go to the Lido, home of the Venice Film Festival and more like an Italian beach resort than part of the city. Go to the lesser known parts of the city and eat where the locals eat. Go to any cafe with outside seating towards the end of the afternoon and order a spritz - a mix of white wine, soda and Campari - which marks the perfect start to an evening. Go to a small bar and pretend to be a local, standing at the bar with an ombra (small glass of wine) and enjoy the bar-top nibbles. Go to All’ Arco, a tiny place near Rialto filled with locals. No menu - the family buy what’s best in the market every morning and take it from there.


Spices are ubiquitous; quieter sections of the parts of the city hidden from the canals - the campi loved by the locals; the ever-present gondolas; and crowds cross the Rialto Bridge en route to market.

Go to any of the cafes around the Piazza di San Marco unless you are prepared to be horrified by the cost of a coffee or a drink. The only exception to this rule is to visit Harry’s Bar for an original bellini. Go to any restaurant within at least 500 metres of the Piazza di San Marco. Some are not tourist traps, but you’d be hard pressed to tell. Most of the places offer over-priced sub-standard food, relying on the fact that the average tourist spends just 11 hours in Venice and is unlikely to return. And here comes another party from the next cruise liner! Go to any restaurant with a ‘tourist menu’. Eat where the locals eat. Go to any outlet near the train station. Consider yourself warned!

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Slow roasted pork with cabbage

Unique Moscow šnit

Take a bite of Belgrade Serbian traditional dishes see a major overhaul. Photography by Georgina Wilson Powell.

Roast veal and rosemary potatoes

Traditional cheese and potato pie with Parma ham

Local organic cheese selection

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Organic beef skewers and prawn spring rolls

Organic local sausages with beer, onion jam and baked potato

Kaymak (local cream cheese with bacon

Terriyaki tuna with rice

Chocolate mouse, nut brittle and ice cream

Artisan local bread basket

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The last word Over 100 kitchen tools linked and categorised in this stunning inforgraphic poster - ideal for spot quizzes!

Object of desire C Brooklyn-based Pop Chart Lab produces the most amazing infographics, showing an enviable skill in reducing the complexity of subjects to clear visual explanations. Of interest to chefs, this one sorts out cooking utensils.

heck out the flow chart: kitchen tools are arranged by function, then broken up into sub-categories such as slicers, presses, spoons and so on, each one given a graphic icon to make identification and links easy to spot. With more than 100 tools represented, it doesn’t cover the full battery de cuisine - there are no pots or bakeware, for example. Tthe ice cream scoop is odd, but the skill involved is stunning. Available in a signed, limited third printing of 1,000 copies for just $27 plus shipping, this 18” x 24” poster is printed with real copper ink on 100lb archival recycled stock. www. popchartlab.comm

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The perfect recipe for success from our chefs

At Unilever Food Solutions, we constantly dish out new ingredients, new recipes and new ideas to serve every need of the industry’s leading professionals. Solutions that save your prep time, keep your menu fresh and exciting as well as help you grow your business, naturally healthy. Unilever Food Solutions: Tel. +971 4 881 5552 | UAE Distributor: +971 4 347 0444 / +971 4 347 3455 For more information, email:

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