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HEALTH AND HYGIENE Getting the basics right

HESTON AND HULSTONE High flying chefs at work

HOLIDAYS AND HERITAGE The birth of fusion food?

Publication licensed by iMPZ, dubai technology and Media Free Zone authority


Contents ISSUE 2 APRIL 2012

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EDIT ORIAL We go all bacterial this month, starting with a story about how the bacteria that makes Roquefort cheese so special may be developed into a product that self-cleans dishes and plates. Chemistry in the kitchen? Apparently so.

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THE CHEF’S TABLE Reaction by the professionals to our launch issue.

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THE EGGS FACTOR What’s lurking in the home fridge of Suzanne Husseini, local TV chef?

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INGREDIENT An ingredient that could hardly be more ubiquitous in any commercial kitchen, the humble egg is increasingly the focus of food safety concerns. One solution being adopted more and more by high-end hotels and safety officials is pasteurisation. Ronnie Khajotia, CEO of Masterbaker Marketing, explains the health and business drivers behind the company’s Egg Station business.

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SOURCING Being fascinated by food, chefs are continually looking for new ingredients. But where does curiosity end and business focus begin?

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FOCUS The International Centre for Culinary Arts, Dubai (ICCA Dubai) is a vocational training centre that takes students from around the world, teaching them the basics of classic French and Italian cuisine. Central to its activities is ensuring that food hygiene becomes second nature to the trainees.

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FACE TO FACE We talk food, celebrity and much more with Ivy director Fernando Peire, Simon Comboy, TV chef Bobby Chinn and Heston Blumenthal protege Simon Hulstone.

BAKING TECHNOLOGY How do fermentation methods and oven systems that are actually quite different affect the pretzel? We wanted to know. Exactly.

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PIMP MY PLATE The idea is simple: we take a favourite recipe and give it to a great chef. The challenge? Cook it as it’s written and then reinvent the dish to fine dining level. Our next victim is chef for hire Andy Campbell. All he has to do is reinvent the Brazilian classic, Feijoada.

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BOOK REVIEW Chef David Change doesn’t do things by half. But nobody expected him to change the rules of food magazine publishing, least of all Dave Reeder.

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TRAVEL A country that can be seen as a real pioneer in fusion cuisine, with a magnificent blend of ingredients and cooking styles from three continents that merged to form the distinctive taste of Goa. Plus, opening soon - The Siam in Bangkok.

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SERVICE Every new outlet now wants to be the ‘place to be seen’ so the uniforms have become a key element in the design concept and no longer an afterthought once the restaurant is close to opening!

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THE LAST WORD Rob Higgs’ mechanical sculpture ‘The Corkscrew’ is a giant steampunk rethinking of the simple act of pulling a cork from a bottle.

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IN ACTION The second annual BBC Good Food Middle East Awards were presented in a number of categories by reader votes. However, newly introduced this year, the Chef of the Year category gave a major challenge to the four top reader nominations: a mystery ingredient cook-off in front of specially invited judges. ON THE PASSE A look at some of the great new dishes on Zuma’s menu.

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The chef’s table

A great addition! One of our key intentions when launching The Pro Chef Middle East was to make it the food magazine that chefs themselves want to read, keep and find useful. Judging by professional response to our launch issue, we seem to have achieved this. We look forward to working with great chefs on fun and innovative ideas in the months ahead.

SAFETY FIRST! Hygiene in the kitchen

THE STARS ARE OUT Seven Michelin chefs in Dubai!

EVERYONE’S A CRITIC How useful are reviews?

A SuppleMent to SMe ADviSor MiDDle eASt - A publicAtion licenSeD by iMpZ

“It’s beautiful and just what the chefs want. Will I do something with you? Yes, I would love to. I like this a lot.” ChEf GiOrGiO LOCaTELLi

“I’d love to be a part of this.

Just tell me what I can do with you. I think it looks extremely good. Well done!”

ChEf VinEET BhaTia

“It’s a really, really good job

and I’m not just saying that because I’m in it! I like it a lot.” ChEf PauL LuPTOn

It’s come out very well and “ has the right kind of contents for a chef. ChEf uWE MiChEEL

I am very happy to recommend it to Guild members.”

“Very nice. Very clean. i like it, even though you did drive nick crazy with the challenge to reinvent that dish!” ChEf sCOTT PriCE

I think it looks quite “ exceptional - many congratulations. I really look forward to reading this. Nice job!” ChEf Gary rhOdEs

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The eggs factor

What’s in my fridge? Nuts I always have almonds, pistachios, pine nuts, cashews, hazelnuts toasted and in a glass jar in my fridge to eat as a snack or garnish savoury and sweet dishes. AlmoNd butter, PeANut butter Freshly made by pureeing my toasted nuts with a little salt and a touch of honey. No additives all natural!

What’s in the fridge? Each issue, we challenge a well-known chef to reveal the contents of their home fridge. What is lurking there? What secret food passions do they have? How many of the strange food items will they blame on their family?

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uzanne Husseini’s love of food began at home. She cites the meals her mother made during her childhood in Canada as the source of her everyday inspiration. She is the presenter of the popular cooking show Sohbe Taibe and is currently preparing to shoot a new cooking TV series showcasing the best of Mediterranean/ Arabic cuisine with a modern twist. She is the author of ‘When Suzanne Cooks: Modern Flavours of Arabia’, a cookbook showcasing the best of Arabic cuisine. This has been released in UK, Australia, New Zealand and will soon be launched in Canada and US with Random House. Suzanne is a regular at the Taste of Dubai food festival as well being featured at this year’s Emirates Airline Festival of Literature. She also presented live cooking demonstrations all week long at the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair 2010 and participated in an Iron Chef’s Challenge for the Canadian Business Council Gala Dinner.

Yoghurt This is a staple in my fridge. I usually have homemade yoghurt and homemade labneh as well. Of course, this is the full fat yoghurt and all natural. By adding fruits and honey, it’s a great dessert. I will also use yoghurt as part of a dressing for salads and certainly cooked it’s the base sauce for many outstanding Arabic dishes. gArlic There’s always a jar of peeled garlic ready for when I need it for cooking - that is daily! lemoN Juice Freshly squeezed lemon juice is always ready for dressings and to enhance and brighten soups and stews. Fruits Even when my fridge is full of everything else, it looks empty to me when there are no fruits in the drawer. I don’t believe in fruit juices as the way to get the benefits of fruit. A whole fruit complete with fibre is the way to go. So a well stocked drawer full of fresh fruits puts a smile on my face. herbs Fresh herbs like parsley, mint, tarragon, coriander are a must. What would I do without them in all of my cooking adventures? burghul, Freekeh, broWN rice I keep these grains in the fridge as they have a tendency to go rancid if left in the cupboard. I make stuffings, pilafs and so much more using grains. A staple in Arabic cuisine. PomegrANAtes Fresh. of course. I buy them whole and remove the seeds and keep them in a container. I sprinkle them on salads, garnish savory dishes, include them in fillings. Glistening ruby red pomegranates are the perfect fruit to make any dish sing...

GlisteninG ruby red pomeGranates are the “ perfect accessory to make any dish sinG...” 8


The eggs men An ingredient that could hardly be more ubiquitous in any commercial kitchen, the humble egg is increasingly the focus of food safety concerns. One solution being adopted more and more by high-end hotels and safety officials is pasteurisation. Ronnie Khajotia, CEO of Masterbaker Marketing, explains the health and business drivers behind the company’s Egg Station business. 10


Ingredients Do eggs deserve their bad reputation? No, not really. They’re a very good food - lower in cholesterol than beef, for example - and a very easily assimilated protein. In fact, the second most easily assimilated by humans after mother’s milk. And, of course, they’re used in the widest number of cooking applications - it’s hard to imagine a kitchen without them. So what’s the problem? Well, the chicken is the only animal that uses the same channel for reproduction and excretion. That means that any egg is bound to have traces of fecal matter and, because egg shells are porous, there’s always the risk of contamination. Add to that that most people preparing food don’t wash their hands often enough - you need to do it every time you touch an egg shell because of that contamination problem. Plus, of course, a sick chicken produces a sick egg. Production facilities these days are so vast that it’s very difficult for egg producers to ensure healthy birds. When there is good practice, that is manageable but some chicken farms are so enormous that control just isn’t possible. And chickens generally are getting less tough because of the way they’re kept in many cases. Well, you know what these battery farms can be like - just horrendous.

As hygiene people, they “ identify chickens And eggs

As the two most dAngerous products in Any kitchen. the possibility of contAminAtion is AlwAys there.” else when the processing is going on. Machines crack the shells and then the process happens behind sealed doors. Health is critical - if any of the workers is sick, then need to get medical clearance before we allow them back at work. We just can’t take the risk of any of them being a carrier of fungal spores. And the capacity? We’ve been increasing and increasing but have now reached a physical limit until we can build a larger or second unit. At present we’re pasteurising about 210 tons of eggs a month, plus importing up to another 100 tons from overseas. One major problem for us is disposing of the shells - you can imagine the amount. Ideally, they’re be used to break down organic waste with the calcium counteracting the acidity of the waste, but the right waste disposal opportunities aren’t there yet. I just wish we could find a good use for the shells.

How then did the Egg Station come about? I worked for Unilever for many years and, although things like HACCP were not around, the integrated nature of the company’s business meant that food and cleaning were seen as integral. So we had systems in place long before the industry as a whole adopted them. I then started to travel a lot in Europe and saw how processed eggs were being used all over - in many cases their use was mandatory. Restaurants and airlines don’t want to risk infection, of course, and pasteurisation is the best way of ensuring that dangerous bacteria are taken out of the food chain. Then, back here in the Middle East, we saw US hotel chains demand the same pasteurised eggs that were mandatory back in the States. They were airfreighting them in so there was a clear market opportunity. We set up a pasteurisation facility here in the Jebel Ali FZ to serve the market. What is the view of the Municipality and food inspectors on this issue? Oh, as hygiene people, they identify chickens and eggs as the two most dangerous products in any kitchen. The possibility of contamination is always there. In fact, since we started to import pasteurised eggs from Australia, we’ve worked closely with the Municipality as HACCP was introduced. Tell us something about the physical set-up of the Egg Station. We imported the machines from Italy and we have a very ‘clean room’ approach to the factory. There are ten, highly skilled workers and entry to the facility is barred to anyone

That’s a lot of eggs! Exactly. You can work it out if you want - one kilogram represents 23 or 24 eggs. At present, unfortunately, there’s a shortage of eggs in this region, especially as we insist on the best standards. We’re importing from Brazil, the US and Europe as well as Saudi Arabia - in each case, our inspectors visit the facilities and we insist on certain protocols, such as a refrigerated trail from farm to user, the age of the hens, the feed - 45% maize and no animal feed - and so on. Of course, it’s best for the eggs to be as fresh as possible before the process but we refuse to take shortcuts on quality.

Microbiological hazards * Salmonella enteritidis * Campylobacter spp * Listeria monocytogenes * Staphylococcus aureus * Bacillus cereus

Microbial contamination is caused by trans–ovarian transmission from a sick bird or trans–shell infection from an external source.

These are free range eggs? No, mainly because it’s impossible to guarantee the levels of supply we need at a price the market will accept. Prices are rising anyway due to soaring feed costs. 80% of the price of an egg is represented by the feed and both soya and corn have increased dramatically in price. Personally, I eat free range both for the taste and so on, but the market just isn’t ready to make that switch. But we do ensure we source premium products. Are chefs adopting pasteurised eggs in great numbers? Well, when we began, there was a lot of

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Ingredients

top egg handling tips * Educate food handlers and cooking staff in good handling procedures (temperature, breakages, shell disposal) * Ensure proper chilling below 5 deg C * Ensure proper cooking: 60 deg C for 3.5 minutes or an internal

temperature of 71 deg C * Do not leave cooked egg dishes at room temp for more than 30 minutes * Discard cracked and dirty eggs * Use good hygiene practices - wash every time you handle eggs

When We began, there Was a lot of education “ We needed to do, but noW most european or

american chefs are already used to Working With the products.” education we needed to do, but now most European or American chefs are already used to working with the products. The eggs are slightly different in use - they tend to look thinner because the surface tension has been reduced - but most accept them happily. Look, in the US, pasteurised eggs are compulsory in hotels. In the high end market here, the use is increasing rapidly. A pasteurised egg is completely safe to use? Okay, it’s not quite that simple. The process kills all pathogenic bacteria but not all bacteria. So, for example, you still need basic food safety

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MiniMising Microbial contaMination * Storage below 6 deg C preferably < 4 deg C * Above 18 deg C, degradation of the natural barriers accelerates and the egg is totally susceptible to microbial ingress * Sweating due to hot/cold cycles increases the surface

condensation and risk of spoilage * Penetration of surface dirt increases with surface wetness due to high humidity * Manual cleaning is a double edged sword as the risk of pushing external dirt into the porous shell is always a risk

procedures in place - bacteria in a pasteurised egg will still multiply rapidly at the wrong termperatures. Fridge to pot and back to fridge is the way to do it, just like any perishable food item. And we don’t recommend our packets are stored once open - they should be used that day to remain at prime quality. And the key reason for chefs to switch away from shell eggs? Well, apart from those cases where customer demand is there such as single servings for breakfast and so on, I’d say there are two main reasons: food safety and convenience.


Sourcing

What’s new? Being fascinated by food, chefs are continually looking for new ingredients. But where does curiosity end and business focus begin? We ask Talal Jaradat, Executive Chef of Dubai Marine Beach Hotel & Resort, for his views on sourcing. Do you see sourcing different products as a differentiator in a competitive dining market? Yes. We can see many products with unique recipes, unique ingredients, styles of food presentation, environmental design and product range which differentiate products with different characteristics from other food products. And these make them more attractive to a particular target market. How do you discover new products or produce? We find new products by self searching in the market, through advertisements and magazines, by asking experts in the F&B sector or from searching the Web to find products from the international food market. How do you then choose reliable suppliers? We choose highly reputable suppliers from the market without compromising on the safety and quality of products.

Are you seeing increasing demand in certain foods that mean you have to locate new sources? Yes, there is increasing demand in certain foods, as the population is increasing in the UAE. People from different parts of the world with different cultures and traditions demand certain foods for their consumption. What do you see as the key dining trends in the UAE over the next year that would push you to locate new products? Historically restaurant service was defined either at the counter or at the table. Nowadays, service has many touch points, from traditional counter or table service, through to on-line ordering, ordering by phone, deliveries and pick up. And now people in the UAE are more health conscious and they are looking for healthy, nutritious and less calorific and safer products from the market.

What are your main problems in sourcing? There are many competitors available in the market. It is difficult to find a good, reliable supplier in the market that has sufficient quantity of products specified in an LPO, a good quality of products as well as packaging as per our specification and with sufficient shelf life of the products.

Say CHEESE! Typical of the effort and resources that governments put into increasing exports of food products is the US Dairy Export Council, a federally funded

body that has done much to spread the word of the country’s growing artisanal cheese sector. Although a common perception of the US is that most cheeses are highly processed, the US is justifiably proud of the heritage, craftsmanship and quality of its cheeses which provide wide variety, efficient production, innovation and an international focus. Increasingly, they’re being used by chefs here in the UAE, such as Chef Talal Jaradat. As a nation of immigrants, many American traditions reflect immigrant ancestry. One of those traditions is a love for cheese. A steady source of milk, cream,

and butter started its dairy traditions and, in addition to having a taste for cheese, many of those early settlers brought with them the expertise to make cheese. Using centuries-old recipes and traditional methods, they quickly began making cheese with the surplus milk available, first for themselves, then for others. An industry was born and it started a long tradition of cheese making in the US that continues today. From humble beginnings, the US has become the largest cheeseproducing country in the world. From next issue, we look in more detaiul at this industry and some of the specific suppliers.

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More food, more success Gulfood reaffirmed its position this year as the world’s largest and most influential annual trade show for the food and beverage industry. As Mark Napier, Director, Exhibitions and Events at Dubai world Trade Centre explains, outstanding sales, unprecedented numbers of visitors, exhibitors and business transactions took place.

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n the three years since Mark Napier took over as Director in charge of Gulfood and other food industry events at DWTC, the show has expanded at a ferocious rate. “What we’ve successfully achieved is get the exhibition to where it should be - one of the top food and hospitality events in the world.” The record participation this year of 3,800 exhibitors from 88 countries and 110 international pavilions demonstrate the pivotal role that the show plays in enabling trade between suppliers and buyers worldwide, whilst also providing exclusive access highly lucrative regional markets. The show also attracted over 68,000 trade visitors– an increase of 11% over last year - and brisk business was reported from exhibitors across all sectors of the show, from retailers through to food producers, distributors,

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equipment manufacturers and service providers. “Why we’re so successful is that we’re now the single most effective lead generation opportunity for every market,” insists Napier. “And, of course, the regional market continues to boom, especially as our climate means that we can’t really grow very much here. We’re lucky in that real vision in the past has created our opportunities - the creation of Jebel Ali FZ and ship capacity means that Dubai has a major strength as a trade and transport hub. It’s a great place to be and today’s success is based on the city’s traditional strengths. Now it’s paid off and we’re the market for the global food and industry and food audience.” As an example, he points out that Gulfood does twice as much business as the two other large food shows combined. “Even better, they’re biannual shows!”

A very noticeable trend this year was the increased presence of exhibitors from countries where internal economies are suffering. “Look at Greece, for example. The domestic market for food products is not good and these companies are not selling at home. Most of the European markets are pretty stable so increasing exports there is hard because partnerships trend to be longterm. So coming here to a very volatile and exoplosive market is ideal for them. That’s why it’s critical for us to keep making Gulfood more and more international. It’s great that we have a global reputation now and we’re really attracting more and more visitors from further and further afield. I was talking recently to someone from Dubai Chamber of Commerce and he told he he’d been on a trip to Brazil and the whole plane - the whole plane! - on the way back was full of delegates coming to Gulfood! That’s great for us and for Dubai too.”

Is there a danger, though, that Gulfood may become a victim of its own success? In other words, a show too big to be manageable or even navigable by visitors? “Yes, logistics are a challenge but DWTC is discussing ways of enlarging our capacity. There’s an accelerating spiral at work - more exhibitors lead to more appeal and so more visitors and so more exhibitors and so on, but Dubai has an enviable history of reacting quickly to demand. Here, you can build a fully equipped exhibition hall in 18 weeks and sell it out in just two - where else does that happen?” With enormous demand, it’s only natural that the DWTC team are looking at different ways to expand and improve their offerings. One way forward is building up the autumn roster of shows - this year’s SEAFEX debut, for example. “What we do is simple: we connect buyers and sellers. We’re doing a fantastic job because Gulfood has doubled in size in three years!” Napier concludes.

What We do is simple: “ We connect buyers and sellers. We’re doing a fantastic job because gulfood has doubled in size in three years!”


Out and about

Very tasty A record 22,654 visitors enjoyed the fifth Taste of Dubai and sampled over a 100,000 plates from 25 of Dubai’s restaurants.For many, though, it wasn’t the statistics that impressed them, but the feeling that the festival has now fully matured. And rumours were everywhere of a pre-Christmas show being added to the roster...

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ere’s an event that has caught the rising wave of food enthusiasm in Dubai. So what makes this event so successful? Obviously the chance to sample dishes from 25 restaurants is a big pull, but there’s more than that. People love involvement these days - whether that’s watching a chef prepare a dish or getting stuck in to a cooking class or even the chance to meet and be photographed with a celebrity chef. And Taste of Dubai is where chefs let their hair down, happy to meet and talk to real people. Gary Rhodes, for example, could

hardly have been overseeing his two kitchens at the show as he was constantly wandering around the show and spending time with fans, talking food, signing books and being photographed. Joining the portfolio of restaurants this year was Scott Price showcasing his restaurant table 9 by Nick and Scott at the festival along with Nobu Matsuhisa, who made a special impromptu appearance at the Philips Chefs’ Theatre. Celebrity chefs Giorgio Locatelli, Aldo Zilli, Aarti Sequeira, Atul Kochhar, Gary Rhodes, Vineet Bhatia and Richard Sandoval were also at the show.

TasTe of Dubai is “ where chefs leT Their

hair Down, happy To meeT anD Talk To real people.”

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Develop the culture The International Centre for Culinary Arts, Dubai (ICCA Dubai) is a vocational training centre that takes students from around the world, teaching them the basics of classic French and Italian cuisine. Central to its activities, explains Course Director Shanaaz R, is ensuring that food hygiene becomes second nature to the trainees.

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Focus

T

he biggest challenge we face as an industry,” Shanaaz R, Course Director at ICCA Dubai, begins, “is that, especially in this region, the lower rungs of our kitchens are manned by chefs from South East Asia and the Middle East. You can say that, in all developing countries, hygiene standards are very low. The standards that are taken for granted in the developed world just don’t exist so a critical and central part of our training programme is teaching the importance of food hygiene in both theory and practice.” The problem, she insists, is also true at many of the best outlets in those regions. “Look, however much the Executive Chefs insist on hygiene, if it’s not part of the culture then the younger chefs just won’t follow through, especially in a busy, noisy kitchen. As an example, we had one student who just didn’t understand the concept at all. He’d take raw meat, cook it and then put it back in the fridge with the rest of the raw meat - no matter how often we explained, he didn’t see what was wrong until the end of his three month course!” Perhaps because he and his family had been doing that all his life and hadn’t had a problem? “Exacly, but that’s not good enough in a professional klitchen, which is why we’re so focused on making food hygiene and safety part of our students’ culture and work habits.” ICCA Dubai has been running for seven years and takes groups of 14 students at a time, from all over the world. Some may have had some kitchen experience, many have not but all have a passion for food. The basic three month course, including accommodation, costs Dhs 26,000 and, at the end, the student will have an understanding of basic skills and a grounding in standard techniques for all key areas of food preparation from sauces to baking, meat to desserts. The centre features amongst the top ten culinary institutes in the world and has been awarded the Recognition of Quality Culinary Education by the World Association of Chefs Societies (WACS), a global authority on food and food standards. Training is a mixture of lectures, practical demonstrations and continual assessment, with

practical sessions (such as banquet preparation) at local hotels, to help prepare students for real life in the kitchen. “There’s obviously a big difference from preparing food in our spacious, calm kitchen than doing so in a live crowded, noisy and hot kitchen,” Shanaaz points out. “That’s why it’s critical to get the mindset right before they’re exposed fully to that world. There are bad habits that we have to address from day one: pointing with knives, for example, or handing a colleague a knife, blade first. We have students chopping vegetables in the hand or running around the kitchen with knives or hot pans. Basic skills are one thing, but basic work habits are vital too.” What many professional chefs take for granted, students need instruction in. “Often it’s simple things like tasting with your fingers or using ther wrong chopping board. There are two ways of dealing with this - one is to threaten and cut marks, our way is to teach and make the student understand why some behaviour is just wrong in a professional kitchen. Of course, many professional chefs will tell you that when service is manic and customers are waiting for food and other chefs are desperate to use the same implements, then HACCP can go out of the window. But that’s no excuse for not knowing what’s right.” How does she view the work of Dubai Municipality in terms of its drive for food hygiene, HACCP compliance and the PIC scheme? “I think it’s doing a great job and there’s certainly a much higher level of awareness all around. In fact, we work with them closely and train their food safety officers. There are lots of good initiatives - for example, last year represesentatives from the World Health Organization and the Center for Disease Control in the US ran a workshop here for 25 food safety officers from Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah looking at how to control a serious food safety crisis.” She’s insistent, however, that the Municipality’s work is more grounded in education rather than in penalising outlets that break food safety regulations. “It’s really all about imparting knowledge so that people and standards generally improve. It’s only if there’s resistance

Many professional chefs will tell you that “ when service is Manic and custoMers are

waiting for food and other chefs are desperate to use the saMe iMpleMents, then haccp can go out of the window. But that’s no excuse for not knowing what’s right.” 17


Focus

After clAss ICCA Dubai students have been placed on international cruise lines such as Norwegian Cruise Lines (NCL) USA, Oceania Cruises USA, Celebrity Cruises USA, Thomson Ships UK and with leading hotels such as JW Marriot, Le Meridian, The Address, Armani, Al Habtoor Hotel & Spa, Courtyard by Marriot, The Fairmont, Grand Hyatt, Hilton, Jebel Ali Golf Resort & Spa, Kempinski, Jumeirah,

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Metropolitan, Millennium, Oasis Beach, Palace, Rydges Plaza, Shangri-Lal, Westin - Le Meridian and in retail food concepts such as Apres, BidiBondi, Café Ceramique, Café Havana, Costa, Deli Express, Haya Club, Hey Pesto, Inferno, Japengo, La Brioche, Left Bank, MORE, Paul’s Café, The Butcher Shop & Grill, The Okku Dubai, Traders Vic, Wagamama amongst many others.

to that process that they will use the sanctions of fines.” Dubai managed to get ahead of the food safety curve in the region more than a decade ago when it hired an experienced Australian fim to set up the Food Safety Department, which oversees import/export, retail/wahehousing and restaurants. “It meant that it could start with proven protocols and paperwork - a great help. We’ve also seen a major step-up in activity since that famous case a couple of years back when two kids died after eating at a Chinese restaurant. Critical too, I think, has been the Food Safety Conference attached to Gulfood, which has attracted qualified people all over the world to share their expertise. All of this has really given Dubai a push in the right direction.” We’re intrigued to know if Shanaaz carries her food safety drive into her home amd family life. “It’s my culture but maybe it’s not always a good thing. After all, it’s exposure to bacteria that builds our immunity and I worry sometimes that my kids not develop the right immunity. We all have gut flora which help protect us, but the whole area isn’t that well understood by most people. They don’t realise, for example, that antibiotics kill those flora allowing yeast infections to take over or that these special

‘healthy’ yoghurts they eat can do the same. It’s some exposure that builds our immunity. For me, having been away for so long, I find when I go back home to India I have to be very careful about what I eat - things I used to eat with no problem can now cause me problems.” Aspart of the course, ICCA students learn about the need to carefully monitor their own health. “Again, people don’t realise that they can be a carrier for some real problems for a long time which is why people in the food service business need an annual health card. I stress to students the need to check for microbes and to scan their lungs. All of this from food preparation to a general awareness of health and safety issues are part of the culture I was talking about - just think of it like a culture of safe driving. Once it’s in your mind, then you don’t even have to think about it.” Her parting thoughts are ones every one in F&B should keep front of mind. “Anyone preparing and selling food needs to think of themselves as being like a doctor. Your customers trust you and you have a responsibility, a duty of care towards them. One aspect I always stress is this: a fine dining restaurant may not always be safe, but a low quality, high turnover canteen is likely to be absolutely safe.”


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Face to face

Climbing high The Ivy in Dubai has many similarities to the London location with green leather upholstery, the famous triangular stained glass and oak panelling. However, The Ivy in Dubai is almost twice the size in terms of square footage and capacity. Head Chef Simon Comboy talks us through the food. How challenging did you see setting up the restaurant? Daunting and inspiring in equal measure. Definitely a big thing, one of the biggest things I have ever been asked to do, but I relish the challenge! Give us an idea of the menu and the style of food. The menu is eclectic in style; we have British classics and many ethnic dishes on the menu – your curries, your hors d’oeuvre and South East Asian dishes too – there is something for everything. You can come in every week and eat a burger, or have the shepherd’s pie, but you can have caviar, you can have a beautiful Dover sole and foie gras too. The price is structured around that too: you can have a relaxed meal for lunch or a full-on dining experience. It will be an evolving menu that takes on different influences. How did you get the job? I came over to Dubai to work for Jumeirah. I started at The Rivington Grill and I was there for five months, before being asked to be the opening chef for The Ivy. I wasn’t going to turn down the opportunity as important as this. It is a big thing, definitely a landmark in my career and it is very exciting. I went and worked with the chefs in The Ivy in London and I learned the ethos of what it is all about and the dishes on the menu. It a British institution, in a very famous West End location, and it was interesting to experience working and training in the kitchen there.

Simon Comboy Originally from Sheffield in South Yorkshire, Simon has had a career in many respected restaurants in the UK, including a position as sous chef of Scott’s in London and head chef of Level 2 restaurant at the Tate Modern,

before he relocated to Dubai to work for Jumeirah Restaurants, as head chef of Rivington Grill in Souk Al Bahar. Soon after starting at Rivington Grill, Simon was asked to become head chef to open The Ivy.

I wasn’t goIng to turn down the opportunIty as “ Important as thIs. It Is a bIg thIng, It Is defInItely a landmark In my career and It Is very excItIng.” 20


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Face to face

Service, with a smile Born in Gibraltar, Fernando Peire didn’t see a future for himself in the restaurant business. However, via a spell as Senior Maitre d’ at The Ivy, a relaunch the famous Soho restaurant Quo Vadis, he’s now Director of The Ivy and a member of the board of the group, Caprice Holdings. In Dubai recently for A Taste of Dubai and the launch of the new Rivington Bar and Grill, he spoke to Dave Reeder about his TV series and the importance of service.

Y

ou notice one thing about Fernando Peire straight away: his eyes are constantly on the move. In most interview situations, that would suggest a lack of interest in the process but with Peire it’s a constant drive to seek improvements. Within five seconds of meeting him by the Rivington Grill stand at A Taste of Dubai, he’d given instructions for two things to be changed that he’d noticed in passing. And it’s this attention to detail that saw him as perhaps London’s leading restaurant host when he was running front of house at The Ivy, famously telling Princess Margaret she couldn’t have her favourite table because it was already booked and perhaps she’d like a drink at the bar whilst she waited and silencing Woody Allen who complained that he could get a table at any restaurant in New York that maybe he’d like to go back there. It must be his charm and quiet authority that lets him get away with it. Now he’s also following in the steps of Gordon Ramsay with a reality TV show, The Restaurant Inspector, which shows him gently but firmly coaxing six failing restauranteurs to rethink their outlets and preparing them for success. However, unlike the fiery Scotsman, Peire doesn’t believe you need to rant and scream. “There’s no need to shout and swear to make a restaurant successful,” he explains.” It won’t be a gladiatorial contest. Everything I have to say will be said politely that’s how you get the best out of people.” Wonderfully indiscrete about some of his past celebrity customers - “if someone can’t reserve a table, perhaps they should think that maybe they’re not wanted in the restaurant,” is one typical comment - his advice to failing owners is full of the down to earth wisdom that allows them

to see past their own falings and preoccupations and start thinking about customers. For example, take The Vineyard in the middle of Northampton. “This was being run by a mother and daughter team delivering fine dining food but the customers weren’t there. I suggested putting customer friendly dishes on the menu such as Chicken Kiev but they said they wouldn’t do that because that’s what’s being sold in the supermarket. Exactly! Supermarkets sell it because people want to eat it! One of the key reasons for The Ivy’s success is that we deliver food people want, but cooked exceptionally well with quality ingredients. You want Shepherd’s Pie, for example? We do it but we do an excellent version.” That’s not exactly the pubic perception of The Ivy. “Yes, we’re rather the victim of our own success. Our most popular dishes? Shepherd’s Pie and Fish and Chips. Of course, we have a celebrity clientele but we also see ourselves as a good neighbourhood restaurant. In fact, we spend our life fighting against a misguided public perception.” Does it make sense then to open a copy of The Ivy in Dubai, a city often obsessed with celebrity and bling, instead of developing a more local concept? “That’s an interesting question and one we discussed when the idea of a Dubai branch came up. What is a Dubai restaurant? And what is the value for The Ivy is being here? One of my key factors was the wide cultural diversity here. Look, The Ivy is one of the most famous restaurants in the world but how many people are going to eat there? But opening here, more people have the opportunity to experience it.” What makes The Ivy so successful, in his view? “I think it’s what makes any restaurant successful: integrity, hospitality, service and attention to

My favourite Meal? a seafood “ platter overlooking the sea. it’s

so siMple but how Many places have no fresh food and just deep fry things froM a box.

detail. Look, good food is a given but it’s the experience that makes the difference. It’s a challenge to get it right, but the first guest of the day and the last needs to be treated like a delicate Faberge egg. The problem is that many restaurants drop you. I’m constalling drilling this into staff: every detail counts. And don’t constantly interrupt customers.” Based on his experience and the consultancy work he’s done over the years, what are the three most important pieces of advice he’d give a restaurant owner. “Gosh - only three? Okay, then, firstly they must remember they’re running a business not just indulging a love of food. Then get the pricing right and ensure value for money. And, finally, get to know the customers. For customers, they need to get over their reluctance to complain if their needs aren’t being addressed properly. I don’t mean ranting at staff but getting up quietly and asking to have a word with the manager. If there’s a problem, any good restaurant will be grateful for the opportunity to put things right - for instance, a comment from a customer made us at The Ivy change the staff rota that had been in place for 20 years!”

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Face to face

Chinn and tonic

In Dubai for the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature, Chef Bobby Chinn proves a surprisingly thoughtful and calm interview subject, quite at odds with his onscreen persona as the hyperkinetic host of various travel and cooking shows. All of which just goes to prove his complexity.

B

obby Chinn’s story is quite well known. Born in New Zealand from a ChineseAmerican father and Egyptian mother, he was educated first in England and then California before working on Wall Street and, before a sidestep into selling fish directly to chefs, a life in the kitchen. Making his mark in the unlikely backwater of Vietnam, he has finessed global recognition from a handful of TV shows that combine travel, cooking and his own - shall we say? - in your face and effusive personality. And that’s just the gloss. First thing in the morning, before the first major caffeine fix of the day, he’s pensive and behind the clown’s persona, you can sense layers of loss, hurt and confusion. Speaking of his introduction to English food at school, he reacts still with visceral horror at how sick he was and how, since then, despite the wide variety of strange foods he unhesitatingly eats on his shows, he has iron control over not letting food affect him badly. Then, talking of teenage years in high school, his face creases with bad memories about how he didn’t fit in. “You know, there were the black

kids, the Latinos, the whites and so on. Where does a Chinese Egyptian sit?” That sense of being an outsider drove him to excel, I sense. And his feelings of rejection forced him to develop a confident, joking exterior to hide the inner sensitivity. But let’s backtrack. He was working on Wall Street, fulfilling what his father wanted of him but felt unfulfilled. A friend offered him a job selling fish directly to restaurants and, surprisingly, he proved to be excellent at it. “I used my Wall Street skills - you know, basic wire fraud.” However, the more time he spent talking to chefs and being around the kitchen, the more he wanted to be a part of the life. “I got talking to the chefs that I was selling to and I saw how passionate they were about what they were doing. Suddenly, it just felt right.” Starting at the bottom, he worked front of house in Los Angeles restaurants before moving to San Francisco. The more he saw, the more he wanted to be a part of this world. “I saw chefs doing something I’d never paid attention to before. For them, produce was like a drug to be sniffed. That guy in the white jacket - he has anything he wants. I looked around and

I ate everythIng and San FrancISco IS maybe “ the beSt place In the world For that where you

can eat the beSt Food For juSt $35 and there are the beSt IngredIentS For the hIgh end placeS.” 24


Face to face

I felt out of “ place, of course,

runnIng a hIgh end kItchen for other people but one of my strengths Is that I feel comfortable In dIfferent places. I know how to do that.

realised that, in terms of technique, we’re all francophiles so I read all the books like Escoffier. They were like porn for me. Food became an obsession for me - I ate everything and San Francisco is maybe the best place in the world for that where you can eat the best food for just $35 and there are the best ingredients for the high end places.” He was impatient to move up and realised that one way was to go to the top. Remembering motivational speaker Tony Robbins’ dictum - ‘What is it that’s preventing you from achieving your goals?’ - he went directly to Hubert Keller at Fleur de Lys. “And, basically, I said to him, ‘I want to work for you. Let me do it for two weeks and if you’re not happy with me, I’ll still do it but for free. Somehow it worked.” Finally, he was progressing but then disaster struck - a bad injury that meant, under health regulations that he could no longer work as a chef in the US. “I was devastated. Here I was, doing what I really wanted for the first time in my life, then suddenly it’s not going to happen. I lay around for a year just reading cookbooks and then my father suggested Vietnam - it was a tiger economy and he saw real potential.” Chinn gambled and suddenly found himself in an alien culture and one that didn’t value chefs or so-called ‘ego food’. “I didn’t speak the language, of course, so I just had to learn by taste and observation. But, hey, if you’re a chef, go figure it out for yourself, right? The Vietnamese certainly do their own thing - the cuisine has such stunning mixture of texture and flavour. I felt out of place, of course, running a high end kitchen for other people but one of my strengths is that I feel comfortable in different places. I know how to do that.”

26

He began to get attention when running the Red Onion restaurant at The Hanoi Towers, a stepping stone before his own Restaurant Bobby Chinn in Hanoi. And then success kept coming - two series of World Cafe: Asia, one of World Cafe: Middle East and one of Bobby Chinn Cooks Asia. His book - “a nightmare process producing it!” - found more success and now he’s a celebrity chef with a global reputation. A long way from that out of place teenager who didn’t belong. By rejecting what was expected of him and taking risks, he’s now happy. “I’m proud that all those years ago I took that leap into the unknown.”


Reinvention test

The BA Great Britons Programme was launched in May last year to discover the best of British talent in food, art and film, to work on career-defining projects. Simon Hulstone, a Michelinstar chef from Torquay in Devon, beat hundreds of chefs to become the BA Great Briton in the Food category. His menu has just been unveiled. 28


Face to face

SiMOn HulSTOne’S BriTiSH inSpiureD Menu fOr Ba firSt ClaSS

Club

STarTer Rillette of mackerel dressed on a pickled cucumber carpaccio with sour dough croutes

STarTer Golden beetroot, with goat’s cheese and elderflower dressing Or (July) Smoked salmon and Cornish crab roulade with sevruga caviar gribiche sauce and summer cress salad

Main Potted braised beef, with a potato and horseradish topping served with hispy cabbage, baby carrots and roasted shallots with a rich jus DeSSerT Chilled chocolate fondant with a salted caramel liquid centre, caramel sauce and spun sugar topped with hazelnuts

F

or even a Michelin star chef, the opportunity to be mentored by Heston Blumenthal is not one to be missed. Add to that, the chance for global recognition as the developer of a special menu for BA (British Airways) and it’s easy to understand why Chef Simon Hulstone felt able to add to the pressure of running his Michelin starred restaurant The Elephant and linked bistro. When chosen from a shortlist of 16, judge and mentor Blumenthal, said: “Simon proved to have the most technical ability, as well as a thoughtful and well-balanced menu. He really impressed us with considering the feasibility of serving it on board aircraft too.” Working with BA’s experienced teams and with support from Blumenthal, Simon had to produce an inspired ‘bold British menu’ for the airline’s World Traveller (economy), World Traveller Plus (premium economy), Club (business) and First Class cabins.

Main Fish pie using sustainable sourced hake, dressed with Parmesan pomme puree and a warm tartare sauce DeSSerT Lemon curd cheesecake with raspberry and basil compote

(August) Smoked salmon tartare with pickled cucumber ribbons, radish salad and crème fraiche (September) Gin and tonic cured smoked salmon

My aiM was to Make a “ crowd-pleasing Menu that

deMonstrated the best of britain and proudly showcased our culinary heritage. as a nod to heston and his love of old recipes i looked at classic british dishes with a Modern twist, delivered to the airline’s high standards.” - Chef Simon hulStone

This was rather more a showcase for your talents than a restaurant in Devon? I grew up in Stoke-on-Trent and on one trip to Torquay, I had lunch in The Elephant and found it was for sale. It was a hidden gem and it’s a great place to cook with amazing local ingredients, including some from our own farm - we plan to be totally sustainable within three years. So, yes, the step up was massive but it was too good an opportunity to miss. What was the biggest challenge? I think coming to grips with the massive limitations of in-flight catering. For instance, one of my first menu ideas was cockaleekie soup, fish with tartar sauce and rose trifle but the scale of what we needed to supply brought real challenges. I worked very closely with Gate Gourmet and BA’s own food team to understand how the vision Heston and I started with was something that could be delivered on-board - to the same quality every plate, every service.

29


Face to face How much of a commitment of time was this for you? I guess I’ve been working a couple of days a week since last August, plus some time when at work. For me, despite my wide experience, what was incredible was the opportunity to work with Heston. He’s on another level completely. He has such energy and really gets deep into everything. I wanted the final menu to reflect his influence - so we worked to get unami into the dishes - but we couldn’t be wildly experimental. That wouldn’t have worked with Gate Gourmet and wouldn’t have offered the right experience to the wide variety of BA customers. This was very much a showcase for British products and I think we achieved. Would you work with another airline? Well, never say never. But I have proved to myself that I can do it and it was a tremendous experience.

• contains alcohol Talk us through the creative process. We began simply with this thought: British Airways’ history and the development of British food during that time. So we wanted to take inspiration from the airline’s menus of the past as well as reinvent them for today, especially with the use of local produce. So, for example, there’s a nod back to post-war Britain when food rationing meant that things like ox cheek and fish played an important part in the diet. Going back to 1948, we transformed the Braised beef chasseur with young carrots and chateau potatoes into Potted braised beef with a potato and horseradish topping, served with hispy cabbage, baby carrots and roasted shallots with a rich jus. It’s been an honour to have created a menu that millions of people will experience - I can’t think of a better platform to showcase British cuisine. And the switch from using very local Devon suppliers to one that can scale to the numbers required? Yes, I didn’t think that through at first! I wanted to use a great Devon cheese called Vulscombe, but our initial order would have been more than their annual output! In all, we’re looking at producing a million meals during this programme. How hands-on was Heston? We talked a lot, of course. And we went to Los Angeles together, eating at a hot dog stand and at Thomas Keller’s Bouchon - from two ends of the spectrum, almost economy to first class in some ways! We also did things like tasting a meal on the ground and in the air to see how it changed because of the environment and reheating limitations. Heston is very unique in his own style and he’s influenced so many young chefs in this country that he’s keeping the industry going - he’s brilliant. So no real problems? Well, just one really. I hate flying!

30

Braised beef cheek with horseradish mash Ingredients:

Horseradish mash

Braised cheek 4 375g beef cheeks, excess fat removed 750ml red wine 100ml Madeira 2 carrots, peeled and roughly chopped 1 large onion, peeled and sliced 4 celery sticks, washed and roughly chopped 1 leek, washed and roughly chopped

3 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed 1 bay leaf 1 sprig of thyme 2 peppercorns 1 tbsp tomato puree 1.2 litres of hot veal stock fresh not bouillon cube vegetable oil 1 tsp yellow mustard seeds 1 tsp black mustard seeds

Method: 1 Season the ox cheeks and preheat oven to 140c. 2 In a large frying pan on a high heat, add veg oil and seal the cheeks well, getting a good colour all over taking care not to scorch or burn them. Then, in a deep oven tray put all your meat in, making sure that there is some room around it. 3 Next colour all the veg and add that to the ox cheeks. 4 Deglaze the frying pan with the alcohol and add this with the herbs to the ox cheek. Cover with the boiling veal stock, cover with a lid and place in to the oven for up to six hours. 5 Check the liquid after the first two hours and make sure the cheeks are still covered. If not top up with boiling water. Keep checking every hour until very tender. As soon as they are tender, remove from the liquid and allow to cool for 15 minutes. 6 Meanwhile, pass the stock through a fine sieve and reduce in a clean pan on a medium heat, making sure to skim regularly and reduce it down by half. Break the cheeks down into large pieces, removing fat and gristle with fingers and set to one side in a large mixing bowl, keeping warm. 7 Heat a small frying pan on a medium heat, fry off the mustard seeds in a little oil. As soon as they start popping, add them to the cheeks.

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10 11 12 13 14

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1kg Desiree, King Edward or Marforna potatoes - skins on, washed well 100ml double cream 50ml whole fat milk 50g unsalted butter 1 sprig thyme 50g fresh horseradish, peeled and finely grated

As soon as the braising liquor has reduced by half, check its consistency - sticky on the lips with a rich meaty flavour. At this stage pass through a fine chinoise and combine enough liquid to the beef cheeks to bind, checking the seasoning. The beef should not be too wet but it shouldn’t be dry either. Line a square tray with clingfilm, and put the beef mix into this tray. Leave it in the fridge overnight. Using a metal cutter cut out the braised beef and store in the fridge until needed. When ready to use, put the beef mix into a preheated oven at 150c until it’s warmed through. Cook the potatoes with the skins on, in a preheated oven at 180c. Bring all the ingredients up to the boil and, as soon as they boil, remove from the heat. Once the mash is tender, pass through a drum sieve twice and discard the skins. Remove the sprig of thyme from the cream mix and bring back up to the boil. Put the hot potato mix into a pan and incorporate the hot cream mix - not too wet and able to support its own weight. Then season and put into a piping bag. Pipe the mash potato onto the cut beef cheeks and put into serving dishes until needed.


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Who’s the best The second annual BBC Good Food Middle East Awards were presented in a number of categories by reader votes. However, newly introduced this year, the Chef of the Year category gave a major challenge to the four top reader nominations: a mystery ingredient cook-off in front of specially invited judges. With nowhere to hide and the clock ticking, who would win?

B

BC Good Food Middle East readers voted for their favourites chefs in the UAE and the top four were invited to battle it out. They were Nick Alvis, Head Chef at table 9 by Nick and Scott, Hilton Dubai Deira Creek; Paul de Visser, Executive Chef at Ruth’s Chris Steak House, The Monarch Dubai; Naruemol Poolkuan, Chef de Cuisine, Benjarong, Dusit Thani Dubai; and A Refaie Othman, Executive Chef, Zuma, DIFC. Judges were Michael Kitts, Marianne Saulwick, Saba Wahid and Scott Crawley. Their task was simple: create a main course and a dessert in 90 minutes using whatever they wanted from the pantry at The Emirates Academy of Hospitality Management. Just one catch: they had to use all the ingredients, in some way, from a mystery box of ingredients. The four judges blind tasted, discussed and then chose the winner, the first Chef of the Year!

They had To use all The “ ingredienTs, in some way, from a mysTery box of ingredienTs”

suBheAd:

A RefAie OthmAn Executive Chef, Zuma, DIFC.

32

PAul de VisseR Executive Chef at Ruth’s Chris Steak House, The Monarch Dubai.

nARuemOl POOlkuAn Chef de Cuisine, Benjarong, Dusit Thani Dubai.

nick AlVis Head Chef at table 9 by Nick and Scott, Hilton Dubai Deira Creek.


In action

Some of the dishes prepared for the judges

33


In action In the mystery box! 1 whole duck dark chocolate pickled plums lemon curd passion fruit okra ripe mangos ricotta fresh ginger

From the pantry Dry stores:

Dairy:

vanilla stick

eggs

arborio rice

cream

basmati rice

milk

ground almond

butter

peppercorn, black

natural yoghurt

cumin

parmesan

paprika

sour cream

nutmeg whole

the day panned out like this: 1.30pm chefs and judges arrive, are welcomed and are briefed about the competition, the rules and how it works, then the chefs are each shown their stations 2pm the mystery box is given to the chefs and they have 15 minutes to figure out their menu (main course and dessert) 2.15pm back into the kitchen to get started! 3.15pm main course needs to be finished, plated and sent out to the judges 3.45pm dessert needs to be finished, plated and sent out to the judges by 4.15 all judges’ votes come together and winner is decided After slicing and dicing, the judges’ final choice for Chef of the Year was Zuma’s Executive Chef A Refaie Othman - a double win as Zuma had already won Restaurant of the Year. Chef Othman trained with Zuma founder Rainer Becker in London and joined the Dubai team in 2009. Born in Singapore, his previous jobs included a spell as Executive Chef at Les Amis in Raffles, Singapore. His strategy for the competition? “Just focus and no panic. I went back to what I used to do, my French cooking roots. I knew what to do.”

cloves whole

Fruit anD vegetables:

cardamom whole

carrots

cinnamon sticks

leeks

cinnamon powder

white onions

turmeric

whole garlic

red chili flakes

red chilli

gelatin leaves

whole lemon

caster sugar

whole lime

icing sugar

fresh thyme

brown sugar

fresh mint

honey

fresh flat parsley

all purpose flour

fresh dill

extra virgin olive oil

fresh coriander

dark sesame oil

red pepper

white vinegar

yellow pepper

red vinegar

green pepper

balsamic vinegar

green asparagus

rice vinegar

tomatoes, plum and

japanese soy sauce

cherry (red)

pomegranate syrup

rocket salad

dijon mustard

spinach fresh

tomato paste

aubergine

black olives

chervil

pine seeds

chives

sesame seeds

basil

walnuts

fennel

shiitake mushrooms

fresh cucumber savoy cabbage

stocks:

shallots

vegetable stock

potatoes large

fish stock

lime leaves

chicken stock

lemongrass

veal stock fish sauce

It’s a real honour to wIn thIs award. I have “ been In the F&b Industry sInce I was 16 years

old and I Feel that It has now paId oFF. thIs Is deFInItely a hIghlIght oF my career and my best accolade to date.” 34


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On the passe

Zuma storms ahead With Zuma winning the popular vote for Restaurant of the Year in the BBC Good Food Middle East awards for the second year running and Executive Chef A Refaie Othman clinching the judges’ Chef of the Year award, Rainer Becker’s take on modern Japanese food remains one of Dubai’s top tables and for a reason - the food is consistently good and service is faultless. With a host of new dishes on offer, Dave Reeder talks to Chef Othman about how success has to be constantly worked at.

W

e all hate to be wrong, don’t we? And, I admit it, I was wrong, so wrong about Zuma. I happened like this. I had just launched BBC Good Food Middle East and was flying back to the UK, for once relaxing in a lounge at Dubai airport. By chance, I bumped into a friend and I showed her the magazine and we talked food before our flights were called. At the departure gate, a man I’d noticed in the lounge came up and asked if I was a food magazine editor. If so, he had a story: he was about to open a restaurant in DIFC and perhaps he could invite me next time he was in town. Mind on the flight, I didn’t think much more of it. Until a couple of months later, I had a call to say that Zuma founder Rainer Becker was back in town and would like to meet. In the cavernous space still undergoing fit-out, we

OPPOSITE PAGE: hotateno usuzukuri, sappari yuzu fuumi [thinly sliced scallops, yuzu juice and chili]

36

talked about his love of Japanese food and, at the end of the conversation, he asked me whether I thought the restaurant would succeed. Frankly, I told him, I think you’ve misjudged this. The space is far too large to fill and the location (in the empty wilds of DIFC) was hardly appealing. Now, every lunchtime, every night, Zuma is rammed and I couldn’t be happier about being wrong. So, how in an ever-changing Dubai food scene, has it managed to stay on top of the pile and remain a hot spot for food, for ambience and for style? The answer, believes Executive Chef A Refaie Othman, is simple: “The consistency of the food and the quality of the service.” But how, with a string of Zumas around the world, does it manage both to be globally consistent and


On the passe

37


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On the passe

OPPOSITE PAGE: wagyu rib no oven-yaki [marinated oven-baked wagyu beef ribs, macadamia nuts] LEFT: kaisou no salada, ume mayo sosu [seafood salad, umeboshi mayonnaise and pickled cucumber] RIGHT: wagyu sirloin no hoba yaki, pirikara shoyu no sosu [grilled wagyu sirloin on hoba leaf, smoked chili soy] BELOW: tai no sashimi, ninniku fuumi, quinoa to ikura zoe [sliced seabream, soy and garlic dressing with salmon roe]

EvEry thrEE months wE introducE nEw dishEs “ to kEEp thE mEnu frEsh and thEy’rE undEr dEvElopmEnt all thE timE.” - chef othman

responsive to local markets? “Zuma has always focused on very clean, citrus flavours but clearly, although there is a common style, our regional menus differ. In Hong Kong, for example, the food is very light, less spicy and with less salt. In Miami, the portions have to be larger! Here in Dubai, the influence of both the local population and Indian expats means we can be spicier.” How then does he develop new dishes? “Every three months we introduce new dishes to keep the menu fresh and they’re under development all the time. Some dishes we take off - like the black cod - have to come back due to demand, but there’s not really a development process. I’ll be in the kitchen and an idea will pop into the mind and I’ll just start from there. Then I discuss it with Rainer and it comes together. What’s important is

maintaining quality and keeping the freshness alive. Increasingly, we’re adapting to provide gluten free and even vegan dishes too.” However, to maintain quality, he has to have good suppliers, right? “You know, that’s not so much of a challenge. We have a good link to a supplier in Tokyo and they deliver what I want every week. Seafood, except for prawns from Vietnam and black cod from Canada, all comes fresh. I make sure it’s good quality and we treat it properly as soon as it arrives. Our fish is always fresh - we even monitor it in a special book so we know just what’s happened to it, how it’s been treated and so on.” And when Othman’s not hard at work in Zuma with his nearly 80-strong brigade, where does he like to eat? “Little local places down alleys! I tend to stay away from restaurant food…”

39


40


Baking technology

How do fermentation methods and oven systems that are actually quite different affect the pretzel? We wanted to know exactly and asked a qualified and impartial expert for help: Master baker Arnulf Kleinle, the principal of the Bavarian Bakers Academy, provided us with all his knowhow and his teaching bakery in Lochham near Munich. 41


Baking technology Rack oven

deck oven More inTenSive flavour

ShorTer dry layer Below cruST

Thinner BoTToM cruST

F

or the comparative baking test, we compared the three most-used dough fermentation methods and two baking oven systems – the MIWE roll-in convection baking oven and a MIWE electro as a representative of the deck baking ovens.The recipe, however, was the same in all cases.

Shinier cruST

42

Thicker BoTToM cruST

rounder BoTToM

‘duller’ Surface, BuBBle forMaTion

1 STrong Shine on cruST

The subject of the test was a real Bavarian delicacy, as you would expect for a Bavarian academy: the Munich pretzel. The following six fermentation and baking methods were compared: 1 Proofed (without lye bath) and frozen; rack oven. 2 Proofing interruption (–18 °C); rack oven. 3 Proofing retarding process (–5 °C); rack oven. 4 Proofed (without lye bath) and frozen; deck oven. 5 Proofing interruption (–18 °C); deck oven. 6 Proofing retarding process (–5 °C); deck oven. Our comparative baking test showed that markedly delicious and attractive pretzels can be baked with the different fermentation methods on both baking oven systems, even when the same basic dough is used, as was the case in this test. In individual cases, both the recipe and the process still offer a variety of special optimisation possibilities, of course. The proofing-interrupted pretzel demonstrated the least differences between the baking oven systems, but also the least noticeable wild cracks in the crust, which are actually standard for the Bavarian pretzel - and for the Munich pretzel in particular. If we take these cracks as our yardstick, the baked-on-deck proofed and frozen pretzels come closest to the ideal type, closely followed by the baked-on-deck and proofing retarded pretzels. Due to the direct and intensive heat transmission to their bottom, the pretzels baked on the stone generally tended to crack more than the pretzels baked in the rack oven, which were evenly treated with hot air on all sides. The different temperature transmission could also be seen in the altogether rounder pretzel bottom, browned more intensively and

BoTToM flaTTer

‘wildly’ cracked

lifTed preTzel forM (dough ferMenTaTion)

2

noT aS ‘wildly’ cracked

arMS More cloSely joined


Baking technology Top Tips * before baking, the pretzels should be stiffened in front of a fan. on the one hand, the pretzels then keep their form better when dipping in lye, while on the other hand, the dry dough surface prevents the lye from penetrating deeply into the dough pieces, which promotes a thin crust and above all a gentle crispness. * both the lye concentration and the immersion time are of vital importance to a good taste. * after the lye bath, the pretzels should not be allowed to rest too long before going into the baking oven. * for improved taste and visual

appearance, don’t be sparing with the pretzel salt. * Pretzels were originally baked only with open draft. due to different dough fermentation methods and consumers’ preferences, today’s pretzels are baked first with closed draft and then finished with open draft for better development. * especially in rack ovens, pretzels should be baked with a little steamto improve development. * No steam in the oven is good for the shine of the crust. with steam, the pretzel’s volume increases, but the shine decreases

GeTTinG iT riGhT

The Munich pretzel according to the recipe of the Academy of Bavarian Bakery Trade in Lochham contains:

3

2,300g wheat flour, type 550 (100 %) 363g wheat sour, ta 200 (16 %), Process refrigerated! 25g liquid malt (1,1 %) 75g olive oil (3,3 %) 60g baking ingredients (2,6 %) 100g yeast (4,3 %) 50g salt (2,2 %) 1.060g water (46 %) 4.033g pretzel dough knead: 6 + 4 min. dough temperature: 23 °C dough proofing: none Press proofing: 8 min.

Surface ‘Smoothed over’

clear tray mark

4 ‘ruStic’ cracked Surface

more brittle cruSt

Narrow bottom

43


Baking technology

A lye concentrAtion of “ up to 4% is permissible

According to germAn food lAw requirements; in prActice, however, A concentrAtion of 3.5% hAs been proven to work well.”

further into the crumb - thus also crustier and more aromatic. If bakers want an answer to the key question of which pretzel they can bake the quickest, the pendulum swings marginally towards the proofed and frozen pretzel, which also boasts simple organisational handling thanks to its long-term storage horizon – this is surely an important reason why airlines like Lufthansa have invested a lot of time in optimising this production process for their specialised purposes. In the case of our comparative baking test in Lochham, the pretzels were frozen without being dipped in a lye bath; that is to say, they were not dipped in lye until just before baking. In practice, proofed and frozen pretzels that are not lyedipped have the advantage of keeping longer. A lye concentration of up to 4% is permissible according to German food law requirements; in practice, however, a concentration of 3.5% has been proven to work well.

5

‘Rustic’ cRust suRface

WideR bottom

baking expeRtise MIWE was founded in 1919 by Michael Wenz in the small German village of Arnstein and is well-known worldwide for its expertise and experience in heating and cooling processes for bakeries, automation technology and plant construction. It has become synonymous with many important innovations in the baking industry over the last 90 years, for example the introduction of the rack oven to Central Europe and the targeted development of “sight and smell” baking which led to the wide-spread use of in-store baking. Now in the third generation, Sabine

44

Michaela Wenz has been managing the growing company since 2002. She has transformed the originally technicallyoriented business into a modern company that is now a global player in the baking market. Since the autumn of 2010, MIWE has been working together with the well-established company HEIDI Chef Solutions to expand its business in the Middle East. This will allow for future customer requirements to be dealt with efficiently and, more importantly, in a marketorientated manner. [Article and photography kindly supplied by MIWE]

6 dRy layeR beloW cRust not as shoRt

‘Relatively smooth’ suRface

cRumb moRe open


Bean there, done that The idea is simple: we take an old recipe and give it to a great chef. The challenge? Cook it as it’s written to understand the heritage and then reinvent the dish to fine dining standards. Up for service this month is Chef Andy Campbell, personal chef for hire around town. All he has to do is reinvent the Brazilian national dish: Feijoada.

I

“ t’s like paella in Spain or meatballs in

Brooklyn,” says Eric Ripert, Executive Chef and co-owner of Le Bernardin, New York’s only four-star seafood restaurant. “Every Brazilian cook has her own way of preparing feijoada. Some use only dried meat or pork knuckles, ears and tails. Basically, it’s black beans with cured pork.” What he forgets to mention is that the dish is traditionally served with sweet orange wedges. Although the dish originated in Portugal (‘feijão’ is the Portuguese word for ‘beans’), it was in two of its colonies - Brazil and Goa - that the dish became a staple, although the versions differ as you’d expect with the Goan version being spicier. Now considered Brazil’s national dish, it was a staple for slaves in colonial times using the bits of pork that the plantation owners discarded, such as ears, tails and feet. These they cooked in a big pot with black beans. The dish later developed witb the addition of pork sirloin and sausages, jerk beef and salted pork as well as vegetables such as tomatoes, carrots and cabbage. In Brazil, feijoada is traditionally served with rice and accompanied by chopped fried collard greens, lightly roasted coarse cassava flour and peeled and

46

sliced orange, with perhaps boiled or deep-fried cassava, deep-fried bananas and pork rinds. A heavy slow-cooked dish, feijoada is not an everyday meal and is nearly always eaten at lunchtime. The challenge for Chef Andy Campbell was two-fold: make it a more culturally sensitive dish for the Middle East and lighten it enough to give it a fine dining appeal. Opening his first restaurant in London at age 23 - “we served what I think of as pre-pub bistro food, things like satay and homemade spring rolls or prawn on sugar cane sticks” - he later became Head Chef at a number of well-known London fine dining restaurants including following Marco Pierre White as Head Chef of the Café Royal, Anthony Worrell Thompson’s Ménage a Trois and the famous French House in London’s Soho. Eventually he became the Chef du Patron of Andy’s at 23 Romilly Street – one of London’s most prestigious private members clubs. Now in Dubai, he consults, prepares special menus for clients and acts as a personal chef. Constantly busy, he still found time to take up our challenge. What wouldn’t he like to tackle, we asked him? “No, it doesn’t matter. I’ll do anything.”


Pimp my plate

47


Thinking that Brazilian fejoiada might slow him down a bit, we were disconcerted to here that he’d eaten it frequently as a young backpacker travelling round the world! “Strange story. My passion used to entymology and I went to art college to study photography, then travelled in search of butterflies. I always loved eating and I realised as I travelled round that this is what I wanted to do, so I came back to London and open my first restaurant.” How did he approach the problem of making the dish more like a fine dining dish? “My real concern about it being fine dining was partly about the appearance - the original is not visually very appealing so it needed to be lighter. I tried a couple of approaches with the beans but it didn’t really work so then I considered a version of Shepherd’s pie. But maybe that one pot thing was just too close to the original and I wanted to get away from the whole Cassoulet/Hotpot line of thinking.” What intrigued him when he first sat down to think through the options was the dish’s origins in peasant food. “Nowadays, this concept of nose to tail eating is very fashionable but it came

out of necessity. The beans plus the fat from the meat meant the plantation workers could be sustained. But we don’t need that level of energy these days, so I had to go a lighter route.” Part of Campbell’s approach to cooking is to use local ingredients so he was keen to stay away from pork. “A confit of spiced lamb bound together with duck fat was the way I decided to go, with a decoration of salt beef. When I worked and lived in London’s Soho for many years, a salt beef sanwich was a lunch time treat. A lot of my chefs were of north African descent so I used to buy them some halal meat every Friday as a thanks to their hard work - lamb was their favourite.” To make the dish a little more cheffy, he adds a lobster croquette - “a nod to surf and turf” - and suggests adding cauliflower or artichoke to the beans to sweeten them. How many versions of the dish did he make before he was happy? “That’s not really how I work. I normally try to design dishes in my head, going through lots of different ideas until I know just what I want to do - I call this one a two pots of tea in the morning job!”

• contains pork

P

A traditional fejoiada Ingredients: 450gm dry black beans 4 tbsp olive oil 450gm pork loin, cut into chunks 2 large onions, sliced 1 head of garlic, peeled and chopped 450gm corned or dried beef, cut into chunks 225gm fresh sausages, such as chorizo or Italian sausage 450 smoked sausage, such as linguica or kielbasa 200gm bacon 3-4 bay leaves cumin to taste parsley water salt black pepper

Method: 1 Soak the beans overnight in cold water, then place in a large pot and cover with water. Add the dried beef and simmer for two hours, or until beans are cooked but firm. 2 Add the rest of the meats and the bay leaves to the beans and simmer for 30 minutes, adding hot water if necessary to maintain an inch of water over the beans. 3 Heat the oil in a pan and cook the onions and garlic until soft and golden. Add the parsley, and season with the cumin and salt and pepper to taste. 4 Add 3/4 cup of the bean mixture to the pan and mash the beans with the onions. Add this mixture back to the beans and meat. Simmer for 30 minutes, thenemove the meats from the beans and cut them into smaller pieces or slices. 5 Arrange the meats on a plate, grouped by type. Serve the beans in a separate bowl. Serve with Brazilian-style rice, collard greens, pepper sauce and orange slices.

This concepT of nose To TAil eATing is very “ fAshionAble buT iT cAme ouT of necessiTy. The beAns plus The fAT from The meAT meAnT The plAnTATion workers could be susTAined.” 48


Pimp my plate

Forbidden meat-free beans with halal salt beef and lamb Confit lamb Ingredients: 1kg of lamb shoulder boned or two lamb shanks 1 tsp sea salt 1 tsb cooking oil 6 cloves of garlic, unpealed 1.5 ltres duck fat pinch each of white pepper, cardamon powder, saffron strands black pepper and sea salt to season

Method: 1 Season the lamb with a teaspoon of sea salt.On a medium heat brown the lamb. Put into a roating tray with the garlic and meted duck fat, cover with grease proof papper and a layer of tin foil. Cook for about two and a half hours in a pre-heated oven set at 140/150c. Allow to cool in the fat. 2 Take the lamb out and shred with two forks, then add the garlic, 2/3 tablespoons of duck fat, the spices and season with salt and pepper. 3 Roll in to a log in cling film. Cool down in the freezer compartment.

Salt beef Ingredients: Buy a piece of cooked salt beef warm slightly and shred with two forks. Method: 1 Warm some pre-cooked white beans in a little duck fat with onion and garlic, season and then fold in spinach and thinly sliced lettuce. Arrange in a ring on the plate. 2 Slice the lamb log into one inch slices and fry till warm. Arrange on top of the bean mix. 3 Decorate with shredded salt beef. 4 Drizzle with jus or your choice of sauce. If desired, serve with a lobster croquet.

49


A rush of adrenalin to the page Chef David Chang doesn’t do things by half. While his Momofuku restaurant empire continues to excite New York City, side projects seemingly appear and become successful without even trying - the Milk Bar and its extension in cross-nation retail sales this year, for example. But nobody expected him to change the rules of food magazine publishing, least of all Dave Reeder.

L

ook, this doesn’t happen. Magazine editors aren’t supposed to send you off in search of other titles - we want you all to ourselves. But ‘Lucky Peach’ is different - very, very different. Launched last summer by David Chang and Peter Meehan, with the major input of Zero Point Zero production (producers of Anthony Bourdain’s ‘No Reservations’), this title really does break out of the box. For one thing, it’s published by McSweeney’s, a successful if rather esoteric magazine house devoted to the radical

and odd. For another, in its 180 pages, you won’t find a single advertisement - no ingredients, no cooking schools, no knives, no Food Network, nothing, nada. Most importantly, each issue is devoted almost entirely to a single subject. The first issue focused on ramen, a neat touch of respect as Momofuko itself can be linked back to Momofuku Ando, the TaiwaneseJapanese inventor of instant ramen. And that’s about where the story stops being simple. The magazine is a wild, crazy mash-up of conversations, scholarly articles, travel pieces,

MAGAZINE EDITORS AREN’T SUPPOSED TO SEND YOU “ OFF IN SEARCH OF OTHER TITLES.” 50


Book review

51


Design and content constantly surprise and delight.

52


Book review

reminiscences, recipes and just plain weirdness. Imagine a 3am conversation with Bourdain and a professor of ramen history and you begin to get a flavour of the eclecticism of ‘Lucky Peach’. And once a quarter, another slice of the same mad jumble emerges! But, behind the chaos and seeming improvisation on the page and in the iPad app, is some wonderful writing and great art. It’s good - insanely, bravely good. Any chef wanting to be inspired should make sure of copies - about $10 each including postage from the US to the UAE. Be warned - I’ve already seen issue one on sale for $210 - and that’s after two reprints! Bourdain, Chang, Dufresne, Reichl great writers illuminating one of the humblest food around, instant ramen - which were, incidentally, chosen by the Japanese in 2000 as the greatest Japanese innovation of the 20th century. It was invented following World War II by Momofuku Ando, whose utopian ideals

propelled him to devise “the perfect postwar food” capable of feeding the world! Of course, ‘Lucky Peach’ is also cool, perhaps too cool for many. Looking for concert-posterstyle woodcuts of Tokyo ramen deities? Or a recipe for corn with miso butter written entirely in haiku? Or even an appreciation of regional potato chips by the former bassist from Sonic Youth? If so, you’ve come to the right place. Me? I think it’s wonderful. It’s ahead of the market but manages to walk the thin line between fun and intellect very nicely indeed. I will be renewing my subscription.So far, there have been three issues of Lucky Peach.Each has been quirky, different, thought-provoking and a delight. The challenge for Chang and his team will be maintaining that level of innovation and fun over the long haul. Unless he gets bored, of course. Meanwhile, I for one am along for the ride and I suggest you join me if you love food.

It’s good - Insanely, bravely good. any chef “ wantIng to be InspIred should make sure of copIes

- about $10 each IncludIng postage from the us to the uae. be warned - I’ve already seen Issue one on sale for $210 - and that’s after two reprInts!” 53


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Travel

Goa - the fusion pioneer Think Goa and most people will talk about lazy holidays on the beach, trance parties under the stars or the remnants of hippy life amongst the markets and beach shacks. But that does a disservice to a country that can be seen as a real pioneer in fusion cuisine, with a magnificent blend of ingredients and cooking styles from three continents that merged to form the distinctive taste of Goa. Dave Reeder turns his back on chilling out on the beach and looks for the real story amongst the remains of colonial Goa.

56


Travel LEFT: Colonial splendour amidst the Goan greenery

G

oa is unlike the rest of India. That’s not just because of the hyper laidback lifestyle or the endless miles of beaches heaped with European package tourists and hippie remnants or its appeal to weekend escapees from Mumbai as the home of cheap alcohol and legal gambling, but purely because of its history. Although European colonists founded mini empires across India - from the British to the Dutch and even the French and Danes - nowhere else had such a total immersion in European culture as Goa, which for more than 450 years was a key part of Portugal’s global empire. The Portuguese conquered Goa in 1510 and made it the capital of their Estado da India, a vast area covering its interests in Africa, India, China (Macau) and even Japan. However, the city of Goa was even then a truly cosmopolitan melting pot with Indians, Armenians, Jews, Europeans, Arabs, Chinese, Japanese and other races all

living, trading and eating together. The Portuguese brought two major influences that would mark Goa as a very different part of India: the Catholic religion and Portugal’s already global cuisine. Today, there are two main traditional cusines in Goa - Hindu and Christian - with a tiny Muslim population. Yet, although you can find common Indian dishes from idli sambar to dosa to tikka masala at one of the countless international buffets or snack bars aimed at tourists, the Goan Hindu cuisine differs largely from the rest of India in that the majority of Goan Hindus eat meat (chicken and mutton), though still eschewing pork and beef for religious reasons. In general, Hindu Goans use less heat, tamarind and kokum for souring than other Hindus and place heavy emphasis on asafoetida, fenugreek, curry leaves, mustard and urad dal. Their food is less spicy than you’d expect, with relatively light use of onion and garlic. Coconut oil is standard for cooking.

57


THE GOAN CUPBOARD OF KEY INGREDIENTS * KASHMIRI CHILIES - gives a fiery red colour to dishes. * GOAN VINEGAR made from coconut palm toddy. * GOAN JAGGERY dark brown or black palm jaggery. * BIMBLIM - sour fruit.

EAT HERE - GOA * * * * * * * * * * * * *

58

HORSESHOE CAFE, Fontainhas, Panaji MUM’S KITCHEN, Miramar, Panaji BRITTOS BAR & RESTAURANT, Baja Beach FLORENTINES, Saligao, Bardez LOYDS, Bogmalo Beach MARTIN’S CORNER, Betalbatim, Salcete MARTIN’S BEACH CORNER, Miramar, Panaji NOSTALGIA, Salcete O’COQUEIROS, Alto Porvorim, Bardez VIVA PANJIM, Fontainhas, Panaji SAHAKARI SPICE FARM, Curti Ponda RIORICO, Hotel Mandovi, Panaji BEACH HOUSE, Vivanta by Taj Holiday Village, Sinquerim, Bardez

* KOKUM - red berry used a souring agent. * TEFIO - dried citrus flavoured berries used to cut through fatty fish. * BOMBAY DUCK dried fish used as accompaniment to fish curry and rice.


Travel

Eat hErE - UaE * Casa Goa, Palm Beach Hotel, Bur Dubai * sUsEGad Goa, New Peninsula Hotel, Al Raffa Street, Dubai * ViVa Goa, Al Nasr Leisureland, Dubai * indiGoa, Karama Hotel, Kuwait Street, Dubai * al shay rEstaUrant, near Madina supermarket, Karama, Dubai * MahEC, Méridien Village, Le Méridien Dubai, Garhoud, Dubai * trEat rEstaUrant, Mubarak Building, Karama, Dubai * da GaMa, Tennis Stadium, Aviation Club, Garhoud, Dubai * Casa Goa, Al Bateen Street, near Shaikh Khalifa Medical City, Abu Dhabi

The PorTuguese conquered goa in 1510 and “ made iT The caPiTal of Their esTado da india, a

vasT area covering iTs inTeresTs in africa, india, china (macau) and even JaPan. however, The ciTy of goa was even Then Truly cosmoPoliTan.” However, it’s the Goan Christian food tradition that really marks out the state, which gained independence in 1961, some 14 years after the end of British rule across the rest of the country. From its new world colonies, Portugal introduced to Goa the potato, tomato, pineapple, guava, papaya, avocado, pumpkin, aubergine and cashew nut, as well as the ubiquitous chili. The thought of Goan food without tomatoes and chillies, enjoyed with a glass of feni distilled from cashew nuts, is unthinkable! And, from Portugal itself, olive oil, marmalade, salt cod (bacalhau), spicy sausage (chourisos) and wine all added to the mix, as did vinegar which is widely used in Goan Christian cuisine as a souring agent and is an integral part of the classic vindalhoo which, in Goa as opposed to the high street Indian restaurants of the UK, is a spiced and delicate dish rather than a chilli endurance test. Portuguese ships followed the official maritime link from Lisbon to Goa via Africa (the Correira da India), returning via Bahia

in northern Brazil. At all points, food and ingredients were exchanged. And, underneath it all, the traditional daily diet of the Goans rice, fish and coconut oil. The long coastline and deep rivers means that fish even today are a staple, from kingfish to pomfret, tuna and mackerel, with large supplies of local shellfish such as crabs, prawns, tiger prawns, lobsters, squid and mussels. But the Portuguese did more than introduce new ingredients; they also brought new styles of cooking and new types of recipes. Their traditional love of sweet cakes meant that the heavily dense and sweet cake bebinca is now a staple of every Goan menu. Cooking techniques from Mozambique, for example, developed the typical Goan dish of chicken piri-piri. And, of course, the Portuguese brought their love of oven baked bread, bought twice daily from the baker. The rather terrible Inquisition period in 18th century Goa also brought in some food prescriptions: not eating pork was a punishable offence as was cooking rice without salt. The

59


Travel

key Goan deliGhtS * Chamuça - Goan samosa * Crab xeC xeC - Crab in roasted coconut gravey * ambot tik - Sour fish or meat curry * balChão - Curry based on a

sauce from Macao, made from shrimp, aguardente, laurel, lemon and chili * Sorpotel - Spicy curry with pork liver, tongue and blood * xaCuti - Curry with roast grated

thought behind this? Creating a wider division between the Goan Christians who would align with their Portuguese masters and the lowlier Hindus and Muslims. This trend was reinforced by legal pressure for Portuguese to marry Goans, thus increasing the mix in the kitchen. What all this produced was a cuisine that is not Indian nor European, not Asian or South American, not African but a mix of all cultures as dishes produced with ingredients introduced to Goa became changed and transformed yet again when exported into the wider Lusophonic world - so a Brazilian feijouada is recognisably the same dish as a Goan feijouada, even though the exact ingredients may differ. In Brazil, its origins in slave cuisine meant a higher proportion of offcuts of meat and offal whilst, in Goa, the higher ranking Christians diners expected better pork content. And so the world turns. The challenge today is seeking out traditional Goan cuisine. In common with most of India, it is traditional to eat in the home or with friends and

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coconut with chicken or beef * Solantule kodi - Spicy coconut and kokum curry * Vindaloo - Spicy curry based on marination in garlic and wine (vinho e alho)

a melting pot with indians, “ armenians, Jews, europeans,

arabs, Chinese, Japanese and other raCes” although Goa is heavily supplied with restaurants, the vast majority of them cater for the international tourism trade. Walk the streets of the capital Panaji (Panjim) and you’re as likely to find a Punjabi restaurant as a Chinese one. However, there is a revival of traditional cooking and any decent Goan bookshop will reveal half a dozen cookbooks, from ‘What’s in the pot?’ from the Lions Club of Mapusa to the glossy ‘Goa travel adventure cookbook’ by Zubin D’Souza to the masterly and historical ‘Cozinha de Goa’ by Fatima da Silva Gracias.


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Opening soon The Siam A year later than originally planned, the luxury 39-room retreat, The Siam, is set to open this June. Set on three acres of verdant frontage along the Chao Praya River in Bangkokâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s royal Dusit district and designed by internationally acclaimed architect Bill Bensley, the Art Deco inspired, Thai antique infused property looks a stunner.

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rivately owned and managed by Siam Hotels and Resorts, this retreat is an all-suite property nestled amongst Bangkok’s historical palaces, temples and museums. Conceived by owner and Thai celebrity, Krissada Sukosol Clapp, together with globally acclaimed architect, interior and landscape designer Bill Bensley, the architecture draws inspiration from Paris’ Musée d’Orsay through

its white wood and glass façade, whilst also reflecting the time of Bangkok’s greatest grandeur under King Rama V, progressing into the prolific Art Deco era. Bensley says, “My studio team has designed some 150 plus hotels and resorts worldwide and we have received many accolades. But I am most excited about The Siam - it is going to turn heads on the oh so competitive hospitality market of tomorrow.” As well as standard or river facing suites,

Meet the chef Blair Mathieson is the property’s executive chef. He began his career at Pier in Sydney, before moving to The Dorchester and then was senior sous chef at the one-star Michelin restaurant, Leatherne Bottle, in Berkshire. After that, he relocated to Nevis in the West Indies, where

he gained extensive hospitality experience at the luxury boutique Montpelier Plantation Inn. After eight years in Melbourne (Walters Wine Bar, Hotel Spencer and Pelican), he moved to be executive chef of the redeveloped Singapore Cricket Club. After two years, he moved on to the Chedi, Chiang Mai, as executive chef

for three years before, early last year, working as part of the pre-opening team for Alila Hotels & Resorts’ new property in Bangalore. Now he is overseeing The Siam’s four food and beverage outlets: Chon Thai Restaurant (the main restaurant serving traditional Thai cuisine, featuring a chef’s table and

Thai cooking school), Deco Bar and Bistro (a multi-level lounge and restaurant with comfort food and bistro cuisine), Bathers Bar (poolside dining) and Café Cha. After 12 months of interviewing chefs, hotel GM Jason Friedman knew he’d found the right chef in Mathieson: “We knew we

had the right chef when he was able to cook 18 flawless dishes for us during his ‘interview’. Under the best of circumstances this would be challenging for the most skilled chef, but to do it in one day in an unfamiliar kitchen showed us that he was cool under pressure and a master of his craft.”

“The cornersTone of good cooking

is To source The finesT produce. This is why i keep my dishes simple, so The naTural flavours of The produce are noT overshadowed buT raTher enhanced. – CHeF BLAIR MATHIeSoN.

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there are also private pool villas and stunning traditional, Thai teakwood houses brought to Bangkok by Jim Thompson from the ancient capital of Ayutthaya for his socialite friend and fellow antique collector, Connie Mangskau. Each of these Siamese homes on stilts is individually designed with original antiques and artwork from turn of the century Siam. The Siam was originally due to open in June of last year, but the disastrous flood situation in Thailand prompted a 12 month delay. Although The Siam did not suffer direct flooding from its riverfront locale, it did experience a minor breach in October under the old neighbouring

“As A fAmily business, our hotels hAve personAl

meAning. this one tops the list. After enjoying their respective cAreers outside the industry, the fAmily members Are working together AgAin to build the siAm. for me, this is the crowning Achievement of my 40-yeAr hotel cAreer. – Kamala SuKoSol, PreSident & owner

TOP RIGHT: The jazz bar TOP LEFT: Original Thai houses LEFT: The entrance

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wall of a waterlogged property that affected its underground car park for a short while. However, against the background of severe monsoon rainstorms that have been at the root of the nation’s worst flooding in more than 50 years, its location on the banks of the Chao Praya River meant staff had to keep constant watch on tidal water levels. Whilst being intimate, The Siam has many facilities: a comprehensive spa and hammam; a period style library; a state of the art screening room; a stylish meeting room; a spacious gym with retro décor; an inspiring outdoor yoga sala; a breezy art gallery under a 14 metre high glass arcade; a charming antique gift shop; a riverside infinity swimming pool with jacuzzi beds plus poolside bar; an authentic Thai restaurant with cooking school in Connie’s houses; a lively Deco jazz bar with 24 hour international dining; a tranquil conservatory with roof garden; a private pier with Thai barge and luxury speedboat for chic cruising; a classic tea house for good measure, and of course, Bensley’s sculpted and revered gardens throughout.


Service

Making an impression Fashion as always plays a key role when designing the wardrobe for a restaurant or hotel – the most recent new trends on the runway are always sought after! Every new outlet now wants to be the ‘place to be seen’ so the uniforms have become key. An investment in smart staff uniforms pays off because they express your restaurant’s style, give a strong sense of identity and help show customers yoiur level of attention to detail. However, you also need to invest care and attention in maintaining them and preserving their lifetime. Here are some essential general tips: * Keep all garments in a place where they can breathe and, most importantly, away from humidity. That means not next to the laundry, unless the room is well ventilated and has a closed door.

* Keep in mind when ordering your uniforms that, although finer fabrics are very nice at first, the drawback is that they wear out far faster and will visibly age quicker! * Increase the quantity of each employee’s uniform. It is essential that garments are allowed to rest, as wearing the same suit or trouser two days in a row will reduce the lifetime of the article of clothing dramatically!

* Do not keep any garments in airtight bags or plastic covering. This might seem like a good idea, but don’t be surprised to find mould or even moths eating at your uniforms! If you’ve got a suit bag, some recommend leaving the zip open a bit to let air in and out. And, of course, always keep your suits hung upright on a suit hanger. Cedarwood hangers also work as repellants for predators such as moths and absorb moisture. * Keep the area where you store the uniforms clean, regularly vacuum and keep the area dust free - this will keep your shirts looking white for longer. Dust will in no time at all make the shoulders of any shirt look unwashed. * The chemicals involved in dry cleaning can wear out wool and other fibres, therefore if the suit or trouser is just a bit wrinkly and not dirty, they should simply be pressed rather than dry-cleaned. The suit will come back from the laundry just as crisp, but without having been subjected to the same chemicals.

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The last word

Object of desire There are some objects that just make your mouth drop open with wonder. One of them is undoubtedly Rob Higgs’ mechanical sculpture ‘The Corkscrew’, a giant steampunk rethinking of the simple act of pulling a cork from a bottle.

S

culptor Rob Higgs was born in Leicester in 1975. He has always had a fascination with electrical and mechanical components - as a boy, he played with gears and old mercury tilt switches that he found in his grandfather’s workshop. After leaving school, he made the machinery for building snowboards and their bindings. Aged 21, he bought a sunken fishing boat off the coast of Cornwall for £50. He refloated and completely rebuilt the fishing boat as a gaff rigged yacht, which has become his home. In the boatyard, Rob began building wild mechanical machines using the rich source of industrial machinery that can be found in Cornwall - old cogs, wheels, chains and associated mechanical items found on old farmsteads, in boatyards and scrapheaps. He welds together these components to create

eccentric mechanical devices, which have been sold and exhibited widely across Europe. In 2005, he was commissioned by The Eden Project in Cornwall to construct ‘The Nutcracker’, a mechanical sculpture measuring eight feet square by 35 feet high and weighing over four tonnes. He was then commissioned by Marcus Wilkinson of ONEOFONEHUNDRED LIMITED to build ‘The Corkscrew’, an ingenious mechanical device for opening a bottle and pouring a glass of wine. Created from over 250 found objects from scrapyards and farmsteads this has been cast in bronze and re-assembled in a limited edition of just 100 pieces. Already three have been sold to hotels in the Far East. And the price? Including a service contract, a cool $160,000 each…

Created from over 250 found objeCts from “ sCrapyards and farmsteads this has been Cast in

bronze and re-assembled in a limited edition of just 100 pieCes.” 66

C C M M Y Y CM CM MY MY CY CY CMY CMY K K


Creating Creating Hospitality Hospitality

NEWWAVE Nature Nature inspired inspired

Nature Nature is is the the inspiration inspiration that that has has made made NewWave NewWave one of the most innovativeproducts one of the most innovativeproducts ever ever introduced into catering. introduced into catering. With a range of new, original With a range of new, original designconcepts, designconcepts, combined combined with with classic classic NewWave NewWave pieces pieces you you can can create new, stylish and captivating concepts create new, stylish and captivating concepts -whether whether for for fine fine dining, dining, brunches brunches or or buffets. buffets.

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Did you know… The United States is the world’s largest cheese producer, with an award-winning portfolio of over 400 premium cheese varieties, from European-style cheeses to American Originals

Enhance your culinary creations… with cheese from the United States

Pepper Jack: Crafted in the

ed Unit

S

, ca s e t a t

pt

che g n i t a iv

fs around the world

Roasted Mushroom and U.S. Pepper Jack Ravioli Makes approximately 140 raviolis

Ingredients:

“The U.S. Pepper Jack cheese makes a nice creamy blend with the deep flavors of the roasted vegetables. The pepper heat from the cheese is a great combination with a rich red sauce, but also works well in a white sauce. Don’t forget to top the dish with some U.S. Parmesan or U.S. Asiago.” –Chef John Esser, Consultant Chef for USDEC

1k cremini mushrooms, quartered 300g yellow onions, chopped 150g garlic cloves, chopped 200ml olive oil 2 tbsp Italian herbs, dry 1 tbsp salt 1 tbsp black pepper 700g U.S. Pepper Jack cheese, shredded 15g flat leaf parsley, minced Pasta sheets, thawed (or your own fresh house-made sheets)

Procedure: 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 fine 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.

U.S. cheese is already available in your market, check today with your local importer/distributor or contact USDEC for a list of local suppliers: USDEC Middle East (AMFI) • Beirut, Lebanon • Email: amfime@cyberia.net.lb • Phone: (961-1) 74378, 741223 The U.S. Dairy Export Council (USDEC) is a free resource to help you find additional information on U.S. cheese applications and distribution channels. We are a non-profit, independent membership organization that represents the global trade interests of U.S. dairy producers, proprietary processors and cooperatives, ingredient suppliers and export traders.


The Pro Chef, Issue 02