11:00: It's day two at Gulfood and the team is out and about... Hotelier's Louise Oakley is enjoying an exclusive early lunch created by celebrity Singaporean Chef Haikal Johari, to showcase the best of Singapore cuisine and the country’s signature ingredients at The World Trade Club, Dubai.

11:15pm: Meanwhile, our reporter James is at The Leader in Foodpreneurship conference and tells the newsdesk the speakers are mad about franchising. Just Falafel managing director Mohamed Bitar said franchising was key to the brand's success in the region. And More Cafe CEO Marijke Lap agrees. Vinay Lall, group GM of Tablez restaurants has taken the opportunity to reflect on the satisfaction of working in the industry, he says growing your own business is "so powerful and rewarding".

11:16pm: Wait, another update from James at the conference... Just Falafel has announced it has given 20% shares to selected company staff in a share option scheme! 

Story continues below

12pm: It's certainly busier at Gulfood this year, and we're not the only ones who have noticed. Charlie Anton - who just popped to the Caterer stand to get his free subscription for the magazine - is visiting the show from Doha where he is general manager of The Village Qatar development, he has been coming to Gulfood in Dubai since 2002. He just told us: "The show is growing year on year. The initial focus was always on food, but today we're seeing more packaging and equipment, silverware - which is great."

Anton went onto say that - being based in Doha - it can be tricky to find suppliers due to the many new projects coming up. "I expect there are a lot of visitors from Doha here today for that reason," he says.

2pm: Charlie's Caterer has just spotted His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum the Ruler of Dubai. Stay online for exclusive snaps! 

 2:20pm: DWTC's very own chef Khalel Mustafa has just wowed a room of food bloggers and writers with his creative fusion of Arabic and Singaporean cuisine at a lunch organised by the Singapore International Culinary Exchange (SPICE), also featuring chef Haikal Johari. SPICE is showcasing 42 different products at the Singapore pavilion, and the Middle East is the ninth largest export market for the country, revealed consul Lester Lu.

2.30pm: News just in of the winners of the 2012 Gulfood Awards. Taking the best stand awards were Bakemart and ProChile, while Eurodelices won the Best New Health Food or Beverage Ingredient for its Sunny Bio Algave Syrup. Other winners included Al Ghurair Foods, Midamar Corporation, Del Monte Foods, Truebell Marketing, Le Saffre and Tilda.

3pm: Louise Birchall has just reported back from the Gulfood Conference: did you know McDonalds has 833 outlets in 17 markets in the Middle East and Africa as of year end 2011? The company is growing at a rate of 10-15% year on year, and the session focused on providing delegates with the top tips for adapting your brand to a different market. Read more here...

 3.32pm: Charlie has just come back from a meeting with the South African trade commission and is looking forward to the emergence of her favourite tea, rooibos, in Dubai. The company Rooibos has signed deals with Carrefour and Geant among others.

5pm: Look who was surprised to find himself on display on Caterer's stand... our January 2012 cover star Ryan Hattingh - international operations director - Gaucho head office. Click here to see a snap of the moment he spotted that familiar face... himself.