Caterer investigates the popularity of Italian cuisine in the region, exploring the challenges and successes for protagonists of this cuisine

Meet the Experts

Alessandro Bottazzi, chef de cuisine, Ronda Locatelli
Andrea Mugavero, partner and exec chef, Roberto’s
Alessandro Zulian, chef, Carluccio’s
Marianna Rescia, manager, Nais Italian Kitchen
Soufiane Raji, food service manager, ESF
John Salek, managing partner, Intelligent Foods

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How popular is Italian cuisine in this region?
Alessandro Bottazzi, chef de cuisine, at Ronda Locatelli: Italian food is recognised worldwide, and in a market as dynamic and multi-cultural as Dubai, of course it’s popular!

Andrea Mugavero, partner and executive chef Roberto’s: Italian food has proven to be timeless in popularity surpassing seasonal trends that have come and gone. In my opinion this has been true in the region as well.

Alessandro Zulian, chef, Carluccio’s: There has also been a rise in specific elements of Italian cuisine, such as pizza or gelato. Italian restaurants cover all price ranges in Dubai from cheap and cheerful to extravagant and gourmet.

What is the demand of Italian food produce?
Maria Luisa Panzica La Manna, general manager, Italian Dairy Products: For the products we make, fresh, sustainable and made at home, the demand is very high.

Burrata has become a very popular cheese in the Dubai culinary scene and is also served in steakhouses and international or fusion cuisine restaurants and cafes.

Ricotta is used as an ingredient for pastry or pasta or for breakfast with other garnishes. Mozzarella, of course is now considered by many an international dish.

Soufiane Raji, food service manager Emirates Snack Foods LLC: As always there is a high demand for pasta, pizza products and extra-virgin olive oil. We have always seen a great demand for fresh cheeses, especially fresh mozzarella and parmesan, as well as a good tomato sauce.

John Salek, managing partner, Pasta, Gelato, & Coffee, Intelligent Foods: I moved in 2004 and started producing ice cream and gelato. Importing was not an option I considered. I never planned on being the biggest ice cream supplier in the region, but I did plan on being the best. That was only going to happen with complete control of the process.

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