Claypot’s head chef Froz Khan said Indian cuisine is one of the most preferred cuisines in the Middle East region. Claypot’s head chef Froz Khan said Indian cuisine is one of the most preferred cuisines in the Middle East region.

Any challenges for chefs with Indian cuisine?

Saini: As an Indian chef, the only challenge I feel is to keep innovating new flavours, spices and dishes. Gone are the days when menus of the restaurant never used to change. With globalisation and awareness of all types of cuisines, diners look forward to new dishes, and chefs should introduce new menus every three months.

Advani: The main challenge that many chefs face is flavour. Many have started focusing so much on staying ahead of the competition by introducing new dishes and renovating interiors, that they forget the main reason a diner would even consider stepping into their restaurants is taste and flavour that remains intact, and pleases all the senses.

Khan: To keep pace with the times. Chefs are using new technologies to prepare and present food, but customers don’t want to go too far away from the authentic tastes that they know. The sharing concept that is known in Indian cuisine is also essential when enjoying your meal, but nowadays presentation styles in fine-dining Indian restaurants are moving to pre-plated dishes.

Singh: The biggest challenge for Indian chefs is the reference point. Unlike French classical cuisine, which is quite standardised, Indian is diverse and sometimes this can make it difficult when it comes to determining the authenticity of a dish.

Kashiwale: The biggest challenge in any cuisine is to create and present something new and different. There are so many restaurants now that consumers are demanding not just a meal but an experience. In order to survive, a restaurant needs to keep innovating.

How’s the supply stream?

Amit Kumar, director of food & beverage, Four Points by Sheraton, Bur Dubai: Indian supplies have always been easy to acquire and this has only improved with time. With India being close to this region, fresh supplies have never been an issue either.

Khan: There are a long list of suppliers outsourcing products from all over the world. The UAE is connected through land, air and sea from all over the world, which makes it easy to get sought-after ingredients. Local produce is also on the rise and farmers have easy access to supplying the market, so it is easy to procure fresh produce.

Singh: Fantastic; we are fortunate to be so close to India, so the best spices, proteins and vegetable are readily available in this region.

Kashiwale: Excellent; being so close to India, most of the fresh produce and perishable items are air freighted the same day, which ultimately benefits the customer. UAE regulations regarding food production and importation also help restaurants source and provide better quality ingredients.

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