Gwendal Poullennec. Gwendal Poullennec.

The Global Restaurant Investment Forum 2017 (GRIF), is currently taking place at the Fairmont Hotel, The Palm Jumeirah.

The three-day annual networking event, powered by Michelin, aims to together investors, owners, franchisors, and senior hospitality professionals from across the globe for a series of discussions chaired by a diverse line-up of high calibre speakers representing prestigious names in the industry.

During the ‘Creating a Food Culture’ panel at GRIF 2017, panellists Ali Borhani, founder and CWO Incubeemea; Jonathan Downey co-founder London Union and Michelin Guide director of international development Gwendal Poullennec shared their thoughts on what makes certain cities ‘foodie’ destinations.

Downey, who is behind several street food markets in London, highlighted the importance of local cuisine saying: ‘international travellers want to eat like a local.’

Agreeing, Poullennec, who is responsible for the Guide’s proliferation in Asia, said: ‘food is one of the leading attractions for travel and tourism.’ When asked about the key criteria that inspectors take into account he added: ‘consistency is the most difficult point to achieve but to be able to deliver quality over time is very important. It’s not enough for a restaurant to be good once. It has to be the same a month later and beyond.’

Speaking about the Michelin Guide’s ability to make turn a city into a foodie destination Poullennec said ‘we are neither the chicken nor the egg’ but admitted that the Michelin guide impacts the industry both in terms of offer and demand and can be key to promoting a city’s food scene.

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