Caterer Middle East editor Claudia de Brito. Caterer Middle East editor Claudia de Brito.

My parents owned a restaurant and, as a result, my sister and I grew up knowing what it was like to have an intimate object take over your life. Needless to say, I didn’t follow my parents restaurateurial footsteps, but a seed was planted. Though I do have my moments in my current role, I believe that running and operating restaurants the best and hardest job in the world.

The right equipment is key to making restaurant life a little bit easier and I got a first-hand look at the latest launches and industry trends when I headed Italy to attend Host Milan (p46) in October. The world’s biggest hospitality show was a great opportunity to preview the equipment that will imminently arrive in commercial kitchens and restaurants in the region. Along with sustainable and multi-taking equipment, there was a big emphasis on connectivity. Be warned. Cloud-enabled coffee grinders are coming your way!

In this month’s Cuisine Focus (p50) we feature restaurants that allow expats from the UK to connect with a taste of home. Whether they’re nostalgic or modern dishes, British cuisine is reigning supreme in the region thanks to the efforts of the chefs who we interviewed.

Story continues below

There are thousands of hard-working people in the region who day in, and day out, contribute to making this market as dynamic as it is. So, to choose 50 people, 10 in each of the five categories (Independents, Influencers, Chefs, Hotels and Franchisees), was difficult to say the least. I may not have invested my life savings into a successful concept, imported a game-changing outlet into the region or be on my feet for 20 hours a day but I have the utmost respect for people who do. Congratulations to the members of Caterer’s Power 50 (p16).

In 2017, the industry lived up to its fickle reputation with restaurant closures that shocked the most savvy of insiders but there was also plenty of good news. Home-grown concepts folly by Nick and Scott, Rüya, Play, Cusinero Uno and 3 Fils have shown how grit and originality can lead to success. These outlets are a sign of a maturing industry with hopefully more to come.

Speaking of things to come, international food and restaurant consulting company, Baum+Whiteman has named plant-based dining as 2018’s trend of the year. As with practically everything else, the movement is being driven by millennials who are embracing plant-based food while young and sticking with it into adulthood. The trend has been heralded as the successor to the organic movement and demand is expected to grow 10% annually for the foreseeable future.

So, here’s to a year of growth, taking risks, reaping rewards and meat-free Mondays.

See you in 2018!