In light of trading conditions in Dubai this year, several hotels have boldly repositioned their signature restaurants. The culinary experts at Park Hyatt Dubai reveal the reasoning behind Traiteur’s relaunch as a French brasserie
Prior to relaunching on October 1, 2009 as a French brasserie, Traiteur at Park Hyatt Dubai was a “modern European restaurant with French influences”, according to the hotel’s director of food and beverage Michael Allegria.
Now, with a “passionate and open-minded” French chef heading up the outlet, the focus is much more on providing French cuisine in a French atmosphere, rather than merely drawing upon some elements of the country’s cuisine.
With 12 years’ experience working in French restaurants for various French chefs, new chef de cuisine Franck Detrait describes his menu as “revisited traditional”.
To explain exactly what this means — and to find out why lowering prices was an important part of the relaunch strategy — Hotelier Middle East caught the hotel’s culinary team in action.
Chef de cuisine Traiteur
What influences from your 12 years’ experience did you draw upon in creating the new menu at Traiteur?
My 12 years’ experience allows me to have a strong basis [for menu creation]. The Traiteur menu is a combination of all the French courses that I have attended, where I learnt how to prepare a variety of cuisine from diverse backgrounds.
Were there any particular ingredients that were hard to source?
I had to bring with me from France some products like the “jasmin essence” to constitute one of my main dishes, however, everything is easy to find in Dubai — it is just a question of the time it takes for delivery.
You describe your cuisine as “revisited traditional”. What does this mean?
I inspire myself through French traditional backgrounds and different sources, and then I try to mix the tastes to discover a perfect harmony between the ingredients — for example, “micuit” smoked salmon with the mango and passion fruit condiments.
And how have you translated your knowledge of French cuisine and French brasseries into creating the appropriate ambience at Traiteur?
Thanks to my background and experience, I have developed a “savoir faire” from the Parisian’s most famous places that enables me, with some facility, to reconstruct the same spirit and atmosphere at Traiteur.
This is your first role outside of France; how does working as a chef in Dubai differ from working as a chef in France?
Indeed, it is different because I deal with multicultural staff in Dubai, to whom I need to introduce the French ethics in cooking. However, I am very pleased with my team — they wish to learn from me and are very motivated by this new challenge.
How many people are there on your team and as a young chef, what is your approach to team management?
I have 12 people in my brigade from the commis to the sous chef. I have had the opportunity to manage different teams throughout my previous jobs and I applied these skills with this new adventure in Traiteur.
How would you say consumers have responded to the relaunch of Traiteur over the past month?
I have been in this position for one month and so far I have received good comments and feedback from the clients. In saying that, I am open-minded to all criticism I receive as it permits me to better satisfy the client’s needs and expectations.
Where would you like to see Traiteur in 12 months time?
Traiteur restaurant will be the place to be seen on the Dubai dining calendar. I see Traiteur as a classy and stylish restaurant with a French soul, good French cuisine and with an open kitchen that enables me to share my passion with my clients.