Sourcing quality produce a concern for Dubai chefs

F&B experts discuss industry concerns about ingredient sourcing

Getting fresh produce is a common concern in the region.
Getting fresh produce is a common concern in the region.

Good produce and its availability were at the forefront of chefs' minds as some of Dubai's culinarians met to discuss industry issues with Caterer Middle East.

Atelier M patron chef Mohammad Islam said one of his challenges with F&B in the region is getting good produce. He said in an interview with Caterer: "Product is not easy to get here; I’m ordering three week before I need to receive something."

He further added the variety found in restaurants here is not very high. He explained: "You go to the best three or four restaurants in Dubai ... you’ll see broccoli, asparagus,green beans. That’s it! There’s no variety here."

Demand is an issue, Islam admitted, and pointed out that some suppliers are forced to fly in ingredients just for him.

However, Ultra Brasserie head chef Emily Herbert said to Caterer Middle East that bringing in produce was easier compared to five or 10 years ago. She said that while there were not many fresh ingredients available locally, it's easier to create a menu now. 

She said: "Now suppliers are getting things in and everything is available here; you can get it within hours."

Working with suppliers and co-ordinating over produce was an issue also raised by the advisory panel for Caterer Food & Business Conference, where F&B experts Naim Maadad, Markus Thesleff, Cyrille Troesch, Duncan Fraser-Smith and Russell Impiazzi discussed the current import framework and the pros and cons of direct sourcing.

Read the interview with Mohammad Islam and Emily Herbert in the February 2014 issue of Caterer Middle East, along with a preview on the upcoming Caterer Food & Business conference scheduled to take place on March 19 2014.

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