Dubai chefs aiming to educate purchasing managers

Conflicting priorities impacting on quality of ingredients

Genny Lorenzo, head chef at Marco Pierre White Grill, Conrad Dubai.
Genny Lorenzo, head chef at Marco Pierre White Grill, Conrad Dubai.

Head chefs of F&B outlets throughout Dubai have reported that conflicting priorities between kitchen staff and purchasing managers are impacting on the procurement of quality ingredients.

Speaking at an exclusive Hotelier roundtable held at Salero, Kempinski Hotel, Mall of the Emirates last week, Genny Lorenzo, head chef of Marco Pierre White Grill, Conrad Dubai, revealed that purchasing managers sacrifice quality by automatically finding the cheapest item on the invoice so that they “look good when they present their numbers.”

Head chef, Edi Pancamela of Chinwaggery & Soul at Movenpick Hotel, Jumeirah Beach agreed, adding that online purchasing systems present a similar challenge, commenting that when an order is placed for an ingredient, “the system defaults to the cheapest item”.

To overcome these issues, Lorenzo said that the most important thing is to forge positive relations with purchasing managers and suppliers. She commented: “Establishing that good relationship and making them know that [poor quality ingredients] are not acceptable is important.”

Ben Orpwood, executive chef of new Japanese outlet Toko, believes that bringing purchasing managers into the kitchen is one way of closing the gap between kitchen and procurement priorities.  

He said: “When we did the costing, we invited the purchasing managers into the kitchen we made one dish and made them eat it. They’d been working in hotels for 10 - 15 years doing costing and they’d never been invited into the restaurant. The next week the purchasing manager was phoning up asking about the products; he was looking for them rather than me having to send them the order.”

Ryan Waddell, also a firm believer in the taste test said that when looking to overcome misunderstandings with procurement staff, “it’s the little things”. He said: “We had an issue with potatoes for good chips and trying to source that so I had to bring the purchasing manager in and do the taste test in the kitchen”.

Read the full chef roundtable in the February 2014 issue of Hotelier Middle East.

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