Caterer Middle East Power 50 2017: Chefs

The results of Caterer Middle East's 2017 Power List

Reports, Executive interviews, Restaurants
Reports, Executive interviews, Restaurants
Reports, Executive interviews, Restaurants
Reports, Executive interviews, Restaurants
Reports, Executive interviews, Restaurants
Reports, Executive interviews, Restaurants
Reports, Executive interviews, Restaurants
Reports, Executive interviews, Restaurants
Reports, Executive interviews, Restaurants
Reports, Executive interviews, Restaurants

01. Reif Othman


Director of culinary, Raw Galadari Holdings

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Reif Othman began gaining international recognition for his culinary talents in 2007 when he was working with One Rochester Group in Singapore as group executive chef for some of the city’s top restaurants and hotels. In 2009, Othman joined the Zuma Dubai team as executive chef and quickly moved up the ladder, finding inspiration in all types of cuisines. Othman steered Zuma Dubai for four consecutive years on the San Pellegrino World’s Best Restaurants. “Then it was the biggest achievement for me, the hard work and my dedication to Zuma which paid off. Consistency was the key to this success” adds Othman.

In 2015, Othman moved on from this role as regional executive chef at Zuma for Dubai and Abu Dhabi, for the opportunity to propel his career to new heights as the Director of Culinary at R.A.W. Galadari Holdings & Absolute F&B Facilities Management. Expressing his culinary vision at Play Restaurant & Lounge and private dining concept, The Experience by Reif Othman, the chef takes his guests on a gastronomic journey through his ‘Meditterasian’ cuisine. Othman fuses and balances Eastern and Western techniques with fine ingredients.

In 2018 Othman plans to bring his concepts to Bahrain, Riyadh and Beirut.


Number of years working in the Middle East: 08

Number of years working in the F&B industry: 34

Staff: 124

Coming soon: Franchises of the Play concept will open in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia. Othman is also looking into opportunities in Beirut in 2018.

02. Colin Clague

British / Australian

Executive chef, Ruya Restaurants

Born on the Isle of Man, Colin Clague spent his childhood among the island’s fishing and farming communities. Greatly inspired by his mother, Clague developed a keen sense of the quality of local produce and the seasonality of dishes and their ingredients.

Clague was in the pre-opening team of the Burj Al Arab and was the executive chef at Zuma in London and Dubai. In 2016, Clague joined Ruya, an Anatolian restaurant concept from the Dogus Restaurant Entertainment and Management Group where he leads a team of chefs whose aim is to elevate Turkish cuisine.

Clague is optimistic that Ruya will be a game changer in the regional market. He has maintained 96% staff retention in the kitchen, achieving target margins. Clague looks forward to maintaining Ruya Dubai as a brand leader and achieving the kind of global success that will put both Ruya and Dubai on the map as leaders in innovation.


Number of years working in the Middle East: 10

Number of years working in the F&B industry: 15

Staff: 80

Coming soon: Ruya is opening London in March 2018 and also the D Maris hotel in Turkey May 2018

03. Nick Alvis and Scott Price


Chef patrons, folly by Nick & Scott

Since establishing a creative partnership in 2010 when Table 9 launched at the Hilton Creek Dubai in 2009, Nick Alvis and Scott Price, both Gordon Ramsay alumni, have played an instrumental part in developing the UAE dining scene. In 2013, they developed homegrown concept Taste Kitchen, where, along with their business partner, Viktorija Paplauskiene, they saw the project through from concept to completion. Their most recent project, folly by Nick & Scott, which opened in early 2017, offers diners simple, yet innovative dishes with no more than three or four ingredients on a plate.

They have built their brand and reputation in the UAE over several years and aim to continue developing and improving all aspects of the restaurant to keep it fresh for regular guests while elevating the skills of their team.

In 2018 they aim to create, design and facilitate food and beverage outlets in the UAE and beyond under the Nick & Scott brand.


Number of years working in the Middle East: 08

Number of years working in the F&B industry: 20

Staff: 50

Coming soon: Two new concepts

04. Grégoire Berger


Chef de cuisine, Ossiano, Atlantis, The Palm

Grégoire Berger drives the menu creation and restaurant operation at Ossiano at Atlantis, The Palm. His eye for detail and innovative dishes, keep the restaurant at the culinary forefront. In 2016, Berger was awarded the winner of the Middle East and Africa region for the S. Pellegrino Young Chef Award, and went on to represent the MEA region at the finals in Milan in November 2016. Quarter four of 2016, he was also Young Hotelier of The Year 2016 at Hotelier Middle East Awards and was crowned Chef of the Year – Hotel-Managed Outlet at the Caterer Middle East Awards earlier this year.  Berger also took home the title of 10th Best Chef in the World from a list of 300 at the Best Chef Awards in Warsaw, Poland.

This year has seen a 0% turnover in Berger’s team, all of whom are under 31 years of age. Berger’s vision is to strive for Michelin standards and to ensure Ossiano continues to be a leader in fine dining in the region.


Number of years working in the Middle East: 04

Number of years working in the F&B industry: 14

Staff: 29

05. Izu Ani


Managing director, Y Seventy 7

Izu Ani has travelled extensively around Europe, Asia, South America, Africa and the Middle East acquiring knowledge and becoming well-respected for his creations, cooking style and leadership. Ani is strongly influenced by his extensive time in the South of France. This form of dining tends to be found in all cultures and his broad experience allows him to bring this out in any concept he creates.  In Dubai, the chef created La Petite Maison and La Serre. Since then, he has developed restaurants such as The Lighthouse, Izu Brasserie and Izu Bakery. In the coming year he has another 10 concepts set to open. The proudest achievement was starting the company from nothing, faced with a number of obstacles and being able to overcome them all, with perseverance and passion.

For the coming year Ani aims to take each of his outlets and his company to the next level by always striving for the best and elevating the regional F&B industry.


Number of years working in the Middle East: 08

Number of years working in the F&B industry: 25

Staff: 05

Coming soon: Carine in Dubai Emirates Golf Club, opening in February 2018; Gaia in Dubai, opening in 2018; and Cheese and Grain in Dubai, opening 2018

06. Greg Malouf


Executive chef/author, Zahira Restaurant

Greg Malouf has found a niche in modern Middle Eastern food. Over the last 20 years, his influence on contemporary cuisine has spread, transforming the way diners in the West understand and enjoy Middle Eastern food. Formerly of Melbourne’s MoMo (two hats – equivalent of two Michelin stars), Malouf was honoured as ‘Ambassador’ by the American University of Beirut for his achievements in promoting Lebanese cuisine around the world. He launched Clé Dubai in 2013 and this year opened Zahira at The H hotel in Dubai, UAE. At this latest concept, featuring contemporary Middle Eastern cuisine, the chef acts as a kitchen and menu consultant.

For the coming year, Malouf aims to cement Zahira’s presence as an a important Middle Eastern restaurant for the region, flying the flag for Lebanese cuisine. The chef wants to put Arabic food on a pedestal and see his latest venture grow and mature into a restaurant that the region can be proud of.


Number of years working in the Middle East: 04

Number of years working in the F&B industry: 39

Staff: 14

Coming soon: Two new concepts

07. Russell Impiazzi


Culinary director, Galeries Lafayette Le Gourmet

Bringing with him over 20 years of experience in the F&B industry, British-born Russell Impiazzi has always had a passion for food. In 2012, he joined Galeries Lafayette, Le Gourmet as culinary director. Over the last few years the concept has evolved, establishing itself as a leading food hall as well as one of the region’s leading event catering companies.

The second Galeries Lafayette Le Gourmet has now opened in City Walk, with a third venue due to open before end 2017. Impiazzi is a proud supporter of Dubai’s own Pink Brigade, a chef-driven initiative aimed at raising awareness and funds within the F&B industry for the breast cancer charity The Pink Brigade and the Friends of Cancer Patients. He has helped raise over AED220,000 ($US 60,273) in 2017 alone.

Operating in a people-driven industry, the chef underlines the importance of team work and aims to build on the success of the events and catering division and establishing both Le Gourmet in City Walk and Dubai Mall as genuine food experiences.


Number of years in the company: 06

Number of years working in the F&B industry: 24

Staff: 140

Coming soon: Galeries Lafayette Le Gourmet, Dubai Mall, City Walk; Events and Catering, Outlet Village (end 2017)

08. Francesco Guarracino


Executive chef, Roberto’s Abu Dhabi, Roberto’s group

With an almost entirely different menu to its sister venue in Dubai,  Francesco Guarracino has carved out a reputation for Roberto’s Abu Dhabi as a fine dining destination in the UAE capital.

At Roberto’s Abu Dhabi Guarracino has developed a range of new specialty dishes from around Italy. Though Guarracino oversees Roberto’s Abu Dhabi, he also acts as consultant to the other five brands within the Skelmore portfolio.

Along with Enrico Bartolini, who heads Michelin-starred restaurant Mudec in Milan, Guarracino is working on setting up a training programme to mentor and teach promising talent in the region. Guarracino envisions Roberto’s Abu Dhabi as a prototype for a concept that can be successfully exported. It has all the traditional elements of an Italian restaurant, but also brings a contemporary and modern feel, and appeals to guests from all around the world.


Number of years in this role: 12

Number of years working in the Middle East: 07

Number of years working in the F&B industry: 30

Coming soon: Two new concepts

09. Silvena Rowe


Chef-owner, Omnia Restaurants

A chef with over 30 years of experience, Silvena Rowe is an author, food writer and a TV personality with shows on BBC in Great Britain and ABC in the US.  In Dubai, she heads five restaurants- Omnia Gourmet, Omnia Blue, Omnia Glow, Omnia Baharat and Omnia by Silvena. With a focus on healthy, anti-ageing and anti-oxidant foods, Rowe has carved out a niche in the wellness sector within the Gulf region.

With the Omnia brand Rowe has made it her mission to promote organic and vegan food featuring mostly local produce. A leader in industry trends and innovation, the menus in Rowe’s restaurants change with the seasons and demand.

The core of Rowe’s philosophy is offering nutritious alternatives to the standard options available in the market. Understanding the importance of nutritional education, Rowe aims to continue spreading her message of healthy eating in order to positively influence eating habits in the region.


Number of years working in the Middle East: 04

Number of years working in the F&B industry: 30

Staff: 100

10. Michele Spadone


Head chef, Aubaine Restaurants

Growing up in the South of Italy in Genzano di Lucania, Michele Spadone was always surrounded by the freshest, quality produce. Today, this is of key importance to the chef who runs his kitchen based on the seasonality of ingredients.

Spadone took on the role of head chef at Aubaine’s first international location in The Dubai Mall.  His hard work and resilience paid off when he was awarded 'Head Chef of the Year - Independent Outlet' at the Caterer Middle East Awards in May 2017.

Aubaine has continued to establish itself as a destination for casual-yet-elegant French dining in the Dubai food scene. The chef cites his biggest challenge as keeping standards high while being innovative. The chef’s main objective is to never get the basics wrong. With a second Aubaine in City Walk joining the Dubai Mall outlet in the emirate, further growth is on the cards for the brand in the region.


Number of years in the company: 07

Number of years working in the Middle East: 02

Number of years working in the F&B industry: 12

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