Taste for learning helps industry

Consumer thirst for food knowledge driving business
DWTC's Lifeng Dong
DWTC's Lifeng Dong

The growing consumer thirst for food knowledge is helping drive business and move the F&B industry forward, say Middle East chefs.

According to Ritz-Carlton Doha executive chef Matthew Morrison, running in-house cooking classes can be a major benefit for a restaurant.

“Giving people more information about what they’re eating and how they can make easy meals themselves shows them that, when they come to our restaurants, they are getting great quality food,” he explained.

“It also gives them an insight into how much work goes into making and producing everything in-house.”

Morrison added that customers who built up relationships with the chef, restaurant manager or the waiting staff often felt more comfortable about coming to the outlet to dine.

Artistic creations key to F&B success

Taste may be important, but presentation is becoming a major focus of the food and beverage world, according to the region’s kitchen artists.

“It is a well known fact that before you put any food in your mouth, you ‘taste’ a dish with your eyes,” commented Renaissance Dubai Hotel pastry chef Achala Weerasinghe.

“A dish might be delicious, but if the chef has neglected to add attractive colour, texture and volume to the plate, the customer could well reject it.”

Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC) kitchen artist Lifeng Dong — winner of the gold medal for Best Kitchen Artist at Salon Culinaire 2010 — added: “Incorporating kitchen art into a buffet display, or even a single dish, offers a uniquely innovative and creative element which positively impacts the guest experience.”

According to Beach Rotana executive sous chef Raghu Pillai, the regional culinary scene is “passing through a period of renaissance”.

“Many people today have travelled extensively and seen and tasted many different cuisines, so chefs have to come up with bold new concepts and ideas to attract interest,” he noted.

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