Tom Arnel: Homegrown Dubai chefs need more opportunities

The Bull&Roo co-founder believes Dubai’s food scene has “amazing talent”
Tom Arnel is the founder and managing director of Bull&Roo.
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Tom Arnel is the founder and managing director of Bull&Roo.

Restaurateurs need to take more chances on homegrown Dubai talent, according to Bull&Roo co-founder Tom Arnel.

Speaking exclusively to Caterer Middle East, Arnel said that the Dubai food scene has some “amazing talent” and expressed his disappointment at owners and operators going abroad for chefs.


“If the landlords or the hoteliers could see the talent that exists here maybe they wouldn’t have to go overseas to bring talent here to Dubai – I think that’s an old school mentality,” said Caterer Middle East's Restaurateur of the Year.

It follows Arnel’s sell-out EatDXB event which featured Dubai-based chefs like Reif Othman, Nick Alvis, Scott Price, Greg Malouf, and Mohammad Orfali, people who Arnel believes have helped make the city’s food scene “truly world class”.

Arnel said to Caterer that restaurateurs “need to dine out in Dubai more. They need to do their research to find out who the local stars are. The talent pool here is so massive and it’s getting so much bigger that from my observations I still don’t see it being as appreciated at it could be.”

Having shot to success by opening his own venture Tom & Serg back in 2013, Arnel suggested that chefs should follow his example – but do it right.

“Do a feasibility study: make sure you do your homework and see if it is feasible. If it’s not feasible on paper then there’s no way it’s going to be when you actually launch it so you have to be very careful with that.”

But overall, Arnel was optimistic about the future, saying “as the city grows and expands we’re going to see more local talent step up to the plate and continually get world recognition”.

You can read the full interview with Arnel in the September issue of Caterer Middle East.

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