Having opened a number of concepts in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, Tom Aikens believes the “influx of international chefs, international brands to hotels in the region has improved the quality and consistency of restaurants”.
Speaking exclusively to Caterer Middle East at the Abu Dhabi Edition where he has three concepts in operation, Aikens who previously won two Michelin stars aged just 26, said the introduction of big brands such as Coya, Zuma, and Nusr-Et has helped to improve the F&B scene in the region.
Aikens also highlighted the ability to get better fresh produce than ever before as another reason why restaurants were improving.
He said: “The quality of food that we purchase has improved as well. Though a lot of it is imported, we have a very good supply chain of quality products that come in to the country now and that’s definitely raised the game of restaurants."
The British chef has been involved in the UAE’s F&B scene for a number of years and currently operates Pots, Pans and Boards in Dubai, as well as Market, The Oak Room, and Alba at the Abu Dhabi Edition.
He told Caterer that the improvement of quality in food and service in the region has also played a part in more tourists coming to stay.
“It’s obviously made the region a much better place to come for a holiday. It’s not a thoroughfare to go to somewhere else, people are stopping here. It’s a great destination: there’s a lot to do, lots of things to see, and great food and hotels.”
Though Aikens has praised the impact of international chefs on the region, some F&B operators are beginning to take a different view, with Andaz Dubai The Palm GM Kifah Bin Hussein telling sister magazine Hotelier Middle East that he thinks the time of the Michelin-starred chef is over, and he wants his hotel to be more experience led.