Opinion: The big event

Caterer Middle East editor Simon Ritchie talks about his experience with Gulfood, and wider F&B trends
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Gulfood, Opinion, Caterer Middle East Awards
ITP Media Group

As a relative newcomer to the Middle East (apart from a short stint living in Cairo as a child), this is my first experience of Gulfood.

While I’ve been part of large exhibitions in the UK at London’s Excel, Birmingham’s NEC, and Glasgow’s SECC, I don’t believe I will have witnessed anything quite on the scale of this.

To have so many of the industry’s big players in one place is fantastic for all involved. From a selfish point of view I’m delighted to get the chance to reach out to many more of you over the course of the show, so please drop me an email with your stand number and I’ll make sure to pop by.

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For the industry itself, the fact that Gulfood doesn’t seem to be slowing in growth is a great sign for the region. While there’s a tendency to focus on Dubai, we can’t ignore countries like Saudi Arabia which has amazing potential for the coming years when it comes to F&B, with governmental support improving by the day and a large audience that is more receptive to new ideas than ever.

Hopefully more and more companies from KSA can make their mark across the Middle East as a whole, and we can see more concepts from the likes of UAE and Kuwait moving in.

The countdown to both the Caterer Middle East Food & Business Conference and also our annual awards is well underway.

It was great to sit down with a number of restaurateurs in the past month and discuss what matters to them and what they feel has to be brought to the attention of a wider audience. There were many interesting points raised at our conference advisory panel which you can read about on page 50 in preparation for the event itself on March 5.

And nominations are now open for the Caterer Middle East Awards 2019. 16 categories, all of which receive dozens of nominations each year, are awaiting that one special entry from you that will wow us. Whether it’s for yourself, a teammate, or someone you know, if there’s someone out there who deserves recognition for their actions, this is the time to give them it.

Highlighting fantastic achievements is the most rewarding part of this job and we absolutely love to do it. Not only does it make for an incredible evening with some breath-taking stories of dedication and innovation being told, but it alerts us to the untold stories that make the industry great — and gives us further scope to tell these stories in the future.

So please, nominate! Check out page 46 for all the details on how to do so and some tips on ensuring your nominations catch the eye of our expert judging panel.

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