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UAE food and beverage industry: Chefs are the new changemakers

Another buzzword gaining traction in the business is “sustainability,” which is indicative of the growing regional and global clamour for action on the issue

According to industry insiders, chefs are quickly assuming the role of lords over the UAE’s food and beverage (f&b) business, which has undergone a dramatic trend shift towards chef-driven dining since the end of the epidemic.

Another trendy term that is gaining traction in the industry is sustainability, which reflects the growing regional and international outcry on the topic.

“The tendency of restaurants going more towards chef-driven dining is a significant change in the post-pandemic period in the UAE’s food and beverage industry. According to Panchali Mahendra, President of Atelier House Hospitality in Dubai, cuisines are not determined by region but rather from the viewpoint of the chef.

Mahendra added that in recent times, sustainable methods have received much greater attention and emphasis in the restaurant industry.

Although it is difficult, restaurateurs see the value of sustainability, she added.

Mahendra, a highly regarded figure in the food and beverage business with a history of launching more than 60 restaurants regionally and globally in her career thus far, stated, “2022 was an instructive year for us, as the city came back after the pandemic.”

Panchali Mahendra, President of Dubai-based Atelier House Hospitality

According to industry observers, the sector’s transition is greatly assisting in the development of fine dining in the nation.

According to an expert, “the idea of great dining is shifting to be a lot more approachable [today].”

Mahendra said that “even though new restaurants opened virtually every week, we were able to keep diners interested across brands,” which further supported the expanding appeal of fine dining.

Chef-driven dishes in a big way

According to insiders in the industry, restaurants have been competing with one another to showcase “chef special” menu items and delicacies to entice customers along with the alterations.

For instance, Mahendra explained, “With Marea, we have launched a new ‘chefs tasting menu’, which displays a forward-thinking perspective of Chef Yunus’s ingenuity.

The Michelin-starred 11 Woodfire restaurant in Dubai, which was founded by Atelier and opened with celebrity chef Akmal Anuar, has likewise made a big deal out of its chef-driven fare, bragging about its emphasis on honouring simplicity and the charm of natural flavours.

About the sustainability craze, the Atelier group’s senior executive disclosed plans to introduce a new concept in this area perhaps in 2023.

This year, we will present another intriguing, sustainable concept in Dubai, she stated.

According to industry insiders, a growing emphasis has been placed on delivering healthier foods in response to consumer demand since the pandemic.

Innova Market Insights, a research company for the food and beverage sector, stated in a report that “immunity boosting additives now play a significant part in preparations.”

Another rising trend is the demand for plant-based foods and beverages, which goes beyond burger substitutes and is increasing both in the UAE and around the world.

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