#ItalianCuisineWorldSummit 2014 - Dubai (Turn on your highest HD setting)

Thursday, 18 December 2014

Dubai Competes & Thoughts For Aspiring Restauranteurs

Watch the Pasta competition video on this link

Eat to the end, pause and think otherwise don't judge
There is way too much to outstanding food and restaurants, it is hardly ever what you think!
To the vulgar diner it is about napkins, silverware, and branded furniture
To the ambitious personalities it is about a hefty cheque signed by all that's strategically flaunted, and such experiences are very easily replaced with choices

To the knowing it is 
a reflection of A Time in LIFE & building on the past!

One of the things Dubai is becoming synonymous with is the abundance in restaurants. In fact, lately I have been hearing a lot from many different people about how Dubai is overloaded with restaurants. To the restauranteurs this is not necessarily good for business, however to the diners this means a multitude of options. Restaurants therefore will have to ensure serving an experience worth coming back for otherwise that business is doomed! On the other hand, So many options can also get quite confusing for diners as one might find it difficult to choose. 

Side note I personally have many favorite restaurants, I am very good friends with many of the chefs here in Dubai and because I know them and the thought behind their work I can never be 100% objective in my personal choices. To me there is a lot behind food that I respect it too much to reduce it to a review based on a one off dining experience. I mentioned once a long time ago, why I never do restaurant reviews (you can find it on this link) and reaffirmed this notion in my more recent post and interview with one of Italy's top chefs; 3 Michelin Star Chef Niko Romito (you can find the post here). Therefore and while I still would never do a formal review, I do understand that with such abundance of choice one finds a recommendation useful and therefore would keep it as that, a recommendation based on a good experience (you can find all my recommendations on my @1dimasharif instagram account on this link).  

But over here let's talk about success factors for those aspiring restauranteurs. 

watch the Risotto competition video on this link

During the Italian Cuisine World Summit one of the discussion points among the chefs was the abundance of Italian Restaurants. Visiting and resident chefs were discussing ways to promote restaurants and to showcase each one's strengths that make it stand out. I found that very interesting, because as a matter of fact, while no one is perfect and can serve you a 100% perfect experience, each one has a strength that should always remain the focus. You see that is one of the things I learnt from this summit; cuisine is a huge topic and to take on a complete cuisine is a huge undertaking. While to specialise and ensure perfection in your chosen undertaking makes way to potential success and to becoming a destination for exactly that, ensuring you have a secured market share. We all know that one of the key success factors for restaurant business is being "the choice" that people make and repeat, then come back for more.

This was eye opening to great measures, because this also goes to show why Italian restaurants are in fact, ones that more often than not have higher success potential. The Italians understand the importance of emotions when it comes to eating. The importance of simulating early experiences, the importance of specialty (technical perfection) and creating that environment to which you want to return and return then return some more. Therefore, "The Neighborhood's Italian Restaurant" is a concept that is so known in this industry and appreciated. 

The Aha! moment for me, was listening to these highly acclaimed Michelin Chefs, who are huge experts at what they do express the very same concepts. 
You too can listen in the interviews am posting on my youtube channel on this link, and more chef interviews to come.
The fact that a restaurant is a fine dining restaurant, does not necessarily mean it should be cold, unwelcoming, revenue driven (only) and condescending to most of its potential clients (which we all know is the case in many restaurants). It's quite the opposite in fact. Most of these renowned chefs - as you can see in their videos - have created a cosy, welcoming and very family-dining-room ambience to their highly acclaimed restaurants that offer nothing less than the latest innovation in the world of food (created by them of course never copied), and at times pushing the boundaries of food so much that it just becomes a league of its own! These people are not just experts, they are innovators, pushing the boundaries of not just their food, but of our collective understanding of the eating experience and our collective measure of quality! No wonder they are so awarded and celebrated. However, and most importantly, they continue to be the most humble people you would ever meet. They are very helpful and share, share with all their passion because that is what it is to be passionate and excellent at what you do. When at that level, the mission is not just the betterment of your own status, but that of the collective and I think that is where the experience becomes so unique. Because then the restaurant concept, the chef, the food and the whole package becomes about quality of the experience, which straight away is very transparent to the diner.

With that said, such profound finesse is not every body's goal, depth is not every one's virtue, and that is why not every restaurant is a globally renowned and celebrated restaurant and not every chef is a highly acclaimed expert. As one of the Michelin Chefs told me while we chatted: "Just because people eat they are not necessarily food experts and just because some appear on TV cooking, that does not necessarily mean they are chefs nor even experts in fact!"

Yet, smaller concepts, smaller ambitions and therefore smaller restaurants are not a shame! However aiming small at every interval is! Because that is how you lose in this business. When underestimating your passion or abilities and reducing them to people's opinions, to copy cat concepts, to bad quality offering (for greater financial gain) and to furniture... then you are better off in another industry. If food is the only way, then try TV and save yourself the investment! However if you are willing to put your heart and soul, to improve, to genuinely care about your customers' experiences and to push the boundaries of every level you are at, to be creative, to offer something great, to set yourself apart, to make a statement in the dining scene.... To be DIFFERENT.... then go for it, you never know, you might be simmering Dubai's next best thing! 
And boy Do we need a bit of genuinity in the city!!!

Don't forget to get in touch once that happens as I would love to share your inspiring story (not review) with the rest of the world ;) 
Till then, keep looking inwards for what sets you apart

Thursday, 11 December 2014

dimasharif.com shortlisted to the top 4 bloggers - Thanks to YOU :))

From my little corner in Dubai, to you wherever you are :)

A very quick one just to say  Thank you guys for voting 
:)) Love you all back loads, loads, loads :) 

Thanks to you all, I am now shortlisted to the top 4 "best bloggers in UAE". The winner will be announced in Jan 2015... Winning or not really does not matter. But what does to me and what is the 

Biggest win is YOUR SUPPORT and knowing that you love & enjoy what I do so THANK YOU x :)

Thursday, 4 December 2014

An Eco-friendly Report From The Farmers' Market With The International Federation Of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM)

Last Friday, on the first day of the Farmers' Market on The terrace, I met with Thomas Cierpka the deputy director of the International Federation Of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM) and we chatted about the importance of going organic not just from a health perspective only but from the basis that this is the only way to sustainable farming and quite simply to continue... I know I have been telling you loads about this stuff, but I wouldn't be posting so much about this had it been not relevant or significant. Sustainability, organic farming and supporting local produce, eating seasonal and slowing down a little is very essential nowadays more than ever...

Why? And what can individuals do to help? are all questions that are answered in the video above. Watch as I chat with Thomas Cierpka about the importance of organic farming, and farmers' markets... then move on to talk about our responsibility towards the future. Learning about the organisation (IFOAM) and what individuals can do to support #Organic & #Sustainability...

All the more reason to wake up every Friday morning and head to the Emirates Towers, where The Farmers' Market On The Terrace takes place. Where you can meet the farmers, talk to them and support them. Where you can make the choice to buy local produce, support local farmers and the people who are working so hard to raise awareness about organic farming, sustainable eating and slow food among other sustainable interests.... I'd say these are all causes worth waking up early for... and would encourage you to be very mindful in your choices... why not? You can only be doing good that way.

While there are many food markets out there, a lot of fun, lots of food festivals and many many food activities (we do lose count), but this farmers' market is one that should be on the priority list, because there you actually support the farmers themselves, local produce and the local farming industry.

Enjoy & see you there tomorrow I guess :)
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some old but Relative Links you might want to check

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

The UAE Never Ceases To Amaze!

I know you guys already know this and I do not need to pitch it!! After all YOU ARE FOLLOWING THIS BLOG ;) the pitching is meant for the new joiners & those still considering :))

Check out the video below and see how100% #Fresh #Organic #Local produce is available every day of the week and all year round in a country that so far had been famous for so many things, but not exactly famous for farming and agriculture!... But as a matter of fact, the UAE never ceases to amaze! And just as you think you have it all figured out, you find there is more! Yes the glamour, the hotels, the exquisite lifestyle, the restaurants and all that there is to do... But one thing you really must be in on, is the local organic farms!! Beautiful, fresh, local, seasonal and organic produce is being grown and gathered here in the UAE and the farmers love nothing more than making this produce available to all. They love telling you about it, they love having you taste it and they love taking care of your and your family's health.

So (wait for it, here comes my pitch... lol... but really:) ... Why not go for it? Why not  #EatRealFood? don't settle for less, because your health matters but also because it is the only way that food is actually good!

There really is a huge difference btwn wht comes out of earth & wht comes out of a box! #SupportLocal CLK 2tweet

While I have been telling you loads about The Farmers' Market On The Terrace (since last season) now I want you to see how many people are really supporting this agricultural scene in the UAE. I want you to see how many people think it is important to support this, to make it accessible and also  affordable. A lot of people in the UAE have huge respect for real and good food, for more ethical practices, for their customers' health and for the quality of what they serve. This is why the culinary scene of Dubai is hugely expanding and becoming way more interesting by the minute. No longer does 'anything fly' over here, no longer can greatness be achieved by serving just about anything out there! No! Today, even the food you eat at home has become better, healthier and plain goes with the requirements of the time and our modern lives. The only limit to that is really each one's personal choice.

 So here we go, meet The Farm House, one of the biggest supporters of local organic farming and produce and see how they support Agriculture in the UAE as well as the whole #Fresh #Local #Organic #Choice

Do check out other posts and videos about going organic, choosing local, eating seasonal, meeting the farmers, responsible business choices, and sustainability as I had been posting many over the years, all of which I think are essential modern knowledge and understanding... The labels list is on the side bar to the right.

On another but relative note, check out the photo album on this link for #UAENationalDay Celebrations at the beach in JBR, some captured moments of that fun day... also find there one of my 'new on the list of fave' restaurants at the beach. EAT GREEK gets the thumbs up from dimasharif.com because it was Divinely delicious (no exaggerations) a lot of healthy choices that don't feel like settling and an over all amazing experience and ambience that makes you feel you've taken a quick vacation somewhere far away when it really was a close-by and quick Breakcation!

Yalla, be back soon :)

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Thursday, 27 November 2014

PSssT - Did You Know The Farmers LOVE "The Farmers' Market On The Terrace"? Check this out...

A "Farmers' Market" is not one without the farmers. It is not a food market, not a traders' market, not a bazar... it is a farmers' market, manned by the farmers themselves. 

"The Farmers' Market On The Terrace" is a community led initiative that is true to the phrase and therefore is a market that belongs to the farmers #ToAndForTheFarmers. As such, first and foremost, we must meet, celebrate and support the #Farmers. These farmers are after all the great people who grow our food... the ones who chose to enable us to spread #Fresh and #Seasonal all over our UAE kitchen tables... the ones who chose to care for our and our family's health by following organic farming methods... the ones who take the time to participate in a farmers' market to allow us to buy fresh, seasonal, organic and all round good produce at a very fair and affordable price.

These are the farmers you will meet in person at "The Farmers' Market On The Terrace", watch the video and get introduced, however, I honestly recommend that you go to "The Farmers' Market On The Terrace" (takes place every Friday morning) and meet them in person, give them feedback, ask for cooking tips and produce best uses, or even ask them if they could grow something specific for you! While you are at it, taste the amazing produce, amazing food at the Baker & Spice stall (who by the way make the food using the very produce in the market), enjoy a live cooking demonstration, grab a coffee and sit with your friends at the beautiful Emirates Towers garden while the children play around you.

Yes! We have not been going crazy sharing and posting, encouraging you to join, and telling you with all our voices to come and join us for nothing; we really want you to come and see for yourselves how awesome the farmers are and how much we LOVE "The Farmers' Market On The Terrace" and how much YOU will too!

Join us tomorrow Friday, November 28th, 2014 for the first market day of "The Farmers' Market On The Terrace" 6th season 

Help Us Spread The Word  |  Copy & Tweet!
I am loving @DimaSharif #FarmersMarket posts and will be at "The Farmers' Market On The Terrace" on Fridays

#TheFarmers'MarketOnTheTerrace #ToAndForTheFarmers #SupportLocal #MyDubai
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Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Slow Food Dubai & Balcony Gardening Group LOVE "The Farmers' Market On The Terrace

Slow Food Dubai 
Balcony & Urban Gardening Group 
LOVE "The Farmers' Market On The Terrace" and you can find them at the market every Friday. There you get to swap plants with the Urban & Balcony Gardening Group as well as share successful plant growing tips (we all know growing healthy plants is not that easy in Dubai weather). So if you like to take your gardening skills to the next level and actually grow some of your own herbs, plants and even veg, make sure to look for them every Friday at "The Farmers' Market On The Terrace".

Watch the video and see why Laura Allais-Mare the leader of #SlowFood Dubai finds "The Farmers' Market On The Terrace" to be a very important effort and why she personally chooses to shop there. Then listen to the Urban & Balcony Gardening Group tell you to drop by for plant swapping and gardening tips!

Do we need to say more? I mean this is why we all LOVE "The Farmers' Market On The Terrace" Join us and become a member of our family too :)
PS have you joined Slow Food Dubai Yet? I am sure you have, just checking lol

Come back tomorrow for the main video Meet THE FARMERS themselves and hear what THEY have to say about "The Farmers' Market On The Terrace". 
After all, this is all about them and also for them;)
#TheFarmersMarketOnTheTerrace #SupportLocal #MyDubai

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

LOVE "The Farmers' Market On The Terrace" :)

3 days and "The Farmers' Market On The Terrace" 6th season kicks in!!! We can hardly contain our excitement as you can see from all social networks :) Everybody LOVES Dubai's first and so far only Farmers' Market (I want to use so many emotes but you get the drift)!

So what does that mean?

For those who still have not made it to "The Farmers' Market On The Terrace" and are not familiar with this whole excitement let me tell you: you really want in on this because it means
Farm-Fresh (field to fork), Organic, Seasonal and Local Produce that you buy straight from the farmers (no middle man)! Where not only you get to know the farmers growing your food (which nowadays we all know is more important than ever), but you also get to support local (We are after all thriving in this community) give them feedback and even ask for specific produce that they will actually grow for you! And if all this is not enough, then at this market organic becomes affordable, not a luxury that requires very hefty pockets!! Yes so you and your family can eat CLEAN, REAL & GOOD FOOD without compromising the children's college fund

What can ever be better? 

Watch the video above and hear Chef Silvena Rowe describe why she LOVE "The Farmers' Market On The Terrace" and why she loves the produce there. Listen to her tell you how healthy, delicious and affordable this local, organic and absolutely Farm Fresh produce is in her own way which we all love and adore :) And then if you like to hear more testimonials then on this link you can watch home-cooks, and buyers describe to you why they LOVE "The Farmers' Market On The Terrace" and choose to go there every Friday for their weekly shopping.

This is why everyone LOVE "The Farmers' Market On The Terrace" and recommends it to YOU :) so make sure to be part of this excitement and join us this season, starting this Friday 28th; the day this market's 6th season kicks off and see how YOU LOVE it too.

Once there, make sure to say hello, as I will be there too and always love to see you ;-)
#MyDubai #SupportLocal #GoOrganic