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Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Ending 2014 with Music!

Just as my personal year ended with music. I am ending the year on my blog with music too :))

Watch the video and listen to the tunes of Mark Zitti & Fratelli Coltelli who are not just fantastic musicians but also amazing performers who are full of fun and soul.

Happy New Year to all of you. 
Hopefully 2015 will be a good one for all. 

Wednesday, 24 December 2014

A Non-typical & Moody Christmas

Not the typical Christmas photo, but hey who wants typical! Love sunset, love the moments right before a shift, and love moody photos and sharing the love. This picture is therefore perfect :))

Have a very Merry festive season in the company of those you love. 
Enjoy a very non-typical christmas and a very happy new year's. 

Sunday, 21 December 2014

2014 Resolutions just because I can't help myself (lol)!!

Photograph by: Dario Miceli Photo and is Dario's copyright, please do not use or copy without his permission
Dario Miceli is a photographer watch my chat with him on this link if you wish to know more about him and his work

What a whirlwind! 
2014 in a nutshell!

Life is Fragile
Live, Live, Live and take nothing for granted. Heard it a lot never fully grasped it, happy I finally did!

We are NOT all the same, our choices set us a world apart
I started the year thinking of how similar we all are, I truly believed that despite the differences we are all the same...  changed my mind! 
We are not the same, and we are not similar. We are all very different people and our choices set us a world apart. 

There are terrible people out there,
Always knew it, never wanted to believe it was irreversible! Now I know better! There are really hopelessly terrible people out there! Also applicable to organisations, brands, and ....
scenario 1: Do not let these get to you. Continue to be You.
scenario 2: Don't buy their bull**it! they are full of rubbish even when they change the package to "we care" and try to trick you into believing them!!!

Photograph by: Dario Miceli Photo and is Dario's copyright, please do not use or copy without his permission
Dario Miceli is a photographer watch my chat with him on this link if you wish to know more about him and his work

Ignorance is a choice nowadays, only yourself to blame for your ignorance
We have no idea how much rubbish we are being taught! It seems half of what we know is total rubbish! And most people are extremely comfortable in their "stupid corners"! 
There is No Excuse, information is out there, all we need to do is look and be mindful not hypnotised with glitter, false slogans or chasing illusions!

There are genuine and amazing people out there, very few but they exist!
When you meet them you know they are amazing. They inspire you, push you to improve, believe in you, and eventually restore your faith in things you might have doubted.
Look out for those, and if you are lucky enough to find them, hold on to them. They are true friends

Gratitude changes everything,
The worst thing is to take "all that you can get" and show no appreciation. There are many ways to show gratitude and say thank you, so what is stopping you? 
Go ahead, be human! Say Thank You. & While you are it be creative! lol

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 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 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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