Maurice Fitzgerald, executive Chef of Anantara The Palm Dubai Resort, overseeing nine food and beverage outlets including the award-winning restaurants Mekong, Bushman’s and the Beach House, causes a stir while sharing with BIM POS the latest culinary trends now in Dubai and GCC. And probably those of the upcoming years as well!
With over 25 years experience in the hospitality industry internationally, Maurice has significant expertise in different types of food and beverage operations. He is a native of Ireland, where he completed his formal studies at the Dublin College of Catering. After qualifying he began working in a hotel in Zurich and continued his work experience in Vienna. After a stint as Chef De Partie onboard a 5 star deluxe cruise line, Maurice returned to Dublin to take a role at the exclusive One Pico restaurant, where he remained for 2 years.
2004 brought Chef Fitzgerald to Dubai, where he began an illustrious career with Jumeirah hotels as Chef de Cuisine at Apartment restaurant. Throughout the next ten years, he achieved Executive Chef status and during his tenure he was responsible for multiple venues, including up to 28 F&B outlets at Madinat Jumeirah and events that catered for up to 2500 guests. A master of all things culinary, Chef Fitzgerald brought his considerable skills and expertise to Anantara in 2014, where he continues to raise the bar in taste and service.
Then, who could talk to us better on the latest culinary trends in Dubai and GCC for this year and on what time will certainly tell about those crazes?
It’s boom time for:
Food will always go back to its roots as this is an area where people feel more comfortable and knowledgeable. Over the last 12 months a lot of local Arabic food has been mixed and matched from Moroccan, Lebanese to Egyptian. This fusion takes tasty components from each cuisine and mixes it together to form a trend by itself. These countries have some amazing salads and kebabs that people just rework their recipes and make them their own.
It’s the year of flowers in food; both as beautiful decoration and as ingredients. Nasturtiums, Carnations, Violets and Bee balm are some of the edible flowers that are being used in food currently. My favorite is chive flowers but the season is quite short but these flowers lift a freshly made salad and give it something enticing. We use a few different types of flowers at our Beach House Restaurant.
Exotic seasoning and Spice
It is how you look outside the box for those crunchy and slushy tidbits. Turmeric for instance is a spice associated with Indian cuisine, particularly certain kinds of curry. But it’s not being recognised as much more than a curry ingredient. More and more people are coming up with new recipes and meal ideas that incorporate turmeric purely because of its health benefits. This is a definite trend, and we will only see more of it in the time ahead. Make sure you start making use of it if you want to be ahead of the curve. It’s a versatile spice that can offer a lot. We use plenty of this spice in our curries but also in our new Vegan Burger at Revo Café Anantara .
Mocktails and High-End Non-alcoholic (sparkling) Drinks
A big trend in GCC! Here at Anantara Dubai, we believe in the healthier lifestyle and the integration of fresh juices rather than sugar syrups while we make mocktails. We also use butterfly tea flower which is a natural product and it changes the color of the drink magnificently when dissolved in liquids. This is something which you find a lot in Thailand. My current favorite juice is of the following ingredients: Parsley, Celery, Apple, Pineapple and Cucumber. This is fantastic for kick starting your day and has many nutrients which guests crave for.
Also, protein drinks are now popular among fitness enthusiasts and gym-goers. But they have not yet been adopted by people or guests who just want to improve their health or use them as a food supplement. However, this could be on the verge of changing. A raft of new healthy food companies are releasing user-friendly, high protein and fiber drinks that target people who are on the go, as it is the case with Huel brand. By this time next year, this could be a trend that’s riding a wave in f & b outlets.
And together with the mocktails, the trend of exclusive butter is what people are most excited about. At Anantara, we use a high end French butter called “Isigny Beurre,” salted and unsalted which is rich in flavor and taste, and goes very well with non alcoholic drinks.
The Peruvian Cuisine
Peruvian food has hit the shores of Dubai, and it is a mix of Peru and a little hint of Japanese from Ceviche to their blends of salads. In our Fork & Cork brunch at Crescendo Anantara we offer a selection of Ceviche where we use Leche de Tigre the “Tiger Milk,” which we take from Peruvian food, to marinate our fish. This is lime juice, sliced onion, chiles, salt and pepper poured on top of the sliced or diced fish.
Root to Leaf Approach
As more and more restaurants get to grips with the problem of wastage, we are seeing a root to leaf approach emerging in the kitchens. Most likely restaurants are trying to limit waste and make use of every single part of the ingredients they use. This trend promises that new and creative types of dishes will emerge to include parts of ingredients that wouldn’t normally end up on our plates. This is a drift that will surely grow and expand this year.
Might sound a little strange, but this is a trend that’s set to have a significant impact in the near future. It’s something worth considering if you want to place your food business in “better shape and healthiest foods” category as it is a huge public demand nowadays in Dubai. Miso (used for the delicious Miso soup) is made from fermented soybeans, and it’s growing in popularity. Tempeh, natto and kimchi are also great examples of fermented foods.
And so some articles show up what culinary trends are still in fashion in Dubai. The rich choices of veggie or avocado bites are still striking; consider Burger Fuel with its unbelievable pumpkin, carrot, chickpea and ginger 100% vegan. Let’s say Comptoir 102 in Jumeirah as well; it is a great place to experiment with everything that falls into a V category.
Another interesting craze is the Childhood Nostalgia; places like Seven Sands and Rice Creamery at Al Safa Road in Dubai which make you “re-visit some of your best childhood cuisine experiences but with a bunch of new flavors to be explored as long as it still tastes like old days!”
“In the end, we believe that with the rise of food tourism, it is most likely the time of starting a food trend and not following one.”