Head Chef, McGettigan’s Ajman
With more than 22 years of experience in the culinary world, McGettigan’s Ajman Executive Chef Prashant Aripirala has been working his way up in the UAE F&B scene for the last 12 years, with stints at Swissotel, ELR, SoHo Bar & Grill, Burger & Lobster, and others. As a chef who likes to “explore, experiment, and recreate,” Aripirala believes that recipes should be seen only as guidelines when making a dish- according to him, experience and knowledge play a far more important role when one’s working in the kitchen.
What’s your favorite dish to eat, and why?
For chefs, it’s hard to have one favorite dish. Anything that is edible is my favorite! Food cooked by a passionate chef with care, love, and respect is my favorite. I like to experiment with food, mix, and match the ingredients, and that’s why it’s not easy to have a liking towards one dish, because then it limits your creativity.
What’s the recipe you’re sharing with us?
This is a dish for people who want to stay away from red meat, but miss it! It will fulfil their meat craving without having to actually eat red meat. I am revisiting the Sweet Earth® burger combined with some greens, cucumber gazpacho, and some poached prawns. I am trying to show that sweet earth burger is not just limited to a burger, and can instead be used as a versatile ingredient.
As a chef, what are the top ingredients and products that you’re making use of these days?
There are so many creative ingredients available in the market nowadays. Cooking has evolved through time, and science has played a major role in it. In fact, cooking is a science- once you understand what goes inside when dealing with an ingredient, it becomes a whole new thing. Chefs are now looking for ingredients that are as close as possible to where they are found in their original context. Products made with natural ingredients, which are both safe to consume and to nature are actually preferred. Packaging that allows for easy storage and use also plays an important role when selecting an ingredient.
What are some of the key trends you are seeing in the F&B domain today?
The market around convenience food has grown rapidly. I feel like if this trend can be used to make more balanced meals, then there is no stopping its further growth. In essence, we need to make food that’s easy to consume, accessible and is rooted in our shared cultures. This relates to the other trend I’ve noticed too, which is linked to globalization, because of which we are more exposed to the world than ever before. Putting different cuisines together really takes a dish to a new level, if done properly. In one dish, you can experience different cultures and traditions from around the world. So, fusion can be a very good thing, if done with respect and proper understanding.
What is your advice for suppliers and foodservice professionals wanting to tap into the F&B market?
My advice to suppliers would be to always keep themselves updated with market trends, and to always aim to keep their products as real as possible with easy accessibility. Consistency is achieved by processing the natural product and making it available throughout the year, but it should not deviate too much from its natural form.