Dubai-based French restaurateurs Jonathan Vercoutere and Julien Pilard, from Gates Hospitality, say French cuisine is finally being accepted as a key part of the city’s food and drink scene.
In a wide-ranging interview, Vercoutere and Pilard spoke about how they were determined to make French food more accessible, and that the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive.
The passionate duo met when working as restaurant managers at Atlantis The Palm, and now manage Publique, Bistro des Arts and their most recent venture Stoke House – all under Gates Hospitality.
“There’s a big market for French food. However, it’s a very complicated one and we want to change the perception,” says Vercoutere.
“We switched and adapted our French offerings and made them accessible for everybody. We introduced what we love, such as frog legs, snails and foie gras, and we made it universal,” says Pilard.
The restaurateurs also spoke about their hopes for Expo 2020, and what it will mean for the food and beverage industry in the country and region.
The two friends have watched the Dubai food and drink scene evolve massively since they worked together six years ago, but they both agree that Expo 2020 has the potential to take things even further.
“The best way to attract the masses for Expo 2020 in terms of F&B is through quality food and the passion behind every establishment – simply leave the gimmicks out and focus on world-class food,” they say.
Despite speculations during the past two years that the city’s restaurant scene is at risk of becoming over-saturated, Vercoutere and Pilard believe it’s still full of opportunities.
Vercoutere and Pilard comment: “The industry has to adapt to correct itself. For example, introduce licenses. It still goes back to the basics of opening in the right place, with the right partners and the right concept.”