Sweetheart Kitchen Chief Operating Officer Chef Daniel Sangareau, a Portuguese national, has 12 years of culinary experience, 1.5 of which are in the UAE.
Can you give us a glimpse of your career journey so far?
I’ve always been passionate about food, but started my journey in 2008 when I joined the culinary school in Lisbon. Soon after, I began working with TV chefs and several hotels, which has familiarised me with a wide array of cuisines. I began honing my skills in French, German, South American, and Japanese-style cooking.
In fact, prior to joining SWHK, I was the head chef at Funky Fisch and Toki The White Rabbit in Berlin.
Now, I’m fully dedicated to cooking the best food for delivery, by using basic cooking methodologies in combination with state-of-the-art technology to ensure that the customer has the best experience possible. This becomes more feasible as our kitchens are supported by a proprietary, customised ERP system which allows us to manage our processes, and extract data to help us continuously improve our operations – daily!
What’s your favourite dish to eat and why?
Cozindo, a Portuguese dish, from my mum. It’s a traditional meal that you usually eat on Sundays with the family; it reminds me of my parents’ house growing up.
I have four siblings and, because my mum cooked it in such a perfect way, sometimes we would all be there with our friends and there would be over 20 people enjoying this very rich dish. It’s composed of a vast variety of sausages, meats and vegetables. You “boil” them all together and the result is absolutely delicious.
What are you cooking up today? Tell us more about the dish.
I’m cooking a sea bass ceviche with a coconut milk leche de tigre. I had a classic chef’s education, so I always thought that cooking required a lot of different ingredients and long hours to be ready.
When I started working with Peruvians as part of my training, that was when I discovered the power of simple ingredients, perfectly balanced together – sweet and sour, salty and spicy.
As a chef, what are the top ingredients and products you’re using these days?
Since our offering in Sweetheart Kitchen is so vast, with over 20 brands and multiple cuisines, it’s crucial to keep high quality raw materials fresh – and that’s something we can’t ever compromise on, since we use plenty.
However, high-volume products, which often form the base of many of the dishes, include chicken, beef and cheese.
What are some of the most recent important food trends you can tell us about?
I think the most recent trend is the launch of cloud kitchens. Due to the pandemic, restaurants and operators had to shift to delivering their food. Where most fail is that their food is not designed to be in delivery packages for over 30 minutes and, because their flow of operations isn’t built for food delivery, it results in extremely high delivery times. People don’t want to wait an hour for their food to be delivered anymore.
From a food perspective, we’re noticing a big shift to healthy meals. A large percentage of customers are looking to eat healthy bowls (we have seen the emergence of acai and poke bowls) and, more recently, vegan food too.
What would you advise suppliers and foodservice professionals who are looking to offer their best to the market and meet demand?
I know that, because of COVID-19, it has been very challenging to bring products into the country, but it’s essential for operators to maintain the consistency of raw goods. If they can find local quality ingredients, then that could be great for their business and the economy.