This year’s Emirates Culinary Guild Salon Culinaire, the biggest F&B competition at Gulfood brought together 1,300 professional chefs demonstrating their skills and expertise via a series of practical and display-based cooking demonstrations.
The competitors at the salon were judged by a panel of 30 international adjudicators, each one of whom is an approved international judge of the World Association of Chefs Societies.
Run in conjunction with Gulfood, the Salon Culinaire was once again strongly supported by Dubai World Trade Centre Management Company (DWTC), which put forward 50 of its 170-strong culinary team to take part in the event.
Dubai World Trade Centre executive chef, Raimund Haemmerle, who won ‘Best Effort by an Individual Establishment’ at this year’s competition was tasked with picking the team, and told Catering News that his decisions were based on talent and effort.
“I select the team internally then we do the trainings, we see who has the talent, who is bringing the effort and is willing to learn, so it’s an internal process that continues going three or four months ahead of schedule,” he said.
“Some people might even fall out – we’ve had one or two cases where they’re not up to that international level and someone else who brings a better effort jumps in.”
Haemmerle explained that his priorities for training up his team for the competition, is to make sure they get the basic criteria correct, since each category has very specific requirements.
“I support them with the innovation, creativity, considering that it’s technically correctly executed. If you show a live cooking plate, people want to see that you have technical ability so to translate that into a dish, not to make it to simple and easy, not too crazy.”
The key challenge he faced this year was running the training for the Salon alongside day-to-day business, which involves late hours and dedication in the four months leading up to the event.
“It’s always time pressure because it runs next to your business, which is very busy, so doing that in your spare time or in the late hours takes dedication.
“For the junior chefs it’s a great experience to learn something new and get some new ideas and prove their skills.”
In addition to Haemmerle’s award, DWTC took home the Best Pastry Showpiece accolade, which went to Rovart Cagayat.
Jumeirah Group won several awards at the event including ‘Best Effort by a Corporation’, which went to Andy Cuthbert, general manager C&I, Jumeirah Hospitality at Madinat Jumeirah.
Starwood Hotels & Resorts also took home four awards, including ‘Best Wedding Cake Three-Tier’, which went to Mya Mya Zaw of Sheraton Dubai Creek.
Gulfood took place from 21 – 25 February at Dubai World Trade Centre.