DOING SOME GOOD
Nick, Scott and restaurant manager Viktorija talk us through their sustainable sourcing practices
You’ve said you want to source locally wherever possible. Why was that important to you?
SCOTT: We will always choose local produce over imported if the freshness, quality and consistency are comparable to what we can import. As a chef, it’s fundamentally important to understand that you can influence how people eat. In 2010, after we were approached by the WWF, we removed hammour from all our menus and replaced it with sustainable varieties of fish that we sourced and tested from the local markets. This proved to be a minimal issue for our guests as I think they appreciated the importance of sustainability. You’ve worked in Dubai for a number of years now – have you seen real growth in the amount of local produce available? S: Yes, absolutely. The growing hotel and restaurant trade has created a huge demand for produce, which makes local businesses a lot more viable because the demand is now there.
How do you sustainably source ingredients that aren’t produced in the local market?
S: To be honest, I think it’s been easier to source ethically and sustainably from international suppliers as global regulations are very strict so the companies have all the information to hand. For example, farmed halibut from Norway will be labelled and barcoded when it arrives and has to be MSC certified for traceability. The UAE is definitely a lot stricter than it used to be, and it’s continuing to implement new and improved regulations, which is good for all concerned.
You’ve included a lot of dishes on the menu where vegetables are the star. Was that a conscious decision and why?
Nick: Dubai is a melting pot of cultures and it has always made sense to us to design a menu that includes a strong selection of vegetable-based dishes. I think people appreciate and are often surprised about how delicious they can be, plus it’s fun for ourselves and, more importantly, for our guests, giving them the opportunity to try something new.
Your wine list is largely biodynamic. What does that mean and why is it important?
Viktorija: Wines produced from biodynamically grown grapes are often described as being superorganic. The aim of biodynamic farming is to create a healthy, selfsufficient ecosystem, therefore the idea of using synthetic fertilisers or pesticides is completely out of the question. Instead of using chemical substances to eliminate weeds, vintners let them grow. In place of herbicides, they cultivate the soil and plant cover crops, and they cultivate beneficial insects, such as ladybugs, to keep the less-welcome creatures away. And it makes sense. With so many of us insisting that our food is organic, why not our wine?
You’ve run high end and casual eateries in Dubai previously. Where does Folly by Nick & Scott sit?
N: This is the first opportunity we’ve really had to design an entire restaurant experience from scratch. You can expect the quality of the food, drinks and service delivery to meet the standard of a high-end restaurant, but in a relaxed casual environment with excellent value. We’re offering a wide range of experiences too, from the kitchen bar where you can interact with the chefs as we are running the service, to the two outdoor bars and amazing rooftop experiences with stunning views out over the Arabian Gulf.