Nick, Scott and restau­rant man­ager Vik­torija talk us through their sus­tain­able sourc­ing prac­tices

Good (UAE) - - GOOD FOOD -

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.

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