Caterer Middle East - - Editor’s Comment - Si­mon Ritchie

Come with me and you’ll be in a world of pure imag­i­na­tion.” So sang Gene Wilder’s Willy Wonka as he led some hap­less chil­dren to, if not se­ri­ous in­jury and death, then at least some sig­nif­i­cant ther­apy bills, in his in­cred­i­ble fac­tory.

Putting ques­tions about leav­ing your chil­dren in the care of a man like Willy Wonka aside, the F&B in­dus­try is one which in­spires de­light and can stoke the imag­i­na­tion of those who ex­pe­ri­ence it.

Whether it’s the joy of a fan­tas­tic meal in a restau­rant you’ve al­ways wanted to visit, or feel­ing like you re­ally mat­ter to the per­son tak­ing your or­der, we work in an en­vi­ron­ment where ev­ery day there are mul­ti­ple op­por­tu­ni­ties to make some­one smile. You only need to look at the re­views of a restau­rant to see the high praise sung by so many peo­ple who visit it – as­sum­ing it’s a good restau­rant!

It’s im­por­tant that even as adults we don’t lose that child­like sense of won­der, even with the pres­sures of work, re­la­tion­ships, and fam­ily try­ing to drag you down. I was de­lighted to rein­vig­o­rate my own this month with a trip to the Jelly Belly Ice Cream fac­tory in Dubai.

It might not have been quite like Willy Wonka’s choco­late fac­tory – there wasn’t an Oompa Loompa in sight, sadly – but to see the mech­a­nisms, the tech­nol­ogy, and the cre­ative ge­nius that goes into cre­at­ing a prod­uct we all love was some­thing spe­cial. And get­ting to try a num­ber of the de­li­cious flavours cer­tainly helped mat­ters.

You can read our in­ter­view with the team be­hind it on page 26, but keep an eye on our web­site, www.cater­ermid­dleeast.com, for a more in-depth video look at the tech­ni­cal side of things and plenty of footage of the fac­tory it­self com­ing soon.

Some­one else who seems to have re­cov­ered his love for the F&B in­dus­try is Ser­gio Lopez. Hav­ing stepped back from his Tom & Serg part­ner­ship over the past 18 months to spend more time with his fam­ily, he’s back with a new con­cept called San­der­son’s in Abu Dhabi, and a team who all seemed gen­uinely de­lighted to be work­ing with one an­other when I in­ter­viewed them.

I’d love to know what has helped fuel your pas­sion for the in­dus­try? Do you find joy in the lit­tle things ev­ery day, or is it the plea­sure of pulling off a big project that gets your juices flow­ing? What is it that helps you get out of bed ev­ery day and feel de­light in what you are do­ing? Shoot me a mes­sage to let me know.

Work­ing in a scene as vi­brant and in­ter­est­ing as the F&B sec­tor in the Mid­dle East means it re­ally could be any­thing. For me, it’s the sense of the un­known, that we don’t know what will hap­pen to­day or to­mor­row that makes life and this in­dus­try so ex­cit­ing.

Si­mon Ritchie, Ed­i­torEmail: si­[email protected] Tel: +971 4 444 3550 Twit­ter/In­sta­gram: Cater­erME Face­book: Cater­erMid­dleEast

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