The solution for pastry professionals
The team from Catering News Middle East were shown firsthand how Chef Middle East’s pastry range provides a complete solution for pastry professionals across the region…
It is one thing to have a wonderful product but it is quite another to be able to get the message out to the market.
That was why Chef Middle East, the one stop solution for the regional dining scene’s quality food and beverage requirements, and recently offering a complete solution for Pastry professionals, organized a workshop last month
with frozen fruit and vegetable puree manufacturer Les Vergers Boiron to showcase what Chef Middle East has to offer.
The firm was already one of the leading lights in the foodservice industry here in the Middle East and that reputation has only been bolstered by the announcement it has teamed up with French dairy brand President.
That means that Chef Middle East now offers pastry professionals a dream-team of options with Valrhona, Les Vergers Boiron and, now, President.
The workshop was another example of how Chef Middle East executes its vision of continuously developing and bringing onboard new brands to serve the needs of its customers – as well as investing in its own in-house talent to set the benchmark for the industry in the region.
Les Vergers Boiron area sales manager Florian Golhen says that he required an audience with some of Dubai’s leading pastry chefs to make sure the right people were made aware of the benefits of Les Vergers Boiron’s products.
The result was a special workshop with Chef Michel Willaume, a legend in the world of pastry cooking, held at Chef Middle East’s own Culinary Innovation Centre at their headquarters in DIP2.
“Each year we organise workshops with talented Pastry Chefs, our brand ambassadors who know the region here in the Middle East,” says Florian.
“The idea is to share expertise and offer new techniques that chefs in this region might not be familiar with.”
Juan L Lopez, head of category team with Chef Middle East says the event was a reinforcement of his company’s “commitment to the culinary community”.
“Our strategy is not just about having the right brands. It is about giving value to our customers and engaging with the right people to provide a value-added service,” he says, adding that Les Vergers Boiron is a key component of Chef Middle East’s evergrowing portfolio of brands.
“This is a dream team of brands that we offer to pastry chefs across the region. It allows us to provide a full solution for four and five-star hotels, even a seven-star hotel in some cases, as well as caterers in casual and fine-dining.”
Lopez says that, even though Les Vergers Boiron is a high-quality brand, it is vital, in the competitive Dubai market, to get the message across to the right people.
Chef Michel adds that the workshop was the perfect opportunity to educate the market about the Les Vergers Boiron brand – a subject he clearly feels passionate about.
“People always say that working with fresh fruit is the quickest and best solution. But when you have different seasons it limits your options,” he says.
“Some people believe that frozen products are inferior but that is not always to the case.
“If you have a quality frozen product it means you don’t have to wait until next season to create a certain dish, it can be on the shelf all year round if the customer asks for it.”
Another advantage to Les Vergers Boiron’s product that both Chef Michel and Florian are keen to flag up is the health benefit.
“As it has natural sugar inside you don’t have to add any sugar to it,” says Florian, who quite rightly is proud of the fact that his company’s product also contains no pesticides, no preservatives and no colouring.
“You have a big emphasis on healthy options in restaurants, consumers pay a lot more attention to the ingredients nowadays. We are all in the same position really, we want to know what it is that we are eating.” Chef Michel concurs. “Now we have a range of purees that are 100% fruit,” he says.
“There is no sugar added. This is vital to chefs as so many customers are driven by keeping the calorie count down, it helps give chefs even more liberty.”
With diabetes levels rising across the world, Les Vergers Boiron’s emphasis on providing a healthy product is sure to be welcomed.
The ability to experiment has long been a priority for any leading-chef and Florian feels that Les Vergers Boiron is perfectly placed to provide for that.
“People are more willing than ever to discover new things,” he says.
“We provide a unique opportunity to play about with colours and flavours. People from the Middle East are used to travelling, they want to be able to get the very same things in Dubai, or the entire Middle East, in fact, that they were able to get in Asia or Europe.”
DECADES Of EXCELLENCE
Chef Michel says that Les Vergers Boiron has a unique insight, down to its 75-year history, that gives it a certain knowledge and experience that cannot be faked.
“It is not just about eating purees, we have a lot of different ways to play,” he says.
“If I want to make an exotic flavour I can create my own.
Another win-win with Les Vergers Boiron products is the time it saves chefs in the kitchen. “It absolutely saves time,” says Chef Michel. “If you are using a puree you don’t have to treat it like you would with fresh fruit or vegetables. You don’t have to clean it either which saves on the cost of having to pay someone to do that.
“It’s important that you can save that time without sacrificing the quality of the product.”
“This a third-generation family business,” says Florian.
“Unlike a lot of our competitors, we are not part of a large corporation which means that quality always comes first and the financial aspect is not allowed to override that key principle. As a company if we feel a product is not up to the high company standard then we will look at discontinuing it, rather than put out an inferior quality product.”
It’s clear that transparency is vital to how Les Vergers Boiron does business.
“We believe in building relationships with customers and ensuring there is full transparency in how we do business,” he says.
“If something is short of quality we are quite prepared to stop the production of that line and tell the customer and client that it will only come back when it is the way it should be.
“I think the honesty of that speaks volumes about the integrity of Les Vergers Boiron.”
LOOKING TO THE FUTURE
Chef Middle East also participated in Gulfood 2018 at Dubai World Trade Centre last month.
Even though the focus was firmly on Valrhona, Valrhona Signature and Sosa – Steve Pyle, CEO Chef Middle East, and his team were still very much a visible presence at the event.
“It is important for us to be here with the brands we are supporting,” Pyle said.
“Sosa is a new brand for us underneath the Valrhona umbrella. But we see huge opportunity for that, not just in the UAE market but also In Oman and Qatar where we work. We are looking ahead with enthusiasm for what we hope will be a good year for the business.”
It’s just another example of Chef Middle East’s commitment to both its clients and the wider region.
Juan L Lopez, head of category team with Chef Middle East
Chef Michel Willaume leads the workshop