Service with a smile 21 February 2020 Tom Kemble of the Pass at South Lodge cooks up a pumpkin masterclass and shares why it’s important for chefs to meet their customers
In this week's issue...Service with a smile Tom Kemble of the Pass at South Lodge cooks up a pumpkin masterclass and shares why it’s important for chefs to meet their customers
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The Caterer

Just another day in the south Gulf desert

13 March 2002 by
Just another day in the south Gulf desert

The Hotel Dubai Creek is now really starting to pick up speed. Since late January it has run at 80-100% occupancy, so every outlet is extremely busy.

My typical day runs as follows. I start work at 6.30am. One of the European chefs monitors breakfast every day of the week to ensure that standards are of the highest - "European chefs" meaning one of the cooks Gordon Ramsay has sent over. So I will probably monitor breakfast for about 150 covers.

At 10.30am executive chef Angela Hartnett and I will hold a meeting to go over the day's events - taking care of VIP guests for dinner, functions, outside catering, and so on. This normally takes only about 15 minutes. Then it's back into the kitchen to check on the two-man brigade in Issimo, an Italian deli-cum-café where we sell good, simple Italian fare. This has to be set up by 11am because Issimo only opens for lunch.

I take my 10-minute break, which is coffee and a pain au chocolate, then go through to Verre to start the mise en place for dinner - Verre only opens for dinner. I have a brigade of seven, including myself, and we do 80 covers. By 2.30pm we are all set, so the boys take a break until 5.30pm.

I check the Glasshouse kitchen to make sure everything is covered and running smoothly, then I take my break. Sometimes I go to the Creek Golf Club and play nine holes or go swimming. I have a late lunch, then go back to work.

At 6.30pm we have a tasting session of anything made freshly for service - crème brûlée, fondants, and so on - to make sure everything is up to standard. Then I or the sous chef will go through the kitchen and taste at random to make sure nothing is overcooked, undercooked or whatever.

The Hilton recently held "A dinner by Gordon Ramsay", and the elite of Dubai society came to sample a tasting menu put together by Gordon himself. We spent several weeks going over dishes with him to make sure everything was going to plan.

As the day approached and Gordon was on his way to Dubai, the kitchen was on full alert getting ready for his arrival. He did a book signing in the morning and the dinner at night. It was a great triumph. Gordon was happy with the final menu, and all of Dubai was talking about the hugely successful event.

Last week Hilton had its annual team members' party in the desert, held on two nights so all the staff could attend. It included belly dancing displays, Arabian barbecues, camel rides and a disco. It was a pleasure to see a big organisation such as Hilton looking after its staff with events like this, as the team members have worked extremely hard to make the Dubai Creek the success it is today. They should be very proud of themselves.

JASON ATHERTON is head chef of Verre, Gordon Ramsay at Dubai Creek, Dubai

Next diary from Jason Atherton: 18 April

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