Food for Thought

Australian culinary delights are contributing to some of the latest cooking trends to come out of the Middle East.

Award-winning executive chef for the JW Marriott Dubai, author, and creator of ‘new Arabian’ cuisine, Ingo Maass, is winning praise for his unique fusion of flavours that bridge Middle Eastern and Western tastes. And part of his success is thanks to the range of ingredients he sources from Australia.

"I search for the highest quality produce from all over the world. My creations in Dubai have benefited greatly from Australian grass-fed and grain-fed beef, King Island brie, and Tasmanian ocean trout, salmon and scallops—for their freshness, quality and unique flavours," says Maass.

He reportedly serves more than one tonne of premium Tasmanian grass-fed beef each month alone, but this is just one of more than 20 Australian products Maass has introduced to Dubai.

James Wyndham, Austrade’s trade commissioner in Dubai, says the region is focused on boosting tourism, and with 50 five-star hotels currently being built there is a drive for Dubai to be acknowledged as a leader in food and hospitality. "This, combined with an overwhelming reliance on food imports, means many opportunities exist for a wide range of Australian food and beverage products in the region," he adds.

Australian food exports to the United Arab Emirates increased by more then 50 percent in 2005–06, including a 50 percent rise in wine exports, with much re-exported across the region.

"Australian food and produce enjoys an excellent reputation for quality, offering growing opportunities throughout the region as the UAE continues to develop as a sophisticated tourism haven," says Wyndham.

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