Ultra Brasserie café offers the perfect place to mix, mingle, work, play and eat in Dubai. They use fresh produce in their ingredients exude a contemporary vibe. We interviewed Andrew Matthews, Head Chef at Ultra Brasserie café about the industry and from where he sources his products.
Please tell us about yourself?
In 2002, I began my culinary Career on Phillip Island, Australia. Walking in both my brother’s footsteps cooking was always going to be my life, my brothers and closest friends all share a real passion for cooking great fresh food, this passion and love for cooking quickly grew on me prompting myself to pursue a career in cooking.
Growing up on Phillip Island I have become accustomed to working with the best and freshest seafood’s, meats and produce available. I pride myself on working with the same quality produce in Dubai.
After visiting Dubai early in 2012 I decided to relocate to Dubai later that year after seeing the exciting and thriving hospitality industry, in particular the café scene.
Eager by the prospect of opening my own café one day, I made the move to Ultra Brasserie café with the opportunity to open the company’s second café as well as the freedom to work with organic products and source the best produce Dubai has to offer.
Do you source organic ingredients for your menu? Why?
I prefer to use organic fruits and vegetables when in season and readily available. It’s more of a health conscious factor for me given that conventional produce is grown with Hormones, pesticides, and other chemicals. In terms of quality, appearance and taste – conventional and organic produce stack up equally in my opinion. You have to know where to source certain items from and chase different seasons around different parts of the globe to get the best produce.
In your opinion, how popular is the organic trend in the Middle East?
The organic trend in the Middle East is in very early stages. It may seem like its already quite large in the middle east, especially in Dubai but when comparing this trend to Cities like Sydney or Melbourne and they way people have embraced organic eating, you realize the Middle East and Dubai has a long way to go.
How do you determine the source of your ingredients? Is it local?
I wish i could keep all my produce local but it simply isn’t possible to get the best quality produce here with the high temperatures and lack of farming. During the cooler months of the year in Dubai i use some local products from around the UAE but this tends to be a little inconsistent.
I get majority of my fruit and vegetables from very different parts of the globe depending on seasons. All of my meat is sourced from Australia and my fish origins change depending on what is fresh and available. I work closely with my seafood supplier to help find the freshest fish around.
Interviewed by Menaka Ramakrishnan, Buyer Manager