Hilton Garden Inn at Rak is a foremost luxury hotel in Ras al Khaimah and the first Garden Inn to open in the Emirate. We spoke to the executive chef, Thorsten Beermann about his views on the organic and natural industry.
Tell us about yourself?
I am the Executive chef of Hilton Garden Inn Ras al Khaimah. I graduated in 1984 after completing a food and beverage craft course at Cornwall Technical College in Great Britain and went on to obtain various cookery certificates for catering, food and beverage service as well as communication skills.
Before taking charge as Cluster Executive Chef of Hilton Ras Al Khaimah in 2015, I quickly moved through the ranks from Commis de Cuisine and Chef de Partie to Sous Chef and Food Production Manager. My career has spanned and I’ve worked managing operations in hotels across the world including Saudi Arabia, Greece, Switzerland, Hong Kong, Bahrain, Philippines, Kazakhstan, United Kingdom, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates.
I speak German, English, Greek, Tagalog and Russian and enjoys art, skiing, squash, scuba diving, motorsports, reading, hiking, and travelling.
Do you source organic ingredients for your menu? Why?
At Hilton Garden Inn Ras Al Khaimah we want to go above and beyond and consistently source our produce responsibly. We minimize our carbon foot print by purchasing as much sustainable local organic produce as possible, including honey from local Ras Al Khaimah honey farms. We choose organic ingredients to ensure the items are free from chemical products which can be harmful to the environment and health over time. It is our little way to making the world greener.
In your opinion, how popular is the organic trend in the Middle East?
The organic lifestyle choice is a hugely popular way of life which slowly established itself from over a decade ago. With the social media age, and the influx of health cafes, supermarkets stocking larger organic selections and local food markets in the UAE and beyond, a healthier lifestyle choice is everywhere you turn. The UAE is home to some of the most popular health and wellness influencers in the Middle East and new healthy food delivery plans, coupled with an increase in boot camp style activities, shows the region is recognising the importance of being health conscience. Although the desire to live an organic life 100% is increasing, it is an expensive option. Once more suppliers and farmers react to the ever growing trend, we may see prices subside slightly.
How do you determine the source of your ingredients? Is it local?
Around 40% of what we purchase are local ingredients (fish, seafood, vegetables, dates, flour, grains and dairy). The remaining 60% are purchased from brand approved suppliers which are audited. The suppliers are monitored for their best practices and tested multiple times by industry specialists, to ensure their credibility and their attributes towards responsible practices and environment.
Interviewed by Menaka Ramakrishnan, Buyer Manager