Chef, McGettigan’s Ajman
With over 22 years of experience in the culinary world, McGettigan’s Executive Chef Ajman, Prashant Aripirala, has risen through the ranks of the UAE’s F&B scene over the past 12 years, with stints at Swissotel, ELR, SoHo Bar & Grill, Burger & Lobster. , and others. As a chef who enjoys “exploring, experimenting and recreating”, Aripirala believes that recipes should only be taken as guidelines when preparing a dish. According to him, experience and knowledge play a much more important role when working in the kitchen.
What is your favorite food to eat, and why?
For chefs, it’s hard to have a favorite dish. Anything edible is my favorite! Food cooked by a passionate chef with care, love and respect is my favorite. I like to experiment with the food, to mix and match the ingredients, and that’s why it’s not easy to taste a dish because it limits your creativity.
What is the recipe that you share with us?
It’s a dish for people who want to stay away from red meat, but miss it! It will satisfy their craving for meat without having to eat red meat. I’m revisiting the Sweet Earth® burger with greens, cucumber gazpacho and poached shrimp. I’m trying to show that the Sweet Earth Burger isn’t just a burger and can instead be used as a versatile ingredient.
As a chef, what are the best ingredients and products that you use these days?
There are so many creative ingredients available on the market these days. Cooking has evolved over time and science has played a major role in it. In fact, cooking is a science – once you understand what’s going on inside an ingredient, it becomes a whole new thing. Chefs are now looking for ingredients that come as close as possible to their original context. Products made with natural ingredients, which are both safe to consume and in nature are actually preferred. Packaging that allows for easy storage and use also plays an important role when selecting an ingredient.
What are some of the key trends you see in F&B today?
The ready meals market has grown rapidly. I have a feeling that if this trend can be used to prepare more balanced meals, then there is no stopping its future growth. Essentially, we need to create foods that are easy to eat, accessible and rooted in our common cultures. This ties in with the other trend that I have noticed too, which is linked to globalization, because of which we are more exposed to the world than ever before. Putting different cuisines together really takes a dish to a whole new level, if done right. In one dish you can experience different cultures and traditions from all over the world. So, amalgamation can be a very good thing, if done with respect and understanding.
What advice would you give to suppliers and catering professionals who wish to enter the catering and catering market?
My advice to suppliers would be to always keep abreast of market trends and always aim to keep their products as real as possible with easy accessibility. Consistency is achieved by processing the natural product and making it available throughout the year, but it should not deviate too much from its natural form.