Dubai in itself is an impressive city built from nothing, with a focus on tourism and wealth. With high-rise buildings that glisten in the sun, it looks like the city is made of diamonds and lights. It homes some of the most impressive eateries and bars in the world. With a lifestyle revolving around food and drinks, the majority of people seem to enjoy in abundance.
Thailand is a hectic city with few rules and all on offer. Around every corner you turn there is food, a massage shop, five different forms of transportation - the options are endless. A strange scent lingers around some of these corners, and this makes Thailand seem unbound by rules, allowing the raw and natural to be shown. With food at the center of their culture, they enjoy an unlimited offering of type, quality and flavours.
Focused on the investment and development of the Dubai concrete jungle, GRIF (Global Restaurant Investment Forum) was an extravagant conference lavished with delicious food and drinks that seemed to stretch for miles. With the top players in the industry exchanging insights and opinions, it gave an in-depth view into the past, present, and future of the UAE’s hospitality landscape. The team who oversaw the expansion of ShakeShack in the UAE took the stage, recounting successes as well as exposing the unexpected hurdles that come with expansion into this market.
After the first Masterclasses on Monday morning, GRIF kicked off with an all- inclusive culinary tour with the participants that lasted from lunch until late at night.
From India-inspired global cuisine to a contemporary brasserie serving seafood and steak, the tour visited six of the top novel food concepts that recently opened up in Dubai. At every stop, the creators shared a few words explaining their vision and passion before we tasted delicious cocktails and indulged in the sensory overload.
Re(Food) in Thailand had a different approach, and being nearly a quarter the size of GRIF, it was a sustainability-focused event, looking at the opportunities and struggles of sustainable tourism within Asia. Upon arrival, all visitors were given fabric bags to carry around, with reusable cutlery to enjoy the street food. The lunches were prepared using leftovers from the Sunday brunch or the ugly fruit that had been rejected by the average consumer. With discussions on the various endangered rice types and the use of indigenous food in cooking, the conference brought in individuals ranging from a Swedish Michelin chef to a Thai rice farmer. No matter who was on stage, the overarching message was clear - to achieve sustainable development we need to focus on responsible growth, effective relationship building, and reusability of resources.
All in all, these two events were the epitome of the locations in which they were held, and the insight has allowed us to rethink the way we develop our solution for an industry that is ever-evolving.
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