The United Arab Emirates currently imports around 87 % of its total food supply, but aquaculture and hydroponic agriculture could help build a more sustainable future, as well as allowing fresher and tastier dishes to be prepared.
The Atlantis, The Palm is one of the hotels in Dubai that is committed to putting locally sourced products on the menu. Currently, eight of its restaurants offer ingredients grown nearby.
Raymond Wong, Head chef at Atlantis Seafire Steakhouse, is part of the culinary team that creates the resort’s new selection of sustainable dishes.
“The goal is to have five different local products on the menu at Atlantis ‘ 23 restaurants by the end of the year“, explains Raymond Wong.
Seafire Steakhouse dishes made with local ingredients include a mushroom risotto made from a selection of hand-picked local mushrooms, and a carpaccio of dried salmon with organic beetserved with a Green Fields Farms cucumber juice from the United Arab Emirates, all topped with crispy Arab bread chips.
Atlantis, The Palm sources salmon from Fish Farm, a marine breeding and hatching facility located in Jebel Ali, whose mission is to reduce the UAE’s dependence on fish imports, while providing buyers with a product with a fresher taste.
“The locally farmed salmon is so fresh when it reaches us that it needs time to rest“, explains Mr. Wong.
The resort’s leafy vegetables are supplied by Oasis Greens and Uns Farm in Al Quoz, two of Dubai’s hydroponic farms that operate a zero pesticide policy and use 90 % less water than traditional farming methods.
“When bought locally, micro-shoots and salad leaves last much longer before they begin to wilt – and their taste is spectacular“, adds Wong.
The Atlantis-wide long-term sustainability campaign also included locally sourced food on the menu at Bread Street Kitchen & Bar, Hakkasan, Ronda Locatelli, Nobu, Wavehouse, White Restaurant and The Shore.
Kelly Timmins, director of conservation, education and CSR at Atlantis, The Palm, says : “Sustainability is a journey and to get there, we need the participation of our community. One of Atlantis ‘ priorities, The Palm, is to increase the use of local suppliers and vendors as part of our commitment to boosting the local economy as a whole.”