Tom Arnel and I met over a good morning smoothie and a chia pudding at Comptoir 102. It was like a one-sided blind date. I, of course, knew what he looked like. He was the Lord of the Flat White, the King of the Smashed Avo and the Protector of the Cafe Culture. However, he didn’t know what I looked like, so I told him I would be reading a copy of the 1977 New York Zagat Guide and wearing tweed. Ok, that didn’t happen. I actually just waved at him from across the restaurant. My tweed was at the dry cleaners.
We decided to create EAT DXB. Not immediately, because we spoke a lot about the industry and our aspirations and hopes for it. In fact, our conversation lasted about a year, on and off, but it all lead to EAT DXB. Below is a years conversation, paraphrased into a single page.
The restaurant industry. Three simple words, yet a world that is far from simple.
Dubai is home to 3.1 million people, which swells to 4.3 million during the day. Every lunchtime, millions of meals are prepared and consumed across restaurants, cafeterias, dining halls, vending machines and office desks every single day.
It’s difficult to comprehend the number of meals needed to feed such a hungry city. If everyone eats at least two meals a day, across 7 days, over 43 million meals are prepared, cooked and eaten by people of over 200 nationalities every week in Dubai.
It is a monster industry of supply chains, logistics, agriculture, farming, labour, and manufacturing. It is a behemoth whose enormity is difficult to fathom.
Yet, zoom all the way down and focus on a single dining table in a restaurant and you will find a world of magic and hope. The restaurant industry is as much about emotions and identities as it is about production lines and food chains.
The food and beverage dynamic is the heartbeat of Dubai. It is a true reflection of the spirit of the time and place. Dubai is a collection of districts, a melting pot of cultures and a series of moments. It is a mass of moving parts with millions of heartbeats, stories, and memories, all colliding and crashing into one another. Yet it is food that is our union, and restaurants are the great connectors between us all.
For centuries, we lived in village communities, that were characterised by intimate relationships, shared experiences and limited degrees of separation. Through urbanization, all that is being challenged, and we find ourselves becoming alienated from our tribes.
However, we see the F&B industry as its own community, with the power and responsibility to contribute to a better life for everyone. The responsibility of our industry to support and elevate our community is of utmost importance to the survival and longevity of the many elements that make up the ecosystem.
It’s time to reconnect and support local.
This is why EAT DXB was created. A local food movement with three core values. Celebrate, Support and Strengthen.
Celebrate the talents and efforts of the local F&B community – the restauranteurs, chefs, servers, suppliers, and customers that help create this industry that connects and inspires us all.
Support the larger F&B space at all levels with insights, events, community, time and space to allow the industry to thrive.
Strengthen our city’s offering as to establish it as a globally recognised food destination, where global and local talent is nurtured to innovate and create at the highest possible level within the Dubai F&B landscape.
We want to be united in passion, aligned in our goals and understanding of our diversity.
EAT DXB is a collection of like-minded individuals who want to make Dubai a better place, through the creation of a thriving F&B industry. With a focus on everything local; restaurants and their customers, business owners, and their landlords, suppliers, and chefs. Our community is concerned with the relationships that affect us all.
We are launching in June 2019, with two powerful events.
EAT THE CITY – June 16th, 2019.
A collaborative dinner prepared by some of the city’s most successful and renowned chefs, in partnership with students from the International Centre for Culinary Arts (ICCA). A special set menu offering. Ticketed event with all profit going to Dubai Cares. Each course will be explained by one of the guest chefs, imparting know-how and sharing experiences of working together with his/her apprentices.
EAT TALKS – June 17th, 2019
Recognising that the food and beverage industry has the opportunity to participate in improving some of the city’s most pressing challenges. A speaker lead event featuring key F&B change makers from Dubai and the broader region.
EAT TALKS is an industry and consumer event and will appeal to all with a social conscience and appetite for exploring the best ways of working. Chef and owner of Bull&Roo cafes & restaurants Tom Arnel will play host to the first significant gathering of EAT DXB. A speaker line up of chefs, restaurateurs other critical parts of the food puzzle will contribute with informed discussion on food in the city now and in the future.
The food community of Dubai is coming together for EAT DXB. Engaging discussions, events, and activations promoting creativity, curiosity and shared know-how between different parts of the food ecosystem.
Join the change makers and trend avoiders; a group of like-minded individuals who aim to make Dubai a better place, one meal at a time.
Save the dates, ladies and gentlemen. Booking details and full speaker line up to be released very soon.