Dubai 2012: COOKOFF!!!

(This is the 13th post in a series detailing my work trip to Dubai, United Arab Emirates.)

Two weeks into the trip & one day after the scheduled opening of the restaurant, I got to play with food. Slowly, but surely, this restaurant will finally open.

The hardest part about this opening process here in Dubai is the lackadaisical attitude by the powers that be in opening the store, and it starts with the government.

As I said in a previous post, the government here is taking their time letting the restaurant have gas to cook. So much so that we went almost four days playing with “food” made out of paper so the employees could work on their plate presentations.

Today, though, we were actually able to play with real food, only because we had to rent out a kitchen at the Sharjah College for Women. Sharjah is the emirate north of Dubai. Yesterday, during the two hours we were at work, we got everything at the store ready and packed that we needed to take over to the other kitchen so we could actually cook. That included all of our food, every single utensil we would need, all of our plates, glasses, some silverware and even some of our microwaves. It was a definite challenge, to say the least.

First off, I only had a flat-top to work with and no broiler. Thankfully, though, we only had to cook burgers today so they were able to get that done fairly easy. Tomorrow, however, should be a whole new set of challenges, trying to cook steaks on a flat top instead of a broiler. Luckily, we are cooking only for demonstration purposes and we’re not actually feeding paying guests, but still … we have to cook steaks on a flat top.

Today, the restaurant was supposed to have its inspection by various government agencies, which is the last step before we are able to get gas and become operational. If things went well with the inspection we would be able to get gas on Wednesday in our restaurant so they employees can practice at their own place, and then we could open as soon as possible.

Last I heard, only half of the inspection was completed today and the other half will be done tomorrow. Therefore, no gas tomorrow; looks like it will be Thursday at the earliest.

Although it was a clusterfu*k of a situation we had going on today at this “substitute kitchen,” at least we got to play with some REAL food for a change. Here’s to hoping they pass their inspection and we can get to cooking in the restaurant.

The last thing I want is to leave Dubai feeling unaccomplished because we weren’t able to leave the Middle East without an operational restaurant. It would be a huge disappointment amidst all the fun I’m having. I came over here for business first, then pleasure. And, I won’t feel accomplished if we can’t get this restaurant open ASAP.

Until next time …

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