Galeries Lafayette Le Gourmet chef Russell Impiazzi on the new foodie events in Dubai

Chef Russell Impiazzi, the culinary director of Galeries Lafayette Le Gourmet, tells us about a series of new events at Galeries Lafayette in Dubai Mall that celebrates and promotes fresh, organic and artisanal food.

What products are on offer at The Saturday Market?

We have a great variety that we are highlighting, showcasing the quality produce we have in Galeries Lafayette Le Gourmet. Our cheese selection is one of the highest quality in Dubai, and we have recently added an artisanal line from the UK to go alongside some the best cheese from Europe.

Bahir [Keldany] from Al Fumo is joining us, sharing the secrets behind his smoked salmon, which I think is one of the best you will find – and the fact that it’s smoked in Dubai means you really get that freshness.

Le Gourmet’s team have put together an excellent range of homemade produce, such as amazing pies using the Canadian Heritage beef from our in-house butchery, alongside excellent fresh sausages, a great range of pesto, gazpacho, different fruit ketchups that go really well with the cheese and our own range of fresh pasta. The Farmhouse has also joined us, and will feature a great range of local, regional and organic produce.

The whole morning is about interacting and talking to the team, tasting and talking about food, which we love to do.

Tell us about the different events.

The Chef’s Table and The Saturday Market, alongside our Friday Brunch, are really bringing something different to the weekend. The Chef’s Table on Thursday night is a lot of fun, creating special weekly menus that we prepare in the middle of the restaurant, giving you the opportunity to watch the chefs prepare and interact with customers at the same time. Friday brunch is a must-do in Dubai, and Le Gourmet gathers its wide range of kitchens under one roof to provide the best selection in town. And The Saturday Market is a great way to spend a few hours shopping for your gourmet products.

What organic produce do you enjoy cooking with?

It is more important for me to cook good fresh food; that’s the message. We have the wonderful local organic produce that is out there, and while it’s in season, it’s something we try to make the most of. However, all-year-round, affordable organic is something not always available. Let’s move away from processed rubbish, and eat real, honest food. The pies we make for The Saturday Market are a great place to start.

Is there growing interest in organic and artisanal products in the UAE?

Yes, it’s great to see and to be able to support it. There are some great people out there doing great things, and the effort, time and genuine care that goes into bringing the produce together is something special. If you do have any interest in food, but have not made it out to any of the markets, The Saturday Market is a great place to try some really good food, and the team are there to help talk you through any questions.

Tell us about the dishes being served at The Chef’s Table.

The focus is on good ingredients; we take time to make sure what we bring to the table is the best it can be. We have some beautiful fresh peas from Italy coming in this week, alongside amazing heirloom beetroot and tomatoes from our friends at Greenheart organic farm, so we will be putting some dishes together that feature these two. Good sustainable fish is something that we will also be featuring: it’s pollack this week, from the south coast of the UK – a really underrated fish. Each week, we will be changing the menus.

This article was first published in The National, April 26, 2016