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La Serre, Dubai

16 June 2015

How to eat the healthiest food in the city, courtesy of Chef Izu Ani and the Middle East’s first Slow Food restaurant, the French-Mediterranean bistro and boulangerie, La Serre.

Having garnered critical acclaim as the chef behind La Petite Maison in Dubai, Izu Ani’s magic touch is now bringing fresh, homemade food to the city’s Downtown district at his own La Serre Bistro And Boulangerie.

His passion for creating good quality food from scratch, with the freshest of ingredients, has now seen the chef awarded the region’s first ‘Snail Of Approval’ by Slow Food, the global grassroots organisation founded to counter the rise of fast food.

Izu says, “Slow Food is something that is relatively new to Dubai but has existed for a long time in Europe, having started in Italy. It’s in recognition of how you respect and understand the processes that go into making food.

“The ethos mirrors my own personal attitude towards cooking. There must be a certain passion and love for what you do and, for me, I always love to start from the beginning with the raw ingredients, trying to utilise them without masking them or trying to create something completely different. For Slow Food to be here in Dubai is a testament to where the city is going as a culinary destination.”

For Izu, serving his customers with fresh, high-quality food means supporting and visiting local famers in the region.

“As much as we can, we try to support local farmers. We aim to be sustainable while being consistent in the quality of our product,” says Izu. “Buying local gives customers fresh ingredients – there is a challenge in the Middle East to sustain the Slow Food Movement but with determination and passion it can be done.

“Visiting the farmers is my passion. It’s always a privilege to meet and talk to them. When you speak to someone who has cared for the produce it makes you appreciate it that much more back in the kitchen because you know that person has put so much love and care into it.”

Having started his career at the Michelin-starred The Square, in London, Izu later worked across France and Spain at a number of restaurants including the world-renowned, three-Michelin starred Auberge de L’Ill and the two-Michelin starred La Bastide Saint Antoine in the South of France.

His European experiences inspired him to establish La Serre, his own French-inspired bistro and Parisian café, serving bread and pastries fresh-baked in-house and Mediterranean meals for breakfast, lunch and dinner. A French-style herb garden will shortly open onsite, as will a research kitchen in homage to the chef’s time in Spain and its restaurants that take a molecular approach to cooking.

“At La Serre we want to push the boundaries and to further understand the ingredients before we even begin to use them,” Izu says. “Dubai is not a transient place for me. It’s my home and that’s why we are putting down stems and trying to grow something. What you sow is what you reap and that’s what we want to do at La Serre.”

How to eat the healthiest food in the city, courtesy of Chef Izu Ani and the Middle East’s first Slow Food restaurant, the French-Mediterranean bistro and boulangerie, La Serre.

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