Georgy John of Kuwait Food Concepts talks about design-oriented restaurants and their plans to enter the Indian scene
Kuwait Food Concepts, one of Kuwait’s prime design-oriented restaurants, treats food on many levels. It is not just about flavour and gratification. It has to appeal to the senses, at least the more prominent of them. The décor would please the visual aesthetic; music that enhances the dining experience will pamper the auditory sense and taste, of course, needs no special mention. “The company believes in creating concepts, not following existing ones. It is all about the total dining experience,” says Georgy John, the Director of Operations, and one of the first employees of the company since its inception in 2003.
The company, founded by Basil Al Salem, has its operations spread over Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Qatar and Bahrain. It is also looking at expanding to India. “We have conducted market studies in Bangalore, Mumbai and Kochi and we are working out a possible plan for the country,” says Georgy. Kuwait Food Concepts has five restaurants functioning under its subsidiary, Gastronomica, each of which has been designed and conceptualised by Salem himself. Open Flame Kitchen, Slider Station, Burger Boutique, Roadside Diner and Cocoa Room are the restaurants run by it, all of which fall into the super-premium bracket.
The company’s plans for India would be to start with a Roadside Diner, as it would be the most feasible in the Indian market, Georgy says. Inspired by the 1940s American diners, the restaurant would serve burgers and fries. The ingredients for the food, Georgy avers, will be fresh and cooked by the restaurant’s trained workforce. “We do not cook with frozen meats and processed cheese. Even the fries would be hand cut,” he adds. Also, whenever they start the restaurant in India, the company would not “Indianise” the flavours to adjust to people’s tastes.
“Rather than altering the dishes to suit palates, we believe in educating food lovers about authentic taste.”
When the company plans to open a new restaurant, the whole plan is thought right down to the smallest detail, Georgy says. And that involves travelling to different parts of the world to identify the right kind of equipment, best quality ingredients, the materials for décor, and some times, even cutlery.
The establishment employs trained staff from all over the world including the U.S., South Africa, Philippines, Lebanon, Kuwait, and Europe. The company’s Open Flame Kitchen was awarded the best-designed restaurant of 2011 in Middle East and North Africa by The International Council of Shopping Centres (ICSC).