Bartartine’s Executive Chef Joseph Boutros talks to HN about the strategies being employed to keep the brand innovative, relevant and healthy, at a time when the F&B industry is grappling with an increasingly demanding audience
What prompted you to enter the F&B profession and what are your future plans?
My passion for creating innovative recipes, hence encouraging an emotional connection with the ‘dish’, is what drove me to choose this profession. Today, I feel I’m achieving this vision by continuously innovating with different offerings at Bartartine, be it at the bakery, the pastry or in our dine-in menu selection, offering revisited dishes inspired by recipes from around the world. My future plans include keeping up with the latest trends by continuously offering something new to our consumers.
What are the main challenges you face when it comes to sourcing and creating dishes?
My biggest challenge is finding the right ingredients – mostly sourced locally – to create the items I envision serving at Bartartine, which should be the most suitable fit for the market and customers.
What are the advantages of creating distinct flavor combinations that celebrate a revisited local cuisine?
While the reality of customer preference is always a top consideration, I still need to find a niche that defines Bartartine as unique. In other words, the brand has to be different enough for people to go out of their way to choose it over another. The benefits of coming up with innovative recipes are seeing positive reactions from our customers, while witnessing diners coming back is the biggest reward.
Where do you find your inspiration and how do you ensure you continue innovating?
It starts with my personal taste for food to which I add ingredients that are good for our body and mind. In addition, I work closely with the marketing team, who assist me in identifying on-trend practices, the latest power-food discoveries and suggest recipes made famous in other countries that would fit the brand. The 14 new menu items we launched early this year were based on the latest trends related to vegan products, healthy-cooking practices (no deep frying), using power-food ingredients and innovative, uncommon dishes, such as our hummus truffle dip and Asian kale salad, served with a delicious peanut butter sauce. In terms of what’s next, I never stop working on new recipes and dish ideas that could fit the brand. However, we make it a point to ensure that these are launched in a timely fashion, so that they receive the recognition and credit they deserve.
What feedback have the new menu items generated?
Launching these 14 new items was quite an achievement for the brand. We were delighted to receive amazing feedback, where we saw a large number of first-time customers returning for our new items many times over! To date, the most requested items are those involving the highest level of innovation. The hummus truffle dip stood out because of its fusion of local and European flavors, while the mango avocado rolls also emerged as another favorite, because they are not only vegan, but freshly-prepared with large fresh mango and avocado slices.The salmon sashimi salad was a great hit, due to the twist of combining Asian and French cuisines. The wild salmon teriyaki is one of our bestsellers, probably because we retained the delicious flavor of this renowned dish, while adding healthier side sauces and using wild brown rice.