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Dubai chefs asked to reduce salt, oil in food

Dubai Municipality workshop urges chefs to help fight obesity, diabetes, hypertension

Image Credit: Dubai Municipality
Chefs at work during the daylong workshop held at Miele Gallery.
Gulf News

Dubai: Dubai Municipality has asked chefs to keep an eye on the salt and oil content in the dishes they prepare, a step that will contribute in reducing obesity, diabetes and hypertension among the residents of the city.

The municipality’s Food Safety Department conducted a daylong healthy food workshop on Monday at Miele Gallery for chefs working in food service businesses in the emirate.

The event, organised in support of the “Eat Healthy, Live Healthy” initiative of Dubai Municipality, is part of a number of workshops to be organised by the municipality in partnership with Right Bite and Miele Gallery, the civic body said in a press release on Tuesday.

The municipality said it has planned to organise three such workshops in three months from May to July for 40 different food establishments.

“The aim of these one-of-its-kind workshops is to get the food handlers and chefs to develop healthier recipes and food for the public by introducing small changes such as measuring salt and oil content before starting food preparation. There are common practices that may lower the nutrition value of dishes and small changes can raise the value of the dish,” said Jehaina Hassan Al Ali, principal food studies and surveys Officer in the Food Safety Department.

“Chefs have a very crucial role in influencing the nutrition values of dishes for consumers. They are capable to come up with equally delicious recipes with higher nutrition values. For instance, burgers, sandwiches and pasta dishes that are popular among consumers can be prepared in a healthier way by decreasing components that may affect public health and by replacing them with alternatives that do not compromise on taste,” she pointed out.

“This is definitely a ground-breaking initiative by Dubai Municipality and is a big step forward in bringing more awareness to the importance of healthy lifestyle,” said Tuomas Heikkinen, executive chef of Fairmont Dubai, who participated in the workshop.

“It also gives hotel chefs like me and chefs of stand-alone restaurants to showcase our skills in creating healthy and nutritious meals. We want to create meals that are not only visually appealing and taste great but are also very good for your health,” he said.

The Applied Nutrition Team of Food Safety Department is conducting workshops to popularise the “Eat Healthy Live Healthy” initiative throughout the year to raise awareness among different stakeholders to contribute towards creating a healthier food environment.

The workshop involved practical exercises and chefs had to cook food with healthy ingredients such as whole grains, vegetables, fruits, and healthy vegetable oils, and limit the use of less healthy ingredients such as salt, ready-made sauces, and animal fats. Other cooking advices were shared with them during preparation, as how small changes in the recipes result in more nutritious dishes.

During the workshop, chefs learnt about the use of nutrition claims and the impact of providing healthy options for consumers. Furthermore, it was explained how to get their dishes certified under the “Eat Healthy Live Healthy” initiative, the municipality said.