Talking about Dubai local ingredients with Brandon Grusd – Head of MMI Bar Academy 

Brandon Grusd making a cocktail

Previously a beverage consultant based out of Dubai as well as an independent bar consultant for a multitude of brands, Brandon has more than 14 years’ international experience.

Today, Head of the MMI Bar Academy, he runs the largest academy in the Middle East, with specific focus on spirit education and beverage development. An alcohol enthusiast by choice. Brandon’s goal is to “change the way consumers around the world experience beverage”.

Tell us about the Souk, is it an important place in Dubai?
A souk is a market place that is generally high energy, where traders and consumers meet. Goods are sold and bought and forms an integral part of the culture of Dubai.

What sort of ingredients can we find there?
You can find all sorts; from perfumes to herbs, rugs and much more

Any very local ingredients?
Dates are a way of life here in Dubai, so dates are often on show

What other place could you go to find local ingredients in Dubai?
There are other souks scattered around the emirate. Indoor farming has grown extensively, so sourcing locally is becoming more of an option.

Are there many urban farms? Is it a growing movement?
Yes, very much so! With Expo 2020 coming along, the government has put into effect a timeline in order to ensure food security. Much of the food items are produced abroad but this is changing daily. We, for example, have just installed an aquaponics system in our bar academy to grow herbs.

Any advice or tips you would like to share about sourcing very local ingredients for your bar?
Where you can, grow it for yourself, you will be better equipped in making drinks, if you understand the processes of how they are made.