• In support of Dubai Government’s decree to protect and integrate People of Determination, Dubai Festivals and Retail Establishment (DFRE) partnered with Dubai College of Tourism, Touch and Hilton on an initiative that offers students an opportunity to learn from leading hospitality industry figures, including Chef Himanshu Saini, Chef Gregoire Berge, Chef Colin Clague and Chef Domenico Santagada
  • The initiative aims to increase training and employment opportunities for People of Determination in the food and beverage industry

Dubai, United Arab Emirates, 15 June 2022: Dubai Festivals and Retail Establishment (DFRE) recently hosted a special event that enabled People of Determination (PoD) to access leading hospitality figures, allowing them to ask questions and seek advice on a career in the food and beverage industry.

The special Afternoon Tea event was hosted on 11 June 2022 with Touch, a disability inclusion consultancy at the DoubleTree by Hilton in Bur Dubai, in partnership with Hilton Middle East.

The event brought together PoD students from Dubai College of Tourism and Touch, with their families, representatives from the F&B industry, as well as key DFRE personnel, giving them the chance to interact with, and learn from, senior professionals in the industry.

The event forms part of a wider strategy to ensure inclusion of PoD in the food and beverage industry, whilst creating educational opportunities.

Touch works with leading figures and chefs such as Chef Reif Othman, Chef Troy Payne and Chef Gregoire Berger, plus many more to ensure that the industry is inclusive and in doing so, hopes to motivate and inspire others in the industry to do the same.

Prior to the Afternoon Tea event, a number of the students met with a three-star Michelin Chef, Massimo Bottura, asking questions about his career and their aspirations to join the F&B industry. A separate event was also held whereby PoD children met with a number of Touch Chefs, where they prepared cookies and cupcakes at Dubai College of Tourism’s kitchen.

The initiative builds on the recently announced law issued by the Dubai Government that aims to protect the rights of PoD and ensure their inclusion and integration into society, enabling them to participate in all spheres of life. The legislation has also spurred the formation of the Higher Committee to Protect the Rights of People of Determination, which will supervise all PoD affairs in Dubai.

Ahmed Al Khaja, CEO of Dubai Festivals and Retail Establishment (DFRE), said: “In line with our wise leadership’s direction, we’re delighted to be helping to facilitate the inclusion of People of Determination into Dubai’s innovative and diverse food and beverage industry. It’s been very rewarding working with our partners to provide a platform that offers a unique opportunity to learn and be inspired by some of the city’s hospitality leaders, hopefully encouraging them and fostering a deeper interest in a meaningful career in the industry.

“It’s also important to keep up the momentum spurred by the new legislation, and to this end we are exploring future programmes to support and educate the industry itself, helping restaurant and hotel operators understand how they can help integrate People of Determination into the hospitality sector.”

Jean Winter, Founder & CEO at Touch Talent Management, added: “Our F&B and hospitality industry needs to make impactful decisions collectively that will affect relevant and purposeful actions. Inclusion in our industry does not only refer to hiring PoDs in the kitchen. Inclusion is multifaceted from allowing more women to take on management positions in the industry, hiring more PoDs, creating more accessible and welcoming spaces for all, to learning to be kinder and more empathetic in general. Touch is here to champion a paradigm shift towards equal opportunities for all across industries. We need to carry out sustainable practices aimed at positive change. We can and must be more inclusive than we already are.”

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