April 26, 2021

Why we created Jumeirah’s FoodieKiDS menu – Chef Daniel Hillier

Why we created Jumeirah’s FoodieKiDS menu – Chef Daniel Hillier

Jumeirah Hotels & Resorts has launched an innovative new culinary concept especially for its littlest diners – FoodieKiDS.

The all-new children’s menu is informed by global research, in which more than 5,500 parents of children under 12-years-old, from six different markets, were interviewed about their children’s eating habits.

Through the FoodieKiDS menu, Jumeirah has elevated the options available, providing dishes that are both enticing and nutritious for their youngest diners.

Jumeirah’s talented chefs came up with an imaginative menu with a healthy twist that we know children will want to eat.

Leading that talented team is Chef Daniel Hillier, Executive Chef at Jumeirah Zabeel Saray, who supported the initial creation of the menu when it was launched at Jumeirah Beach Hotel.

Chef Daniel Hillier is a culinary connoisseur with an impressive experience of over 25 years and a natural leader.

Daniel possesses a unique ability to constantly find and cater to areas of improvement and innovation to deliver larger than life experiences for his regular guests.

In this interview, he shares his experience on the FoodieKiDS menu. Here is an excerpt as presented by our Tourism Correspondent, Jimoh Babatunde

On the motivation that triggered the creation and design of the FoodieKids Campaign

We anticipated a need that many families are facing when trying to opt for healthier, more nutritious food options for their children while travelling and we wanted to have scientific, well-informed insights that will inform our efforts to cater to this need.

Therefore, we asked over 5,500 families in the UAE, KSA, UK, US, Germany and Russia how they felt about eating out with their kids when on holiday. Our finding was that 58% of parents found encouraging their little ones to eat healthy on holiday to be a real challenge. Of the parents we spoke to, 77% thought that hotels around the world need to provide more healthy options on kids’ menus and 79% said that appealing varied and healthy food menus for their kids would enhance their holiday experience.

We wanted to take matters into our own hands as a global luxury hospitality provider and support parents in their search for enticing healthy options for their families. With this in mind, we used our culinary expertise to create FoodieKiDS – a fun and imaginative food experience for children with a healthy twist.

On how the children contributed to the outcome of what they have now

We didn’t want to assume kids would love our new offering, so we got some little foodies to test it out and help us shape the finished dishes. They had fun with our theatre on a plate and told us what they liked and what they didn’t prefer. It was interesting to note that when prepared and presented in a way to appeal to kids allowing them the chance to interact more with the outcome, our dishes with more fruits and vegetables, wholemeal options and less salt were a huge hit. An example of this is our Chef Salad, which follows a ‘make your own’ concept – inviting children to mix in their ingredients. When children are involved in mixing their sauces, they are much more likely to go for it and indulge.

By working closely with a child nutritionist and dietician, we were also able to incorporate her expert insight into offering more options and choices, as we found children might choose one or two options that are super healthy and enjoy them.

On the feedback, since the FoodieKiDS initiative was first launched at Jumeirah Beach Hotel in mid-October

To celebrate the launch of the initiative, we invited kids under 16 to eat free when staying at Jumeirah Beach Hotel with their families, on a breakfast or half board package in October. Given the launch of the offer around the local mid-term break, families had the chance to fully experience the menu and maintain healthy eating for their children during the holiday.

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We have seen strong positive reception in the UAE market to the new offering, as parents recognise our dedication and innovation efforts to appeal to our young diners.

On what else should guests be expecting from the hotel in terms of culinary focuses

Providing elevated dining to our guests is a key part of the Jumeirah guest experience which is why we introduced this new concept for our young guests, to give families the best possible experience.

At Jumeirah, we like to do things differently when it comes to dining and always strive to meet the ever-evolving needs of our guests so they can live the moment and make the most of their time with us.

In terms of the next steps, we are looking to roll out the concept to the wider property portfolio, tailoring the offering to suit different markets as well as including exciting new seasonal additions.

A great example of this has been the roll-out of the program at Jumeirah Zabeel Saray, where we have not only embraced the concept but have also expanded this offering with 12 new dishes, to ensure the menu continues to grow through exciting additions.

Some examples include the Mini Garden Munchies which is a colourful assortment of vegetable sticks and delicious dips and Melon Monsta, an enticingly presented take on a classic fruit salad.

We are also working on a separate note, to further enhance our signature offerings and create more elevated dining experiences for both international and local guests to enjoy.