Alan Pedge, Food & Beverage Manager, YOSH Hospitality, a veteran in Culinary & Catering with almost 50 glorious years of experience, is a true industry optimist and an iconic figure in the UAE Hospitality.
With a career spanning well over four decades in culinary, with the last 25 years as an Executive Chef, Alan started his journey as a kitchen apprentice at the tender age of 15.
From his very first-ever stint in the profession, starting out in a small boutique hotel overlooking the Historic Cathedral in his hometown of Lincoln, to the country house Hotels in rural England, to working in over 10 countries around the world, Alan has always managed to combine his love for cooking and wanderlust.
He first came to Dubai in 1979, at a time when most people would have had problems locating Dubai on the world map, let alone the idea of leaving England to work in the food industry here, especially when Hospitality was booming in the UK back then.
It was a time when there were no more than 6 major Hotel Brands in Dubai, when compared to the colossal hospitality industry as it stands today. Witnessing the evolution of the hospitality industry here and also having played a modest role in the same, have helped him recognize opportunities that have come his way and strongly build upon them.
“Without being nurtured the way I have been by my seniors and colleagues, I would have never been able to have such a fulfilling career, and for such a long time. And this has helped me understand how gratifying it is to give back to the community”, says Alan.
This is why Alan, wherever stationed, was always involved with the local Chef’s Club or Associations of those countries and regions, thus leading the way for him to become one of the founding members of the Sri Lankan Chefs Association and also organizing the very first Salon in Colombo in 1990, which later followed with the forming of the Lebanese Chef’s Society along with his friend and Celebrity Chef, Joe Barza, to help develop the upcoming talents in the industry there.
“Anyone can make a new recipe, but then to build a budding chef is altogether different, as it means that you have achieved something that will last, and for me, that is the true way of giving back to the community”.
He is an active member of the Emirates Culinary Guild (ECG) and has held various positions since 2005, including being Chief Marshal, Vice President – Abu Dhabi, and now as the Vice President of the Guild working closely with Chef Uwe Micheel, President, ECG, on supporting and building platforms for new talents across the country.
Success in Culinary
Alan has led many teams to succeed in the various culinary exhibitions and salons throughout his career. He has opened several new hotels in Dubai and in London, and has also been very instrumental in implementing full-fledged comprehensive HACCP systems within three major Hotels in the UAE.
As a Certified Judge of the World Association of Chefs Societies (WorldChefs), he has judged several prestigious national & international competitions including the Salon Culinaire, Dubai, Doha & Jordan, including major culinary events in the UAE, such as the Irish Food Board Green Jacket Event, the Battle of the Chefs in Abu Dhabi, and the Chef of the Year Competition for the Abu Dhabi National Hotels Compass since 2013.
Having been with the industry for such a long time, Alan has seen and survived several ups and downturns of the industry over time, and given the current situation, as hospitality industry both in the UAE and the world over, having taken one of its biggest hits ever, he stands calm and composed about the situation knowing that this too shall pass, an understanding that has come to him after all these years of experience, up close.
“I have seen many changes, there have been times when you wonder how could this be so and what the future will be like. Well, we are all still here and we will continue to be as well when the world gets back to normal. Of course, there will be challenges, but if we look at these challenges as positive changes, then we will all find new normals and also interesting opportunities ahead.”
According to Alan, he has only one line to say about the current situation that every Liverpool fan knows - “At the End of the Storm is a Golden Sky “