Shatha Saud sheds light on life as an Emirati chef - GulfToday

Shatha Saud sheds light on life as an Emirati chef

Emirati chef

A vibrant dish curated by Shatha Saud for her business.

Aisha Hamad AlMidfa

Shatha Saud, an Emirati business owner, gives us a taste of what it looks like for food business amongst the UAE citizens. This insight will provide us with an appreciation for the art behind the displayed food and the workings of a functioning business in today’s everchanging food buds and trends.

In a time where trends push forward the opening of businesses that highlight certain dishes or drinks, Shatha speaks about the essential factors that sustain her business and her signature dish that started it all. 

Emirati chef 1

Musakhan rolls, signature dish of Spice up.

 As an Emirati woman who started her business at a young age, what motivations led you to make the initial jump?

“Growing up, I knew I wanted a future in the food industry but being at a young age; I knew I had to start small to get a feel of how it would be in the future. The encouraging comments and feedback that I would get from those that have tasted my dishes was primarily my main motivation to take this step further and start Spice up.”

How do you choose the dishes you want to incorporate in your business? Is it based on Arabic preferences or your specialty recipes?

“I would try to make a dish I know people love and try to add my own touch to it after many trials and errors. However, a dish is added to the menu after I get positive feedback from my family, friends and loyal customers; they are my main food critics.” 

From the whole menu, what is your signature dish? And why do you think it does so well amongst the UAE citizens?

“Our musakhan rolls are definitely our signature; in fact, it was the first dish I started Spice up with. 

The UAE citizens have been exposed to many international cuisines, which is why our spin on the traditional Palestinian musakhan is such a hit as we took this well-known traditional dish and made it into a contemporary version as mini crispy rolls.” 

Emirati chef 3

One of the meals served in Spice up, an Emirati owned business. 

What do you think are the important factors that food business owners should follow?

 “When you want to start a business in the UAE, you will find yourself ready with your license and all the accessible resources that you need at arm’s reach. In my opinion, quality and customer satisfaction should always be the main priority. In the UAE, it is easy to find high-quality products, so there are no excuses; and when you put your effort into delivering a high-quality product, that will always be mirrored with positive feedback from the customers.”

What inspires you to create the dishes you provide on your menu? Do you get your inspiration from certain dishes or cultures or people or from other sources?

 “I always try to inspire myself with new ways, for instance, it could be a walk in the garden where my father grows fruits and vegetables or my mother’s cooking that always makes me feel at home. Additionally, learning about new cultures and the different ingredients used in their cooking is another way I find my inspiration.”

Aisha is an intern with Gulf Today. She covers the Emirati community, culture, and food.

Related articles