Controlled chaos was the best way to sum up the state of one kitchen at the Madinat Jumeirah hotel in Dubai during a "practice" lunch service last week.
Christian Gradnitzer, the resort executive chef, busily scanned food-order tickets, conferred with assistants and constantly checked a large board of paper to see what tables still needed starters or entrees before desserts could roll out.
"Put on gloves!" he said to one pastry chef, who was finalising flourishes on a tray of rhubarb and custard desserts.
"Get this out now," Mr Gradnitzer told smartly dressed servers, who had already taken out Alaskan king crab la plancha but now needed to place roasted canon of lamb with crispy chickpea fritters in front of guests before the dishes cooled.
For most hotel chefs, serving a three-course, fine-dining meal such as this is not the hardest of tasks. But add in the most crucial condition and it becomes a lot more challenging - everything must be made from scratch, and be served to 100 guests, plus a chef's table and judges, within just four hours.
Next month this is just one of three challenges due to be taken on by about 10 culinary experts from across Jumeirah Group's portfolio of hotels, including Mr Gradnitzer as well as sous chefs from the Burj Al Arab, Jumeirah Beach Hotel and Zabeel Saray and in Dubai. Known as Team Jumeirah, these chefs have been preparing for about a year with mock cook-offs - such as the crab and lamb lunch - to sharpen their skills for Hotelympia, the biggest food-service and hospitality exhibition in the UK. It begins next month and is only held every second year.
Team Jumeirah boasts it is the only hotel group from the UAE to be successfully shortlisted, and winning at the prestigious event could ultimately boost business in the UAE by drawing in fresh talent as well as luring more guests.
"From a Jumeirah point of view, it showcases the skills and talents of the chefs we have here - and the food styles," said Michael Kitts, a team member as well as a senior lecturer and the director of culinary arts at the Emirates Academy of Hospitality Management, which is part of Jumeirah Group.
"In terms of recruitment, it has great potential there," Mr Kitts said. "Chefs who are working in the UK or abroad will see the standard we're setting and hopefully will say, 'I'd like to come to work for you in Dubai.' It does have a knock-on [effect] there."
More than 8,000 chefs attend Hotelympia each year, organisers say, and it is often to scrutinise the latest in cooking technologies or restaurant decorations. But the Salon Culinaire - which features three contests involving a fine-dining cook-off, cold buffet display with hand-crafted culinary art and a "live theatre" where the UK's top chefs compete - is the stand-out event.
"For many, the three different selections of the Salon are a principle reason for their visit," according to Hotelympia's website.
Yet winning a medal at the Salon, much like garnering a prestigious industry James Beard Award or Michelin Guide star, is not just about bragging rights for top chefs.
These sorts of accolades can also help attract new patrons, while retaining existing ones, at high-end restaurants inside resort properties.
"If the chef goes and we won something, [potential customers] recognise the chef is from Jumeirah and they will come to our restaurant - and it'll make good business for us," said Maxie Millian, a Team Jumeirah member and the sous chef from Burj Al Arab.
Some of Mr Millian's teammates hope to do this by pulling off certain culinary feats. One task in the buffet competition includes crafting the faces of famous chefs on to a giant chef's hat made out of 60kg of chocolate. If this concept sounds somewhat familiar, there is good reason.
"You know Mount Rushmore?" says Mr Kitts, of the mountain in the US that features faces of past presidents carved into rock.
"I got the inspiration from that."