x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 17 January 2018

'Ban' on cooking with alcohol retracted

Restaurants and hotels in Dubai will be able to use wine, brandy and other alcoholic drinks in their cooking after 'misunderstanding'.

DUBAI // Bring back the coq au vin! Hotels and restaurants will be allowed to serve food cooked with alcohol after the municipality effectively retracting its original ban on such dishes. In fact, there may never have been a ban. The confusion was a result of a "misunderstanding", municipality officials said, claiming that restaurateurs misinterpreted a circular sent to them. The apparent U-turn came as a huge relief for restaurateurs and hoteliers who were facing big losses if they were to take food containing alcohol off their menu. Chefs from leading hotels in Dubai had approached the municipality on Sunday asking for a review of the decision. Khalid Sharif al Awadhi, the director of the food control department at Dubai Municipality said that food containing alcohol could be served, provided it is segregated from other food and clearly labelled. "We are asking them that any alcohol content in food should be declared. We have found violations where hotels are not clearly stating alcohol content in their food. This is why we issued the new circular," Mr al Awadhi said. "We are talking about segregation of non-halal products like pork and alcohol. These dishes should be segregated and clearly labelled," he said. A municipality circular sent to all hotels last week clearly stated that food in alcohol would be strictly prohibited. "Use of alcohol in preparation and cooking of food is strictly prohibited. Display and sale of food products containing alcohol as an ingredient is strictly prohibited," said the circular seen by The National. Ahmed Al Ali, the head of food inspections had told the paper on Sunday that alcohol in food would not be allowed even if clearly labelled. Mr al Awadhi said the circular was misunderstood by restaurateurs. "It's a misunderstanding. The memo meant to say that alcohol content in food should be clearly stated and also kept separately," he said. The municipality will meet with chefs from leading hotels later this week to communicate the regulation and clear the confusion.