Dubai, U.A.E, 10 January, 2011: Thomas Klein International (TKI), the Dubai-based food and beverage consultants, recently announced its’ plans to develop a unique food and beverage concept that will recreate traditional Sudanese cuisine at the new El Seref project based in Khartoum.
The food and beverage concept was designed after scouring the country to learn about traditional cooking methods, recipes and ingredients.
“We had to learn a lot about Sudanese cooking, and after many excursions to back streets, rural and urban settings, we found a truly wonderful and ‘undiscovered’ cuisine coupled by ingenious cooking methods that people had passed down for millennia,” said Daniel During, Managing Partner of TKI.
“There is a lot of emphasis on rich smoky charcoal flavours and fresh herbs, and we really wanted to showcase Sudanese traditions in a way that would make the Sudanese proud of what their land has to offer. Most of all, we were inspired to create a place that would appeal to Sudanese families – men and women – and foreigners alike.”
TKI worked with several local and international companies to develop modern ways of replicating the ancient Sudanese cooking methods while meeting modern standards of food quality, hygiene and safety. El Seref will have its own on-site slaughterhouse and butchery, as well as a fishmonger. Local breads will be baked on site, and most vegetables and herbs will be sourced in Sudan.
The main focus was to create a buzzing, dynamic food hall/market concept, rich in sights and sounds, that truly celebrates the native cooking of Sudan. The project will feature a selection of 28 different food stalls, including a spice market, vegetable market, a deli with olives and cheeses, a bakery, and a pastry shop.
The building, comprised of a 15 metre high glass-walled structure, sits majestically on a prime location on the riverbed of an historical site on the Nile in Omdurman, 200 meters from the confluence of the White and Blue Nile. At 35,000 square feet in size, El Seref is the largest independent food and beverage operation in Sudan.
“TKI was brought into the project after the design of the architectural shell was completed and after the project had gone through several incarnations – from hotel to grand ballroom, then restaurant,” said During.
“In terms of design, we worked closely with Iskan, a Khartoum-based design company. The brief to Iskan was to keep the interiors as authentic as possible, and they researched the local constructions methods and material extensively. Nearly all the materials used within the building are sourced locally. The walls are tabiya (mud walls), the floors are brick and the wood for the furnishings is locally grown. On the top of the building, there are also tent structures that pay reference to the nomadic Sudanese, but also serve to shade the building and reduce cooling costs.”
Adjacent to El Seref are mud fortresses that were built in the 1890’s and used as a last point of resistance against heavily armed British forces. This area around the site will also be developed as a joint venture of El Seref Tourism and hospitality and the Sudan’s Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities.
“We decided to restore the mud structures and will also bring in the two British warships that spearheaded the invasion – El Malik (the King) and El Bordeen,” said Mr Abdel Rahim El Sadig, the General Manager of El Seref Tourism and Hospitality.
“One ship will be placed on the riverside and one will be moored in the Nile. The site will also contain a small museum to showcase some of the weapons and tools of the time. A small outdoor theatre will create a panorama that will highlight the historic battle, and the gardens will be re-landscaped and a link will be made from both fortresses to the El Seref market,” added El Sadig.
The project, due to open early next year, is owned and managed by El Seref Tourism and Hospitality, and the total investment inclusive of interiors and kitchen fit-out is estimated at approximately US$8 million.
“The Khartoum project is close to my heart since it allows me to manifest the business ethos I have been practicing for years: create something authentic and honest. Many investors will just want to replicate establishments they see in the west. At TKI I always say that we should do something fresh out of what is authentic and use our ingenuity,” concluded During.
Thomas Klein International provides full consultancy support to the restaurant and hotel industry. The company has dedicated divisions for concept creation, financial studies, gastronomic development, management, technical kitchen planning, interior architectural designs and branding.
About Thomas Klein International
Thomas Klein International was established in Dubai Media City in 2001 by Daniel G. During. The company was set up to provide the Gulf market with professional consultancy services mainly specialising in the hospitality, entertainment and leisure sectors, with a strong emphasis on food and beverage operations. The company has offices in Dubai, Chicago, Brussels and Buenos Aires.
The company seeks to help individuals and organizations create and establish successful and highly profitable operations by offering a range of services that include: developing and establishing concepts and brands; feasibility studies and market research; interior design; designing employee uniforms; developing and implementing menus and price strategies; professional kitchen planning, head-hunting and appointment of managers, chefs and accountants, as well as training to communicate the concept from inception to an opening to ensure a financially sound operation. The company also offers optional management contracts that ensure consistent standards and a profitable operation.
TKI initiates and supervises entire projects to work towards successful openings, although the company will also take on part-projects, where a client may only require one specific service from the above disciplines, i.e. design, recruitment consultancy, F&B auditing, etc.