The Farm, brought to you by the Zaal family, aims at developing unique natural residential communities and facilities. Presenting a truly exclusive setting where you can re-connect with the environment, The Farm allows you to enjoy quality time with friends and family. This unique concept and food style was more than fascinating to us. So here it is, an exclusive interview with the Head Chef - Chef Yves de Lafontaine.

1. Who conceptualized “The Farm” and what were the inspirations that developed the idea?

The Zaal family wanted to create a restaurant based on the philosophy of serving high-quality, wholesome food the way nature intended, in the tranquil, green surroundings of Al Barari.

2. What is the ‘X’ factor in The Farm? What according to you is your distinct competitive advantage?

It is a combination of several factors that differentiates The Farm from other restaurants in the UAE. The peaceful, verdant setting is like no other, and many of our visitors are initially drawn to The Farm because they want to experience how green and soothing the environment is. Our menu offers a wide variety of dishes to suit all dietary requirements including gluten-free, paleo, vegetarian and vegan. We have an on-site bakery, in which we bake fresh pastries and breads including gluten-free options. We only source high-quality ingredients from reputable suppliers who can guarantee traceability, meaning the supplier must be able to identify the farmer who supplied each ingredient.

3. Describe your company’s internal culture or atmosphere in one sentence. ?

We work together as a team, listen to each other’s ideas and incorporate the feedback to ensure the best possible offering for our customers.

4. How do you ensure the quality of your food remains standard?

We have established an efficient supply chain, know the producers very well, and have set strict benchmarks with continual monitoring to ensure they are met. Over time the producer and supplier know exactly what we want and never deliver anything that is not a high-quality ingredient. The culinary team works routinely to ensure substandard products are rejected and never get served.

5. Who would you like to sign up as a Brand Ambassador for The Farm? If ever.

Ideally, a food blogger from the UAE who is passionate about our concept, food and sustainability initiatives.

6. Tell us something quirky about yourself.

I love chocolate and I am on a mission to find the perfect dark chocolate.

7. Do you follow a strict diet?

No, I follow the 80:20 rule which is based on eating clean, good-for-you foods 80% of the time, and 20% of the time I indulge as I see fit. As a Chef and foodie, I like to enjoy all kinds of food, and therefore this rule works well for me.

8. What is your favorite dish?

That’s a difficult question! My favourite dish changes constantly. Recently is has been Thai steamed fish with garlic and chilli. It’s all about fresh ingredients!

9. Name 4 signature Dishes and 4 Signature Drinks that you think everyone should try at The Farm.

The succulent Lamb loin, mouth-watering Fried camel meat with garlic and pepper sauce, refreshing Baked prawns in glass noodles and delicious Mushroom au gratin. The must-try drinks include the scrumptious Date and banana smoothie, cooling Passion Breeze, soothing Rooibos Heal tea, and decadent Hazelnut coffee.

10. The food you offer is very unique; how often do you introduce new items on the menu?

Inspired by the natural simplicity of fresh ingredients and my trip to Thailand this past summer, I devised a new menu at The Farm, which launched this month. The a la carte menu features over 25 new additions including Barbeque short ribs, Scallop turmeric and coconut soup, and Steamed lobster with red curry paste, yet keeps staples including the Mushroom risotto, Mince chicken with roasted rice salad and Grilled halloumi couscous salad with sumac vinaigrette. After a comprehensive review with the Zaal family, I annually revitalise The Farm’s menu based on customer feedback and to introduce fresh flavours and exciting new ingredients to the restaurant’s offering. This year I have launched a variety of tantalising dishes which incorporate Mediterranean, Indian and Thai cuisines. For a creative twist, there is the Fried camel meat with garlic and pepper sauce and the Camel massaman curry team, which fuse local and authentic Thai ingredients. I want diners to experience a myriad of new flavours this fall.

11. What are your expansion plans in UAE and internationally?

As of now, we are focusing only on the Al Barari location. In the future, we would love to expand in the region – ideally a place with plenty of greenery.

12. Name the public figures that often visit The Farm.

The UAE Vice President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates and Ruler of Dubai His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum has dined at The Farm. Lebanese singer and television personality Diana Joseph Fouad Haddad shot her album cover at our restaurant, we organised an exclusive event with renowned fashion designer Peter Pilotto, and local celebrities Tala Samman and Samantha Food have dined at the restaurant.

13. If you were an inanimate object, what would you be?

A fork because I would get first taste of the food!

14. What do you do for leisure?

I enjoy spending time with my beautiful wife and daughter.

15. What is your favourite travel destination?

I love going back home to The Seychelles. It is an incredible place.

16. What would you name a book about your life at this point?

The sustainable chef

17. What do you look for in the people you appoint into your organization?

I look for people who are hard-working, take initiative, have excellent customer service skills and are passionate about our offering.

18. What media channel works best for you?


19. Your favourite quote.

There is no sincerer love than the love of food.