We’re speaking with Jai Arumugan today. He has a background in food and photography, and is the Executive Director for Culinarystories365.
Thank you for being here Jai.
Please can you tell us a bit about yourself.
I run a small food photography business – Culinarystories365 – I am the Executive Director and Food Photographer . In short – Former Chef, Food Photographer, Food Stylist.
I am from Chennai, India but been living outside the country for almost 15 years.
What made you decide to work in this industry?
To be honest, I started blogging to get my photography work to the outside work, later it became more of sharing, not everyone includes me knows everything. So when you see something and when you experience something so why not you share your experience.
I trained with several chefs, hoteliers and graduated from hotel school in 2003.
Then I picked up a camera.
With my understanding as a chef I completely get it, that the essence of your signature dish began long before it is presented on the table.
I know how you carefully chose each ingredient for a specific aroma and a unique seasoning.
The flavour of your creation is the love you infuse while mixing and blending, it is an art crafted to create an emotional connection isn’t?
As your photographer, I compliment the culinary journey by telling the story behind your unique creation.
Food and photography are my passion, and translating the love behind the meal into an image is an integral part of creating a dining experience that began long before the first bite is taken.
What are your thoughts on the Food & Drink scene in general?
Food and drink to me is more than a flavor, is a tradition, more importantly it is blend of emotions that connects culture and people.
What are the Top 3 factors that customers consider before choosing a place to eat?
Today’s market is very competitive and people food habits are evolving. I am totally seeing this from layman’s perspective and what majority of people do..
1) People see how popular they are. basically the hype they create.
2) Price is a huge factor now, there is a huge competition in the market and obviously customers are the winning side.
3) Most important which helps them to go back – People, i.e service and quality of food.
How important are mobile apps and social media in the decision making process?
In today’s market social media and mobile apps are predominant factors which makes or breaks the business.
It is human tendency for us to show and share, mobile apps are allowing us to do it instantly.
Social media – people spend most of the time on it and it is becoming a best platform for competitions.
Innovations like food delivery platforms Talabat, Zomato, Deliveroo are truly living examples and very soon people may not go to restaurants anymore.
How could F&B businesses in the UAE improve their service both online and offline?
I am a tiny speck of a dust to comment on this, however everything seems working fine, two things I tell myself on a daily basis are – keep innovating and build more human connections.
What predictions do you have for future F&B trends?
I am seeing a huge paradigm shift in people’s food habits, am seeing people moving towards healthy living.
People started using air fryers in their houses, canteens in hospitals are not selling fried foods anymore, which is positive shift.
All food business will soon have part time dietitians and you will see calories displayed in all their food items.
Anything else you’d like to add?
Be Genuine and build more human connections and I believe it is kind of missing in today’s market.
Thanks for this wonderful opportunity.
Where can we find you online?