A week in the life of Kivanc Eralp

La Serre Bistro and Boulangerie’s procurement manager spends much of his week eating and meeting



Saturday I like starting my week on Saturday. It is a low gear day for me before the hustle of Sunday. And it is great to see the team that worked over the weekend before they go on their days off. My day revolves around food. I check all the produce with the chefs to see if there are any issues with the quality, freshness, delivery times and of course the delivery vehicles and personnel. These checks are made daily by my team but I like doing it on my own from time to time, to see if we are all on the same page.

We buy a lot of our produce from the local market and I usually relay what we need throughout the week to our agents there. This means that when the chefs go to the market everything is ready for them to see. We also do a fair bit of bread and pastry wholesale to other restaurants. I spend my afternoon planning and organising their deliveries for the rest of the week.

Sunday is fun day (enter heavy sarcasm). This is when every department takes stock of the previous week and plans ahead. That means spending time with everyone to get deliveries organised including operations, marketing, maintenance and stewarding. After a while you become an expert in everything from napkins to compressors. Perhaps the most important part of Sunday is the ordering of fish and imported vegetables/fruits for the weekend. We cannot order too much or it will waste since freshness is our key value. We also cannot order too little and take the risk of upsetting our guests. The balance has to be just perfect.

Most of my friends are in the industry and today is the perfect day for me to go out for dinner with them. I have favourites but I tend to try something new every week to see what is going on in Dubai. I tell myself that it is market research but the fact is I just love food.

Monday This is my information day. I try to push all my supplier meetings to Mondays. I spend a lot of time researching online for new ingredients and new sourcing leads. The greatest thing about La Serre is the way Izu (the head chef) injects the perpetual need to get better. This applies to everyone in the team and for me the goal is to find new, better products to supply the kitchen. Of course, most of the time these new products are not better than what we currently use but it adds to our knowledge base to better our craft. Every once in a while we actually get something better putting a big smile on our faces.

Tuesday Although Tuesday feels like an extension of Monday, it is actually a lot more demanding. After my meetings are finished, I start looking past the coming weekend with the kitchen team and relaying information to our market team. The rest of the day is spent with projects and marketing teams. Our obstinate brainstorming sessions are incredibly fun and productive, and somehow end up in elaborate puppet shows.

Wednesday This day is all about making sure that we are ready for the weekend and planning for the week after. It is, in fact, Sunday chapter two. The kick here is to get ready for the more than 2,000 guests we will serve between the bistro and the boulangerie over the weekend. Followed by getting our import orders ready for the next week. Since we also receive all the imported items that we have ordered on Sunday, I have my headset stuck to my head listening to a lot of hold music.

Thursday This is another day to concentrate on supplier meetings. I suspect that most of them like coming to La Serre to enjoy a breakfast or lunch and to get a little bit of business done in the meantime. We make sure that we have all bases covered for the weekend and start our meeting marathon. This begins with the interdepartmental meeting where we conduct a round table discussion about what we are working on and make suggestions on new projects and ideas. It ends with the kitchen meeting, which focuses on all of the intricate kitchen operations. This can sometimes take hours to ensure that every issue has been ironed out before the weekend begins.

Friday This is my day. I like waking up early and going to the beach for kayaking or getting some sailing lessons. I also enjoy going to the farmer’s market to see my friends or sometimes to the ripe market to hang out at La Serre’s stand. The rest of the day involves shopping and catching up on chores. I read most days but a lot on Fridays. My favourite writer is Neil Gaiman but I try to ration his books and read classics, philosophy, current affairs and science titles too. I see books as food for the brain and since I cannot eat desert all the time, I alternate with vegetables, protein and carbs.