Where there is good food, there is community. This is the reality of the D&G restaurant, located within Chelsea Village, Mogadishu. A true melting pot of both cultures and cuisine, D&G provides world-class catering services to the international community at the camp. A five-star lobster dinner suit your fancy? The catering team headed by Danda & Ganesh (D&G), have you covered. We connected with Danda and the General Manager, Costa Yiannakis to get more insight into how they are keeping over 180 guests and staff fed and happy in the middle of the AAIA safe zone
Who comes up with the menu items for the daily meals?
Danda: We rotate the menu every 28 days but will also take into account any preferences from the monthly guest surveys and daily feedback the Chelsea team receives from clients. The catering team will also meet once a week to discuss the upcoming meals and to set the menu.
Costa: The catering team make approximately 600 meals daily so keeping things interesting is important for the guests. There is a lot of trial and error but we take guest feedback very seriously and do our best to adapt as needed. What one group of guest love, other groups of guest’s taste buds won’t agree to so it’s important to keep find a balance, and where necessary support the team to make changes.
That’s a huge number of meals! Is this for residents only?
Costa: Chelsea Village residents receive three meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner) as a standard part of their accommodation fee. We have an à la carte menu for any day visitors which ideally requires 24 hour notice to place an order to ensure availability and enough time for the team to plan and prep accordingly. We do get last-minute requests and the team will always do their best to satisfy our guests, provided they are happy to wait for food to marinate! The speciality here are the team’s, handmade Nepalese Momo and freshly cooked Lobster and Durban Prawns. Our juicy steaks, King fish and much more on the menu is there too!
How many team members does the kitchen comprise of?
Danda: We prefer the term “family” and there are 7 chefs, 4 kitchen hands and 4 super cleaners powering our kitchen and dining facility.
Which observance days/festivals are celebrated currently? How does the team develop the seasonal and festival menus?
Costa: We cover the days that fall under the Islamic Calendar as Somalia is a predominantly Muslim country. This includes special menus for Ramadan and both Eid’s. We also commemorate most other national festivities to ensure all nationalities feel at home and learn about different cultures. Themed days and nights are also done to keep the excitement going. Some popular examples include Mexican Night, Pizza Night and Surf and Turf Cookouts.
Danda: We follow a similar process to our weekly menu setting by getting together to discuss ideas and also chatting to guests about their preferences. Client feedback being our core.
What is the story behind the name?
Danda: Many know about the world famous Italian luxury fashion house called Dolce & Gabbana, we tried to nod at this luxury brand through our mostly Italian buffet menu at the restaurant. The D and G also stand for Danda (for myself!) and Ganesh who is the deputy catering manager.
There are people from all over the world staying at Chelsea Village. What are some of the key things to consider when catering for an international community with such a diverse range of people.
Costa: Being sensitive to client requirements is crucial. It’s something that comes quite naturally to the team however, as we are a melting pot of cultures ourselves. Our team’s strength lies in it being multicultural, with individuals from Somalia, Nepal, India, Kenya and beyond! They all bring great experience, working in four or five star restaurants previously. They know how to accommodate individuals with dietary restrictions, for e.g. Halal or vegetarian, without compromising flavour and quality. Again, client feedback plays a huge role in keeping the menu in good form.
Any highlights to catering for the growing Chelsea Village community?
Costa: The best time for me would have to be Ramadan and the build-up to Eid. It’s such a special time at the camp, for staff and residents alike. The catering team is up extra early preparing the first meal of the day for fasting individuals to enjoy their suhoor (the meal before commencing the fast). Every day when the fast is broken, staff from across the camp come together with residents of all different seniorities, observing their iftaar meal side by side. Sitting together as equals, praying together. It’s a beautiful and moving experience. Everyone who experiences this time of year is taken aback by the community spirit which comes into full force and connects staff and clients in a whole new way. And then Eid is the cherry on top of it all with giving presents to those in need, looking after our family (the Chelsea clients and team), and one cannot deny all the delicious delicacies and festivities.
What are your favourite things on the menu?
Danda: There are a few! I have a favourite for almost every cuisine, from the chicken shawarma to the Mongolian BBQ and the spicy fajitas to the British roast, complete with Yorkshire pudding!
Costa: Fresh Mongolian stir fry for mains and chewy chocolate brownies for dessert!
For more information about catering at Chelsea Village or to enquire about our mobile catering services please email firstname.lastname@example.org