Ernst Bier Garten’s Sustainable Journey with Executive Chef Timo Gloeckner

4 mins

Chef Timo Gloeckner, Executive Chef at Ernst Biergarten in Dubai’s 25hours Hotel, chats loving local leafy greens and why plant-based isn’t always the most sustainable option

Ernst Biergarten, located in Dubai’s 25hours Hotel One Central, is an award-winning Bavarian-style pub that offers an authentic German experience. While it has become popular for its wide variety of draught beers and traditional dishes – try the house-baked pretzels and homemade sauerkraut – the venue is also taking strides towards sustainability.

At the helm of the transition is Timo Gloeckner, an experienced Executive Chef and current Creative Culinary Directory of 25hours Hotel One Central. With over 18 years experience in the industry, Timo is known for his expertise in a variety of cuisines including European, Asian and Mediterranean. Originally from Pirmasens, a small town in Germany, Gloeckner’s career has taken him across the globe, with stints in Switzerland, the Philippines, and now Dubai.

Working in line with the hotel’s ambitious goal to achieve sustainability certification from an external institute for all its properties by the end of 2024, Chef Timo is rolling out zero-waste initiatives across the hotel’s five bars and restaurants as well as prioritising the use of local, organic, fair trade, and sustainable food products where possible.

The Ethicalist sat down with the Creative Culinary Director to get his take on turning the tables on unsustainable practices in the hospitality industry.

Headshot of the Creative Culinary Director of Ernst Bier Garten
TE: What’s the biggest challenge you face when trying to run a sustainable kitchen?

Tim Gloeckner: Improving supply chains is critical for culinary sustainability in this region. Unfortunately importing food often comes with logistical challenges such as quality control and navigating customs delays.

Seasonal availability definitely influences the availability of certain foods which is another hurdle, but it is encouraging to see that the range of locally grown alternatives is expanding, making it easier for chefs in the UAE to move away from imported goods. By supporting domestic produce, we are slowly reducing that reliance on imports.

TE: How do you handle surplus food in your kitchen and what’s the most creative way you’ve reduced food waste?

TG: Reducing food waste in the culinary industry requires a strong understanding of the ingredients and their uses, as well as effective planning to minimise waste. Creativity does play a role in the process, but a deep knowledge of products is crucial.

At Ernst Bier Garten, we focus on repurposing surplus food items to minimise waste. For instance, when preparing tomatoes for dishes, the trimmings can be collected and transformed into a delicious tomato sauce, making sure no part of the ingredient goes to waste. Similarly, hard bread rolls, which might otherwise be thrown away, can find new life in a bread pudding

brunch at Ernst Bier Garten
TE: What’s your take on plant-based diets and sustainability?

TG: The sustainability of plant-based diets can significantly depend on the sourcing of ingredients. When products are sourced locally, a plant-based diet can be more eco-friendly due to the reduced carbon footprint associated with less transportation. For instance, a poke bowl made with local ingredients has a smaller environmental impact than one whose ingredients have been flown in from other parts of the world.

TE: Have you incorporated more vegan dishes in your menu?

TG: I have added a few more vegetarian and vegan options to the Ernst menu to cater to the growing demand for plant-based alternatives. The restaurant is in the process of collaborating with local plant-based meat company Switch to recreate some popular dishes as vegan offerings.

Vegan meatballs on dish with mashed potato and radish

As part of this initiative, Ernst Biergarten will be introducing the Vegane Frikadellen, a plant-based alternative to traditional meatballs, and a vegan Currywurst, a plant-based version of the classic German dish. By partnering with a local plant-based company, we’re not only supporting the local economy but also demonstrating a commitment to sustainability in the UAE’s culinary industry.

TE: What’s your favourite locally sourced ingredient and how do you like to use it?

TG: As a chef, I find locally sourced leafy greens such as lettuce, spinach, kale and arugula to be my personal favourites. From salads to garnishes, these greens add freshness and vibrancy to so many dishes. Locally sourced tomatoes are also great as they are so versatile. Whether in sauces, salads or as a flavourful topping, local tomatoes are far better their imported counterparts.

Ernst, 25hours Hotel One Central, Trade Center, Mon to Fri 12pm to 12am, Sat and Sun 12pm to 1am. Tel: (0)4 210 2511

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