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Portuguese Salt in Dubai

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"Sal" português no Dubai

















The Burj Al Arab Jumeirah is the only 7-star hotel in the world, and just from its rating, it’s easy to see why, since its inception in 1999, it has been ranked as the best hotel on the planet. Earth. But if you’re still in doubt, just take a look at this hotel’s image gallery and the dictionary meaning of “luxury” will automatically earn you the name of this iconic Dubai hotel.

It is in Burj Al Arab that you can find a luxurious beach club and a temporary Sal restaurant, which since 2020 has been designed and managed by 33-year-old Portuguese Marta Fidalgo. From the atmosphere to the music to the layout of the space, all the planning for Sala was done by the Portuguese, leaving no detail to chance: “We want to create an unforgettable experience, from the food to the atmosphere.”

“In April o Sal, it was not easy to find people in the midst of a pandemic,” recalls Marta à-Luz, going back to July 2020, when she was tasked with implementing a project conceived by the Jumeirah Group’s CEO, Portuguese José. Silvia. Located on the terrace of the Burj Al Arab, “Sal” covers 10,000 square meters and consists of “30 private cabins, a 300-seat beach club and a 160-seat restaurant.”

Marta explains that the company has about a hundred employees, and more than half of the team is Portuguese, that it is “an operation that requires a lot of organization.” The menu features Portuguese cuisine with Mediterranean influences and dishes are served in crockery from the Portuguese brand Vista Alegre.

For two years, the project was led by several national and international celebrities, including comedian Steve Harvey, singers Akon and Maluma, or actress Lindsay Lohan. There are also a few big names in the sports world, from Ronaldinho to Zidane, Irish wrestler Conor McGregor, or Los Angeles Lakers basketball player LeBron James. The list also includes footballers Marcus Rashford and Karim Benzema. “Missing Cristiano Ronaldo’s visit,” shoots Marta, also remembering the departure of host and current TVI director of entertainment and fantasy, Cristina Ferreira.

Martha Fidalgo arrived in Dubai in 2016 and Sal was the seventh pre-opening of her career, having led the opening of six spaces in the United Arab Emirates and before that one in London. To tell us about her journey, the current director goes back a decade when she left Portugal for England.

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Portugal-London-Dubai

He graduated in Marketing and Tourism and received a Master’s Degree from ISLA in Event Management. “But the doors didn’t open and I thought about going to London to improve my English. I thought: “I’ll go, sit there for 3 months and come back.” [a Portugal]'”. Since then, 10 years have passed. “I was 23 when I moved to London and started working in a restaurant in Camden Town. I started out as a ‘runner’, just delivering food and drinks.”

A year later, she became only a waitress, then she reached the supervisor, then to the assistant manager [gerente] and at this stage he was tasked with planning the opening of a gourmet restaurant in Harrods, a British chain of luxury goods stores. “I was very nervous, Harrods was an imposing place and this was the first time I was going to do a pre-opening. Other types of skills and knowledge were required. I remember thinking, “This is really happening.”

The first opening of Marta Fidalgo will take place in 2014. “It was spectacular, gave a lot of adrenaline. This is a job where every day we do something new, it is very motivating and makes you happy when you see how a restaurant is born,” he recalls. “When you open a restaurant, it’s always a dream someone had.”

Three and a half years after landing in London, he admits that he began to feel a little tired, especially due to the weather. It was then that a call from a friend was reason enough to take the next step: “I started to get tired of time. Always cold or raining. I started to feel like I needed something different. London was chaotic, if I had to be at work at 10 am, I would get up at 6 am. It was when a friend who was already there [no Dubai], with whom he worked in London, told me: “You should come to Dubai. This is a different world. Here it feels like we are on vacation every day. The beach is always nearby, the weather is wonderful.”

So it was. Martha sent her resume and it only took two weeks for her to get a call and have her bags and luggage transported to the United Arab Emirates. He was 27 years old.

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Recovery and restructuring

Marta Fidalgo has no doubts: in Portugal, catering needs a deep and urgent restructuring. “In Portugal, we are still far behind when it comes to restaurant service. The mentality is this: the owner of a cafe or restaurant is also a person who manages – and in most cases is not even trained. They had a dream to open a restaurant, but they did not have the training that would give them the basis for this management, from serving to motivating people.” For Sala’s manager, the restaurant is also in a “very difficult” situation because in Portugal “it’s one of those jobs that are still considered casual.”

“In Sala, half of the team is Portuguese, but you can’t even compare. Starting with rewards and then growth, there is career progression here, this is an industry where there is always an opportunity to rise and grow – from waiter to assistant manager. [gerente] a maximum of a year and a half,” he explains.

“It’s very difficult, you can’t compare the dynamics of our Portugalinho with the dynamics of Dubai. Portugal already has good restaurants and service, but in general the service is poor. There is no intensive training, there is no comprehensive career development, as a result, people do not want to work in restaurants. If we don’t have something that motivates us, goals and objectives to achieve… The other day I was talking to a gentleman who has been a waiter for 30 years… And I think: “How is this possible?” This is Portugal’s problem,” he stresses, before leaving a warning: “The restaurant will suffer even more. The restoration will have to be rebuilt from one end to the other, really big changes are needed.”

However, Marta highlights some exceptions to the rule and recalls instances such as chef and entrepreneur Olivier da Costa’s restaurants where “there is already another service.” “Olivier, for example, has a very ambitious vision for restaurants.” For this reason, it’s no surprise that Chef Olivier’s restaurants are among his top recommendations,”[recomendo] everything but i love the classics [Beach Bar] and Seen”, in addition to Mama Shelter, also in Lisbon, and Poco dos Sabores, in Óbidos, run by brother Fabio Fidalgo, who also has restaurant experience in London.

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High season, Mundial’22 and the future

With Dubai’s high season just around the corner, from October to May, the next few months are expected to be even more hectic, with Martha envisioning “maximum capacity”. In these cases, a two-week advance booking may be required to visit the Beach Club or Sal Restaurant. Added to this is the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar, which is scheduled for the coming months, November and December.

“This is a very, very turbulent time. At the moment, Qatar – it has 80 hotels – and they are all full; it will be reflected if in Dubai. We are expecting a very busy season and very good prospects for a comeback. At the moment, we cannot make comparisons with similar periods, as everything started with a pandemic, but we expect a great season.”

The near future also promises new challenges as the next steps include the opening of Sala in the capital, Abu Dhabi and the Maldives.

“I am thrilled with the new vacancies and with the continued growth,” emphasizes Marta, who is looking forward to taking her COO to the next level in the near future. “That means having 2/3 sites under my control.” “Now I will plan these openings so that we have the same standards – work, service, menu. To ensure that the DNA is preserved and brand standards are upheld.”

Despite the Portuguese rib in “Sale”, saudade is not a slogan and a return to Portugal is not being considered, at least for now: “I still don’t have that pet that tells me to go back to my root vegetables. I have a lot more to do here. One day I would like to return, but not now.”

“I go to Portugal once a year. The intensity of work does not allow me to travel more often. And as I harden, whenever possible, I always go home, but I try to combine it with other trips, get to know new places, ”he concludes.



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Portuguese historical films will premiere on 29 December.

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Portuguese historical films will premiere on 29 December.

Method Media Bermuda will present the documentary FABRIC: Portuguese History in Bermuda on Thursday, December 29 at the Underwater Research Institute of Bermuda.

A spokesperson said: “Method Media is proud to bring Bermuda Fabric: Portugal History to Bermuda for its 5th and 6th showing at the Bermuda Underwater Observatory. In November and December 2019, Cloth: A Portuguese Story in Bermuda had four sold-out screenings. Now that Bermuda has reopened after the pandemic, it’s time to bring the film back for at least two screenings.

“There are tickets Ptix.bm For $ 20 – sessions at 15:30 and 18:00. Both screenings will be followed by a short Q&A session.

Director and producer Milton Raboso says, “FABRIC is a definitive account of the Portuguese community in Bermuda and its 151 years of history, but it also places Bermuda, Acors and Portugal in the world history and the events that have fueled those 151 years.

“It took more than 10 years to implement FABRIC. The film was supported by the Minister of Culture, the Government of the Azores and private donors.

Bermuda Media Method [MMB] Created in 2011 by producer Milton Raposo. MMB has created content for a wide range of clients: Bermuda’s new hospital renovation, reinsurance, travel campaigns, international sports and more. MMB pays special attention to artistic, cultural and historical content.

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CRISTANO RONALDO CAN MAKE UP A GIANT IN CARIOCA AND PORTUGUESE TECHNICIAN SAYS ‘There will be room’

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CRISTANO RONALDO CAN MAKE UP A GIANT IN CARIOCA AND PORTUGUESE TECHNICIAN SAYS 'There will be room'

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Maestro de Braga is the first Portuguese in the National Symphony Orchestra of Cuba.

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Maestro de Braga is the first Portuguese in the National Symphony Orchestra of Cuba.

Maestro Filipe Cunha, Artistic Director of the Philharmonic Orchestra of Braga, has been invited to conduct the Cuban National Symphony Orchestra, as announced today.

According to a statement sent by O MINHO, “he will be the first Portuguese conductor to conduct this orchestra in its entire history.”

In addition to this orchestra, the maestro will also work with the Lyceo Mozarteum de la Habana Symphony Orchestra.

The concerts will take place on 4 and 12 March 2023 at the National Theater of Cuba in Havana.

In the words of the maestro, quoted in the statement, “these will be very beautiful concerts with difficult but very complex pieces” and therefore he feels “very motivated”.

From the very beginning, Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2 will be performed by an Italian pianist (Luigi Borzillo), whom the maestro wants to bring to Portugal later this year. In the same concert, Mendelshon’s First Symphony will be performed.

Then, at the second concert, in the company of the Mexican clarinetist Angel Zedillo, he will perform the Louis Sfora Concerto No. 2. In this concert, the maestro also conducts Tchaikovsky’s Fifth Symphony.

“This is an international recognition of my work. An invitation that I accept with humility and great responsibility. I was surprised to learn that I would be the first Portuguese member of the Cuban National Symphony Orchestra. This is a very great honor,” the maestro said in a statement.

“I take with me the name of the city of Braga and Portugal with all the responsibility that goes with it, and I hope to do a good job there, leaving a good image and putting on great concerts. These will be very special concerts because, in addition to performing pieces that I love, especially Rachmaninov and Tchaikovsky, I will be directing two wonderful soloists who are also my friends. It will be very beautiful,” concludes Filipe Cunha.

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