Gastronomy is playing big in the shores of Dubai and backed by an exquisite panorama, it becomes the perfect spot to “celebrate taste”. And that’s what 2016’s Dubai Food Festival (DFF) celebrated – the tastes drawn from more than 200 nationalities in the Emirate. It showcased the multitude of food cultures that harmoniously coexist within the city. Anyone who has visited Dubai will agree that you are spoilt for choice. Irrespective of your budget, the city has a lot to offer for every food enthusiast.
You see the place buzzing with the energy of old and new restaurants and celebrity chefs throng Dubai to open their eateries to a wider world. For instance, for delectable British cuisine, The Bread Street Kitchen with a British European menu- a restaurant of Gordon Ramsay, the British chef, restaurateur, and television personality (if you have seen Master Chef US and Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares, then you know whom I am talking about). There’s also Gary Rhodes, a Michelin-starred celebrity Chef, whose Rhodes W 1, a British restaurant, bar and terrace, is known for its afternoon tea menu.
Beyond Britain, there’s Maya, Modern Mexican Kitchen & Lounge, a Mexico-food focused fine dining setup of Chef Richard Sandoval, the tennis star turned chef; and there’s also Michelin-starred Chef Atul Kochhar’s Rang Mahal, a vibrant palace of color to satiate your spicy palate with a menu of modern Indian cuisine. If fine dining isn’t your cup of tea and you’re more of an explorer as you drive around, there’s always the streets of Dubai to offer you the best food orgasm. So, to provide one a complete culinary experience of UAE within 17 countable days, the Dubai Food Festival’s program included new events, celebrity chefs, activities and promotions.
The festival was powered up with various local Chefs, such as Colin Clague, executive chef of Jean-Georges restaurant; Himanshu Saini, the 28-year old head chef at Tresind in Dubai; Chef Roland Puse of Coya Dubai; Chef Tom Arnel, half of the duo behind Dubai’s popular casual eateries Tom & Serg, The Sum of Us and Common Grounds; and the popularly known Queen of the Arabian Kitchen, Chef Manal Al Alem; the 19-year-old self-taught Emirati cook, Bader Najeeb Al Awadhi; and Silvena Rowe, a celebrated chef, restaurateur, television personality and cook book author, who donned their best culinary hats to create food the best way possible. With these chefs in the picture, the event included live cooking demonstrations and master classes.
The teeming crowd of more than 70,000 people at the Etisalat Beach Canteen on Kite Beach, was a testimony to the positive buzz that this event creates. It’s a wonderful time to be in Dubai, and one could see celebrity chefs from Masterchef Australia, George Dimitrios Calombaris and Gary Mehigan; French-born star of ‘My Kitchen Rules’ Manu Feildel; television favourite and restaurateur, Matt Moran; and the popular restaurateur and author, Shannon Bennett, enjoying the beachy fun at the festival. To celebrate the culture brought in by the restaurants in Dubai, the festival also included the Dubai Restaurant Week, which had thirty of the city’s restaurants offer three-course set menus at the price of AED 189 (approx. Rs. 3,400), including. And with celebrities being a part of the event, the festival included a special program – ’Dine with the Stars’.
Being the culinary spot, Dubai Food Festival wasn’t a one-place-for-all kind of an event. Its specialty lies in involving every corner of the city. From restaurants and malls to favorite hotspots, every establishment joins the fun to make it a true delight for foodies, shoppers, residents and visitors from around the world. On the concluding day of Dubai Food Festival 2016, H.E Laila Mohammed Suhail, Chief Executive Officer, of the organizer, eDubai Festivals and Retail Establishment (DFRE), an agency of the Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM), said “Dubai Food Festival 2016 was a success for both Dubai and the city’s bustling gastronomy scene, and is a real reflection of the emirate’s emergence as a vibrant and unique culinary capital. We have also been fortunate to receive the whole hearted support of our partners in the private sector to help DFF 2016 become a platform to showcase and demonstrate our rapidly expanding food and restaurant sector, and to share Emirati culture, cuisine and hospitality with visitors from all over the world.”
From 25 February – 12 March 2016, the third edition of Dubai Food Festival was able catch on the mood and engage people in fun activities, such as the ‘Spend & Win’ competitions. The Kite beach also saw 15 delicious home-grown restaurant concepts and celebrity chef appearances, and visitors enjoyed the-new features of the festival, such as fitness classes, open-mic nights, storytelling by the sea, a farmer’s market and fashion market, as well as local bands, DJs, children’s activities, beach cinema and beach sports.
So, in all every visitor took away some memorable experiences as an individual and as a family. If you couldn’t join the fun this year, make sure to plan a trip to Dubai between 23 February and 11 March 2017 to check out the experience some unforgettable moments in the Dubai Food Festival 2017.
– EB / Anjali Sethi Joshi