Inaugural Abu Dhabi Food Festival in February 2015

Gourmet Abu Dhabi, Emirati Kitchen, and StreetFeast to form core of first food festival in the UAE capital

Khulood Atiq.
Khulood Atiq.

Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority (TCA Abu Dhabi) is launching the inaugural Abu Dhabi Food Festival from February 5-21, 2015, which will incorporate the annual Gourmet Abu Dhabi event, the new Emirati Kitchen and the Gulf region’s first StreetFeast.

"Over the past six years we have seen a considerable transformation in cuisine quality and service levels within the emirate’s food & beverage scene which Gourmet Abu Dhabi played a role in," said Sultan Al Dhaheri, acting executive director tourism, TCA Abu Dhabi.

"We now want to expand the reach of our food celebrations to take in a wider audience.”

Gourmet Abu Dhabi was launched in 2009 with the dual aim of raising F&B standards within the emirate and promoting Emirati hospitality traditions. Next year’s Gourmet Abu Dhabi will run for the entire duration of the festival with activations throughout the emirate’s leading hotels.

“Gourmet Abu Dhabi lovers can still look forward to a programme of celebrity masterchefs, master classes, chateau and themed dinners and culinary promotion but in a condensed time frame,” explained Al Dhaheri.

However, next year’s programme will be missing the Gourmet Abu Dhabi Stars Awards. “The Awards programme served a very good purpose over the past five years in helping to raise standards within the industry however, we now believe that the numerous awards programmes run by the private sector are now fulfilling this function and that there is no further need for duplication,” explained Al Dhaheri.

The new Emirati Kitchen event, will run from February 5-7 and will celebrate authentic dishes of the United Arab Emirates. “We anticipate this component will bring the Emirati community together and will help spread awareness of our traditional food by offering a taste of it to expatriate residents and visitors who will also get the chance to learn how to make some of the dishes,” said Al Dhaheri. “We believe this is an important element of the overall event with cuisine being a distinctive hallmark of a destination. Who thinks of Italy without thinking of Italian food? Emirati food can also be a strong destination identifier.”

On the Emirati Kitchen menu are chef appearances, Emirati cooking workshops and a traditional shop – Dukan – selling Emirati kitchen utensils and spices. Over three days of authentic Emirati food, guests can experience 25 traditional modern Emirati cuisine recipes, served up by five Emirati chefs and 30 Emirati enthusiasts and attend five Emirati cooking workshops.

“This is a great step forward for the promotion of Emirati cuisine – both traditional and modern,” said culinary development specialist Khulood Atiq. “It will be a great source of engagement for all Emirati and expatriate residents and for overseas visitors who will be able to try types of food they have perhaps not come across before.”

The region’s inaugural StreetFeast will run throughout Abu Dhabi city, Al Gharbia (Western Region) and Al Ain on two weekends February 12-14 and again from February 19-21.

“This is going to be a whole lot of fun for everyone,” explained Al Dhaheri. “Food from a range of countries and of different types will be served up by a kitchen caravan of food trucks. It will be affordable food for all to enjoy.

“Road side truck food has become something of a genre of its own in recent years and is making its mark internationally. We want to bring the concept here to ensure the region stays on top of culinary trends. Abu Dhabi Food Festival has been designed to appeal to all price points and tastes and will serve up the world on our plates.”

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