A lot of you who follow my other blog, purplehomes are aware of our impending move to Dubai. And about two weeks back finally the big move happened.
And the city welcomed me with the “Taste of Dubai” festival. My heart did a happy dance when I came across it while sitting at home at New Delhi. And exactly a week later there I was enjoying the warm sun, the mad-mad crowd and my first culinary experience in my new home, Dubai.
So the Taste of Dubai is a three day long food festival that over the last five years has become a must attend on every food lover’s calendar. And I have to say I was all curious and excited considering it was a first time for me.
And it didn't disappoint me. Sponsored by Philips the festival was held at the Dubai Media City. With 30 restaurants offering more than 150 dishes the festival was my introduction to the world of food here.
People lazing on the grass with a mug of beer or glass of wine and listening to the wonderful music being played live on their entertainment stage, the atmosphere was sizzling.
We did the usual bit of roaming around and exploring the many many food stalls under those beautiful white canopies.
The gorgeous Crate and Barrel booth had me salivating and Lakeland had lil Sara drooling but what really caught my attention were the Local Harvest and the Crescendo World booths.
Local Harvest is an initiative by the Abu Dhabi Farmer’sService Center (ADFSC) to showcase the diversity of fresh and safe local vegetables. The vegetables and fruits are delivered the day after harvest as compared to imported products which usually take five days or more to reach the UAE. They partner with big retailers and large corporate customers to provide them with quality local products. A lovely initiative to open up marketing and selling channels for the local farmers. Bring it on I say.
Crescendo World. They produce spices, oils and vinegars. And they had tons of beautiful, thick, fruity ,syrupy, fragnant vinegars on display. I ofcourse wanted to come back home with their entire range of aceto balsamico, balsamic and crème vinegars. Read more about how they produce and where they retail here.
The big things that I was looking forward to were the Philips Chefs Theatre and the Kenwood Cookery School.
The Philips Chef theatre boasted of culinary greats like Gary Rhodes, Vineet Bhatia, Reza Mohammad, Gizzi Erskine and many other big names demonstrating and sharing their cooking secrets, answering innumerable questions and interacting with the audience.
One session that I really enjoyed was of Chef Atul Kochhar’s. The Indian born, British based chef, restaurateur and television personality is one of the most critically acclaimed chefs in Britain for his take on modern Indian cuisine. Atul was the first Indian chef to receive a Michelin star, which he maintained with the opening of his first solo venture- Benares restaurant in London in 2007. He put together seared scallops with cauliflower (where he played on the different textures of cauliflower). It was a sheer pleasure to watch him cook and engage the audience with his awesome sense of humour.
Unfortunately I couldn’t be a part of the Kenwood Cookery School where one could cook along with some hugely talented chefs. They were all sold out by the time I reached the venue. I am sure the lucky guys who got a chance to be a part picked up some great professional tips to hone their cooking skills.
There were a lot of other things too. Dine in the dark with Chef Andy Campbell. A test of your palate where one had to taste three canapés in the dark and guess the 20 ingredients that went in the canapés ( out of a list of 100). The prize was to die for. A 5000 AED dining experience by Chef Andy at your own home! DH had participated in something similar years back at London I think but this time he focus was the beverage theatre where Jack Daniels, Fuller Ale’s and Sake were calling out his name:)
A lot of other booths were holding fun contests as well. And we had fun winning some too!
Hmm..there were a couple of things that didn’t go down that well with me. The ground was bursting with people and there wasn’t even space to stand. To make one’s way to a specific booth required some serious muscle power :) Now for me this was the first time there so I am not sure if the festival is always this crowded or over the years it has just become too big for the ground. Anyone listening? Why have an insurance company, dentist, people selling clothes and jewellery in a food festival! And hello! Portion sizes anyone! I am sorry but I want more food for my buck. Fine dining or not. We are at a fair people! And we are hungry after all the sessions, shoving and pushing and ofcourse meeting a lot of lovely people.
A beautiful experience over all. And this time since I had just moved to Dubai I am looking forward to being a part of it next year with some more planning and with more time on hand to experience all that I missed.
And before I end this post I must thank Sarita of Turret Media and Katie and Lindsay of Total Communications for giving me a Media pass that provided me with access to Taste of Dubai for the full weekend and for being so very kind. Thanks ladies.
And here are some interesting facts that were put together by the team of Taste of Dubai:
A Taste Tally:
- · More than 150 dishes
- · 30 restaurants – 12 new to the festival
- · International celebrity chefs: 10
- · 6,790 potatoes used to produce the famous Rivington Grill chips
- · 33 Philips Chefs’ Theatre Displays
- · 15 – 30: The cost in AED of all dishes
- · Number of kilograms of black cod ordered for the famous Nobu dish: 70
- · 26 Kenwood Cookery School interactive sessions
- · 2,700 pieces of handmade Ravioli for Ronda Locatelli
- · Satisfying gastronomy spread across 31 hours (3 days)
- · 5 international and regional bands performing
Eat well. Stay Fit.
Images : Personal Album
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