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New Abu Dhabi Food Festival serves up three course extravaganza

Gourmet Abu Dhabi, Emirati kitchen and region’s first street feast on February menu

Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority (TCA Abu Dhabi) is to serve up a three-course celebration of food this February with the inaugural Abu Dhabi Food Festival. Running emirate-wide from February 5-21 next year, the festival will incorporate the annual Gourmet Abu Dhabi event, the new Emirati Kitchen and the Gulf region’s first StreetFeast.

Spread over two weeks and three weekends, the Abu Dhabi Food Festival will reach out to residents and visitors alike and will be supported by a full range of activations and promotions in the emirate’s hotels, restaurants, malls and main attractions,  

“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,” explained 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.  

“I think anybody who visits or lives in Abu Dhabi would agree that f&b standards throughout the emirate are now incredibly high. The choice and range of cuisine on offer is almost bewildering and the emirate has attracted some of the most influential names in the culinary world. Year upon year we have also demonstrated to our guests and visitors that the legendary Arabian hospitality is very much alive and well and practised on a daily basis in Abu Dhabi. It is now time to move our food event on to a wider audience and with food for all tastes.”  

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.  

The new Emirati Kitchen event will run from February 5-7 and will celebrate the 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,” explained 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 appearances by the country’s most noted chefs, Emirati cooking workshops and a traditional shop – Dukan – selling Emirati kitchen utensils and spices. Over three days of authentic Emirati food, Kitchen goers can experience 25 traditional modern Emirati cuisine recipes, served up by five noted 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, the Emirates’ only female celebrity chef and a TCA Abu Dhabi cuisine consultant. “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 the emirate’s second city and heritage heartland of 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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