Approaching its final well-seasoned week, the Dubai Food Festival 2015 is prepping to welcome nine international TV chefs to showcase their famed culinary skills in live and interactive cooking sessions as part of the Middle East’s first live Fatafeat Kitchen event this weekend.
The coming days will also see the flavorsome Festival play host to social media giant Twitter as it gears up to delight the emirate’s burgeoning foodie blogger community at the new-for-2015 Middle East Food & Travel Blogger Conference. Waistbands will also be left bursting as the Festival welcomes the Masala! Food Fair and Street Nights,as well as further filling fixtures at the Beach Canteen, Food & Film series and Mystery Dining Tours.
Launching this weekend (20 – 21 February), the Middle East’s first Fatafeat Kitchen will bring together nine celebrity chefs from the popular Arabic cookery channel, Fatafeat, to cook for live audiences for the very first time off-screen. TV favourites including “The master of meat” Tarek Ibrahim, “The first lady of baking” Houriya Zannoun and “The Khaleeji cuisine expert” Wafaa Al Kandari, are set to satisfy guest cravings with back-to-back cooking demonstrations that will see the popular chefs create their own specialties, sign cookery books and meet and greet their fans in the UAE. Dubai’s foodies can catch all of the culinary action at Lafayette Gourmet in Galeries Lafayette, Dubai Mall, from 1 – 10pm.
To celebrate the ever-growing role of social media in the food industry –particularly its use by food trucks to promote their locations and menus– the Dubai Food Festival is set to host the new and unique 2015 Middle East Food & Travel Blogger Conference.A one-day interactive event, the conference will welcome involvement from social media giant Twitter as well as the biggest players in the global restaurant industry, including Financial Times food critic, Nick Lander, and celebrity chef and publisher, Manal Al-Alem. Offering a platform for the emirate’s burgeoning online food and lifestyle community to come together to discuss the role of food in the online space, the conference celebrates Dubai’s position as the culinary capital of the Middle East. Welcoming food stylists, photographers and global media agencies to highlight how food and lifestyle brands can best utilise online platforms to promote their offerings and the region’s food scene at large, the event will take place on20 February at A4 Space and Gulf Photo Plus Studio on Al Serkal Avenue between 9am – 6pm.
Following in the footsteps of Saudi Arabian super chef Youssef Khumayes, young chefs from the UAE’s association of professional chefs, the Emirates Culinary Guild,are now stationed at the Beach Canteen pop up restaurant until 20 February. Offering up Emirati cuisine, chefs including RahilA. Rathod, recently crowned Best Young Chef 2015at Gulfood 2015’s Salon Culinaire, will delight beach diners ahead of TV favourite Sanjeev Kapoor popping into the pop up for a one day stint on 21 of the month to serve up authentic Indian treats. Queen of the Arabic kitchen Manal Al-Alem will then swap Biryani for Basbousa in the pop up from 22 – 25 February, ahead of her hosting a Ladies Luncheon for Dubai Ladies Club members on 22 February from 1 – 3pm.
Award-winning street food photographer Penny De Los Santos will also fly into the Beach Canteen on 21 February at 1pm to showcase a series of exclusive street food photographs, captured on her recent visit to the older parts of Dubai.
Dine On The Creek and Schools Project
Both Sanjeev Kapoor (18 Feb) and Manal Al-Alem (23 Feb) will welcome dhow diners to enjoy an evening of their iconic culinary fare aboard the emirate’s traditional Creek boats as part of the Dine On The Creek series, before heading into Dubai’s schools to highlight the importance of portion control in line with the Festival’s Schools Project.A huge success, the series of celebrity chef schools visits will conclude on 25 February with the Michelin-starred Jason Atherton.
Mystery Dining Tours and Food & Film
The Festival’s appetizing adventures, the Mystery Dining Tours will also hit an A-list note this week as the Celebrity Hotspots tour takes place on 18 February, which will see guests dine in the city’s best restaurants and enjoy the dishes ordered by the rich and famous. The Dubai Skyline Touralso takes off on 23, with tour-goers set to feast on drinks and food inspired by Dubai’s iconic skyline vista.
A further jam-packed Food & Film schedule will see English culinary comedy The Trip screen at the Beach Canteen on 18 February at 7pm, as well as showings of children’s foodie favourite Ratatouille (20 Feb, Beach Canteen, 6pm), Daawat-e-Ishq (20 Feb, Zabeel Park, 7pm), Julia and Julia (21 Feb, Beach Canteen, 7pm), Chocolat (23 Feb, JLT Park, 7pm) and The Trip to Italy (25 Feb, Beach Canteen, 7pm) satisfy the foodie and film cravings of Dubai audiences.
Masala! Food Fair and Street Nights
Further flavoursome dates for diaries include the Dubai Food Festival’s Indian extravaganza, the Masala! Food Fair – a two-day Indian food event welcoming high-profile chefs including Sanjeev Kapoor.
Bollywood foodie Raveena Tandon will also bring a touch of glamour (20 – 21 February, Zabeel Park).
The same weekend, free community initiative Street Nights will bring together street culture enthusiasts for a weekend of arts, music and food, with appearances from a number of the Festival’s food trucks – in a celebration of the city’s cosmopolitan street food and lifestyle scene.