Dubai is quickly becoming the international dining centerpiece of the Middle East. Here you'll find an outpost of the top restaurants from around the world with their chef's creating masterpieces from local ingredients as well as tried and true dishes for other parts of the world. Celebrity chefs are now making Dubai their home away from home and are building quite a following.
The one event that brings the best of Dubai's culinary scene together under one "roof" is the Taste of Dubai. Three days of cuisine celebration with 100's of belt stretching palate pleasers.
More than 150 dishes from 30 restaurants were part of this year’s Taste of Dubai, whetting the appetites of excited visitors keen to see one of ten celebrity chefs over the three day food, drink and music festival. The festival took place from March 14-16.
Presented by Philips , the Taste of Dubai will introduced 12 new restaurants at the Dubai Media City Amphitheatre, including many which have just opened to the public such as Prime 68, Izakaya and Rang Mahal by Atul Kochhar in the JW Marriott Marquis Hotel Dubai and Frevo in The Fairmont The Palm.
Our favorite experience was clearly the Kenwood Cookery School. It was like having a Le Cordon Bleu course fit into a 30 minute hands on seminar. We were fortunate to be the temporary sous chef of Vineet Bhatia, the multi-award winning chef and owner of the Michelin starred Rasoi - Vineet Bhatia, located in London Chelsea. He is also the proprietor of Indego by Vineet Indego in the Grosvenor House Hotel. From his stage, he commanded his wayward wannbe chefs to cook, conjure and create an exquisite Thai Shrimp with rice dish. We added spices and flavors known and unknown to us and prepared them in new and exciting ways. The experience had a direct impact on my spouse and hopefully for good. She is one who typically only goes into the kitchen to eat and, after the cookery school, now pushes me out of the way to prepare dinner. This experience allowed us to achieve culinary perfection under the tutelage of Chef Vineets, who taught us, step-by-step, how to make restaurant quality food at home.
Another fun part of the festival was to follow one’s nose, eyes, and ears to the smells, sounds, and sights of the various demonstration stands. Vendors plied us with samplings from their various kitchen gadgets, ingredients, and new products. We stopped by the Jamie Oliver Phillips Appliance booth and their risotto was fabulous. Our favorite was the Royal Orchid Restaurant booth with their unforgettable Stir Fried Chicken with Chili and Green Pepper (Kai Phad Prik Sod).
Ten celebrity chefs stared in this year’s event including star of primetime British TV Gizzi Erskine and TV chef and author Ariana Bundy, as well as Gary Rhodes, Richard Sandoval, Vineet Bhatia, Jason Vale, Atul Kochhar, Giorgio Locatelli plus the Giggling Gourmet Jenny Morris and the Spice Prince of India, Reza Mahammad from The Food Network.
A Tasty Tally of Temptous Treats
• 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 3 days
• 5 international and regional bands performing
Visitors sampled dishes, which all cost between $5 - $10, from restaurants such as Armani/Amal and Armani/Ristorante, Asado and Thiptara from The Palace Hotel, No 5 Bar & Lounge in the Ritz Carlton DIFC, Rivington Grill, Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse, Rhodes Mezzanine, Nobu, Gaucho, Ronda Locatelli and The Gramercy.
Dine in the Dark with Chef Andy Campbell is a new feature this year which tested the senses when visitors are blindfolded and served three large canapés and a glass of grape. Their sense of smell, taste and texture will help them to identify 20 ingredients from a list of 100.
Providing the best soundtrack to a weekend of incredible cuisine, the Entertainment Stage, sponsored by Fairmont Hotels and Resorts stared two UK acts, The Counterfeit Beatles and The Noisettes, as well as regional musicians Lisa Theunissen and The Makers, Rachael Calladine and The Everyday People, and The Boxtones, alongside a selection of Virgin Radio DJs, fire dancers and samba performers.
The Noisettes were clearly the show stoppers and a fantastic way to dance off some of those calories from the day of feasting. They kept the crowd moving with their renditions of Proud Mary, to some really UK Dub Music to their own original music.
Being new to Dubai, the Taste was a special treat that makes our stay here all the more enjoyable. Thanks to all the chefs, restaurants, sponsor, and organizers who make it possible.
For more info, visit: www.tasteofdubaifestival.com.