1. Cooking demonstrations
At the Etihad Chef’s Theatre, visitors will be able to get up close and personal with this year’s line-up of celebrity chefs as they witness the culinary masters in action.
This will also be the venue for the Taste of the World with Etihad Airways competition. The airline has picked out top culinary talent from around the globe and brought them over to present their best dishes. Each will cook for audiences over the three-day event before a final winner is crowned. Who can you expect to see this year? Keep reading.
2. Big name chefs
There will be a total of five celebrity chefs at Taste of Abu Dhabi this year. South African Jenny Morris returns to the capital with bags of culinary tricks and a couple of jokes thrown in for good measure, too. The Giggling Gourmet, as she is affectionately called, will take to the stage alongside good friend and fellow gourmand Reza Mahammad for what are sure to be an entertaining few sessions. Meanwhile, Shelina Permalloo, winner of BBC’s Masterchef in 2012, will also be on hand to share her knowledge and experience, as will Indian top chef Sanjeev Kapoor. And last, but by no means least, will be Richard Sandoval.
The chefs will participate in the Al Ain Dairy Cooking Challenge and conduct demonstrations at the Etihad Chef’s Theatre.
3. Global talent
Etihad Airways has flown in eight chefs from around the world for its Taste of the World with Etihad Airways competition. Sydney native Nathan Sasi will display his penchant for reviving old techniques, something seen by many at his restaurant Mercado. Visitors will also get a chance to watch Toronto-based Ted Corrado, corporate executive chef at Drake Hotel Properties, and Frenchman Gregory Marchand doing what they do best. But enjoying home advantage will be Darren Hall, chef de cuisine of Cook Hall in The Westin Dubai, Al Habtoor City.
4. Cooking challenges
Think you’ve got the culinary chops to take down other cooks? Put your knife skills to the test at the Al Ain Dairy Cooking Challenge as you cook alongside the celebrity chefs and compete against others like you. If you manage to impress the judges, you could walk away with a shiny prize (and bragging rights).
5. Hosts With The Most
A trio of top presenters will be there to keep you from getting lost in the mix. Joanne Pickard is no stranger to food shows or hosting duties and will be taking charge alongside Taste (Abu Dhabi and Dubai) veteran Andrew Dickens. While Goldierocks, aka, Sam Hall, international DJ and performer, who has rubbed shoulders with the likes of Madonna, Giorgio Armani and Richard Branson, will be making her debut.
6. Food stalls
This will be your chance to sample a diverse range of food under one metaphorical umbrella. Get a taste of Abu Dhabi as you feast on the goods from pan-Latin giants Toro Toro and BU!, Asian venus such as Desert Lotus and Café Sushi, seafood wizards Flooka and lots more. There will be plenty to satisfy every taste and preference.
7. Live music
Tony Hadley, former lead singer of British group Spandau Ballet, has been announced as the headliner for the event and will close out the first day’s proceedings. We know this much is true. (Yes, we just did that and we’re patting ourselves on the back for it.) Oh and there will be an exclusive Golden Circle (a tribute to the Spandau Ballet hit Gold) in front of the main stage for VIP ticket holders. There will be loads more live music from Dubai-based acts such as The Maplejacks, Jaye & Foe, 4TheMusic, Down Home and Mark Zitti ei Fratelli Coltelli over the fun-filled weekend. DJ Krish will break up the live acts with his remix sets that are sure to get the audience on their feet – always handy at a festival that centres around eating.
8. Italian produce
If you could eat Italian for breakfast, lunch and dinner, make sure you hang around the Extraordinary Italian Taste Pavilion. An army of six chefs (five of whom have landed Michelin stars at their restaurants, we’re told) have flown all the way from the Europe to share tips on how to cook a perfect bowl of pasta, make the creamiest gelato and brew the best espresso. The line-up comprises Tony Lo Coco, Rosanna Marziale, Errico Recanati, Paolo Gramaglia, William Zonfa and Nicola Fossaceca. In addition to the demo, there will be artisans dishing up sweet sorbets and savoury pizzas.
9. Kids’ Corner
The little ones get their own dedicated zone, Le FanFans, which includes an arts and crafts station, bouncy castles, a human dunk tank, a zip-line, bungee jumping, face painting booths and pizza-making sessions as well.
Prices starting from Dhs10.
10. VIP Access
An exclusive VIP ticket gets you fast-track entry into the event and spoils you with access to The Hub – VIP lounge. You also get two complementary drinks and three food vouchers to spend at your favourite participating restaurant.
From Dhs65, free (kids below 12). Nov 9, 4pm-11pm, Nov 10, noon-11pm, Nov 11, noon-10pm. du Arena, Yas Island tasteabudhabi.com.