Dubai Food Festival: Go Local! international masterschefs put local produce in spotlight

Dubai Food Festival: Go Local! international masterschefs put local produce in spotlight

29.01.2014: Silvena Rowe’s Exclusive ‘Carnival Rowe’ Dinners Promise ‘Taste of Organic Arabia’

Silvena Rowe’s Exclusive ‘Carnival Rowe’ Dinners Promise ‘Taste of Organic Arabia’

Celebrity Masterchefs & Regional Stars Endorse Carnival’s Chef’s Dome

New Emirati Fine Dining Concept Debut

The first Dubai Food Carnival - a two-day, family-friendly, food, beverage and entertainment extravaganza debuting at Dubai Festival City from 21-22 February, 2014 – will see a star-studded roster of international and regional masterchefs ‘go local’ with a dazzling array of local produce from the UAE’s fields, farms and factories.

As part of Dubai Food Carnival initiatives to raise community awareness of the abundant high-quality meats, vegetables and fruits available in the UAE, locally-sourced produce will constitute the majority of ingredients used in a series of exclusive epicurean promotions and public cooking demonstrations in The Chef’s Dome, a dedicated live cooking area.

With some of the biggest names in global gastronomy already on-board - including international TV sensation, Chef John Torode, Lebanon’s Maroun Chedid, voted 'Chef of the Year 2013' by the Toques Blanches du Monde, and India’s culinary maestro, Sanjeev Kapoor - the regional culinary scene will be represented by Manal Al Alem, the ‘Queen of the Arabic kitchen’, Chef Tarek Ibrahim, Fatafeat TV celebrity and Meat & Livestock Australia MENA’s corporate executive chef, Chef Mohammad Orfali, Executive Chef, Fatafeat TV, Uwe Micheel, Director of Kitchens at Radisson Blu Hotel, Dubai Deira Creek, and President of the Emirates Culinary Guild; and, finally, Chef Toh Chye Siong, Chef de Cuisine at the award-winning Hakkasan Dubai.

International celebrity Chef Silvena Rowe, the star of BBC food shows, Country Show Cook-Off and Saturday Kitchen, is leading the locally-sourced charge. As well as teaming up with Greenheart Organic Farms to run Silvena’s Souq, a dedicated organic market where Carnival-goers can purchase fresh, locally-grown produce, Chef Rowe, Consultant Chef at the five-star H Hotel Dubai, will inject a fine dining element into the Carnival with six exclusive, organic-themed lunches and dinners at Carnival Rowe – a specially-designed, celebrity restaurant.

“I want to highlight the amazing quality of local ingredients and show how easy it is to create beautiful dishes using only products grown and reared in the UAE,” said Chef Rowe. “Not many people know that 98 per cent of food in Dubai is imported, so I’ve put together a completely organic menu where 98 per cent of the produce used is locally farmed. There’s also a strong Emirati focus to the menu and, of course, it’s totally alcohol free – I can promise people an authentic taste of organic Arabic.”

Chef Rowe’s sumptuous fully organic and locally-sourced three-course menu includes a starter of sous-vide vegetables with truffle-infused sabayon and truffle za’atar crumble, before an Emirati-style main course of golden bzar-spiced, slow-cooked baby lamb with Lulu date and molasses mohammar – traditional Emirati rice.

A vegetarian main course option will also be available. The gluten-free ‘two’s better than one’ dessert offers a dark chocolate and hazelnut cake with a white chocolate labneh and a velvety cherry and pistachio muhallabiya with orange blossom. Finally, butter crème and date macaroons will be served with coffee or tea.

With seating capacity for Carnival Rowe’s three daily seating sessions - 12:30 to 3:00pm, 5:30 to 7:30pm and 8:00 to 10:00pm – limited to a maximum of 50 diners at a time, Chef Rowe’s  signature three-course menu costs AED225 per person and advance tickets can be bought direct from Time Out Tickets (

With so many world-class culinary impresarios Dubai Food Carnival-bound, Chef Torode, the straight-talking co-host and judge of BBC food shows, MasterChef, Celebrity MasterChef and Junior MasterChef, is looking forward to joining the action.

"I'm looking forward to being part of the Dubai Food Carnival. It's fantastic to be involved with an event that is so international. Hopefully the public will pick up some tips and skills that will allow them to be more experimental with their own cooking, and if we can encourage them to use a few more local ingredients along the way, all the better,” said Chef Torode.

In addition to cooking in The Chef’s Dome, Chef Ibrahim, the first Arab chef to be nominated and receive the coveted status of Masterchef from the World Association of Chef Societies (WACS), will also oversee the Great Yalla BBQ - an open-to-all, country versus country BBQ competition sponsored by Weber and the MLA.

“I cannot wait to jump into the kitchen and put on a show at the Dubai Food Carnival,” said Ibrahim. “The Great Yalla BBQ is going to be brilliant family entertainment – we’ll have a lot of fun finding our ‘Grill King’, or ‘Grill Queen’. It is the ultimate contest for anyone who thinks they know their way around a BBQ – competition will be red-hot!”

Organised by Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC), the Dubai Food Carnival will also see Chef Micheel and his team debut a new Emirati fine dining restaurant concept, Aseelah, which is due to open later this year at the Radisson Blu Hotel, Dubai Deira Creek. Translating from Arabic as ‘one belonging to a great heritage and family’, Aseelah will offer authentic Emirati cuisine, Majlis-style seating, a modern bar and an outdoor terrace with lounge seating.

The Dubai Food Carnival is part of the inaugural Dubai Food Festival, taking place across the Emirate from 21 February to 15 March, 2014. For more information on Dubai Food Festival, please visit

Open from 10am to 11pm on 21-22 February, tickets to the Dubai Food Carnival are AED60 (US $ 16) per person. Children under 12 enter free. For more information, visit: .

Sarah Potter,Total Communications Dubai - also photos CREDIT 'The H Hotel Dubai'


29.01.2014 / MaP

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