The judges check various date dishes at the Date Cooking competition at the Liwa Date Festival in Abu Dhabi on Saturday. Image Credit: Abdul Rahman/Gulf News

Western Region: A cookery competition under the name "Tastes of Tradition" gave visitors to the Liwa Date Festival a tasty and aromatic way to experience how the fruit can be incorporated into any meal.

The competition, which completed its five-day run on Saturday, saw chefs from hotels and culinary organisations across the capital fuse dates in everything from sauces to main courses and desserts while competing for a total of Dh150,000 in overall cash prizes.

"At first, we weren't sure who had won as the scores were very close. But when they announced we had won first place it was an amazing feeling and I know I couldn't have achieved it without my team," said George Gebrayel, Executive Sous Chef of the Armed Officers' Club and Hotel.

"We wanted to stay as true to the competition's theme as possible and our menu reflected that, including the local vegetables we used, which I think was what impressed the judges."

The Fairmont Bab Al Bahr and Alhan Restaurant and Chocolate Bar won second and third place respectively.

Other participants included the Grand Millennium Al Wahda, Jones the Grocer, Intercontinental Hotel Abu Dhabi, Crowne Plaza Hotel Abu Dhabi, Beach Rotana Hotel, Radisson Blu Hotel Yas Island and Abu Dhabi In-flight Catering.

Chefs had to create original three course menus with dates in each course as either the main ingredient or embellishment and were rated on originality, taste, presentation, difficulty and artistic achievement.


What: Liwa Date Festival

When: July 12-21

Where: Western Region

Website: www.liwadatesfestival.ae

Daily transport: The assembly point for the festival bus is the Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture and Heritage's office on Airport Road, behind Carrefour hypermarket. The bus leaves Abu Dhabi at 9am and returns at 6pm.

— With inputs from Sarah Hassan, Staff Reporter