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It’s that time of year again when some of the top names in the culinary domain head down to the UAE capital for three days of cooking challenges, masterclasses, live music, and gastronomical delights being served up from 16 Abu Dhabi restaurants.

The Taste of Abu Dhabi returns this year at the du Arena, Yas Island, on November 8 with its 5th anniversary celebration. There are several new elements over the festival with celebrity chefs including Gary Rhodes and Sanjeev Kapoor tying on their aprons to share kitchen secrets.

Read on as Gulf News tabloid! gives you the ultimate guide to Taste of Abu Dhabi 2018.

What’s new this year?

Farmers’ Market: Grab those shopping bags and head to the farmers’ market for fresh vegetables and produce from farms in Abu Dhabi. You’ll be able to meet farmers, sample and shop for produce, and find out first-hand about the vast range of vegetables, fruit, meat and eggs available right on your doorstep.

Bake Away: Anyone with a sweet tooth will definitely want to roll up their sleeves and head to The Jif Big Baking Tent where you will get the chance to perfect your baking skills. The icing on the cake is Master Patissier Eric Lanlard, will host a series of specially-tailored masterclasses during the festival open to everyone from baking experts to beginners. Other chefs showcasing their baking best and running classes will be Omar Orfali, Gary Rhodes, and Robertos’ Andrea Falcone. You will be able to sign up 30 minutes prior to each session on the day.

It’s a BBQ!: Master Chef Tarek Ebrahim and special guest chefs Anthony Pichon, Hattem Mattar and Mohammad Orfali will share their best BBQ tips as you take part in live challenges. These will be high voltage grilling sessions that you can sign up for 30 minutes prior to each session on the day.

Well, well, wellness: When it’s time for a break from all the culinary action, the new wellness pavilion is bringing experts down from Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi, who will be providing health check-ups. There will also be beauty services from Nayomi Beauty Salon, and wellness items from Organic and Real.

Who are the celebrity chefs and how do I meet them?

The event has roped in some top names in the business to show off their culinary talents, including British celebrity chef Gary Rhodes, Indian chef and entrepreneur Sanjeev Kapoor, Reza Mahammad, Jenny Morris, and local chefs Mohammad Orfali, Tarek Ebrahim, Fathima Ahmad, Hattem Mattar and Anthony Pichon.

There will be a number of masterclasses and challenges being held across the three days with sessions at this year’s Crate & Barrel Chef’s Theatre and the Al Ain Farms & Kibsons cooking challenges. Pick the name that interests you the most and sign up 30 minutes before the session is set to begin. Full schedule is available on the website.

Also, if you have a sweet tooth, then don’t miss out on the Bake Off competition final that will take place on November 10 at 6.45pm at The Big Baking Tent where hopefuls will face judges, including Master Patissier Eric Lanlard and Abu Dhabi’s star baker, in the hope to win baking and patisserie courses worth Dh25,000 at the International Centre for Culinary Arts (ICCA) in Dubai.

Wait, it’s Diwali weekend. Why should I give up on the celebratory feasts?

Well, because this is Taste of Abu Dhabi of course and what’s a food festival without some mouth-watering delicacies to sample.

This year’s restaurant section will be serving up more than 50 dishes to taste from Coya, Abu Jad, Bouchon Bakery, Crab & Burger, Theatre by Rhodes, Dai Pai Dong, Dean & Deluca, Dickey’s, Hickory’s, Leopold’s of London, Limo, Matsu, Nolu’s, Roberto’s, Shang Palace, and Sushina.

There is also a special pop-up of the Gary Rhodes restaurant, Theatre by Rhodes, where you will be able to meet the man himself.

I’m stuck with the kids over the weekend. What’s in it for them?

Everyone under 12 gets in free, and there will be special cooking and baking classes just for kids by Fathima Ahmad from Table for Five, a dedicated kids zone and free trampolines. Bounce Inc Local Harvest, alongside their farmers’ market, will also host a special activity for kids to plant their very own vegetable seeds to take home and grow.

Is there entertainment for the adults?

But of course. The festival kicks off with a big night of international music acts on November 8 including 2017 Britain’s Got Talent singer Sarah Ikumu who comes on at 8pm.

Former Girls Aloud singer Nadine Coyle will get the crowd moving at 8.45pm, followed by The Bootleg Beatles at 9.45pm, who will be bringing a little bit of Abbey Road to Abu Dhabi performing classics including Hey Jude, All You Need Is Love, Yellow Submarine and Black Bird.

There will also be live music all day, every day throughout the festival from musical talent including DJ Sheps, 4TheMusic, Mark Zitti e Fratelli Coltelli, and Sound City.

I don’t do well with crowds. How can I go VIP?

For those looking for the ultimate experience, get your hands on VIP tickets, which provides you with fast-track entry into the festival, unlimited access to the Cleartrip VIP lounge and the opportunity to get up close and personal with the festival’s headline bands and artists.

You’ll be able to relax in style close to the mainstage in lounge-style seating, with three complimentary drinks and three food vouchers to sample dishes from any of the restaurants participating.

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The Details

Taste of Abu Dhabi will be held at du Arena, Yas Island from November 8-10.

November 8: 4pm-11.30pm

November 9: 12pm-11pm

November 10: 12pm-10pm

There’s many option for tickets to this year’s festival starting at Dh40 and available online through tasteofabudhabi.com