With plates of fresh food, steaming hot cups of coffee and a smile on their faces - the opening day of the mega food festival, Taste of Dubai in Partnership with Philips, saw thousands of excited foodies streaming in.
The event that is expected to be attended by 15,000 food gourmets over three days, began on February 3, yesterday, at the Dubai Media City Amphitheatre.
Cooking and making friends
American expat Jacqueline Benzing attended Taste of Dubai for the first time and decided to get the weekend pass.
“I’ve been to other Taste events in the United States, and I wanted to find out what Dubai has to offer,” she said.
The 28-year-old calls herself “a big eater” and “less of a cook” but she thoroughly enjoyed the cooking sessions. She got a chance to bake a fruit tart at the Kibsons Mystery Box Challenge.
“The Kibsons challenge was so much fun. I got to cook with a chef and I’m going to attend a masterclass at the Philips Cook School after this great experience,” the logistics technician said.
Benzing even made a friend at the event, Razzan Elhajj.
“I’m a big extrovert and I love attending events like these where I can meet people,” said Elhajj, a film student.
It’s also the first time the 20-year-old attended the event. “I cooked with chefs and attended masterclasses during the day and I’m staying for the music in the evening,” she added.
British expat Lynn Ashby is a regular to the Taste of Dubai festival. Talking to Gulf News, she said: “It’s a wonderful experience and she has been coming to event from the first year. I am happy that the event is back to its own strength.”
Ashby, who has lived in Dubai for the past 10 years, added: “I love cooking and I am looking forward to the cooking classes, I learn something new every time.”
Anju Chadda, Events Director, MENA Live Events, said: “We are thrilled to be back and bringing the people of Dubai and beyond, some of the best restaurants this city has to offer.
“The new layout, elevate cooking experiences and family friendly vibe is being loved by all of festival goers who attended on day one.
"We can't wait to see more of you here over the weekend - come hungry!”
Global culinary culture in the UAE
Hundreds of people were seen flocking to see their favourite celebrity chefs in action and trying food from Michelin-recognised restaurants.
Alex Mobsby, Head Chef at Rhodes W1 said: “It’s a great variety of restaurants at the event this year. I like seeing the people who come to the event as well. Foodies in Dubai are very open to trying out new cuisines and foods.”
The British chef, who has been in the culinary arts for over 8 years in the UAE, also said that it is an opportunity for those in the food and beverage industry to network.
“It’s a great place to network for chefs and we get to learn more about the food culture of Dubai,” he added.
If you are heading to the festival, make sure to come in early to find parking and wear comfortable shoes for all the walking and visiting food stalls.
The standard ticket gives visitors a single day entry at Dh75. The “Taster” ticket gives visitors a single day entry, 2 food and 2 drinks vouchers at Dh165.
The VIP ticket gives attendees a single day entry, 3 food and 3 drinks vouchers, and VIP lounge access at Dh250.
Ultimate Weekend Package includes 3-day entry, 10 food and 10 drinks vouchers, VIP lounge access, valid for 1 person at Dh650.
The Taste of Dubai team encourages visitors to get their tickets in pairs as they come at a discounted price.
A pair of standard tickets for a single day entry are for Dh140. You can get 2 “Taster” tickets for Dh300 and two VIP tickets come at a price of Dh450.
More information can also be found on the Taste of Dubai website while tickets can be purchased on Platinumlist.net.
Parking and getting there
The event is taking place at the Dubai Media City Amphitheatre, which is located in Al Sufouh, Dubai.
Paid parking by the Dubai Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) is available next to the venue, however, the spaces are limited so the organisers recommend getting there early.
Taking public transport to the venue is also encouraged. Visitors can take the Dubai Metro and reach the Al Khail Metro Station and walk to the venue.
Festival visitors can also schedule a ride from Careem to the venue and get a 15 per cent discount by using the promo code mentioned on the bottom of their Taste of Dubai ticket.