Taste of Dubai, the annual food, drink and music festival is back for its 12th year at the Dubai Media City Ampitheatre with a three-day food extravaganza that includes appearances by celebrity chefs, musical performances and sampling dishes from some of the city’s top-notch restaurants.
Gulf News tabloid! puts together a handy guide to the best of ToD:
Celebrity Chefs attending
This year’s line-up of international culinary talent includes Michelin Star Chef David Myers, who will be making an appearance on all three days at ToD.
Also headlining is the legendary Iron Chef and Michelin-starred Masaharu Morimoto who will be at ToD on March 8 and 9.
Meanwhile, other names to watch out for include Dubai’s much-loved culinary duo Nick Alvis and Scott Price; English cook and restaurateur Simon Rimmer; Master French Patissier Eric Lanlard; meat and grilling expert Tarek Ebrahim; South African Chef Lorna Maseko; Arabic and Aleppian cuisine expert Mohammad Orfali; the Arab world’s first pit master Hattem Mattar and the Giggling Gourmet Chef Jenny Morris.
The chefs will present live cooking demonstrations, host inspiring conversations and introduce their latest culinary cooking techniques.
Cook with celeb chefs
There will be a jam-packed schedule of cooking classes available for enthusiasts to cook alongside celebrity chefs and master new techniques.
You will get the opportunity to put your creative cooking skills to the test as you compete with other challengers to win prizes in the Al Ain Farms and Kibsons Cooking Challenge. Sign up for 30 minutes before each session on the day.
Chefs’ Theatre experience
At the Crate and Barrel Chefs’ Theatre you will get the chance to watch the masters Chef Morimoto, Chef Myers, Orfali, Tarek Ibrahim, Scott Price, Nick Alvis and other celebrity chefs live in action, as they showcase their signature dishes at the Chef’s Theatre.
You can pick up a multitude of tips and tricks as they discuss the latest trends in culinary arts.
The MasterChef Experience
As anticipation builds ahead of the April opening of MasterChef, the TV Experience, fans of the international TV sensation can sample a taste of what’s in store at the new restaurant during ToD.
MasterChef, the TV Experience, will descend on the three-day food event with sneak-peek menu items, cooking demonstrations, celebrity appearances and a TV-inspired Mystery Box Cooking Challenge concept open to members of the public.
“As one of the biggest food festivals in the city, Taste of Dubai is the perfect place for us to give the event’s loyal audience of passionate foodies a first taste of champion dishes confirmed for our launch menu” said Margarita Vaamonde-Beggs, Head Chef at MasterChef, the TV Experience, who will judge four Mystery Box Cooking Challenges over three ToD days and conduct daily cooking demos in the event’s Chefs’ Theatre.
MasterChef Australia star Matt Preston will also join Chef Margarita for an open panel talk in the Chefs’ Theatre on March 9. On the same day, Preston and Chef Margarita will also judge two editions of the Mystery Box Cooking Challenge, where members of the public will don aprons and square-off in a mini competition inspired by the iconic and much-loved Mystery Box trial from the TV show.
Members of the public interested in taking part in the Mystery Box Cooking Challenge must pre-register 30 minutes before the competition. Limited spaces are available.
Chef Margarita’s Taste of Dubai menu features several dishes made famous by international champions, including 2016 MasterChef USA victor Shaun O’Neale’s ‘duck leg confit tacos’ and ‘fried chicken waffles’, as well as 2008 MasterChef UK winner James Nathan’s ‘deconstructed Eton mess’, among others. Prices will range from Dh15 to Dh30.
The entertainment acts
80s British pop sensation and former Spandau Ballet lead singer, Tony Hadley is the headliner act that will perform on the main stage on March 7, belting out his classic hits including ‘True’, ‘Gold’ and ‘Only When You Leave’.
Setting the scene for a weekend of non-stop music, 4 The Music and it’s powerhouse lead vocalist Jabu Magagula will perform a mix of smooth jazz, R&B, pop and blues. Playing their most loved cover songs on the Kibsons Main Stage throughout the weekend, 4 The Music will be the opening act on the first day, ahead of Hadley’s performance.
On March 8, jazz and soul artist Sam Tring will take to the stage, bringing relaxed vibes to the afternoon at the festival. As the sun goes down, Mark Zitti ei Fratelli Coltelli, the swing band will be stepping up the tempo with a full set of their classic renditions.
On March 9, Stephanie Goudie and her four-piece band will be performing classic jazz and soul covers from the 70s, 80s and 90s. Goudie is a former member of the girl band Chocolate Monday, having toured alongside Girls Around and Blue, who counts her musical influences come from Aretha Franklin and Amy Winehouse, so expect some big jazz ballads on the main stage throughout the afternoon.
Bringing the party to Taste of Dubai each evening, Dubai-based DJ Sheps will be on the decks.
What’s a food festival without actually sampling some of the fares? ToD restaurants that will be serving up taste size delights include: Japanese restaurant Nobu, Gordon Ramsey’s Bread Street Kitchen, contemporary tastes from Asia with Wakame, authentic Italian with GIA and gourmet Turkish food at Kaftan.
Also on the menu is Andes, serving up contemporary South American, delicacies from French bistro Couqley, authentic Southern American style food at The Blacksmith Smokehouse, Spanish tapas selections at Seville’s, Greek street food at Go! Greek, Italian flavours at Certo, Asian classics at Asia Tang, tapas bar temptations at Bebemos, American classics at Dean & Deluca, Asian fusion inspired by French and Italian cooking traditions from SF Bistro, classic dishes from the legendary UBK and, of course, MasterChef, the TV experience has an exclusive pop-up with a menu from past winners of the hit TV show.
Something for the kids too
The three-day food festival isn’t just for the adults. Children under 12 years will have free entry to ToD, with a special OMO Kids’ Zone to provide a huge variety of games and attractions including face painting, food-based games and competitions for kids, and a cupcake decorating station to keep them entertained.
Jif Big Baking Tent
For the first time at ToD, Master French Patissier Eric Lanlard will be running a series of baking masterclasses at the new ‘JIF Big Baking Tent’ where you can learn the art of cake decorating from the master himself.
Dubai-based bakers and international pastry experts will also be there to teach you everything you need to know about baking the perfect cakes, cookies and more. You will be able to sign up 30 minutes before each session on the day.
Augmented Reality Experience
ToD has partnered with VisitBritain and Wego! to bring an augmented reality (AR) experience, where visitors will be able to explore a journey through the Great Britain with a chance to meet the Royal Guards at Buckingham Palace, play with a Royal Corgie, zipline through a countryside adventure, score a goal at the football in Manchester, and experience fine dining with views of the Thames.
VIP Taste Experience
VIP ticket holders get fast-track entry into the festival and unlimited access to the VIP lounge and bar. The Cleartrip VIP Lounge, located close to the main stage, will have you enjoy the festival’s musicians and artists up close and personal. VIP ticket holders also get two complimentary drinks and three food vouchers to sample dishes from any participating restaurants as part of the VIP experience.
The Next Cake Boy
The winner of the 2nd edition of UAE’s Biggest Bake Off will also be announced at ToD and win Dh25,000 of baking and patisserie course at the International Centre for Culinary Arts (ICCA) Dubai with the finals being judge by Cake Boy, Chef Eric Lanlard and ICCA Patisserie Chefs on the big stage at the Chefs’ Theatre on Saturday at 6.30pm.
Don’t miss it!
Taste of Dubai runs from March 7 to 9 at the Dubai Media City Amphitheatre. The first day kicks off at 4pm, with the event starting at noon on the second and third days. Standard tickets are priced at Dh95, while VIP tickets start at Dh285. Careem is offering 50 per cent discounts using promo code ToD. More details and the full schedule on Tasteofdubaifestival.com You can also download the ToD app.