The dates of the 2015 festival were announced at World Travel Market 2014 (WTM) in London, UK, where the emirate’s gastronomic offering is being highlighted as a key reason as to why Dubai has gained the reputation of being a ‘must-experience destination’.
To mark the announcement of the 2015 edition of the Dubai Food Festival, visitors to the Dubai stand at WTM will see an art exhibit of Dubai’s world-famous skyline and landmarks made entirely out of food. Created by UK-based food artist Paul Baker, the installation includes landmarks such as the Burj Khalifa, Burj Al Arab, Palm Jumeirah and Dubai Creek, and following its appearance at WTM, it will be on display in Dubai during the festival.
Her Excellency Laila Mohammed Suhail, Chief Executive Officer, Dubai Festivals and Retail Establishment (DFRE), an agency of DTCM, said: “The success of the inaugural Dubai Food Festival in 2014 showcased the wealth of flavours and cuisines on offer in Dubai and helped to demonstrate our city’s emergence as a destination for food lovers. For the food tourist, Dubai offers a menu of Emirati and Arabic cuisine and the tastes of 200 nationalities living in the emirate. In the past year our restaurant scene has continued to grow exponentially and the number of international chefs and brands who continue to choose Dubai as a location for their next opening is a demonstration of our emirate’s reputation on the global gourmet map. In addition to exhibiting this, the 2015 Dubai Food Festival will show the wealth of home grown concepts that have been conceived in Dubai, from 5-star gourmet to quality street food and a burgeoning café scene.
“The development of an annual food festival is part of a wider strategy to develop a year-round programme of city-wide festivals that acts as a major contributor to the ongoing growth of the tourism and retail sectors. We are incredibly excited with the programme we and our partners are putting together, with a huge range of events and activities which will take place throughout the city and are looking forward to announcing this in the coming weeks. Following immediately after Dubai Shopping Festival (January 1st – February 1st 2015), the Dubai Food Festival 2015 will ensure a thrilling start to the year in Dubai continues.”
The full festival programme will be released shortly, but on the sidelines of WTM, DFRE revealed a number of key events, including the fact that the Dubai Food Festival 2015 will commence on February 6th with the return of one of the most popular elements of the 2014 edition, the Beach Canteen. Staged at Kite Beach, one of Dubai’s most popular beaches, Beach Canteen will be open throughout the duration of the festival and feature a number of pop-up versions of home-grown restaurant concepts on a purpose-built platform with views of Burj Al Arab and The Palm Jumeirah. A programme of film, music and family events will entertain visitors with highlights being appearances and live demonstrations by a range of international chefs.
Gulfood, the world’s largest annual food and hospitality trade show, will return to the Dubai World Trade Centre on February 8th 2015, featuring more than 20,000 brands, 4,500 exhibitors and 120 country pavilions. Further demonstrating the investment potential of Dubai and the wider region, Global Restaurant Investment Forum (GRIF) will return from the 16th to 18th of February, and highlight both why Dubai has become a key location for international brands to have a presence and the continuing investment opportunities within the emirate and the wider region.
Examples of celebrity and Michelin-starred chefs who have opened restaurants in Dubai include Jamie Oliver, Marco Pierre White, Gary Rhodes, Pierre Gagnaire, Atul Kochhar, Nobu Matsushisa, and Sanjeev Kapoor and, in the past year luminaries such as Wolfgang Puck, Heinz Beck, Sylvena Rowe, Greg Malouf and Simon Rimmer have been added to the list. A number of such chefs will be making appearances throughout the festival.
Other events will celebrate the range of international flavours offered by the destination - for example Taste of Peru will offer classic Peruvian dishes including ceviche, tiradito, causa, quinotto, beef anticucho and empanadas, served to a programme of music and entertainment in the atmospheric setting of Souk Madinat Jumeirah – but traditional Emirati food will also be a key highlight, with one objective of the festival being to help tourists discover the rich, varied and remarkable flavours of the cuisine.