Steve Harvey: Abu Dhabi is warm and peaceful, I want to share it with the world

Ahead of hosting the Open Fire Food Festival in the capital, the US TV host and comedian says he's on a mission to spread the word about the 'absolutely fascinating' city

Steve Harvey explains his choice of Abu Dhabi for his Open Fire Food Festival

Steve Harvey explains his choice of Abu Dhabi for his Open Fire Food Festival
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Abu Dhabi is set to host the first Open Fire Food Festival by Steve Harvey.

Taking place at Yas Marina Circuit this weekend, the two-day event will have pitmaster cooking demonstrations, barbecue competitions and family-friendly activities.

Harvey, a TV host and comedian, is no stranger to the UAE and says that he has grown fond of the country after first visiting six years ago. He says he wants to help bring more attention not only to the emirate, but the wider region and believes creating the event will help.

“I came up with this concept, I’ve been over here now for six years,” he says. "I found this place to be absolutely fascinating and I’ve done nothing but try to expose other people to this region, in this area so they can discover what I discovered about this place, how special of a place it is.

“There’s so much misinformation about the Middle East that you get it confused. This is a very, very peaceful place, very warm place, open to business, international, local and all that.”

Harvey specifically emphasises the importance of the UAE capital, highlighting its celebration of culture and family values as a reason he feels so connected to it.

“Abu Dhabi focuses mostly on culture and family and I think that’s important," he adds.

"I wanted to bring it here because they have so many things that need to be exposed like Yas Island, the marina, the beaches and Saadiyat [Island], I just thought it would be great here. I got great partnerships here in Abu Dhabi, great friendships, great business relationships; so it was an ideal place for me.”

And while the food festival has yet to begin, Harvey believes this is merely the beginning of something promising.

He adds: “This is the first year, it’s going to get bigger and bigger and more people will be exposed and our company here will introduce more exciting ideas for Yas Island and everything.”

What is Open Fire Food Festival and how to visit?

Hosted by Harvey, the event celebrates all things barbecue, with demonstrations from prominent pitmasters such as Moe Cason, Steven Raichlen and Melissa Cookston.

It will run on Saturday and Sunday on the circuit's famed Abu Dhabi Hill. Several food stalls will be at the venue, while young Emirati chef Aysha AlObeidli will host workshops for children. There will be eating competitions, too.

Saturday and Sunday; 10am-midnight; from Dh75; children under 12 go free; Yas Marina Circuit; more information is available at

Updated: February 27, 2024, 8:18 AM