Here’s what to expect at the Taste of Abu Dhabi

The Taste of Abu Dhabi festival is coming to the capital this November and no food lover in the capital should miss it.

Chef Anuar Mohammed prepares butter chicken. Delores Johnson / The National
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What is it?

Taste festivals are held in 20 cities around the world. This will be Abu Dhabi’s first, and given the success of the Taste of Dubai, now in its seventh year, it should be a packed event.

The line-up

Taste of Abu Dhabi will showcase signature dishes from 20 of the capital’s top restaurants, including Turquoiz, Villa Toscana, Blue Grill, Ushna, Sho Cho and Caramel. Chris Fountain, the managing director of Turret Media, the festival organisers, says: “Abu Dhabi is fast emerging as a culinary standard of excellence. The city has an excellent range of chefs with great reputations and they’re coming up with unique dishes.”

The events

Chefs from around the city will be on hand to meet guests and present their signature food. Celebrity chefs will also be in attendance and will participate in meet-and-greets with fans, present live cooking demonstrations and share their culinary secrets with visitors. There will also be a chefs’ theatre and cooking activities for children.

Famous chefs scheduled for the event are Food Network’s Reza Mahammad, Jonathan Phang, Eric Lanlard, Jun Tanaka and Steven Edwards. The spotlight, however, will be on local talent, and Michel Jost, the executive chef at the Yas Viceroy, is ready for it. Two restaurants from the Yas Viceroy – Angar and Noodle Box – will serve their most popular dishes at the festival.

“I think the festival is very good for Abu Dhabi,” says Jost. “This is one more opportunity for guests to see that Abu Dhabi is not only the capital, but also a culinary destination. It’s a good opportunity for chefs to show who we are.”

Emirati talent

Emirati chefs will also be on hand, including the 18-year-old pastry chef Bader Al Awadhi, who will give a live demonstration of his skills. He says: “I love making UAE-themed pastries and mixing them with desserts and tastes from other cultures and countries.” Al Awadhi, who is in his second year at Dubai Men’s College, hosts his own show on Abu Dhabi Al Emarat TV during Ramadan.

Beyond the bites

Besides all the great food on offer, visitors will also get to experience music from local bands during the three-day event. There will be a focus on kids as well, with cupcake-decorating and pizza-making activities on each of the three days. Fountain says visitors can expect “gourmet, high-quality food in an all-inclusive event that will appeal to everyone. Food is at the centre, but there’s a lot more than that to experience at the festival.” There will also be an outdoor cinema, a kids’ zone with a range of activities, fairground rides, street theatre with mimes, jugglers, unicyclists, musicians and dancers performing daily. There will also be a children’s fancy dress competition on Friday, November 7, the second day of the festival.

The details

Taste of Abu Dhabi will be held at du Arena from November 6 to 8. Tickets are available on Until September 30, tickets will be sold in pairs and cost Dh99 for two. From October 1, tickets cost Dh65 per person. At the door, tickets are Dh80 per person. Children under 12 are free. VIP tickets are also available. Every ticket holder will be entered into the Ultimate Dining Experience raffle draw for a chance to win a Dh500 voucher for each of the 20 restaurants at the festival.