MasterChef Australia judge Matt Preston may have only been in Abu Dhabi for three hours when he spoke to The National, but he was already impressed by what he'd seen of the desert capital.
“I just love the feel of the place. I’ve been here precisely three-and-a-half-hours, so I haven’t had a chance to experience the food scene yet, but I’m looking forward to it,” he said.
Preston is visiting Abu Dhabi for the first time this weekend as part of the Abu Dhabi Food Festival which runs until December 23.
Here to host afternoon teas at both the Rosewood Abu Dhabi and Ritz Carlton Grand Canal hotels, and a dinner experience, Preston said he was most looking forward to talking to the locals and learning more about the culture.
“It’s about having conversations about food with people from different backgrounds and different places. I will leave with an iPhone full of ideas, because food knowledge is something that is so democratic, it doesn’t matter what background you have … it’s the thing that unites us, it’s always an amazing conversation.”
Preston, whose popular reality TV show in Australia is going into its ninth season in 2017, said that outside of the formalities of the food festival he’s determined to experience the local food scene.
“I’ve got a mate who lives here, so hopefully we’ll go out and find some mandi.”
Before then he said it was all about giving the foodies what they wanted.
“I’ve done a fair amount of reading, prior to coming here, just because we wanted these afternoon teas to make sure we had some of the [local] flavours in there, cardamom, dates, you know.”
As for what guests could expect on their culinary journey with the well-respected and world renowned Aussie foodie?
“It’s going to be high sugar there is no doubt about that. We’re a bit obsessed with salty caramel and have been for the last five years, and white chocolate is such a popular flavour in Australia at the moment so we’re using that too.”
• Matt Preston will be at the Ritz-Carlton Grand Canal, Abu Dhabi today, December 10, from 2pm-5pm. For details about the Abu Dhabi Food Festival visit www.abudhabievents.ae