Taste of Abu Dhabi welcomes 14,000 visitors

People trying food at different restaurants at the Taste of Abu Dhabi. Pawan Singh / The National
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More than 14,000 people attended the capital’s inaugural Taste of Abu Dhabi festival this past weekend.

The festival gave visitors an opportunity to taste more than 70 different dishes at 18 featured restaurants. A feat that would be difficult if they had to venture out to dine at each restaurant in the city on their own. Bringing the food together in one place is a great way to introduce new food and new restaurants to people who might not have tried them otherwise. The celebrity chefs were a hit at the event and people lined up for a chance to meet them. Both celebrity and local chefs hosted 25 shows throughout the weekend in the Chef’s Theatre and 27 hands-on cookery classes in the Cookery Kitchen.

One big bonus: When they weren’t on stage, the celebrity chefs wandered through the festival talking to and eating with guests. It’s not often you get to be up close and personal with chefs you watch on the Food Network. I ran into each chef more than once throughout the festival.

The event was clearly a success, but there are some things that should be improved in the future. It could be that the organisers just didn’t expect the number of people who turned up, but they’d do well to expand the venue space when the festival returns. Though the space seemed plenty roomy enough on Thursday night, it was overcrowded and uncomfortable on Friday night.

The Taste of Abu Dhabi is set to be an annual event and will return next November. We’ll be ready — and hungry — when it does.