What to expect at Taste of Abu Dhabi 2019: Emirati flavours, 'MasterChef' judges and UB40

Butcher & Still, Dai Pai Dong, Namak, Roberto’s and Sambusek are some of the restaurants confirmed for the sixth anniversary of the foodie event

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Rex Features (1459695k)
'Masterchef' presenters, John Torode and Gregg Wallace
Filming of 'Masterchef' at their new studios in Wandsworth, London, Britain - 09 Sep 2011
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The capital’s annual food festival will return to the du Arena on Yas Island from Thursday, November 7 to Saturday, November 9 this year. The sixth anniversary will welcome big-name chefs, two headline performances by UB40 and Boyzlife, and offer visitors a host of new attractions.

What's new this year?

Emirati cuisine is set to be as well-represented as its international culinary counterparts this year. Taste of Abu Dhabi 2019 will have a dedicated section for local chefs to showcase their cuisine via cooking demonstrations and food tastings. Visitors can also learn more about Emirati culture, sample traditional coffee and shop handmade crafts.

A new food pavilion, meanwhile, will offer locally produced honey, olives, cheeses and breads – in a bid to draw attention to the fresh produce cultivated and available in the UAE.

Finally, the Beverage Theatre will conduct mixologist masterclasses (with plenty of sampling opportunities), a first for Taste of Abu Dhabi.

Entertainment value

British pop band and four-time Grammy Award nominees UB40 will kick-start the festival on Thursday, November 7, with classics including Food For Thought and I Can't Help Falling In Love With You, as well as chartbusters from their latest album For the Many.

On Friday, November 8, Boyzlife duo Keith Duffy and Brian McFadden will perform hits from Westlife and Boyzone, including No Matter What, I Love The Way You Love Me and Baby Can I Hold You.

Other bands and local artists performing include 4TheMusic, Yeah Yeah Nah and the trusty DJ Sheps.

Meet the chefs

Eric Lanlard at Taste of Abu Dhabi, at Yas Du arena, Abu dhabi,Vidhyaa for The National  *** Local Caption ***  Taste of Abu dhabi_3.jpg
Eric Lanlard at Taste of Abu Dhabi. Vidhyaa for The National

While we’re told the list is constantly expanding, confirmed chefs for this year’s event include:

- French celebrity chef and cookbook author Jean Christophe Novelli, who has multiple Michelin stars to his name.

- Australia-born UK chef John Torode, who is the judge and co-host of BBC1's MasterChef, Celebrity MasterChef and Junior MasterChef, as well as the presenter of A Cook Abroad and The A to Z of TV Cooking.

- Moroccan cookbook author and food stylist Assia Othman, who hosts the TV show Matbakh Assia.

- Indian celebrity chef Kunal Kapur who runs the show at Abu Dhabi restaurant Namak.

- Lebanese pastry chef Karim Bourgi, who manages La Maison Du Chocolat and the Hermes Paris Cafe in Dubai.

- “Cake Boy” Eric Lanlard, who returns to the event to host his popular cake masterclasses in the Big Baking Tent.

- Children's food expert and nutritionist Annabel Karmel, who recently created the menu for Dubai’s first children’s restaurant, White and the Bear.

Participating restaurants

Again, this is an evolving list, but confirmed so far are Butcher & Still, Dai Pai Dong, Namak, Roberto’s and Sambusek – all of which will present signature bites at a subsidised price.

Early bird tickets, which start at Dh60, are now available here.