GET YOUR STRETCHY PANTS OUT

Friday - - Food -

Ten years ago, 2,000 peo­ple gath­ered in Dubai for a food fes­ti­val with a line-up of lo­cal restau­rants and in­ter­na­tional chefs. Next week­end, nearly 30,000 are ex­pected to at­tend the same event.

Taste of Dubai’s grown faster than a well-baked souf­flé, and yet it hasn’t changed that much – you can still ex­pect food, mu­sic and drinks on the grass at Dubai Me­dia City Am­phithe­atre – and that won’t be chang­ing any time soon, event direc­tor Anju Chadda tells Fri­day.

‘We keep bring­ing new restau­rants, but it re­mains the same date, same venue.’

There are ‘hun­dreds’ of restau­rant en­quiries ev­ery year, says Anju, with the de­cid­ing fac­tor be­ing ‘what peo­ple are talk­ing about, what’s the lat­est and great­est’. This year’s line-up of 22 lo­cal restau­rants, which serve mini-ver­sions of their sig­na­ture dishes (and have been do­ing so at Taste be­fore the term ‘pop-up’ was be­ing thrown around more than a burger in a Dubai food truck) in­clude new open­ings Wes­lodge, Ra­musake and Burger & Lob­ster.

The fes­ti­val’s side dish is mu­sic, with the high­light of Billy Ocean on Thurs­day night.

Cut­ting it on the big demon­stra­tion stage doesn’t come nat­u­rally to all chefs. ‘The chef line up was the first thing we looked at,’ says Anju. ‘We wanted to bring back the best ones over 10 years that peo­ple loved.’ That in­cludes dy­namic duos Jenny Mor­ris and Reza Mo­ham­mad, and Mo­ham­mad Or­fali and Tarek Ebrahim, and the re­turn of vet­eran Gary Rhodes.

We also can’t wait to see one of the youngest head chefs on the scene, 23-year-old Luke Thomas of the Retro Feasts restau­rant at The Beach in Dubai.

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