GET YOUR STRETCHY PANTS OUT
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.