Friday - - Editor’s Letter - Natalie Long, editor Reach me at

Dubai’s en­thu­si­asm for food is im­pres­sive – I saw it first hand last week­end at the 10th Taste of Dubai, where peo­ple lined up not only to buy food, but also to cook it them­selves led by some great lo­cal and in­ter­na­tional chefs.

Mums and sons clam­oured for self­ies with Eric Lan­lard, sis­ters hov­ered, hop­ing for a minute with culi­nary comics Mo­ham­mad Or­fali and Tarek Ebrahim. The crowd for Gary Rhodes’ tri­umphant re­turn to the fes­ti­val may have been dwarfed by that of Guns N’ Roses, but the ap­plause he got was at least as ador­ing.

What im­pressed me even more, and I think this may sur­prise you, is how hard all these food stars worked. Back­stage at the chef’s the­atre, chefs prepped for their culi­nary demon­stra­tions not by med­i­tat­ing, chat­ting or hav­ing a drink – they were ac­tu­ally prep­ping in­gre­di­ents. Suzanne Hus­seini and an as­sis­tant juli­enned veg­eta­bles; Reza Ma­ham­mad asked for spices, Jenny Mor­ris, in a pink chef’s ‘whites’ was as chatty and af­fa­ble as ever, while Gary con­ferred with his long-time col­league, Wayne, and mopped his brow.

It was in­spir­ing to see these leg­ends of the kitchen, and TV, do­ing it them­selves, walk­ing around with ease (Michel Roux Jr even gate­crashed Fri­day’s first culi­nary chal­lenge ses­sion). Then again, in­spir­ing is what we aim for ev­ery week, mas­terchefs or not. And we’ve got plenty of it in this is­sue.

Firstly, what do Lego, an Os­car-nom­i­nated movie and Mars have in com­mon? They’re all el­e­ments of our fea­ture on the grow­ing pres­ence of women in sci­ence in the UAE

(page 22). Next up, while Dubai’s lit­er­a­ture fes­ti­val may be over for an­other year, the sto­ries will stay with us for a long time, in­clud­ing that of Nu­jeen Mustafa, a Syr­ian refugee with cere­bral palsy who, with her sis­ter, un­der­took a jour­ney to Ger­many that would chal­lenge even the most able-bod­ied per­son (page 28).

Fi­nally, while Dubai’s Food fes­ti­val is over, we want to keep the culi­nary con­ver­sa­tion go­ing. Af­ter more than 60 Fri­day read­ers joined us for pri­vate ses­sions at Taste of Dubai, it’s time to get even more of you cook­ing along­side some of the UAE’s best chefs. Our first Fri­day Master­class is com­ing up, with a Mother’s Day spe­cial – head to our Face­book page to see how you can take part.

Still want to talk food? Ask your fam­ily and friends at lunch to­day what their last meal would be, if they could choose. It’s sure to start a con­ver­sa­tion – then tell us what it is for the Story Tell­ers col­umn. (Mine would be lovely bread with the best French but­ter – lots of it!)

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