SERVING UP SOME INSPIRATION
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!)