A MAT­TER OF TASTE

As Taste of Abu Dhabi re­turns to the cap­i­tal for its fifth an­niver­sary this week­end, we ask four celebrity chefs, Eric Lan­lard, Jenny Mor­ris, San­jeev Kapoor and Fathima Ahmed what they’d cook to gain pas­sage off a de­serted is­land...

Khaleej Times - City Times - - FRONT PAGE - DAVID LIGHT david@khalee­j­times.com

IT’S THE UAE cap­i­tal’s pre­mier food fes­ti­val and Taste of Abu Dhabi is look­ing to take it up a notch this week­end for its fifth an­niver­sary at the du Arena, Yas Is­land. Cook­ing chal­lenges, master classes, live mu­sic, and culi­nary de­lights be­ing served up from six­teen of Abu Dhabi’s best restau­rants, what more could you food­ies ask for? Doors open from 4pm to­day for an evening of in­ter­na­tional mu­sic cel­e­brat­ing the best of Bri­tish with for­mer Girls Aloud singer Na­dine Coyle; Sarah Ikumu and trib­ute band The Boot­leg Bea­tles. That’s be­fore we even get to the cook­ing. Chefs such as Gary Rhodes, San­jeev Kapoor, Reza Ma­ham­mad, Jenny Mor­ris, Eric Lan­lard and Hat­tem Mat­tar will be host­ing the Al Ain Farms & Kib­sons cook­ing chal­lenges or master classes at the Crate & Bar­rel Chefs’ The­atre through­out the event while restau­rants in­clud­ing Coya, Abu Jad, Bou­chon Bak­ery and Shang Palace will be show­ing their wares.

To get in the mood, we’d thought we’d ask four of the most ef­fer­ves­cent celebrity chefs on the fes­ti­val’s ros­ter: Jenny Mor­ris, San­jeev Kapoor, Fathima Ahmed and Eric Lan­lard a cou­ple of ques­tions to whet our ap­petite.

You’re on a desert is­land. You (some­how!) have ac­cess to any five in­gre­di­ents in or­der to con­coct a meal you hope will con­vince a pass­ing ship’s crew to take you home. What are they and what do you cook?

Eric: My five in­gre­di­ents would be chicken, fresh tar­ragon, cream, mus­tard and po­ta­toes and I will make the French clas­sic, Poulet a l’es­tragon. My mum was an amaz­ing host and a bril­liant cook. She was very good at cook­ing rus­tic dishes, which are un­com­pli­cated and have a phe­nom­e­nal aroma, which will bring any sailors to my cook­out and of­fer me a ride home.

Jenny: Gar­lic, lemons, olive oil, chilies and soy sauce. I would catch what­ever the sea has to of­fer, in­clud­ing seaweed, and make a de­li­cious sushi/ce­viche seafood plat­ter, dressed with my five in­gre­di­ents. I’m sure I could se­duce the ship’s cook’s taste buds. I would be se­duced!

San­jeev: I would present them with a dish that unites all of In­dia: Khichdi. It is the na­tion’s com­fort food and a sta­ple diet made with dal (lentils) and rice as the ba­sis. It needs min­i­mal in­gre­di­ents. It is con­sumed dur­ing cel­e­bra­tions. I am sure the ship’s crew will feel loved and con­vinced to take me home.

Fathima: Gar­lic, pasta, tomato, salt and fresh basil - the in­gre­di­ents for an amaz­ing pasta po­modoro, the ul­ti­mate com­fort food. It’s a one pot meal and one of my most re­quested dishes by kids and adults.

If you HAD to go on hol­i­day with an­other fa­mous chef who would it be and where would you go?

Eric: I would go on hol­i­day with Marco Pierre White. He has al­ways been my food hero and I know he will take me to the best hid­den places in France and Italy.

Jenny: It would be my good buddy Reza Ma­ham­mad. We would eat and cook our way across Asia. We have sim­i­lar pas­sions for Asian food and love the bal­ance of flavours, tex­tures and colours.

San­jeev: I would prob­a­bly travel with Aus­tralian chef Gary Me­hi­gan be­cause of his love for In­dian food. We would have a lot to dis­cuss and learn from each other. And what bet­ter place to ex­plore each other’s culi­nary of­fer­ings than Abu Dhabi, a cul­tural melt­ing pot?

Fathima: I’d prob­a­bly go on hol­i­day with Gor­don Ram­say. He’s ex­tremely en­ter­tain­ing and ad­ven­tur­ous, so I’d be keen to see not only what he’d be cook­ing but also what else he’d get up to! I’d prob­a­bly go to South Africa, to see what he’d make of our lo­cal cui­sine.

You’re fly­ing down to Abu Dhabi, what do you hope not to see on the in-flight meal menu?

Jenny: Of­fal! The only time I eat of­fal is when I cook it my­self.

San­jeev: I have been trained to ap­pre­ci­ate and not crit­i­cise. When you are up 30,000 feet, you have to keep in mind tech­niques that help serv­ing food where pas­sen­gers do not ex­pe­ri­ence any prob­lems. Hav­ing said that, with to­day’s tech­nol­ogy, it is pos­si­ble to serve five-star food in-flight!

How does it feel to be com­ing to

Jenny Mor­ris wants you to be there

Eric Lan­lard bak­ing up a storm

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