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...
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