Gourmet Abu Dhabi Awards

Nine international master chefs will open a 16-day gastronomic celebration in the capital tomorrow night, as Gourmet Abu Dhabi opens in considerable style from the lush green lawns of the Fairmont Bab Al Bahr. It heralds the start of something special for food lovers in the region and has grown, in recent years, to become known as one of the finest festivals of food in the world.

A celebration, too, of the growing culinary reputation that you’ll find in Abu Dhabi, the line-up looks set to provide some great food experiences. Whether that’s a cooking lesson with Michelin-starred chef Christophe Roure, a celebrity dinner with the star of Masterchef Australia George Calombaris, or a gastronomic journey with British celebrity chef Gary Rhodes, just reading the options from the website makes us hungry. Add to that some of the finest restaurants in the Middle East as hosts and it all adds up to a two-week food extravaganza.

George Colombaris

George Calombaris checks out some of the fresh seafood

Here are three events during Gourmet Abu Dhabi that have caught our eye:

1. Culinary Creation Stage

Featuring a cast that boasts 12 Michelin stars between them, Belgium’s Bart de Pooter, Christophe Muller, Christophe Roure, Christopher Coutanceau and Cyril Lignac of France and Italy’s Fabio Pisan will teach you how to put together a sumptuous European menu. The idea is all about learning from the masters, but we’re simply looking forward to eating what the masters cook up in the process.

February 7-8, Westin Abu Dhabi Golf Resort and Spa, Dhs200 per person

 2. Italian Opera Dinner

Held at the award-winning Mezzaluna Italian restaurant of the opulent Emirates Palace, the event pays homage to Italian tenor Luciano Pavarotti. You’re in fairly good hands here too as Chef Massimo Bottura is chef patron of Osteria Francescana in Modena, Italy, which has been listed in the top five of the World’s 50 Best Restaurant Awards since 2010 and currently sits third in the World’s Best Restaurants Awards list. The food will, naturally, be supported by performances of operatic masterpieces.

 February 8, Mezzaluna restaurant, Emirates Palace, Dhs1,500 per person

 3. Awards Gala Dinner

The culmination of Gourmet Abu Dhabi will see their ‘food Oscars’, or the Abu Dhabi Gourmet Star Awards, to give it the correct title, awarded to elite chefs and restaurants across the region. Awards voted for by expert panel and public opinion. The great and the good of the region’s cooking talent in one room should guarantee a feast of epic proportions, after all, if you’re cooking for these guys, it’s going to have to be good.

February 19, St Regis Abu Dhabi, Dhs800 per person, Dhs6,400 per table of 10

Gourmet Abu Dhabi runs from February 4 to 19


A taste of what’s to come at Gourmet Abu Dhabi