To mark its fifth anniversary, a series of revamped events, highly-focussed masterclasses and extensive culinary demonstrations and promotions will be driven by more than 14 international masterchefs, celebrity chefs and dozens of special guests.
Abu Dhabi Tourism Culture Authority (TCA Abu Dhabi), the festival organiser, believes the refreshed format will take the fortnight-long culinary odyssey to the next industry level, whet domestic appetite for all-things fine dining and lure increased international participation.
“This is evolution not revolution,” said Noura Al Dhaheri, Leisure Products Development Manager, TCA Abu Dhabi.
“After four successful showings, the new-look Gourmet Abu Dhabi will ensure this culinary extravaganza continues to raise the bar and drive our hospitality sector forward. Gourmet Abu Dhabi has played a pioneering role in heightening industry standards in the emirate’s fine dining sector and we look forward to these enhancements pushing existing standards to the next level of culinary excellence.”
With the Michelin star-studded roster of international masterchefs, exclusive dinners and one-off events due to be unveiled in coming weeks and months, Gourmet Abu Dhabi strives to highlight the emirate’s leading hospitality partners’ culinary prowess – some 21-plus restaurants will participate in next year’s larger-than-ever anniversary bill.
“This festival lets our stunning hotels and resorts put their world-class culinary attributes in the spotlight like no other event in Abu Dhabi’s social calendar,” added Al Dhaheri.
“Gourmet Abu Dhabi demonstrates the extensive breadth of quality in the emirate’s fine dining scene and, ultimately, rewards domestic and international diners by creating a benchmark that is subsequently reflected in the year-round quality of the emirate’s FB portfolio.”
According to recent TCA Abu Dhabi statistics, FB income for Abu Dhabi’s hotels sector has recorded double-digit growth since Gourmet Abu Dhabi’s inception in 2009. In the first nine months of this year, sector revenue amounted to Dhs1.23bn ($339m) – a rise of 11% on the same period last year.
Vitally, the burgeoning sector has renewed vibrancy with the upgrade of existing high-end outlets – such as traditional seafood hot-spot, Sayad, at Emirates Palace Abu Dhabi, which has been transformed by the hotel’s new Executive Chef Sandro Gamba into a classical brasserie serving seafood favourites with a modern twist – and the imminent arrival of glitzy newcomers, including British celebrity Chef Gary Rhodes’ first Abu Dhabi restaurant at The St. Regis Corniche and three Super Potato-designed restaurants at the soon-to-open Ritz Carlton Grand Canal Abu Dhabi.
“Gourmet Abu Dhabi has a significant legacy factor,” added Al Dhaheri. “In addition to highlighting our existing world-class culinary offerings, the festival is also a high-profile platform for leading chefs from across the culinary map to explore expansion possibilities in the emirate.”
Gourmet Abu Dhabi has attracted a high-profile line-up of sponsors, including Acqua Panna San Pellegrino as Official Still Sparkling Mineral Waters Partner, Chef Middle East as Premium Gourmet Purveyor Partner, Valrhona as Official Chocolate Partner, Les Vergers Boiron as Official Fruit Vegetable Puree Partner, Etihad Airways, the UAE‘s award-winning national carrier, as Official Airline Partner, High Spirits a Official Beverage Partner and Steelite International as Official Fine Porcelain Tableware Partner.