x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Festival serves up a feast

Seven celebrity chefs are in Dubai for the Jumeirah Festival of Taste to cook for a variety of high-profile events.

From left to right: Cyrus Todiwala, James Martin, Kerry Heffernan and Jean-Christophe Novelli, four of the seven celebrity chefs invited to the Jumeirah Festival of Taste at Al Qasr Hotel in Dubai yesterday.
From left to right: Cyrus Todiwala, James Martin, Kerry Heffernan and Jean-Christophe Novelli, four of the seven celebrity chefs invited to the Jumeirah Festival of Taste at Al Qasr Hotel in Dubai yesterday.

DUBAI // The first course of the Jumeirah Festival of Taste was served in Dubai yesterday by six celebrity chefs. The British-based chefs Michel Roux, Jean-Christophe Novelli, James Martin, Brian Turner and Cyrus Todiwala were joined by Kerry Heffernan, an American chef, to launch the weeklong event.

It began with the six preparing signature dishes for a buffet at Al Qasr hotel. The seventh chef, Ainsley Harriott, was expected to arrive today. The festival will see the gourmets cooking at events across the city. Tickets ranging in price from Dh290 (US$79) to Dh3,650 were snapped up within days of going on sale. The event, the second of its kind, continues today with Novelli, Roux, Turner and Todiwala cooking lunch on private yachts, each carrying 15 guests.

Martin, who has appeared in Strictly Come Dancing, a British television show, will host Rhythm and Basil, an evening event combining dance and cooking, in Madinat Jumeirah. He will also prepare an afternoon tea in the Burj al Arab hotel tomorrow. Harriott will host a live cooking show in the Emirates Academy for trainee chefs, while Roux and Heffernan will prepare banquets during the week. The festival culminates in a gala dinner in Bab al Shams desert resort on Thursday.

The Jumeirah Festival of Taste follows a string of celebrity chefs, including Gordon Ramsay, Jamie Oliver and Gary Rhodes, opening outlets in the city. "I have been to Dubai many times and enjoy being here very much," said Novelli. "I last came here two years ago and am always inspired by how quickly the city grows and the fantastic architecture. It is an extraordinary place." Roux asked to return after taking part in the first festival two years ago.

"With the credit crunch looming, I anticipate two or three in every 10 restaurants in London will be shutting in the next couple of years," he said. "There it is all doom and gloom but things are different here." tyaqoob@thenational.ae