Gourmet Abu Dhabi gears up for main event

    The UAE capital's specialist culinary show Gourmet Abu Dhabi is gearing up for the focal point of the event
    [L-R] Emirates Palace chef Wolfgang Fisher, Yves Mattagne and Martin Fischer put the finishing touches to the Gourmet Abu Dhabi Gala Dinner programme.
    [L-R] Emirates Palace chef Wolfgang Fisher, Yves Mattagne and Martin Fischer put the finishing touches to the Gourmet Abu Dhabi Gala Dinner programme.

    A star-studded collection of the world’s top chefs and acclaimed chateaux descended on Abu Dhabi’s Al Raha Beach Hotel today, to put the final touches to preparations for the Gourmet Abu Dhabi gala dinner.

    After touring the hotel’s kitchens, various world-renowned chefs selected their porcelain for the special dishes they will serve up during the gala evening on February 10 and began preparations in earnest.

    Al Raha Beach Hotel executive chef Martin Fischer said the atmosphere among his staff was “electric”.

    “Abu Dhabi has never seen so many Michelin-starred chefs in one kitchen,” he added. 

    “The awards dinner is a lot of work, but a lot of fun. Our kitchen staff are so excited to be a part of this, the opportunity to work with chefs of this quality is going to be a huge learning experience for them all - we’re even taping the kitchen session to use for future training. Just to be able to see so many great minds working together in the kitchen is going to be an unbelievable and unforgettable experience.”

    The gala evening will feature starter canapés created by seven chefs, including lamb kebabs spiked with bay leaves, pan-seared diver scallops, steamed shrimp dumpling, beef tartare, brandade of cod, Norwegian king crab in the shell and veal sweetbreads.

    These will be followed by a dinner featuring the cuisine of seven more chefs, and the gastronomic experience will culminate with a special dessert created by multi-award-winning Spanish pastry chef Oriol Balaguer.

    On top of the special nine-course meal prepared, the event will also feature the presentation of the Gourmet Abu Dhabi ‘Oscars’ - awards recognising the efforts of the local hospitality industry.

    The exclusive event comes in the middle of the 10-day culinary festival, which features master classes, celebrity chef and ‘chateaux’ wine connoisseur dinners, and has already received praise from the ‘stars’ of the event.

    Belgium’s critically acclaimed seafood chef Yves Mattagne, a gold medallist of the Concours European Fish Chef competition, said the enthusiasm of local diners had been “inspiring”.

    “I’ve cooked for the gala opening, a chateaux dinner and conducted a master class, and people are really eager to experience the cuisine and learn,” he said.

    “To cook in a region renowned for its love of fish can be a challenge - but hopefully its one I’m living up to.”

    Middle Eastern cuisine expert Phillipe Massoud, founder of New York’s Illi restaurant, added that the visiting master chefs would now be “ambassadors” for the UAE capital.

    “I have a deep appreciation of Abu Dhabi’s natural evolution into a world-class capital and what the Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority is aiming to achieve with Gourmet Abu Dhabi,” Massoud said. 

    “It’s…a work in progress and should definitely improve with each yearly showing. As a native of the region, I personally would love to see it succeed.”

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