The Dubai Food Fest 2017 from 23rd Feb – 11th March was non-stop excitement, and a large part of that excitement was the Etisalat Beach Canteen. Still situated on the beach right behind Sunset Mall, it was bigger and better than last year. With plenty more F&B vendors, exciting choices of retailers, and never-ending activities, there wasn’t a dull moment in sight.
The Etisalat Beach Canteen was easily the most popular event at the DFF 2017. This could partly be credited to the fact that it allowed free entry to all; partly because there was something there for all eaters from the adventurous to the very picky; and partly because in addition to the food, there were so very many activities for people of all ages.
Let’s now talk about all the phenomenal celebrity masterclasses at the the Al Islami Kitchen. These alone were enough to draw a crowd- and boy, oh boy, did they ever! With appearances by over a dozen the movers and shakers in the industry ranging from Atul Khochar, Jason Atherton, Bjorn Shen, all the way to Ella Woodward, this stop was one of the biggest highlights for a home-cook like myself.
The line-up of chefs at the Al Islami Kitchen masterclass was completely star-studded, and while it was hard to pick and choose who I wanted to see in action the most, the first of these masterclasses I attended was the one hosted by none other than the ever humble and ever legendary chef Heinz Beck. This class was so crowded that I actually could not find myself a seat.
The second masterclass I attended was by my Chef Geoffrey Zakarian. This one naturally drew an even bigger crowd, but it was organized very well and there was zero chaos. They even saved me a seat in the front row, so I got to fan-girl to the max. It’s funny how no matter how much time you spend in the world of food, there’s always something new to learn, and I learnt plenty of nifty tricks from from both chefs Heinz Beck as well as Geoffrey Zakarian.
On to the million dollar question though: what was there to eat at the Beach Canteen? The answer: everything under the sun. I couldn’t possibly begin to list the options available there, but I can assure you there was something for everyone. My favorite booth was the Tresind booth, because these guys managed to bring their fine-dining, molecular gastronomy packed flair to the beach- and that’s no easy feat. Plus, the options were priced far lower than they are at the restaurant, and we thank them for that.
Other favorites from the Beach Canteen include Sahtein Dubai (loved their falafel burger); Project Chaiwala (they were serving chai in little terracotta pots made by underprivileged women from a village in India, and these pots can be repurposed to your desire); Moshi for their unique twists on sushi and maki, Nespresso for their ridiculously reasonable coffee (I’m talking FOUR dirhams for a cappuccino you guys!); Yummtingz for their basil lemonade; Jamba Juice for fresh coconut water; and Nouq for their camel milk ice cream. A crowd favorite (which I didn’t get to try because the line was always too long), was Wofl.
It’s safe to say that we bade farewell to the DFF with heavy hearts and are already counting down to the next one, starting with none other than the Beach Canteen.
Until next year x