WOW! What a ride the Dubai Food Fest 2017 has been! It was non-stop, full-throttle food extravaganza, and I am so glad I made the most of it. From the moment I was handed my influencer badge, I pulled my socks up, reminded myself that sleep is for the weak and geared up for what is like Fashion Week for food bloggers in the UAE. This was an honor and a privilege and I was not going to let my PJs get in the way. And I didn’t.
From the Etisalat Beach Canteen, through Eat The World DXB, to Street Nights, all the way to the grand finale which was Taste of Dubai, there were plenty of outdoorsy events that were as perfect as the weather. The weather was perfect and so were the events, is what I’m trying to say, folks. There was also the Miele Restaurant Week for the fine dining lovers, and plenty of exciting surprises even for restaurants inside malls, you guys. When I say it was non-stop excitement for all things food, I mean it.
The absolute highlight though and cherry on this sundae of the Dubai Food Fest for me was the Chef’s Table with Geoffrey Zakarian at Ruya. Only one influencer was invited to this event, and she was Judy Karim of www.whenjudyatethekela.com. I was her lucky plus one, and there was no containing my excitement that day.
Chef Geoffrey Zakarian needs no introduction for anyone who has ever watched even a day of Food Network, and is as classy in person as he appears to be on any of his shows. The best part is that he was extremely impressed by the plethora of cuisines that Dubai boasts, both in terms of quality and quantity. He said he was also extremely humbled by the warmth and welcome from Dubai.
It’s also no surprise that this Chef’s Table lunch was held at one of Dubai’s most popular restaurants: Ruya at the Grosvenor House. This was perfect because Geoffrey Zakarian comes from Armenian lineage and his wife from a Lebanese one. The menu we tried was absolutely phenomenal. The dishes were extremely rustic and true to their Anatolian roots, and Geoffrey Zakarian made sure to let us know how these are actually his favorite and most comforting ingredients to work with.
Attention to detail is tangible at Ruya, with even something as small as the olives being served with warm Turkish leaves and herbs. This was comfort food at it’s best, whether it was the Borek, the Levrek, the Homemade Pastrima, or my absolute favorite: the Kuymak with soft cheese polenta, wild mushrooms and truffle.
The appetizers alone were enough to floor us, but what really left a lasting impact was the 2 cheese pide with slow cooked egg. There are few things in life as pleasurable as the oozing of a runny egg yolk.
Other favorites included the Rangers Valley Rib eye which was dry-rubbed with Turkish coffee and izot, and the whole grilled Sea Bream with with anatolian spice rub, lemon dressing and havoc. Let’s not forget the Bosporus Seafood Guvek with tomato and fennel pilaf, or the Keshek- which was barley risotto with pulled lamb and spices.
We moved out onto the terrace for dessert, which was perfect because the weather was absolutely wonderful. Bleached skies and a cool breeze are but only a rare treat in Dubai, so we (the Dubai denizens) make it a point to celebrate these as much a we can. Chef Geoffrey Zakarian seemed to be having a really good time, and we couldn’t help but swell with pride.
We tried three different desserts, and everyone seemed to have a different favorite. My favorite was the Stamboul, which had white chocolate yogurt cream, lemon lokum, and strawberry basil sorbet. I liked it so much in fact, that I forgot to photograph it.
This was a truly memorable meal, and days like this make me so glad I became a food blogger.
Already counting down to the next Dubai Food Fest x