May 21, 2024
PRESS RELEASES

A Delectable Journey Comes to a Spectacular Close!

That’s a wrap! The 11th edition of the highly anticipated Dubai Food Festival (DFF) concluded this weekend after an epic 23-day foodie adventure that celebrated the vibrant and diverse culinary landscape of the city.

Created to bolster Dubai’s position as a global gastronomic hub, the festival featured a packed citywide programme of activations, special menus, events, promotions, and more, bringing to life the authenticity, diversity, value for money, and experiential nature of Dubai’s food scene. Running from Friday 19 April to Sunday 12 May, 769 restaurants participated in DFF 2024, including those recognised by MICHELIN and Gault&Millau and featured within the 2024 Middle East and North Africa’s 50 Best Restaurants list. Shining a spotlight on the culinary trailblazers, and tastemakers shaping Dubai’s culinary landscape today, the festival welcomed 778 chefs, including four international, who took part in various culinary events and activations throughout DFF.

In line with Dubai’s D3 economic vision to double the city’s economy by 2033, DFF serves as a showcase of Dubai’s commitment to culinary excellence and enhancing the lifestyle experience for all. Having just wrapped up its most successful year to date, DFF’s continued success underscores Dubai’s vibrant culinary landscape and the growing interest in diverse dining experiences. According to a recent report by the Dubai Department of Economy and Tourism (DET), Dubai residents are actively involved in the city’s food scene, dining out an average of three times a week, with a significant 14% surge in weekly dining spending. The report highlights that 81% of diners prefer casual dining, followed by food courts at 73%, and premium dining and cafes at 49%. Residents, on average, explore 2.5 new restaurants in the past three months, showcasing their appreciation for Dubai’s diverse dining offerings, which aligns with DFF’s focus on diversification. Through innovation and quality, DFF solidifies Dubai as a top destination for food enthusiasts worldwide.

Expressing his delight at the success of DFF 2024 with Ahmed Al Khaja, CEO of Dubai Festivals and Retail Establishment (DFRE), said, “The 11th edition of Dubai Food Festival has once again showcased the culinary excellence and diversity that Dubai has to offer, reinforcing our city’s reputation as a global gastronomic hub. The positive response from residents and tourists alike underscores the importance of events like DFF in promoting Dubai’s vibrant food scene and enhancing the overall lifestyle experience in the city.”

From authentic Emirati flavours and homegrown concepts, to international fine dining or family-friendly hotspots, this year’s edition offered delicious experiences for every age, palate and budget. With returning favourites Dubai Restaurant Week, Foodie Experiences, e& Beach Canteen, 10 Dirham Dish and a food focus photography competition with Gulf Photo Plus as well as the all-new Chef’s Menu, DFF served as a stunning showcase of the city’s culinary prowess and commitment to offering unique dining experiences.

A feast for every taste and palate: Dubai Restaurant Week

One of the standout events of DFF was Dubai Restaurant Week, which saw 68 restaurants participate and a 26% year-on-year increase in covers. Diners had the opportunity to sample special menus crafted by some of the city’s top chefs, providing a tantalising glimpse into Dubai’s vibrant dining scene. From fine dining establishments to local concepts and hidden gems, participating venues presented two-course lunch menus at AED125 and / or three-course dinners at AED250 per person, giving diners the chance to explore new flavours, rediscover old favourites, and immerse themself in the exceptional culinary artistry that Dubai is renowned for. Participating restaurants included Cargo, Hillhouse Brasserie, Couqley French Restaurant, Somewhere Galleria, Rhodes W1, Toro Toro and Carna By Dario Cecchini, as well as eateries specialising in Emirati and Arabic cuisine such as Al Khaima, Al Nafoorah and Arabian Tea House. Diners could also enjoy extraordinary dining experiences at MICHELIN and Gault&Millau recognised restaurants as well as those featured in the 2024 Middle East and North Africa’s 50 Best Restaurants list. These included 21Grams, Carnival By Trèsind, Jun’s, Reif Kushiyaki, ROKA and UCHI, to name just a few. The Green-MICHELIN awarded Lowe and BOCA also took part, giving diners the chance to enjoy eco-friendly fare.

Value without comprising on flavour: 10 Dirham Dish

The second edition of the highly popular 10 Dirham Dish was a hit among festival-goers, with 525 restaurants in Dubai, including 280 unique venue brands, taking part. For just 10 Dirhams, diners could enjoy signature dishes from across more than 25 cuisines, showcasing the city’s culinary diversity and value-driven dining options. Diners embarked on a gastronomic journey through Dubai’s rich dining landscape, sampling Mediterranean from Elements Cafe, Hawaiian from Poke & Co, Greek from Philotimos, Korean from Hangry Hoes, Mexican from Wills and Persian from The Sib Restaurant LLC. The diverse range of offerings provided a tantalising snapshot of the depth of dining options in Dubai, including flavour-packed street food spots, all at an unbeatable, and unmissable, price. Whether it was an old favourite, a new menu addition, or a sample of their best known and loved flavours, participating restaurants across Dubai rolled some of their most delectable dishes to ensure a foodie experience like no other for budget-savvy diners.

A taste of the good life at e& Beach Canteen

e& Beach Canteen, a flagship event of DFF and beloved fixture on Dubai’s annual calendar, welcomed visitors to its 18-day fusion of gastronomy, music, fashion, and interactive experiences. Anchored by strong collaborations with Presenting Partner e& and Key Partners Emarat, Lipton, and talabat, this year’s e& Beach Canteen brought fun, food and fiesta vibes to Jumeirah Beach, featuring 50 food vendors – 48 of which were homegrown – 16 retail brands, 16 kids attractions, a family workshop space and culinary theatre, a vibrant entertainment lineup for all ages, fitness sessions, an all-new beach club experience and much more, delivering an unforgettable experience for guests. Whilst at e& Beach Canteen, visitors also got to see the winning shots from the Food Focus Dubai photography competition with Gulf Photo Plus. In its annual second edition, this city-wide competition called on residents and visitors to capture the essence of Dubai’s bustling street food scene through captivating images. An integral part of this year’s DFF, the Competition encouraged professional and amateur photographers to explore and capture the dynamic array of restaurants and hidden gems across Dubai. An esteemed panel of judges, representing DFRE and Gulf Photo Plus, meticulously selected the best entries from 1117 submissions – from sizzling shawarmas to bustling food markets, each depicting the essence of Dubai’s diverse culinary street-food landscape. The prestigious grand prize was awarded to Sajimon Sahadevan for his captivating portrayal of Dubai’s street food scene.

A culinary celebration: Foodie Experiences

Foodie Experiences offered a unique opportunity for diners to engage with Dubai’s dynamic food scene through 52 diverse culinary activations across the city. A celebration of the artistry and creativity of Dubai’s culinary community, the exclusive DFF Foodie Experiences included five four-hand dinners – a new category for this year. Week One featured 11 Fine Dining experiences, featuring a four-hand dinner by Chefs Mohamad Orfali and Shane Delia at Orfali Bros, a Chef’s Table at Alici, and a delectable tasting menu at Belcanto, among others, while Week Two was dedicated to family-friendly experiences, with 11 unique activations including pastry masterclasses for kids at Accents Restaurant and Terrace, chocolate and coffee tastings paired with V60 coffee at Mirzam, and much more. The final week featured 30 dining experiences for families and friends, with a variety of activities for all ages, including an experiential dining event at 11 Woodfire, food tours in Karama and Deira, and every bite in between.

Honouring culinary excellence: the all-new Chef’s Menu

The introduction of Chef’s Menu elevated the culinary experience at DFF to even greater heights, with 26 fine dining restaurants curating special menus featuring their most popular dishes. Each comprised a minimum of three courses, meticulously handpicked by their head chefs. Diners also had the unique opportunity to engage with culinary maestros from each restaurant, delving into the inspirations behind the menus and gaining insights into the artistry of their craft. Some of the chefs that dazzled diners’ palates included Chef Rahul Rana of Avatara, Chef Andy Toh of Hakkasan Dubai, Chef Damien Duviau of Nobu Dubai, Chef Frankie Yang Tao of Mott 32, Chef Cesar Ulloa at La Mar by Gastón Acurio, Chef Alfredo Albergatore at L’Amo Bistrò del Mare, Chef Himanshu Saini at Trèsind Studio, Chef Paul Gajewski at The Guild, Chefs Taka and Hisa at TakaHisa.

Irresistible offers: a Citywide Programme

During the festival, 171 brands, both online and in-store at malls citywide, featured retail promotions, flash sales, and activations, adding an exciting shopping dimension to the culinary festivities. DFF also featured a diverse range of five external events – Satwa Street Food Festival; Street Food Festival by Bussola; Breakfast at The Beach JBR; The Diner Experience by Eleven Green; and Experience a World of Flavours at Mercato Mall – and 14 activations across hotels and destinations, offering additional avenues for food enthusiasts to immerse themselves in Dubai’s dynamic culinary landscape. Furthermore, tailored tours were organised for media and influencers from China, Spain, Portugal, Germany, and South Africa, providing a unique opportunity to experience a diverse array of DFF activities.

As another exciting chapter of DFF comes to an end, food enthusiasts across the city are now filled with lasting memories to savour until the festival returns next year. Whether indulging in delectable signature dishes, participating in exclusive masterclasses, or delighting in chef’s menus crafted in collaboration with top restaurants in the city, DFF 2024 has once again solidified Dubai’s standing as a trailblazing gastronomic destination, earning international acclaim for its vibrant culinary landscape. To learn more about Dubai’s bustling food scene follow the official social media account @dubaieats on Facebook or Instagram

Last Updated on 6 days by Middle East News 247

    Middle East News 247

    Middle East News 247 delivers trending business and lifestyle news and essential infotainment for, and from the Middle East region, with key focus on the GCC nations: United Arab Emirates (UAE), Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait, and Oman.
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