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World’s Top Chefs Rehearse Abu Dhabi’s ’Hospitality Oscars’ Gala Dinner

Uae Capital Heading For Culinary Art Acclaim, Say Masterchefs

Gourmet Abu Dhabi’s star-studded cast of the world’s best masterchefs and acclaimed chateaux owners gathered in the city’s Al Raha Beach Hotel to put the final touches for Tuesday’s unparalleled, nine-course Gourmet Abu Dhabi Gala Dinner when the ‘oscars’ of the local hospitality industry will be presented. After touring the hotel’s kitchens the masterchefs got down to the nitty gritty of choosing the porcelain for the special dishes they will serve up during the evening and got down to detailed planning. The Gala Dinner falls mid-way in the 10-day culinary festival which has so far featured masterclasses, celebrity and chateaux dinners. And already the annual event, presented by the Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority, has been given a huge vote of confidence by the ‘stars’ of the event. Belgium’s critically acclaimed seafood masterchef Yves Mattagne, a gold medalist of the Concours European Fish Chef competition, said the enthusiasm of local diners has been inspiring. “I’ve cooked for the gala opening, a chateaux dinner and conducted a masterclass, 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 and hopefully one I’m living up to.” Middle Eastern cuisine expert Phillipe Massoud, who founded New York’s famed Illi restaurant said the visiting master chefs will now be ambassadors for the UAE capital. “Visually Abu Dhabi is a very stunning place, it seems like it’s one of the greenest and cleanest cities in the world. 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. It’s an event that is 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,” said the Lebanese/American. For the 13 hosting establishments throughout Abu Dhabi city where the packed Gourmet Abu Dhabi programme is being played out, Executive Chefs are praising the event for its educational potential. Tim Stanhope, hosting chef from the Shangri-La Hotel Qaryat Al Beri, said the event is sparking the culinary ambitions of local hospitality professionals. “All of the staff at the Shangri-La are incredibly excited to be hosting a world-class chef and being involved in the festival, they’re really inspired by the whole thing. I’ve personally attended two masterclasses from Michelin-star holders Lee Keung and Santi Santamaria which was a fantastic experience, and I’ll definitely be taking some cues from their ideas and approach.” And as Al Raha Beach Hotel readies for what is shaping up to be an evening of culinary masterpieces, its Executive Chef Martin Fischl, said the atmosphere among staff is electric. “Abu Dhabi has never seen so many Michelin-starred chefs in one kitchen! The awards dinner is a lot of work, but a lot of fun. Our entire 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,” he said. Gourmet Abu Dhabi diners can look forward to an evening with a reception featuring the cuisine of seven masterchefs 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. This will be followed by a dinner of with the cuisine of seven chefs – culminating in a special dessert – ‘substance’ – created by the kind of desserts, the multi-award-winning Spanish master pastry chef Oriol Balaguer who in 2001 was voted as having created the best dessert in the world.

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