The Sharjah Food Festival closed yesterday (Saturday) on a successful note after 10 days of gourmet-themed events, culinary competitions between famous media representatives and social media influencers, lectures on healthy food and live cooking demonstrations by 10 international chefs who displayed their skills in preparing food dishes from eastern and western cuisines.
Organised by the Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq), the 10-day gourmet-themed festival took place at the emirate’s four premier tourist destinations, including Al Qasba, Heart of Sharjah, Al Majaz Waterfront and Al Montazah.
The festival has promoted footfall in the event destinations. It has attracted resident families in various cities and emirates across the UAE, who enjoyed participating and profiting from the numerous fun-packed and entertainment-filled activities organised during the festival. It has also boosted the economic drive in the destinations that played host to Sharjah Food Festival.
Commenting on the festival's success, Ahmed Obaid Al Qaseer, Chief Operating Officer of Sharjah Investment and Development Authority ( Shurooq) , said: “The 10th edition of the Sharjah Food Festival, held at four destinations across Sharjah, was a major success due to its rich programme of events that targets all segments of community, including Emirati citizens, expatriate residents and tourists."
'The success achieved by the festival 2016 encourages us to start from today to prepare for the upcoming edition, which will be full with entertainment for all family member," he added.
Ahmed Obaid Al Qaseer thanked all government bodies and sponsors who contributed to the success of the festival. "I take this opportunity to profoundly thank all our sponsors for the great support and facilities that helped in projecting an honourable image of Sharjah as a haven for culture and heritage."
He added: "The festival was able to achieve its objectives, and increased people's demand for restaurants, cafes and shops in all tourist destinations that fall under Shurooq's umbrella.
The festival witnessed a huge turnout at lectures and workshops presented by nutrition experts on how to prepare healthy and nutritious meals, oral health, dining etiquette and safety, as well as health advices that benefited families in their daily lives.
The highlight of the festival was the cooking competitions between Shurooq staff which ended with the victory of the team "I Love Sharjah" consisting Mohammed Al Serkal, Mona Al Bloushi and Anna Mary, over the government relations' team made up of Iman Al Junaibi, Raneem Sabha and Lamiya Al Mzaini. The Dubai Police Officers' Club managed to clinch a win over the Ras Al Khaimah Women's Society in culinary competition between government staff.
In cooking contests between celebrities and social media influencers, the social media team of Spacetoon TV that comprised Mohammed, Walid and Ghassan has won over the team of TV programme "In Sharjah", which included Mohammed Farjawi, Adam Smadi and Mohammed Ibrahim Abu Baker.
Meanwhile, Al Qasba, the home of the first ever Sharjah Food Festival, hosted a cooking competition between Sharjah Media Corporation's staff and another competition between social medial influencers and female journalists from Al Khaleej newspaper who displayed their skills in preparing a diverse range of eastern and western dishes. These competitions represented an exciting opportunity for employees to break the routine of work and get to know each other while displaying their skills in preparing food dishes.
In culinary contests between amateurs, the spirit of cooperation and harmony prevailed and resulted in many families wining prizes presented by the festival administration and sponsors.
In another cooking competition, the Children's Centre in Mleiha clinched a victory over the Children's Centre in Al Batayeh during the "Junior Chef Challenge", which took place at Al Montazah. The festival's last day saw a competition between the Pink team, which included Hamda Saad and Mariam Mohammed, and the blue team consisting of Maitha Al Kaabi and her son, Rashid Abdullah Al Kaabi. The competition ended with the victory of the blue team after obtaining 78 points as announced by the judging panel consisting of Chef Moustafa Tieel and Dilanta Fernando.
On the other hand, Al Majaz Waterfront hosted the live cooking demonstrations by a world-class line-up of international celebrity chefs such as Indian Chef Vineet Bhatia, Emirati Chef Bader Najeeb, Kuwaiti Chef Sami
Al Sherida, Omani Chef Issa Allamki, Qatari chef Aisha Al Tamimi and Bahraini Chef Salwa Al Oraifi. Other chefs included Ali Al Ali from Saudi Arabia, Wafa Alkandari from Kuwait, Nirmine Hanno from Egypt and Mohammad Orfali from Syria. The chefs revealed some secretes about international cuisines by presenting signature dishes and new recipes.
Speaking about his participation, Syrian Chef Mohammad Orfali said: "It was my first participation in the festival. The idea behind the festival is very nice and helps build bridges of communication between the chefs and the audience." He continued by saying: "For me, I loved the idea itself because it keeps the public informed and updated about new international cuisines. The festival was an opportunity to exchange experiences between the chefs themselves, and also allow the public to acquire some of these experiences by answering all their queries during live cooking shows."
The festival also featured a variety of ice and fruit carving shows by international and professional chefs. The fruit and vegetable carvings, the ice and bread sculpting show witnessed a huge public turnout. The audience was captivated by the chefs who displayed their skills and brilliant techniques in turning large ice cubes into exquisite artworks, apart from amazing fruit and vegetable carvings as well as wonderful bread sculptures.
The festival also hosted live entertainment activities for children. The characters from the popular TV series Sesame Street “Iftah Ya Simsim” brought joy and laughter to children, while Venezuelan artist Katay Santos enthralled the audience with his abilities and talent in combing modern dance and aerobatics. While Italian artist Raul managed to capture children's attention while he was preparing pizza in a comic manner, children interacted with interactive performances by Spanish artist El Côte, one of the most prominent pioneers of street art in the world.
Meanwhile, Romanian artist Eugenio Martinez, who is specialized in stringed instruments, charmed the audience with his live performances throughout the Festival. Another highlight was Japanese artist “Senmaru” who enthralled the audience with some traditional Japanese martial arts tricks known as “Edo-Daikagura", while Italian artist captivated the audience with his famous comic show "Sweet Dreams”.
The 10th edition of the Sharjah Food Festival, which was held under the slogan “Many Flavours, One Festival”, offered a great opportunity for housewives to gain experience from an elite group of international chefs. The festival also helped in raising children's awareness about the need to have healthy and nutritious foods through an array of events designated specifically to increase their self-esteem and confidence and develop their personalities.