Activities at the 9th edition of the Sharjah Food Festival will kick off today with a new look and new venues. The festival will be held this year in four main locations in Sharjah: Al Qasba, Al Majaz Waterfront, Heart of Sharjah and Al Montazah. The Sharjah Food Festival was formerly held solely at Al Qasba. Organised by Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq), the 11-day festival will host a group of celebrated and internationally acclaimed chefs and will feature a rich lineup of competitions and activities for the whole family to enjoy. The festival will end on April 4th, 2015.
Mr. Ahmed Obaid Al Qaseer, Chief Operating Officer of Shurooq, was thrilled with how the festival turned out this year. He said: “The festival’s new locations and exciting activities are a result of our diligent efforts to expand entertainment across the four landmark tourist sites in Sharjah. This expansion is intended to give all Sharjah residents and visitors access to the festival. We undertook this expansion in response to the previous festivals’ increasing number of visitors.” He added: “Shurooq and all the sponsors and supporting organisations were motivated to build on the festival’s previous success and to introduce the festival in a new way, in participation with a large number of celebrated and internationally acclaimed chefs, who will reveal the latest culinary arts at the festival”.
During the festival, Al Qasba’s visitors will be treated to a selection of activities, including cooking competitions designed for families, government employees, and art, sport and media celebrities. The festival will also feature characters from several, popular Nickelodeon cartoons, the Pizarro Academy for young chefs, barbecue competitions, entertainment shows and lectures on healthy eating and cooking. In addition, Al Qasba will host 20 stands displaying exotic cuisines from around the world.
Among the events scheduled at Al Majaz Waterfront is a daily 90-minute demonstration that will be presented by local, regional and international chefs who will give live cooking shows. Syrian chef Marc Abed, who is much acclaimed for his television program “Lel Shabaa” on DMTV, will demonstrate his culinary skills on Wednesday, March 25. Celebrated Kuwait Chef Hussein Al Ali, owner of Concept Cuisine restaurant in Kuwait, will demonstrate a number of Western and American dishes recipes, on Thursday, March 26. Award winning chef Tarek Ibrahim will be present at Sharjah Food Festival on Friday, March 27, as he is recently acclaimed as a Master Chef by the World Association Chefs’ Societies; the Egypt born chef is famous for his cooking shows on Fatafeat TV.
Emirati executive oriental chef Musabbeh Al Kaabi will come from Jumeirah Zabeel Saray to Sharjah Food Festival on Saturday, March 28, to showcase the best of Emirati cuisine. Chef Sumaiya Idrissi, Saudi chef will be the chef of day on Sunday, March 29, where she will show her own recipes of Gulf cuisine. One day after, Indian Executive Chef Akshay Nayyar will be the guest chef. He will present some traditional Indian dishes which he used to serve at Signature at Melia Dubai.
Iranian Chef Mehdi Katanbaf will come to the festival on Tuesday, March 31, to demonstrate recipes from Italian cuisine. He is the development Chef of Nestle Middle East and an expert in exquisite Italian cuisine. Moroccan cuisine will be represented by Chef Hakim Ben Adi on 1st of April. A leading and famous Moroccan chef, Chef Hakim has extensive experience and unmatched skills in the preparation of Moroccan dishes.
On Thursday, April 2, visitors of Al Majaz Waterfront will be treated to the dishes of Britain’s top female chef Silvena Rowe. Author of 6 bestselling cookery books, the phenomenon chef will present her signature blend of Turkish and European cuisines. German Chef Uwe Micheel, Director of Kitchens at Radisson Blu Hotel, will present at the festival on Friday, April 3, with a selection of various dishes. The demonstrations will come to the end on April 4, with Egyptian Chef Yousef Darwish, Executive Chef at Taj Palace Dubai, who will showcase the gastronomy of Arabic cuisines.
Al Majaz waterfront will be also the venue for the renowned local chefs who will give advice and lessons about food preparation to the audience for 30 minutes daily. In addition, contestants from the audience will compete in preparing dishes from their home countries. Chef competitions will involve food and fruit carving, cake decoration and ice carving, while festival-goers can look forward to various games of skill. Al Majaz Waterfront will also host 15 food trucks, kiosks & containers serving a multitude of cuisines. Other activities will include the Chef Theatre and the Best Burger Competition, which will involve a contest between members of the audience who have the chance to display their burger-making skills. The festival will also provide plenty of entertainment for children, including face painting, canvas painting, t-shirt design, sand art, henna tattooing and nail painting.
Activities at Al Montazah will include performances by world class street artists such as the multi-talented actor, clown and mime, Diego Spano, whose acclaimed portrayal of Charlie Chaplin has charmed audiences all over the world, and the Italian theatre actor, Luigi, who has achieved remarkable success in Italy and at many European festivals. Indian juggler, Jardo, famous for numerous comedic shows that feature a cobra snake, will also perform at the festival. Furthermore, live music band, Smooth Operators, will perform a wide range of musical styles in the Amphitheatre, and there will be fun shows for children performed by the Mascots and competitions in the Fun Time Zone.
The festival's activities held at Heart of Sharjah will include an old souq designed to reflect how people were living in 1950s Sharjah, featuring traditional architecture and a Bedouin majlis where visitors will learn how Bedouin food such as Al Qirs, and Emirati coffee, are prepared. Additionally, Heart of Sharjah will host folklore bands and children’s shows.
All the festival’s activities will take place from 5:00pm until 10:00 pm, Sunday to Wednesday. They will take place from 5:00pm until 11:00pm on weekends.