Food lovers have begun to converge on the Hotel Park to savour local and international cuisine at the eighth Qatar International Food Festival (QIFF), which opened on Wednesday.
The 11-day culinary celebration also started greeting visitors with a variety of signature dining experiences, including Dinner in the Sky, Garden Picnics and High Tea/Fine Dining.
Senior officials of Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA) and Katara Hospitality, ambassadors of various countries, and other dignitaries graced the opening of the event, which also featured entertainment and cultural performances.
QIFF welcomes visitors who want to learn from renowned chefs to the QIFF Cooking Theatre, which runs live demonstrations daily from 4pm to 9pm. It features Food Network’s Andy Bates and Graham Elliot on stage to share their secret ingredients and techniques.
“The QIFF Cooking Theatre is a long-standing feature of the festival and we are excited to bring it back this year with a slew of world-renowned chefs,” QTA’s festivals and tourism events Mashal Shahbik said.
“The variety of cuisines, skills and techniques they bring offers something for everyone. It is truly a space for connoisseurs and novices alike to learn all about how to handle, prepare, cook, present and even photograph food,” she noted.
QIFF features live cooking demonstrations.
Elliot, one of the most recognised cooks in the US today, will take to the Cooking Theatre stage twice on the first weekend of QIFF: March 31 at 8pm and on April 1 at 7pm.
“It is my first time visiting Qatar and I am extremely excited to interact with the amazing people and show them some of the things that I do. More importantly, I can't wait to try some incredible food at QIFF – especially some of the signature Qatari dishes that I haven't experienced before, such as Mathrooba – and learn about the country’s food, culture and history,” he said.
Later in the week, Bates, a champion of British food and family-style cooking, is set to take to the stage for three consecutive days. Fans can catch him presenting live on April 3 at 9pm, April 4 at 8pm, and on April 5 at 9pm.
Bates, who is also coming to Qatar for the first time, is keeping his two recipes at the Cooking Theatre a surprise.
“The first recipe is a British classic made the 'proper' way and I will also give tips on how to prepare ahead. The second recipe is going to be an explosion of flavours and colours that represents the culinary world of Miami where I now live,” he said.
The QIFF Cooking Theatre will also feature chefs from neighbouring countries such as Kuwaiti cook Fawaz al-Omaim and ‘Queen of the Arabian Kitchen,’ chef Manal al-Alem. Adding a dash of oriental spice, Indian celebrity chef Sanjeev Kapoor will also appear at the Cooking Theatre.
The festival, which will run until April 8, will also help people to enjoy specially-curated QIFF menus on offer at their favourite cafes and restaurants participating across the country.
In addition, a series of Chef’s Table events are being held at select five-star hotel restaurants, giving residents and visitors an opportunity to enjoy special live cooking and dining experiences with internationally-acclaimed chefs.
Organisers have also partnered with Uber to provide festival-goers with affordable options to reach the Hotel Park.
Throughout the event, registered users can use the promocode QIFF2017 to receive a 20% discount for trips to the festival grounds. First-time users of the application will also receive up to a QR40 off on their first trip to the festival.