The Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM) has
launched 'Emirati Cuisine', a novel culinary initiative to promote and popularise authentic local cuisine among the emirate's large visitor and expatriate community.
The project is part of DTCM's continuous endeavor to promote different facets of Dubai to create a memorable and enjoyable
experience for visitors. DTCM, in cooperation with leading four and five-star hotels as well as the Emirates Culinary Guild
(ECG) and Emirates Academy of Hospitality Management (EAHM), will offer a host of culinary activities to the millions of visitors and
UAE residents throughout the year.
Speaking about this new initiative at a press conference held today, DTCM Business
Development Deputy Manager and the pioneer in this new initiative, Afra Al Fahim stated, "Exploring local cuisine is an integral
part of a tourist's visit to a new country. The Emirati Cuisine initiative aims to take visitors on a culinary voyage through popular
local delicacies in hotel establishments and position Dubai as a culinary destination in its own right. In the first phase of the
project, 166 chefs from participating four and five-star hotels were given workshops in local cuisine. We plan on extending these
workshops to other hotel categories in the near future."
The next step of the Emirati Cuisine project is a grand cooking competition, with chefs from nearly 50 Dubai hotels pitching their
culinary skills against each other at the Emirates Culinary Academy on November 6 and 7, 2004.
The chefs will be judged on several criteria including taste and presentation of a local main dish and dessert as well as creativity in preparing a new dish that
has the flavor and taste of local cuisine with a Western presentation style.
The local dishes will include Chicken Biriyani, Harees Thareed, Salouna Fish, Lamb Foga and Bajeleh, and the desserts include
Balaleet, Batheetha, Aseedah and Loqaimat. Judges include prominent Dubai chefs and hoteliers such as Chef Uwe Michel,
Executive Chef of the Inter-Continental Hotel, Dubai and President of the UAE Culinary Guild, Mr. Abdin Nasralla, General
Manager, Bab Al Shams Desert Resort & Spa, Mr. Mohammed Sultan, Specialty Chef Nasser Rajab of Jumeirah International,
Chef Ingo Maas of the Emirates Culinary Guild and Mr. Michael Kitts of the Emirates Academy.
"We are also encouraging 4 and 5 star hotels to offer Dubai visitors local dishes, initially as part of their Ramadan buffet
offering. During Ramadan, participating hotels will offer at least one main dish and one dessert from Emirati cuisine in their
Ramadan buffets, and based on customer feedback, a ceremony will be held in mid December to award prizes to the best hotels
and their teams," added Al Fahim. "The hotels will ask guests to fill in comment cards on the cuisine offered, against weekly
raffle prizes of free meal vouchers and hotel stays during Ramadan. Moreover, a raffle draw will be held by the DTCM for guests
who filled in the comment cards, with several great prizes including free stays at hotels such as Al Maha Resort, Burj Al Arab
and Royal Mirage Hotel."
"This is just the initial phase of activities, in what we are confident will develop into an exciting initiative for participating hotels
and Dubai visitors alike. Restaurants and kitchens offering local dishes shall be listed in our brochures and website. Tour
operators shall be encouraged to offer local cuisine to their customers. We are also considering holding an annual Emirati Food
Festival in Dubai and offering cookery master classes for visitors and residents," concluded Al