04 Mar 2018 – 18:50

Foodies, take note: Food festival returns with more stalls and live shows on March 15

(FILE PHOTO) Qatar International Food Festival at the Hotel Park. April 6, 2017. Salim Matramkot © The Peninsula

The Peninsula

In its ninth year, the country’s longest-running food festival, Qatar International Food Festival (QIFF), is set to open on March 15 and continue for 11 days at Hotel Park.

The number of participants has grown by 36% to reach 177 stalls, six food trucks and trolleys, extending over the full 80,000 square metres of the park grounds. 16 hotels will bring the best of culinary experiences to the festival. The prices will range from QR5 to QR40.

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All four corners of the world 
In celebration of the unique mix of cultures that Qatar is home to, 9 embassies based in Doha will be inviting festival-goers to savour the flavours of East and West. The participating countries are the USA, South Africa, Vietnam, the Philippines, Turkey, Lebanon, Mexico, India and Ethiopia.

Rashed AlQurese (center) QTA’s Chief Marketing and Promoting officer with Mashal Shahbik (left) Director of Tourism events and festivals and Salem Al Kubaisi (right) Chief corporate service officer during the Press conference of Qatar International food festival 2018 in Doha Today. Photo by Abdul Basit

Special festival experiences
Festival favourites are back this year such as the signature Live Cooking Theater with participation from internationally renowned chefs such as US MasterChef Christine Ha, Qatar’s very own Aisha AlTamimi, Kuwaiti cook Fawaz AlOmaim, Indian celebrity chef Ajay Chopra, Lebanese celebrity chef Ramzi Choueiri, and the Michellin Star chef who has been preparing the post-Oscars feast for 24 years, Wolfgang Puck. They, along with others will be sharing their culinary delights from 6pm – 10:30pm daily with a different theme for each day.

International celebrity chefs hosted at the cooking theater include: 

  • Aisha Altamimi (Qatari chef & food programme presenter)
  • Ajay Chopra (Indian celebrity chef)
  • Anna Olson (pastry chef on Food Network)
  • Asmaa Albahar (Kuwaiti celebrity chef)
  • Christine Ha (the first blind contestant in US MaterChef and 2012 winner)
  • Damien Leroux (Executive Chef at IDAM)
  • Fawaz AlOmaim (Kuwaiti Cook)
  • Murat Bozok (Turkish celebrity chef)
  • Nino Logarta (Celebrity Filipino TV chef)
  • Ramzi Choueiri (Lebanese celebrity chef)
  • Sulaiman Al Qassar (Kuwaiti celebrity TV chef)
  • Masharu Morimoto (US Iron Chef)
  • Wolfgang Puck (LA-based Michelin Star celebrity chef, famous for preparing the post-Oscars feast for 24 years)

Also back this year, is the Health Zone which encourages conscious eating habits and life choices that promote overall well-being. There will also be free fitness classes regularly held throughout QIFF allowing festival-goers to get their blood pumping while enjoying the outdoor festivities at Hotel Park.

This year, QIFF is also shedding a spotlight on locally-owned coffee shops which have become contemporary symbols of cultural and social exchange. The dedicated Coffee Zone which will give coffee lovers a chance to immerse themselves in the bean’s rich aromas and flavours.

Photo by Salim Matramkot The Peninsula

Adding to the festive atmosphere at Hotel Park, the main festival stage will host a variety of live performances and cultural shows running throughout the day. In the evenings, fireworks displays will light up the sky above the Doha corniche at 8pm.

Mini Zoo
This year, QIFF has expanded the children’s area to include a mini zoo and farmer’s market, providing parents and children an opportunity to learn more about our food’s journey from farm to fork. Torba, Qatar Foundation’s farmers market, offering farm-to-table experiences, will be present at QIFF. Children will be provided with sports classes as well as creative activities courtesy of Café Ceramique.

In Doha & Around Qatar   
Bringing QIFF to restaurants and cafes across Qatar, festival organisers are once again offering the QIFF Menu from March 1-31. The QIFF Menu allows residents and visitors to enjoy mouth-watering food groupings of three menu items at a pre-set price of QR49 at stand-alone cafes and restaurants; and QR 99 at hotels.

Three of Doha’s top restaurants are offering residents and visitors a unique opportunity to join internationally-acclaimed chefs for an interactive cooking and tasting experience through the QIFF Cooking Classes. The chefs include Food Network’s Anna Olson, Iron Chef Mahsuru Morimoto and IDAM’s executive chef Damien Leroux. Those after this exclusive dining experience should look out for upcoming announcements on social media platforms and book through the usual reservation platforms and space is limited to 10- 20 persons per class.

The Community Side of Food
Demonstrating its consideration for the community, QIFF organisers have signed up with Wahab food collection and distribution service for this year’s Festival. The charity will ensure that festival goers can donate untouched food so it is carefully repackaged and delivered to those in need.