11 days of culinary delight kick off Thursday
March 14 2018 09:57 PM
Christine Ha, Murat Bozok, Wolfgang Puck and Asma al-Bahr
Christine Ha, Murat Bozok, Wolfgang Puck and Asma al-Bahr

*QIFF Cooking Theatre to feature 14 top celebrity chefs from around the world

Hollywood’s favourite chefs, Wolfgang Puck and Qatar’s very own Aisha al-Tamimi, will be taking the centre stage on Thursday for an exchange of culinary insights “that spans from East to West,” marking the start of the 11-day Qatar International Food Festival (QIFF) 2018.

The discussion follows a live cooking demonstration by US Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto at the QIFF Cooking Theater, and a fireworks display above the Doha Corniche as a highlight of the event’s opening ceremony.

“This year’s edition is not only the culmination of months of preparation but of the years of developing and growing the festival to be a platform that truly celebrates cultural diversity through food,” Qatar Tourism Authority’s (QTA) chief marketing and promotion officer Rashed al-Qurese said in a press statement.

“Qatar is now the most open country in the region and QIFF is yet another echo of our message of welcome to the world,” he noted.

Al-Qurese cited the collaboration between the private and public sectors in organising this event, which will serve as a model for any future tourism-related initiatives QTA wants to do as part of the ‘Next Chapter of Qatar’s National Tourism Sector Strategy 2030’.

QIFF, the country’s longest-running food festival scheduled until March 25 at the Hotel Park, showcases a rich mix of flavours, cultures and entertainment.

Qatar residents and visitors will enjoy an array of gastronomic experiences, including a fresh farmers’ market, garden picnics and special festival menus at participating restaurants around the country.

The festival will be open from 4pm to 12midnight on weekdays (Saturday to Wednesday) and extends to 1am on weekends (Thursday and Friday), according to QTA.

QIFF’s signature feature, the QIFF Cooking Theatre, returns this year to provide a space for connoisseurs and novices to learn how to handle, prepare, cook, present and even photograph food. It will feature a special theme, live competitions and demonstrations daily from 4pm to 10.30 pm.

US’ Christine Ha, Kuwait’s Sulaiman al-Qassar, Philippines’ Luis Rey ‘Nino’ Logarta, India’s Ranveer Barar, Lebanon’s Chef Ramzi, Turkey’s Murat Bozok and Qatar’s al-Tamimi are among the 14 internationally-renowned chefs who will share their secret ingredients and techniques.

Coffee lovers will also envoy sipping their favourite drink at the coffee zone, which will offer “a truly unique experience.”

Cultural performances from various countries, including Ethiopia, India, South Africa, Turkey and Vietnam, will be held at the main stage.

The second week of QIFF will witness Kuwaiti singer Abdulaziz Louis and Lebanese band Wahdon entertaining visitors for free on March 23 and 24.

Doha-based hip hop dance troupe Beats and Bytes, as well as Music Vending Machine, The Doha String Quartet & Friends, Doha Jazz and an American music band will perform throughout the festival.

A five-minute fireworks display will light up the sky above the Doha corniche at 8pm followed by daily film screenings, courtesy of festival partner, Doha Film Institute (DFI).

The screenings include Made In Qatar Shorts Programme, Winnie the Pooh and Finding Nemo on rotation each evening.

QIFF 2018 is organised and delivered by QTA with the support of numerous partners representing the entertainment, hospitality and food and beverage sectors in Qatar. The festival’s strategic partner is Katara Hospitality, the global hotel owner, developer and operator based in Qatar.

The award-winning five-star national carrier Qatar Airways is the festival’s official airline while other partners include Msheireb Museums, DFI, beIN, Qatar Culinary Professionals, Askar, Mini Zoo Events, AlRayyan Water, RAW ME, Zomato, Talabat, Uber, Qatar TV, Al Rayyan TV and Olive Radio.

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