(MENAFN- The Peninsula) By Raynald C Rivera / The Peninsula
DOHA: The ninth Qatar International Food Festival (QIFF), the country's longest-running food event, opened yesterday in a festive celebration of cultural diversity through a profusion of culinary offerings and entertainment culminating with a spectacular pyrotechnic display.
Arguably the festival's grandest opening ceremony yet, last night's event at the Hotel Park featured unique culinary-inspired acts and food preparation show featuring world renowned celebrity chefs.
No less than Michelin Star chef Wolfgang Puck, famous for preparing post-Oscars dinner for the past 24 years, led the A-List of celebrity chefs who appeared at the launch event. Puck was joined by prominent Qatari chef Aisha Al Tamimi on the QIFF Cooking Theater stage in a lively discussion which shed light on Eastern and Western culinary traditions. It was followed by a stunning culinary-themed show combining fire dance, interactive video projection, and live music.
A 20-minute demonstration on preparing a 79.5kg tuna by US Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto delighted the huge audience at the show. Hundreds of foodies thronged the various food stalls spread on the 80,000 sqm venue. A total of 177 stalls which included 17 hotels, nine embassies and six food trucks offer endless culinary adventure to foodies in Qatar and from other countries in the next 11 days.
Welcoming the visitors, Mashal Shabik, Director, Festivals and Events at Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA), underlined Qatar as one of the most open countries welcoming more than 80 countries through its visa waiver programme and transit visa scheme, as well as one of the most competitive in terms of tourism in the region.
One of the crowd-drawers at the festival is the QIFF Cooking Theatre which provides a space for connoisseurs and novices to learn to handle, prepare, cook, present and even photograph food.
The US's Christine Ha, Kuwait's Sulaiman Al Qassar, the Philippines' Luis Rey ‘Niño' Logarta ,India's Ranveer Barar, Lebanon's Chef Ramzi, Turkey's Murat Bozok and Qatar's Aisha Al-Tamimi are among the 14 internationally-renowned chefs who will take to the stage to share their secret ingredients and techniques. With a special theme for each day, the Cooking Theatre will run live competitions and demonstrations daily from 4pm to 10.30pm.
The new coffee zone and a Mini Zoo for young children are among the new features at the festival. The main festival stage also hosts cultural shows from countries all across the globe including Ethiopia, India, South Africa, Turkey and Vietnam. Kuwaiti singer Abdulaziz Louis and Lebanese band, Wahdon, Doha-based hip hop dance troupe Beats and Bytes, Music Vending Machine, The Doha String Quartet and Friends and Doha Jazz are among the performers lined up during the festival. Visitors can also enjoy nightly fireworks display lasting for five minutes starting at 8pm followed by film screenings by Doha Film Institute.
Three of Doha's five-star restaurants are offering residents and visitors six QIFF Cooking Classes led by internationally-acclaimed chefs for offering interactive cooking and tasting experience. The chefs include Food Network's baking guru Anna Olson, US Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto and IDAM's Doha-based Executive Chef Damien Leroux.
The QIFF Menu continues to offer mouth-watering food groupings of three menu items at a price of QR49 at stand-alone cafes and restaurants and QR99 at hotels. The Festival is open at the Hotel Park from4 pm to 12 midnight on weekdays (Saturday to Wednesday) extending until to 1am on weekends (Thursday and Friday).
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