Taste of Abu Dhabi: Guide to food, festivities and headline acts

Taste of Abu Dhabi: Guide to food, festivities and headline acts

It’s that time of year again when Taste of Abu Dhabi returns with its festive feasts, live music acts and three days of celebrity chefs serving up culinary masterpieces for visitors to sample.

Taking place from November 7 to 9 at the du Arena, Yas Island, Gulf News tabloid! breaks down all the highlights of the annual event and what to watch out for across the three days.

UB40 and Boyzlife Live

Two headline acts will keep the entertainment going across the festival, with UB40 taking the stage on day one with Ali Campbell and Astro stepping up from the legendary English reggae and pop band. The four-time Grammy Award nominee will kick-start the festival on November 7, performing chartbusters from their latest album ‘For the Many’, as well as UB40 classics ‘Food For Thought’, ‘One In Ten’, ‘I Can’t Help Falling In Love With You’, ‘Sing Our Own Song’ and ‘Red, Red Wine’.

The following day, the Boyzlife duo, namely Keith Duffy and Brian McFadden, will perform a mixture of the greatest hits from Westlife and Boyzone including ‘Flying Without Wings’, ‘No Matter What’, ‘I Love The Way You Love Me’, ‘Love Me For A Reason’ and ‘Baby Can I Hold You’.

Aside from the two headline acts, there will be live music daily from local artists and bands including 4TheMusic and Yeah Yeah Nah, DJ Sheps, among others.

Both headline acts take to the stage at 9.30pm on their respective days. The local artists and bands play through the days.

What’s new this year?

What’s a food festival without visitors sampling several of the many delights on offer? This year, to achieve just that, Taste of Abu Dhabi is setting up its International Food Sampling Pavilion.

Visitors will be will be able to sample their way around the world with a free selection of international delicacies, along with organic and fresh produce in the Middle East including honey, dates, juices, Arabic sweets, biscuits and coffee at the pop-up stalls.

Another first for Taste of Abu Dhabi is the Emirati Flavours Pavilion. Visitors will be able to experience the flavours of the UAE and learn about local traditions and culture while trying traditional Arabic coffee and dates. Emirati chefs will also create culinary show pieces and put on practical cooking demonstrations from authentic to new dishes across the Crate & Barrel Chefs’ Theatre and the Al Ain Farms & Kibsons Cooking Challenge.

The Beverage Theatre also appears as a first this year, which sets up a tasting experience theatre that will also showcase mixologist masterclasses.

Celebrity chefs at the Al Ain Farms & Kibsons Cooking Challenge

The annual Al Ain Farms & Kibsons Cooking Challenge returns this year where you can compete with others to win prizes as you cook alongside this year’s Taste of Abu Dhabi celebrity chefs including multi-Michelin star French chef Jean Christophe Novelli; Australian chef, author, restaurateur and MasterChef UK judge John Torode; cookbook author and founder of Assia Kitchen, Assia Othman; Indian chef, restaurateur, author and MasterChef India judge, Kunal Kapur; international best-selling author on baby and children’s food and nutrition, Annabel Karmel, and artisan pastry chef, Karim Bourgi.

The Big Baking Tent by ICCA

Master Patissier Eric Lanlard returns to Taste of Abu Dhabi with baking masterclasses at the Big Baking Tent by ICCA, alongside local and international pastry experts sharing tips and tricks for Abu Dhabi’s budding baking enthusiasts to join in.

Crate & Barrel Chef’s Theatre

Watch the masters at work as you learn tips and tricks from this year’s Taste of Abu Dhabi celebrity chefs including Novelli, Torode, Karmel and Kapur. The Crate & Barrel Chefs’ Theatre will teach visitors a multitude of new tips and techniques and innovations in ingredients in the kitchen.

Eric Lanlard TOAD-1572962843831
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World cuisine to sample

This year’s restaurants will have signature dishes for you to taste throughout the weekend alongside a host of bespoke beverage outlets. Restaurants confirmed include: Lebanese fare at Sambusek; a steak experience from Butcher & Still; Indian cuisine from Namak by Kunal Kapur; modern interpretations of classic Chinese dishes at Dai Pai Dong; the best-known French dishes at La Brasserie and an interpretation of Mediterranean cuisine at Todd English’s Olives.

Big Bake Off Competition

The ICCA Big Bake Off Competition final will be held on November 9 at the Big Baking Tent by ICCA when the winner of Taste of Abu Dhabi 2019 Baking Crown will be announced. Visitors can show off their baking decorations skills with a chance to win baking and patisserie courses worth Dh25,000 at The International Centre for Culinary Arts (ICCA) in Dubai.

To be selected to showcase your creations at Taste of Abu Dhabi, send a detailed description of the cake you would create alongside a picture or sketch and you could be facing the judges, Chef Eric Lanlard and ICCA Pastry Chef Instructors at the ICCA Big Bake Off Competition.

Kids’ Zone

There will be a dedicated Kids’ Zone to keep the little ones entertained including everything from arts and crafts, inflatables to face painting, and much more. Kids will also be able to work off some energy with free trampolining with Bounce Inc. Children under 12 get free entry.


Don’t miss it!

Taste of Abu Dhabi runs from November 7 to 9 at the du Arena, Yas Island.

The event runs from 4pm to midnight on day one; noon to midnight on day two; from noon to 11pm on day three. Tickets prices for Taste of Abu Dhabi start at Dh70. An Ultimate Taste Experience ticket starts at Dh290, which includes four food and six drink vouchers.

Kids under 12 years can enter for free. Tickets can be purchased online at The full schedule for the Chefs’ Theatre and the Big Bake Off can be found online on the website.