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Qatar International Food Festival 2024 kicks off with bursting flavours and live entertainment

Saturday, February 10, 2024/ Editor -  

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Qatar Tourism’s Qatar International Food Festival (QIFF) returns on February 8 for its 13th edition. Held at the Family Zone at the Doha Expo 2023 this year at Al Bidda Park, QIFF 2024 spans over a colossal 61, 600 meter squared concourse. The event is geared up to offer the most entertaining cultural feast under one roof. This year’s sponsors are Talabat and Ooredoo, while the Official Hospitality Partner is Katara Hospitality, and the Official Venue Partner is Doha Expo 2023.

Commenting on this year’s festival, His Excellency, Mr. Saad Bin Ali Al Kharji, Chairman of Qatar Tourism, said: “As we gather here today to inaugurate the 13th edition of the Qatar International Food Festival. This year, in acknowledgment of the year of culture, we embrace a cultural exchange between our brothers and sisters from Morocco, this festival promises to fortify ties and promote the rich heritage of both nations. We look forward to a successful and memorable festival that will continue to elevate Qatar as a global destination for strong legacy and culture. The festival has successfully become one of the most beloved and awaited events in the annual winter calendar organised by Qatar Tourism. I would like to invite all nationals and residents to come enjoy and create unforgettable memories with their families.”

English football legend and philanthropist David Beckham attended one of the cooking workshops organized in partnership with the Dreama Orphan Care Centre. This year's edition will witness the presence of former famous football stars Ronaldinho, Claude Makelele and Pastore.

Commenting on the occasion, Francisco Miguel De Sousa, Managing Director of Talabat in Qatar said: “We are thrilled to be sponsoring one of Qatar’s biggest food extravaganzas for yet another year running, as a reflection of our dedication to elevating the rich culinary culture in the country. Talabat’s presence in QIFF also reinforces our commitment towards creating memorable moments, fostering connections, and supporting the flourishing food community in Qatar. This is in line with our continuous efforts in shaping the future of dining experiences as a key player in the food and technology industry, and we welcome all visitors to join us in QIFF and enjoy the diverse range of delights this year.” 

Commenting on this year edition Mr. Nasser Matar AlKuwari, Chief Executive Officer of Katara Hospitality: “Katara Hospitality is honoured to partner with Qatar Tourism for the Qatar International Food Festival 2024 Edition, reaffirming our dedication to honouring Qatar's vibrant culinary heritage and ever-evolving hospitality scene. Utilizing our extensive portfolio of hotels in Qatar, we have enriched the culinary journey by presenting a diverse array of dining options. We are genuinely excited to contribute to this prestigious event, we are committed to orchestrating unforgettable moments and solidifying Qatar's status as a premier destination for both food aficionados and travelers.”

The Official Market Partner of Qatar International Food Festival 2024 is the Torba Market, who have 10 kiosks celebrating the best of local artisan foods. Torba Market pop-up at QIFF’24 is a celebration of natural and artisanal foods, focusing on supporting the local food system. It features a variety of fresh, organic produce and handcrafted goods from local farmers and artisans, fostering a community-centric atmosphere since 2017.

Returning larger than its predecessors, QIFF 2024 boasts over 100 food stalls and kiosks from over 15 international brands, over 120 entertainment shows, 9 zones, and daily fireworks displays. This year, QIFF will host over 13 international celebrity chefs, and over 10 local and Qatar-based international chefs, who will be demonstrating their utmost talents through live cooking shows.

The opening ceremony

To honour the Qatar-Morocco Year of Culture, the opening ceremony was inaugurated by the local Ardah dance, and Moroccan band. His Excellency, Mr. Saad Bin Ali Al Kharji, Chairman of Qatar Tourism shared insightful words on this year’s edition of QIFF. This was followed by a choreography and the interaction of Qatari and Moroccan chefs. The evening then saw the stunning Paramotor Show at the Corniche, and was concluded with food tasting.

The Chefs

Qatari chef Noor Al Mazroei has been fond of cooking since her childhood. She specialises in vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free food, curating innovative recipes from scratch to promote healthy lifestyles. She aims to bring traditional Qatari dishes in their vegan form. She also hosts menu development sessions, workshops, training, consultations, and evaluations.

Moroccan chef Najat Kaanache is the most critically-acclaimed female chef in the Middle East and North Africa region. She started her cooking career in the Netherlands wherein she worked in the team under Francois Geurts, a two-star Michelin chef. She expanded her career ever since, working with some of the biggest names in the industry, and is now the founder and owner of popular NUR Restaurant in Fez, Morocco. Her avant-garde cooking style boasts flavours and cultural inspiration.  

Also hailing from Morocco, chef Faycal Bettioui is a Michelin star culinary leader who works with all kinds of food conception and execution. In 2011, he opened his first restaurant at Miami Beach in Florida, becoming a hospitality entrepreneur. After moving to Europe in 2015, Faycal Bettioui opened his new restaurant there in Germany, and later obtained his Michelin star in 2019. His menu is composed of Mediterranean style food with a Japanese twist. He has also featured in cooking shows as both participant and judge.

British-chef and one of the best pâtissiers in the world, Eric Lanlard started his culinary career at a young age, working with renowned chefs such as Albert and Michel Roux. He has been successful in his journey, and has worked with several international luxury hotels, airlines and cruise companies, and culinary competitions. His expertise lays in creating innovative desserts, cakes, and afternoon teas. He has been featured on various television shows and has authored cookbooks. Eric Lanlard also owns the baking school ‘Cake Boy’ in London.

Renowned chef Thomas Graham from France has multifaceted talent in his culinary career. He has helped in big-name music festivals and chocolate festivals, is experienced in different types of catering and menu creations, and has had an international pedagogical impact through culinary workshops. He specialises in warm cuisine, sauces, and fermented products.

This year's list of celebrity chefs includes Abir Al-Saghir, who has won international awards, including the Best Influencer Award at the Joy Award, first place in the food category at the Nima Festival 2022, and the only Arab personality on the TikTok discovery list for the year 2022. Abir continuously offered her audience and followers delicious recipes with touches that reflect cultural identity.

MasterChef India 2010 (the first season) winner Pankaj Bhadouria is a chef and television personality who has brought to international recognition a variety of Indian cuisines and dishes. She has hosted numerous workshops and authored cookbooks to share her passion for cooking, Indian flavours, and innovative food presentations. She has worked with giants in the industry such as McCain and Reliance Fresh.

MasterChef India 2013 finalist, Aruna Vijay specialises in Tamil Nadu cuisine from Southern India, aiming to share delicacies to the world close to her heart and family. She has worked for a number of large Indian food brands including Britannia, Daawat, and Dark Fantasy, and has won several international culinary awards such as IFBA 2022 and 2023.

This year's edition welcomes Chef Jamila Al-Lingawi, a certified trainer in restaurant and kitchen management, known for preparing specialised menus for Kuwaiti restaurants. She has been certified in international cuisines, including Chinese and Turkish. Throughout her career, Al-Lingawi worked with major international companies specializing in kitchen appliances, including Philips.

Open a world of experiences

QIFF 2024 is packed with different entertainment shows and activities, following a new theme every day over its 10-day run, including a Year of Culture Qatar-Morocco special, seafood gastronomy, desserts, vegetarian and vegan specialties, spices, grills, food for wellness, rice, grain, sides, and pasta.   

This year, masterclasses and workshops are available at QIFF for visitors to learn more about gastronomy and culinary arts and sciences.

Open a world of flavours

The international vendors at QIFF 2024 are Neat Burger from the United States which offer American fast food, but vegan. Also coming from the States is famous chain Denny’s, which offers diner-style American food. Grind from London, UK will be offering a variety of coffee, and Crosstown London their luxury doughnuts, ice cream, and specialty coffee. Lebanon’s Bachir Ice Cream is coming to QIFF with their traditional Lebanese recipes. From Egypt, QIFF will host Koshary AbuTarek with delicious Egyptian cuisine. Wok Boyz of UAE offer Asian street food. Astoria from Chile are bringing to visitors Latin American delicacies. Raju Bhai is a Bahrain-based Indian restaurant that offer classic Indian food with contemporary fusions. 

Open a world of entertainment

As this year’s edition aligns with the AFC Asian Cup 2023™, QIFF 2024 will be hosting live football screenings, as well as other film screenings for visitors to relax and enjoy during the evenings. This year, there will also be daily fireworks displays for visitors to witness stunning pyro entertainment.

Open a world of hospitality

QIFF 2024 features a total of 9 zones which cater to different palates and offer a range of diverse gastronomic experiences.

The Lounge: This fine dining zone will feature a private seating area with international culinary brands including Shanghai Me, Sazeli, Beef Bar, Bagatelle, Gymkhana, and Berenjak.

Dinner in the Sky: Here, visitors can enjoy their food in the air three times a day at High Tea, Sunset Flight, and Dinner, bookings are now available at https://events.q-tickets.com/qatar/eventtickets/5930039784.

Cafés: As the name suggests, the Cafés zone, offers a wide range of decadent coffee, sweets, and chocolates.

Main Street: The Main Street zone offers a large range of regional and international food.

Garden: The Garden offers vegetarian and vegan food, as well as healthy options.  

The Stage: This zone features the QIFF Table which will showcase the participating celebrity chefs demonstrating live cooking.

Heenat Salma Bazaar: This area exhibits locally grown organic produce and food from the Heenat Salma farms.

Torba Market: This zone boasts artisanal products from the Torba Market including fresh produce, locally-made products, baked goods, and vegan food.

Running daily February 8 -17 from 16:00 – 23:00 (Sunday – Wednesday) and 16:00 – midnight (Thursday – Saturday).

Cooking Studio: This zone is filled with exciting cooking sessions from Chefs from all over the world.

For more information on QIFF 2024, please visit https://visitqatar.com/intl-en/events-calendar/qatar-international-food-festival .

To keep up with the latest Qatar’s calendar events, please visit www.visitqatar.com.


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