While the holiday season is known for indulgent dishes, the capital is taking it to another level with the return of the Abu Dhabi Food Festival. Hosted from December 5 to 23, the event is split into three parts and includes Gourmet Abu Dhabi, Street Feast and, for the first time, the SIAL trade fair. Best of all, no matter where you reside in the emirate, there’ll be events happening throughout Abu Dhabi, the Western Region and Al Ain.

Various locations including Abu Dhabi Corniche, Abu Dhabi. Tel: (800) 555. Taxi: Abu Dhabi Corniche. abudhabievents.ae 


What you can do at Gourmet Abu Dhabi
For just over two weeks this month, hotels will feature special menus, celebrity chefs and unique events as part of this year’s Gourmet Abu Dhabi. So what’s on offer? Gourmet Golf returns to the Westin Abu Dhabi Golf Resort & Spa and sees guests tee off on the greens and fuel up at posh food stations dotted around the course. Emirates Palace will host a Fast Cars, Slow Food barbecue event that won’t just be about grilled protein. The event will also showcase a collection of supercars guests can drool over. Lastly, organisers say there’ll also be a celebrity-hosted high tea event that will combine fashion with desserts.
Dates: From December 8 to 23

See some celebrity chefs

Some of the biggest names in the kitchen will be in town for pop-up restaurant appearances and meet and greets.

01. Matt Preston
The MasterChef Australia judge is known for his outlandish suits and spot on critiques. Preston won the title of World’s Best Food Journalist at the Le Cordon Bleu World Food Media Awards in 2008. He’s said to make a mean homemade pizza, but the signature dish of his we’d most like to eat is Coco Pops with whipped cream.

02. Graham Elliot


Another MasterChef judge, the Chicago TV personality became a four-star chef at the ripe age of 27 and received two Michelin stars in 2013 for his now shuttered fine-dining namesake restaurant. His first job in the kitchen was that of busboy and dishwasher but after being gifted a Charlie Trotter cookbook, he realised he wanted to become a chef.

03. Adriano Zumbo
Dubbed the ‘patissier of pain’, this Australian pastry chef is best known for his incredibly intricate desserts (think croquembouche and a macaroon tower). After appearing on MasterChef Australia, where his technical creations had to be recreated by contestants, he’s nabbed his very own baking reality show, Zumbo’s Just Desserts.

MORE: Dine with John Cusack and Jesse Metcalf at the Abu Dhabi Food Festival

Meals on wheels


Returning for a second time, Street Feast will see Abu Dhabi and Al Ain welcome more than 60 food trucks – serving over 150 dishes – making it the biggest food truck festival in the UAE. The trucks will make their first pit spot at the Garden City from December 8 to 10 at the Hazza Bin Zayed Stadium. The next weekend, the trucks will make their way down to the Abu Dhabi Corniche on December 15 to 17. In addition to all the goodies up for grabs, there’ll be a special children’s entertainment area, street performers, graffiti artists and even an outdoor cinema.

Confirmed trucks include LA-inspired tacos and Mexican food from Calle Tacos, camel burgers and wraps from Yumtingz and Goan fusion food truck Gobai. For dessert try Melt for healthy frozen yoghurt and 43-calorie fruit ice-lollies or mini pancakes from Holland House.

December 8 to 10, 15 to 17
Various locations including Abu Dhabi Corniche, Abu Dhabi, Dhs30, Dhs15 under-12s. Tel: (800) 555. Taxi: Corniche. abudhabievents.ae, tixbox.com

Cartoons and cuisine

The festival will be hosting special Kitchen Missions with TV cartoon characters including Dora The Explorer, the Ninja Turtles and SpongeBob SquarePants. The workshops, which will be hosted in malls around the emirate, will feature games and cooking experiences for guests.


Dora’s Kitchen Mission
Date: December 8 to 10
Venue: Marina Mall, Ras Al Akhdar, Abu Dhabi,
Time: 5pm to 9pm
Taxi: Marina Mall
Tel: (02) 6668327

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Date: December 15 to 17
Venue: Bawadi Mall, Al Ain
Time: 5pm to 9pm
Taxi: Bawadi Mall
Tel: (03) 7840000

Dora and SpongeBob
Date: December 21 to 23
Venue: Western Hotel, Al Gharbia, Abu Dhabi
Time: 5pm to 9pm
Taxi: Western Hotel
Tel: (800) 9378376