With the annual Emirates Airline Festival of Literature, commonly known as LitFest descending on us next week (March 5-9), we have ten international and Middle Eastern chefs and cookbook authors speaking and cooking right here on our Dubai doorstep. Here are my top picks…
With 12 restaurants around the world including two with three Michelin stars each in France, the humble, sweet-natured French chef returns to his restaurant in Dubai, Reflets at the host venue, InterContinental Festival City where he will introduce his latest cookbook, 175 Home Recipes With a Twist over lunch. I am hoping they will be easier to concoct than his last book Reinventing French Cuisine, which with its molecular inspired recipes only serves to grace my coffee-table. Literary Lunch - Wednesday 6 March 12:30-14:30 at Reflets, InterContinental Dubai Festival City (AED 230). Or else Chef Pierre will be at the stove for dinner service from 2 – 7 March.
Even though he sold his Carluccio’s chain of Italian restaurants-cum-delis to Dubai-based Landmark Group (lucky for us!) in 2010…all after an IPO, Antonio does play a consultancy role. With 19 books to his name, he also boasts knighthood titles of Commendatori and OBE for his contribution to the food industry in both Italy and the UK respectively. A couple of events to look out for… first up, Antonio, a natural raconteur shares his tales in Fifty Years of Flavour – Thursday 7 March 19:00-20:00 (AED 60), or else join him as he cooks and chats with Ariana Bundy over a Literary Lunch – Friday 8 March 12:30-14:30 at Terra Firma restaurant, InterContinental Dubai Festival City (AED 200).
Writer, journalist, broadcaster and blogger, Anissa was born and raised in Beirut and now lives in London where she runs a cooking school, as well as supper clubs from her loft. She is set to share her experiences as a Middle Eastern and Mediterranean culinary expert, and one for us bloggers…how blogging has allowed her to further connect with her audience in Life as a Modern Mezze Event – Saturday 9 March 13:30-14:30 (AED 60) or opt for her Moroccan cooking demo over a Ladies Lunch – Thursday 7 March 13:30-15:30 at Terra Firma restaurant, InterContinental Dubai Festival City (AED 250).
Who doesn’t own a Ken Hom wok? Credited and knighted for bringing Chinese cooking to UK kitchens, Ken Hom is a chef, restaurateur and author of a number of cookbooks including Ken Hom’s Chinese Cookery, published in Arabic last year. Watch him in action as he concocts some of his favourite recipes in the Classic Chinese Cookery Demo – Friday 8 March 14:00-15:00 (AED 60) or listen to his experiences cooking and filming in Exploring China a Culinary Adventure – Saturday 9 March 11:30-12:30 (AED 60).
Also speaking and cooking are Bobby Chinn who regaled us with his stand-up comedy act last year, Willie Harcourt-Cooze, Rachel Allen, Sarah Hamad and Suzanne Husseini.
I shall be interviewing Pierre Gagnaire and Antonio Carluccio so if you have any particular questions, please do drop me a comment.
The Emirates Airline Festival of Literature runs from March 5 – 9 at InterContinental Dubai Festival City with tickets available to buy online here from AED 40 – 250. The website remains hard to navigate, so it’s best to filter by author or date – alternatively pick up a print copy of the programme from Kinokuniya in Dubai Mall, where you can also buy tickets.