This year's edition of the Qatar International Food Festival (QIFF) marks the debut of the Cultural Zone represented by nine embassies, adding more flavour to the annual event. The Cultural Zone features a variety of culinary delights from the Philippines, Ethiopia, Mexico, the US, Germany, South Africa, Japan, Turkey, and Italy in addition to the host country. It not only provides QIFF patrons a unique food trip but also offers live cultural and entertainment performances from some of the featured countries.
Speaking to 'Gulf Times' on the sideline of the Cultural Zone, Qatari chef Jassim Mohamed al-Kharraz, one of the four owners of ‘We Café’, said it is “an honour” to represent Qatar during the 11-day culinary celebration. Chef Jassim believes in the need to bring Qatari food “beyond the Gulf” and to a wider audience. “And the food festival is the first step and a great opportunity for We Café to meet this objective,” he stressed.
On Sunday, chef Jassim, together with his We Café partners, chef Hassan al-Ibrahim, chef Amena Musa, and chef Dunya Abed, will be preparing authentic Qatari cuisine at the QIFF Cooking Theatre, which runs live demonstrations daily from 4pm to 9pm.
Dada Fific, a staff of Nando’s, said the event gives them the perfect opportunity to introduce South African culinary delights “in a unique way.”
“We’re trying to bring the best to the festival. We made a menu of four items that we believe people here will get to experience the flavours of South Africa through our chicken and sauces. We’re trying to give them something new to taste and try,” she pointed out.
Layla Bernal al-Lenjawi of Eve House of Catering and Events said aside from Qatar-based Filipinos, there is “an overwhelming” demand for Filipino dishes such as ‘adobo’ from Europeans and other expatriates, “even those from neighbouring Gulf countries.”
“I was surprised that many expatriates visiting the festival are craving for Filipino food, which is why I take pride in representing the Philippines at this high-end event,” said al-Lenjawi, who is also the chairperson of ‘Kulinarya Qatar’, an initiative of the Philippine embassy in Qatar.
As part of the live cultural and entertainment performances, Doha-based performers ‘Tanghalan Overseas Pinoy’ represented the Philippines by performing excerpts of Filipino stage plays.
Italian chef, Franco Della Toffola, of Nonna Zanon noted that he looks forward to being a regular participant of the food festival, which he said offers diverse gastronomic delights and flavours to each visitor.