(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) Top chefs from around the world comes up with delicious culinary creations for the opening of the 16-day Gourmet Abu Dhabi festival.
Chocolate lipstick, Espresso lobster, camel hotdog, smoked lavender marshmallows and chocolate soup were some of the culinary creations that top chefs from around the world came up with for the opening of the 16-day Gourmet Abu Dhabi festival.
On Tuesday night, at the garden of Fairmont hotel here, 23 of Abu Dhabi's five star restaurants and Royal Catering were setting up their food stations, ready for sampling after the entertainment show.
The function began after the arrival of Shaikh Sultan bin Tahnoun Al Nahyan, chairman of Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority (ADTCA). A recording of a sand artist and UAE's first Barbershop acappella music group, Sama Quartet entertained the crowd, before the masterchefs who had already arrived in the country were introduced.
Among them was one of Britain's most acclaimed chefs, Michael Caines, who has held two Michelin-stars for 14 years and was awarded the Member of the British Empire (MBE) medal by Queen Elizabeth in 2006 for services to the hospitality industry.
"Abu Dhabi is an oasis of luxury, so it would be great to open something here," said Caines, whose first restaurant is in Devon (UK), and the second may well be in Abu Dhabi.
Caines will take over the kitchen of Brasserie Angelique at the five-star Jumeirah at Etihad Towers from February 5 to 8.
Also in town is three Michelin star American chef Christopher Kostow, who spent a couple of days in the isolated Arabian Nights Village, deep in the Al Khatem desert, where he got to sample his first Emirati dishes.
"I definitely plan to include dishes inspired by the desert and the surrounding areas in my menu," said Kostow, who will be cooking at Ritz-Carlton from February 5 to 8.
Surrounded by towering dunes, Chef Kostow was a guest of Chef Saeed Fawaz, who has been honoured by the Emirates Culinary Guild for his authentic representation of Arabian cuisine and who has cooked for many a ruling family's wedding.
On the special menu was roasted camel, a treat traditionally reserved by Emiratis for special celebrations, particularly weddings.
Shaikh Sultan bin Tahnoun Al Nahyan at the opening of Gourmet Abu Dhabi 2014 at Fairmont, Abu Dhabi, on Tuesday. - KT photo by Shoaib Anwer
The camel was first scrubbed with salt and vinegar before marinating for 24 hours in an aromatic paste of local spices, including garlic, ginger, green chilli, turmeric powder, cardamom, coriander, white pepper, fresh tomatoes, tomato paste and corn oil.
It was next steamed in a stock of bay leaves, cinnamon powder, coriander, cloves, cardamom, onion, celery, black pepper and corn oil in an oversize pot, in which the camel was placed on a steam-tray 10 centimetres off the pot's bottom, and covered with date palm leaves.
After four hours of steaming over gas fire, hot charcoal was spread on top of the metal lid to roast the meat for an hour.
"I found it particularly interesting the amount of techniques actually employed in the preparation of this dish: there's steaming, there's roasting and smoking - there's quite a bit of actual technique. You would assume that it's a very rustic cooking process, and there are elements of rusticity, but really there's a lot of technique going on and that's pretty cool," said chef Kostow.
This year, Gourmet Abu Dhabi has attracted 21 international masterchefs, two master patissiers and bakers and a celebrity chef, Australia's TV show Masterchef judge George Calombaris, who was also part of 2012 festival.
In addition, there are 23 hosting chefs representing the 23 fine dining establishments taking part in the festival.
Now in its sixth year, Gourmet Abu Dhabi was started by ADTCA in 2009 and it is still considered among the world's best culinary festivals. Yet, this year there are a lot less dinner events, the likes of desert dinner, chocolate, caviar or cheese dinner and the Valentine's Day special dinner are now scrapped.
New this year are the Culinary Creation Stages, two class sessions that will take place on February 8 and 9, run by Belgium's Bart de Pooter, Christophe Muller, Christophe Roure, Christopher Coutanceau and Cyril Lignac of France and Italy's Fabio Pisani.
The price is Dh200 per person per day or Dh350 per person for both days and it includes lunch.
In addition there are plenty of cooking demonstrations to choose from.
Who is cooking where and what is not yet fully booked may be found out at www.gourmetabudhabi.ae.