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A question of taste

A question of taste

It’s simple: you either have it, or you don’t. Kipp goes to Jumeirah’s Festival of Taste to see who’s got it.

November 10, 2008 2:04 by



As with all events in Dubai, the opening ceremony for the Festival of Taste, ‘All in Good Taste’ was consumed by emirate’s famed over-the-top factor. The women were overdressed, the buffet was massive, and when the celebrity chefs came in, they came in Dubai-style: in abras.

And that’s when the circus began. As the chefs walked up the stairs leading to Al Qasr’s Arboretum restaurant, they were accompanied by hostesses dressed in gowns that looked suspiciously like the nylon wedding dresses we would’ve dressed our Barbies in back in the mid-1980s.

But that wasn’t what made us cringe. It was the screaming, the whooping and the frantic picture taking that made us question the crowd’s taste.

Here’s the deal: the Festival of Taste is a reputable event that Jumeirah started back in 2006. It was meant to bring together people who have a genuine appreciation for good food and wine, and to strengthen the hotel group’s relationship with its best customers. But what happened last night had little to do with taste. The band was cheesy, the presenter reminded us of a game show host, and the buffet was almost exactly the same spread served during the Al Qasr brunch. For AED600, guests deserved more.

But we’re not knocking the festival altogether. The Festival of Taste, which has brought chefs such as Michel Roux and Jean-Christophe Novelli to Dubai, is just one of the events that attract tourists to the Dubai, which is good news to all residents who have invested in the emirate. And while it may not always live up to its name and provide ‘tasteful’ entertainment – or be organized tastefully – it’s one of the many gimmicks that set Dubai apart from the rest of the emirates and the GCC.

On a different note, however, we noticed something a little disconcerting. As we walked through the restaurants, we noted that only one Emirati man was present; and there wasn’t a single Emirati lady. Why?



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