After 16 days of free-to-attend masterclasses, epicurean dinner events and dozens of culinary promotions, the curtain came down on the third edition of Gourmet Abu Dhabi, at the Abu Dhabi Gourmet Stars Awards Gala Dinner.
The ‘Oscars’ of the local hospitality industry’s biggest winners were Beach Rotana Abu Dhabi’s Rodeo Grill, which scooped the much-coveted ‘Restaurant of the Year’ accolade, and Emirates Palace’s Chef Wolfgang Fischer, who walked away the prestigious ‘Executive Chef of the Year’ gong.
With people across 34 countries voting for the initial awards shortlist, the total number of votes counted was up 30% on last year. A judging panel chaired by France’s three-Michelin-starred Chef Bruno Menard selected the overall winners - 10 individuals and restaurants deemed to have most
significantly contributed to the evolution of the domestic F&B
The opulent Emirates Palace landed four awards, the highest of any single property, including a clean sweep of the ‘Regional Cuisine’ category gongs: ‘Restaurant’, ‘Chef’ and ‘Manager’ of the year.
In addition to the UAE capital’s leading F&B industry players being crowned, Chef Ali Salem Ebdowa, Head Chef at Emirates Palace’s Mezlai restaurant – the world’s first fine dining Emirati restaurant – scored the hotel’s fifth award when he received an ‘Honorary Mention’ for his traditional contribution to Abu Dhabi’s increasingly diverse culinary landscape.
With Yeray Gutierrez, of Yas Hotel’s Amici, claiming best ‘Host of the Year’, Chinthaka Bandara’s was recognised as ‘Pastry Chef of the Year’ for her work at the iconic, Formula 1™ circuit hotel. The Rotana Group, which contributed all three nominees in the highly prestigious ‘Restaurant of the Year’ category, walked off with three awards, while the remaining award, ‘Restaurant Chef of the Year’, went to Amrish Sood, from Ushna, Souk, Qaryat al Beri.
The Abu Dhabi Gourmet Stars Awards saw 250-plus diners enjoy a five-course meal prepared by Fairmont Bab Al Bahr’s John Cordeaux, one of the ‘Executive Chef of the Year’ nominees, as well as international masterchefs including, Vivek Singh, of the UK’s The Cinnamon Club, Jacques Marcon of Regis et Jacques Marcon in France and Singapore’s Chef Willin Low – the host of Wednesday evening’s Gourmet Abu Dhabi inaugural Charity Dinner.
The Charity Dinner, held in conjunction with Donate a Brick – an initiative aiming to raise AED25 (US$ 6.8) million for the construction of a special needs centre in Abu Dhabi – raised an impressive AED 66,635 (US$ 18,157) via ticket sales, donations, and auctions.