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8th QIFF Wraps Up 11 Days of Flavour & Culture
Various public and private sector partners come together to pull off successful 11-day festival
QIFF witnesses growing participation of local chefs and entrepreneurs this year
After 11 days of celebrating and showcasing the best the country has to offer in food and beverage, the eighth edition of Qatar International Food Festival (QIFF) has come to a close. The festival’s increasingly diverse menu of cuisines and culinary experiences included local restaurants and chefs, adding an authentically Qatari flavour to the annual event.
Running over two weekends, from 29 March to 8 April, festivities included a variety of exclusive dining experiences, cultural and edutainment performances, interactive food art and photography workshops as well as health awareness activities.
While the festival has drawn to a close, QIFF continues to spread its passion for exciting culinary experiences through the special QIFF Menu which will continue to run until 30th April. The Menu – a new feature in this year’s festival – allows residents and visitors to enjoy mouth-watering food groupings of at least three menu items at a pre-set price of 59, 99, 139 or 179 Qatari Riyals at participating restaurants and cafes.
Hassan Al Ibrahim, Chief Tourism Development Officer at Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA), commented, “QIFF demonstrates the impact and value tourism events can deliver to various sectors across the economy, particularly when we join hands to create unique experiences. The collaborative spirit shown from the various private and public partners, chefs, nutritionists, and artists was the key ingredient in the cultural and culinary innovations that drew people back to Hotel Park for repeated visits.”
To mark the end of the Festival, QTA thanked participants individually and held a small ceremony to recognise the volunteers who made the 11-day event possible. This edition of QIFF was organised and delivered by QTA with the support of numerous partners representing the education, entertainment, hospitality and F&B sectors in Qatar. QIFF 2017’s Strategic Partner was Katara Hospitality, the global hotel owner, developer and operator based in Qatar.
His Excellency Sheikh Nawaf Bin Jassim Bin Jabor Al-Thani, Chairman of Katara Hospitality, who visited QIFF during the week, expressed his pride in this edition of the Festival as well as his appreciation for the tremendous efforts made by QTA to ensure its success.
Hamad Abdulla Al-Mulla, Chief Executive Officer at Katara Hospitality commented, “Katara Hospitality is proud of its involvement in the 8th annual QIFF, which has, over the last 11 days, brought Qataris and visitors alike together to celebrate and share excellent culinary experiences. QIFF has given Katara Hospitality the opportunity to showcase the impeccable natural landscape of Hotel Park which demonstrates our commitment to social responsibility and sustainability. We would like to thank and congratulate Qatar Tourism Authority for all of its hard work, support, and dedication in promoting the festival and we look forward to more successful collaborations in the years to come.”
Supporting Other Communities
In light of the current Somalian drought, QIFF organisers have collaborated with Qatar Charity (QC) to encourage participants to donate 10-20% of their revenue from the Festival to QC’s relief campaign. QC’s efforts focus on providing those affected in villages and rural areas with the necessities that will alleviate their suffering and allow them to withstand the crisis.
Over twenty local restaurants and chefs participated in QIFF this year, providing a local flavor to the annual festival. The effort to involve a large number of local chefs and businesses stems from QTA’s belief that Qatari culture can only be truly reflected in the tourist experience through Qatari participation in developing the tourist product, whether it is a festival, exhibition or other tourism product or service.
Mashal Shahbik, Director of Tourism Events and Festivals at QTA said, “QTA believes that the participation of local entrepreneurs in building the tourism industry is key to ensuring that it reflects Qatar’s culture, and the economic and social needs of its people. As such, QIFF has been designed with local restauranteurs and chefs in mind, and we have been pleased with the increasing level of participation, especially as many businesses have returned to benefit from the Festival’s growing popularity. This edition has been another solid step towards a promising sustainable tourism industry spearheaded by the private sector.”
The Festival’s long-standing feature was back this year bringing 50 local, regional and international food celebrities to run live demonstrations and share their best cooking tips and tricks with fans in Qatar. The line-up included the Food Network’s Graham Elliot from the US, Andy Bates from the UK as well as Michelin Star Italian Chef Gianfranco Pascucci, Sanjeev Kapoor from India, Fawaz Al Omaim from Kuwait and local favourite, Aisha Al-Tamimi among others.
And, once again, QIFF partnered with the first and most loved Arabic food channel in the Middle East, Fatafeat, for the Fatafeat and beIN Day, which featured four of the channel’s most celebrated chefs.
A Healthy Side of Food
In addition to a designated health zone, “Care”, this year’s festival featured 26 interactive health workshops and coaching sessions for the first time. And, returning for the third consecutive year at QIFF, Qatar Cancer Society joined this year’s QIFF to raise preventatives health awareness through daily health competitions for visitors of all ages.
In the days leading up to the festival, QIFF organisers also teamed up with Qatar Culinary Professionals and local veganism champion Ghanim Al Sulaiti to run healthy food awareness sessions for primary and middle school students.
Beyond the festival grounds
The 11-day festival extended its celebrations beyond the festival grounds allowing visitors and residents to enjoy specially-curated QIFF Menus on offer at 100 participating cafes and restaurants across the country. In addition, a series of eight Chef’s Table events were held at select five-star hotel restaurants, giving residents and visitors an opportunity to savour exclusive live cooking and dining experiences with internationally-acclaimed chefs.