Qatar’s food and beverage sector is getting a further boost with the “Chefs of Qatar Virtual Food Festival”, expanding its reach while keeping everyone safe from amidst the global coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic, it is learnt.
“We believe it (the festival) will open our restaurants up to a whole new audience while also providing a service to those uncomfortable about venturing out during the current pandemic,” Park Hyatt Doha Sales and Marketing director Shane Douglas told Gulf Times.
He expressed optimism that Chefs of Qatar “will become an annual event, even post-pandemic, with each chef looking to create something unique for the festival each year – a real call to action for consumers to enjoy”.
The festival, which began on April 1 and runs until May 12, is organised by the Qatar National Tourism Council (QNTC) in collaboration with talabat and Qatar Airways.
It features world-class chefs from the country’s top restaurants.
“The festival is a very clever and safe way of experiencing fine dining without leaving your home,” Douglas said. “For the first time, home delivery is now available from some of the country’s most in-demand chefs.”
Park Hyatt Doha is collaborating with chef Noor al-Mazroei, a renowned Qatari chef who specialises in healthy food, Qatari food, and international cuisine.
She has worked with multiple restaurants and five-star chefs like Vineet and Morimoto to present the finest delicacies.
According to the QNTC, 23 fine-dining restaurants with 19 prominent Qatari and international chefs are taking part in the Chefs of Qatar Virtual Food Festival.
“Our collaboration with chef Noor came by way of an introduction from the QNTC, which we gladly embraced,” Douglas said. “Our executive chef, Steffen Schnetzke, chef de cuisine Kamal Mers, and pastry chef Sahid Khan had a discussion about what we thought we could do together, and decided that we would focus on doing one thing well.”
“That’s where the idea of a Ramadan cake came in,” he added. “Right from the beginning, chefs Noor’s understanding of the local palate heavily influenced the flavour profile of each cake created.”
“Each cake went through many iterations and taste tests until we got it just right. Chef Noor’s own passion for both veganism and gluten-free meant that we determined we should offer our Ramadan cake three ways, resulting in Classic, Gluten-Free and Vegan options,” Douglas said.
“We’re very confident in the resultant product and that those ordering our Gluten-Free or Vegan cake options will be very pleasantly surprised by their light, delicate and flavourful nature – when you would otherwise possibly expect something heavier,” he added. “There’s even a feel-good factor with a portion of the proceeds from each cake going to Qatar Charity.”
In addition to the cakes, Douglas said Park Hyatt Doha also has its own Chefs of Qatar Ramadan offer available, made up of Qatari, French, Mediterranean and Japanese cuisines (which include signature dishes from the Opus and Sora restaurants).
A la carte and set menu options are available and again, a portion of proceeds go to Qatar Charity.
Park Hyatt Doha received a lot of positive feedback in the past 10 days since the festival’s inception, Douglas noted. “But it’s mostly been the cakes that everyone is waiting for, where the build-up in word-of-mouth demand has been amazing.”
“It’s really caught us by surprise and we will start on Tuesday. In the interests of freshness and quality control, the cakes are made to order, requiring 24 hours’ notice,” he said, adding that the cakes will be available for sale from today.
Douglas lauded the QNTC for organising the event, saying that it has been “responsive to the challenging time we face as an industry”.
“Bringing Qatar Airways and talabat into such an initiative is an astute move,” he noted. “All three partners been incredibly supportive and proactive to work with, so we can only hope that the success of the festival leads to it becoming an annual event.”
“In the meantime, with community support, the industry will certainly work hard to make the most of the opportunity afforded,” Douglas added.
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