30 October, 2011

Cafe Culture


I got introduced to Cafe Culture a few months ago. I can't say I'm a regular there, but it struck me that something like this would do really well in a place like Dubai.

Essentially, a speaker is invited to speak to a gathering of members of the public in a cafe, about a subject that they are passionate about (usually their area of work). The speakers come from a variety of backgrounds - scientists, artists, politicians, teachers etc.; they usually speak for about 30 minutes after which they take questions from the coffee-sipping audience. If the issues being discussed are contentious, there is usually a lively discussion.

Not being in Dubai myself, I can't physically organize this, but if anyone is up for it, I'd be more than happy to suggest a few venues and speakers. It would also be great if someone could find out if we need permission to do this sort of thing and if so, how we can go about getting it.

If anyone is interested, do let me know by leaving a comment here/sending me an e-mail on the address on my profile.


20 October, 2011

Table 9 - great expectations for Dubai

I was at an event yesterday afternoon, and another of my food blogging Dubians asked a chef, who is Michelin starred in his own country, "Is Dubai ready for Michelin?"

He spoke diplomatically for about two minutes, praising many of the restaurants in Dubai, it's rapid growth, and then swiftly changed the subject onto what he loves so much about this city. No. Dubai is not ready for Michelin. I don't need him to answer that for me - I know it myself. But the question to ask is "Why?"

Michelin is more than just a restaurant guide. It's stamp on a city signifies a Neil Armstrong sized leap into the gastronomic world, plus a mark of excellence when it comes to tourism. Basically, there has to be something to see, something to eat, and somewhere to stay that is worth yelling to the people back home about, not just in the singular, but many, many things - enough to write a book about.

You may say that Dubai has plenty to write home about. So may I - in fact, I do - about three times a week on my blog. But the problem is, that nearly everything in Dubai is borrowed, and I'm not talking about the financial crisis. This is the city that has both everything and nothing. A city made up of the desires of a multi-cultured population and the whims of the powers that be. It is a new city, with a local citizenship that represents only a fifth of the total demographic, and an economy relying on tourism. In the grand scheme of things it has no history or unique culture. It has not had time to develop it's own personality. Don't get me wrong - it has personality, but sometimes it seems it's in the vein of Sybil.

But on Tuesday night, I glimpsed the start of Dubai's future. Two fantastic young chefs have just found themselves in a sliding doors moment. Gordon Ramsay has decided to close the flailing Verre, leaving Scott Price and Nick Alvis looking for work. Now, they are both excellent chefs, and would have absolutely no trouble picking up work in any number of the best European restaurants, but do you know what they have decided to do?

They are opening their own restaurant, in Dubai, remaining in the soon-to-be-vacated shell of Verre by Gordon Ramsay. I'm getting all tingly just writing about it. You see, I come from a city where the culture is very food oriented, and this signifies, for me, a step towards Dubai starting to grow up.

read more on the hedonista here...

17 October, 2011

BakefestDXB strikes again!

Copyright Devina Divecha
I decided to shamelessly use a photo of my Godiva Chocolate Cake to get your attention. Did it work?

Great - so now that you're reading this, BakefestDXB is here again! This time it's being held on Saturday November 26th from 1pm to 6pm, at Wild Peeta.

If you are a baker and are interested in taking part (it's free!) or you would like more info on what the heck I'm talking about, please head over here.

Yes, you can stop drooling now.

01 October, 2011

UAE 40th National Day Logo

The approved master logo for the 40th celebration UAE national day.