In a bid to showcase authentic Emirati cuisine to its visitors, Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority (TCA Abu Dhabi) is set to roll-out the Emirati Cuisine & Hospitality Capacity Building Programme, where all 4 and 5 star hotels across the emirate will feature and promote Emirati culture through its cuisine.
The programme will establish a framework of regular training, monitoring and reviewing in order to ensure that Emirati culinary items are featured in food and beverage (F&B) outlets in the finest hotels and hotel apartments across the emirate. By collaborating with leading industry partners, TCA Abu Dhabi will train and accredit culinary employees with the fundamental skills required to prepare Emirati cuisine and reference the rich heritage that is paramount to its authenticity.
To maintain a consistent level of year-round engagement, TCA Abu Dhabi will also conduct competitions across participating hotels to identify the ‘Best Emirati Culinary Promotion Programme’ and the ‘Best Chef for Emirati Cuisine’.
Commenting on the initiative, HE Saif Saeed Ghobash, Director General of TCA Abu Dhabi said, “Abu Dhabi is a melting pot of cultures and the authenticity of Emirati cuisine has been somewhat lost in the contemporary renditions of traditional cuisine. Through this programme, we strive to conserve and promote the emirate’s culture, history and traditions. A key to that is using our rich cuisine to ensure optimal engagement for visitors seeking fully immersive cultural experiences.”
Sultan Al Dhaheri, Acting Executive Director of Tourism Sector at TCA Abu Dhabi added: “This initiative is being launched to showcase the incredible gastronomic fare that is the hallmark of Emirati cuisine. Visitors will have the opportunity to experience the vast variety of flavours that are essential to a local Bedouin meal, served in Abu Dhabi’s hospitality sector.”
Leading the programme is TCA Abu Dhabi’s Emirati cuisine consultant Chef Khulood Atiq – the UAE’s first female celebrity chef – who is aiding F&B staff on training, consultation and how to correctly prepare Emirati dishes for an accurate representation of local food.
An essential component of this initiative is to strengthen the presentation of Emirati hospitality in hotels taking part in this programme, often shown in most hotel lobby’s through the serving of authentic Arabic coffee or Gahwa, accompanied by dates to its visitors. Emirati hospitality is centred around warmth, compassion, tolerance and camaraderie among its community members, and with this traditional coffee recognised by UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) on its Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, this initiative aims to highlight all such aspects through its presentation.
Under the initiative, hotel restaurants are encouraged to serve up an Emirati culinary station with a minimum of three items clearly labelled on breakfast, lunch and dinner buffets. In addition, each dish will feature a tent card explaining the brief history of the food and the ingredients used. Meanwhile, room service menus will feature a minimum of two Emirati breakfast, lunch and dinner dishes in a la carte and room service menus.
The Emirati Cuisine & Hospitality Capacity Building Programme will concentrate on the all-day-dining restaurants and room-service offering of 4 and 5 star hotels across the emirate. This implementation is aimed at enhancing the overall visitor experience in Abu Dhabi, further establishing the emirate’s position as a unique sustainable tourism and culture destination.