- Their Excellencies Sheikha Hind bint Hamad Al Thani, Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad Al Thani, and Mr. Akber Al Baker attend ceremony ushering in 11 days of culinary delights at Oxygen Park
- QIFF 2019 attracts 37 celebrity chefs from Qatar and 16 other countries
The 10th edition of the country’s longest-running multicultural annual event, Qatar International Food Festival (QIFF), opened yesterday at Oxygen Park in Education City, with HE Sheikha Hind bint Hamad Al Thani, Vice Chairperson and CEO of Qatar Foundation, HE Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad Al Thani, Chairperson Qatar Museums, and HE Akber Al Baker, Secretary-General of Qatar National Tourism Council (QNTC) and GCEO of Qatar Airways in attendance at a ceremony showcasing culinary excellence and cultural performances.
Celebrity chefs Masaharu Morimoto, Dominique Ansel and Noora Al Kuwari demonstrated their master skills on the opening day, kicking off performances by 34 more chefs over the next 10 days.
This edition comes as a celebration of the festival’s 10 successful years, featuring 37 top international and local culinary artists from 17 countries – the largest number of celebrity chefs hosted in any one edition. Another first for the festival is its new and unique venue: Oxygen Park in Qatar Foundation’s Education City, which has 3 dedicated areas: O1 for main course specialties and centre stage; O2 for kids-friendly foods and activities; and O3 for cafes and light food. In addition to over 150 mouthwatering F&B offerings, QIFF visitors will see vibrant cultural shows, roaming entertainment, and month-long side events offering learning opportunities of culinary craft and healthy nutrition to participants of all ages.
HE Akber Al Baker, Secretary-General of Qatar National Tourism Council (QNTC) and GCEO of Qatar Airways welcomed dignitaries, festival partners and other members of the Council to the opening. He said, “QIFF is a celebration of our country’s cultural diversity and has played a key role in enriching our calendar of curated events, giving more reasons for tourists to visit and revisit Qatar. It has also elevated our food and beverage industry by introducing us to flavours and culinary artists from all around the world as well as supporting local entrepreneurs and upcoming businesses.”
“The recently-established Qatar National Tourism Council is built on collaboration, unity and empowerment. This festival, which brings together so many partners from across the public, private and semi-government sectors to curate a unique and diverse tourism experience is exactly what that new governance model is about.This year being the Qatar-India Year of Culture, we also look forward to seeing a special emphasis on the foods and cultural elements of both countries in this edition.”
Qatar Foundation (QF) has joined QIFF 2019 as a Strategic Partner, hosting its 10th Edition in Oxygen Park, giving festival visitors an opportunity to explore the impressive Education City.
Mrs. Machaille Al-Naimi, President of Community Development, Qatar Foundation, said: “We are immensely proud to be the host of the 10th edition of the Qatar International Food Festival, and we thank Qatar National Tourism Council for choosing Education City as the venue for such a key milestone in the history of this great community event.
“In Education City, we believe we have a venue that – through its facilities, and its character – befits the central place that this festival holds in the cultural and social fabric of Qatar. For those visiting the festival, Education City may be a new experience, or a familiar one. But what all of them will find is an open, diverse, inclusive, and vibrant environment that we hope will bring a new, exciting dimension to their enjoyment of this event.”
This year, over 30 global social media influencers attending the VisitQatar Inflow Summit ’19 will also attend QIFF and share their first-hand experiences at the multicultural festival with their audiences. QNTC also launched a marketing campaign to attract visitors from Kuwait, Oman and India to the event.
As in previous years, this edition of QIFF is organised and delivered by QNTC with support of numerous partners representing the aviation, entertainment, hospitality and F&B sectors in Qatar. These include: Qatar Airways, beIN, Vodafone, W Doha, Torba Farmer’s Market, Kidzania Doha, Aura Hospitality, Qatar-India Year of Culture, Akly, La Cantine, Talabat, Uber, Chargello Qatar, Wahab, The Cooking Academy, and Qatar TV.
Small & Medium Entrepreneurs
QIFF has successfully contributed to enriching the country’s dining canvas by not only attracting international chefs to open local outlets but also, providing a platform for local entrepreneurs to introduce their innovative offerings including businesses that offer local produce from Qatari farms, offering unique authentic food experiences from gate to plate. To celebrate these experiences, QIFF has dedicated 15% of its spaces to up-coming entrepreneurs and local SMEs.
QIFF is welcoming residents and visitors from all over the world between 20 – 30 March 2019 to enjoy a diverse variety of cuisines, enjoy culinary and cultural performances and participate in numerous activities and competitions. Entrance is FREE and timings for this year are between 3:00 pm–11:00 pm (Saturday–Wednesday) and 3:00 pm–1:00 am (Thursday & Friday).
Food hobbyists can show off their culinary talent at the beIN stand’s “So you think you can cook”competition which runs daily from 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm. Three winners are announced every day and walk home with a gift. Those interested to participate should present themselves at the stand; registration is on a first-come-first-serve basis.
In the O2 ground dedicated to kids-friendly activities, an exclusive Kidzania Go booth will be offering fun activities like TV station, Radio Station, 360 Virtual Reality and a RightzKeeper Zone for toddlers along with a photo booth and gardening area.
Beyond the Festival Grounds
QIFF 2019 extends its celebrations beyond the festival grounds allowing visitors and residents to enjoy specially-curated QIFF Menus on offer at over 90 cafes and restaurants participating across the country throughout the month of March.
In addition, a series of Chef’s Table are being held at select five-star hotel restaurants, along with and Masterclasses at Education City’s Chef’s Garden restaurant, giving residents and visitors an opportunity to enjoy special live cooking and dining experiences with internationally-acclaimed chefs.
The Community Side of QIFF
QIFF, in partnership with Qatar Foundation, also engaged school students in healthy nutrition workshops between 10-18 March at Qatar National Library, which is based at Education City, with local Chefs Noora All Mazroui, Sarah Al Sayed, Warda Ibrahim and Coach Noora Al Kuwari, along with participation from Bedaya Centre and Baladna Farms.
Wahab for food donation is calling on all festival participants to make sure no meal goes to waste. At the end of each day, food sellers can take untouched food to the Wahab booth located in O3, where volunteers will repackage then distribute the meals to the less fortunate in and around Doha.