Gourmet Dishes on the Dubai Food Festival with Celeb Chef Silvena Rowe
Q: What are your thoughts on the Dubai Food Festival and why it’s important?
A: This is an extraordinary very local initiative, it’s an idea that's not imported but rather created right here and by locals! Dubai Food Festival will be a celebration of all things Dubai and food! I, for one, have created the menu for Carnival Rowe with totally organic and local produce and ingredients, and with the scents and flavours of Emirati cuisine.
Q: How is your food influenced by Emirati culture and cuisine?
A: My background is cooking with the principals and flavours of Ottoman cuisine, my father was Turkish and I was brought up with delicious food from the Eastern Mediterranean region. I have always loved Middle Eastern spices and the cuisine, and my last two cookbooks are devoted to the allure and magic of cuisines of the Middle East.
Q: Will your pop-up restaurant Carnival turn into a permanent venue somewhere?
A: Plans are already afoot!
Q: What are the top 10 local ingredients every cook should have in their kitchen?
1. Honey, in my case Emirati honey, it's smooth, seductive, velvety and so delicious
3. Eggs – they have to be organic and locally farmed, otherwise stick with eggless diet!
4. Fresh herbs – in my case za’atar, parsley and mint
5. Cheese – in my case feta cheese
7. The best possible olive oil
10. Dates, in my case the Dubai Lulu dates
Q: What are your top tips for buying local – what should we look for, where should we go?
A: The local scene is developing and fast! Greenheart Organic, they have their own farm and all of their stock is local and organic. The Farmers Market on the Terrace at Jumeirah Emirates Towers is really a special place, you have to meet the leader of the Slow Food movement, Laura, there. Also check out the farm shop in Al Manzil, Ibrahim is a great guy who has beautiful and delicious local food.
INFO: Fri-Sat 21-22 Feb, Dubai Festival City, www.dubaifoodcarnival.com