Home-grown culinary talents will offer a wide range of local and international cuisine to celebrate cultural diversity at the 8th edition of the Qatar International Food Festival (QIFF) from March 29 to April 8 at the Hotel Park.
Some 130 participants, mostly from the hospitality, and food and beverage sector, will take part in the 11-day festival, organised by Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA), in partnership with Katara Hospitality.
Visitors can also benefit from the 2,500-capacity underground parking area at the venue, located in front of the Sheraton Doha.
“This year’s QIFF is not only longer but has attracted a significant increase in the number of participants sharing the Festival’s main platform at a new and scenic location,” QTA’s festivals and tourism events director Mashal Shahbik told reporters at a press conference yesterday.
She stressed that home-grown chefs and local businesses will enrich the festival’s offerings and provide thousands of visitors with unique and authentic Qatari experiences.
QIFF is part of a strategy to promote the role of festivals in presenting a very touristic product in collaboration with the private sector, according to QTA’s public relations and communication director Saif al-Kuwari.
From 200,000 visitors in the previous edition, he noted that they hope to attract around 240,000 in this year’s celebration.
For the first time, the annual event will feature cuisines and live cultural and entertainment performances from 10 countries at the ‘Cultural Zone,’ represented by their embassies in Doha. These are Ethiopia, Germany, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Philippines, South Africa, Turkey, the US, and Qatar.
Apart from the four-star to five-star food offerings and food trucks, QIFF also brings back the dinner in the sky pegged at QR500 per person. Meanwhile, prices of meals at food stalls, trolleys and trucks range between QR5 and QR35.
The live cooking theatre returns to the event with the participation of the Qatar Culinary Professionals and Qatar University Culinary Club, which will take place from 4pm to 9pm daily.
QIFF also features the high tea and fine dining pavilion that overlooks the Gulf waters and for slightly more breezy and elevated vistas of Doha.
New additions include the garden picnic at the 80,000sq m where families can collect a basket and blanket to enjoy a casual meal on the grass in the pleasant outdoors.
Visitors will also have the opportunity to watch food-related movies from 9pm to 10pm with the outdoor screenings set up by the Doha Film Institute and Qatar Foundation (QF).
Organisers will also put up child-friendly ‘edutainment’ through daily screenings of Siraj, QF’s new 3D animation TV series. QIFF partner, Jeem TV, will also be screening its Baraem shows throughout the festival.
Another treat for visitors include a spectacular fireworks displays in the evenings to light up the Doha skyline.
Book worms can explore a more virtual world of food through the QIFF library which will be stocked with cook books and food-related literature.
“QIFF has become a beacon for Qatar’s growing hospitality industry and we are honoured to partner with QTA for the second consecutive year,” Salem al-Kubaisi, chief corporate services officer at Katara Hospitality, said.
“With the aim of providing unique yet diverse culinary experiences within our local and international hotel portfolio, we place high importance on initiatives that enhance our combined product offering while highlighting our passion for creating ultimate guest experiences,” he noted.
The event also introduces the new ‘QIFF Menu,’ which is offered from March 23 to April 8, allowing residents and visitors to enjoy mouth-watering food groupings of at least three menu items at a pre-set price of QR59, QR99, QR139 or QR179.
Untouched and unsold food will be collected and repacked daily and given to people in need. QIFF, in partnership with the Qatar Cancer Society, will also run a health awareness competition to raise awareness on healthy living.