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Thursday, 30 October 2014

The Italians Are Coming To Town!

Le Colonne, Caserta

Throughout November 2014, Dubai hosts the 6th edition of the Italian Cuisine World Summit, the most important appointment in Dubai celebrating high end Italian cuisine. 

Over 40 Master Italian Chefs, among whom are over 25 Michelin starred chefs, will take over the city's most upscale Italian restaurants, making Dubai during this event the most star-studded culinary heaven. is appointed the official blog for the Italian Cuisine World Summit, and the blog will be following the event closely, introducing the chefs, their specialities and show you bits an pieces of what is taking place throughout the summit.

This video is an introduction to Italian Cuisine World Summit 2014, featuring some of the guest chefs, and more to come, so make sure to subscribe to Dima Al Sharif youtube channel (there might even be some live streaming at some point!), stay tuned and

follow 'my journey with the Italians as they take over culinary Dubai'.

If you haven't already, make sure to Subscribe to NEWSLETTER to receive all the updates as well as the Italian Cuisine World Summit Offers that are exclusive to readers. Especially if you are a big foodie, you will not want to miss out on this and especially the offers as they may have just the thing you have been looking for all along! ;)
 I will be posting loads, so keep an eye :)

Relative Links
Dima's Posts, Photo Galleries & Videos for Italian Cuisine World Summit 2014

ICWS on social networks

#ItalianCuisineWorldSummit #MyDubai

Saturday, 25 October 2014

Chatting, Cooking, Clicking, Eating, Touring & Repeat... Sounds Like #DubaiFoto

What a hectic year 2014 has been! My Gosh! I cannot believe we just finished this year's Food Styling & Photography Workshop #DubaiFoto2014! Feels like it was only yesterday we were having #DubaiFoto2013!

But hey, let me tell you, we had a fantastic time!

This year the workshop was all about 'Passion'.
From partnering up with my friends who share the same passion for food and cooking, to each bringing in the elements they are most passionate about in order to share with the participants in an effort to ignite their own passions and make way for their own stories to unfold. One of the things I love the most during all my courses and workshops, is that moment when something clicks (when passion forms) with one of the participants, that moment when you could almost see a spark in their eyes, and this time I have seen this a few times, and was very happy to know we have accomplished what we were there for.

This year we have also taken #DubaiFoto to a whole new dimension, as we held an intensive session for the students of SCAFA, who are well on their way to start their professional career in food. Besides artistic expression, and technicalities of food snapping for media, in this session, we also wanted to make sure that as they master the technicalities of their profession, they continue to feed their passion for it. The session with the upcoming chefs was full of new skills for them to practice besides the chopping, mixing, cooking and plating which they have already mastered. This session was all about keeping the passion alive and how to go from 'good' to 'great'.

Greatness is only achieved in great company
No man is an island!
As you know, this year we partnered up with my favourite culinary school SCAFA (School of Culinary & Finishing Arts - Dubai), whose kitchens I want to live in forever!! Honestly, the workshop will not have been the same if it were anywhere else!

The SCAFA Family (the instructors, chefs, students and staff) are a wonderful team of people whose company makes you feel right at home. They have gone above and beyond to make this workshop a great and memorable experience to everyone involved.

I am not saying this because I expected any less, oh no! Trust me I always have humungous expectations and never settle for anything less than perfect in any of my projects... I am saying this, because even considering what I came in expecting, SCAFA managed to amaze above and beyond! And I want to thank them hugely (I love SCAFA:) ). Honestly observing how they are with their students, and their approach to teaching and mentoring, is simply great and if the times turn back, I definitely would choose to go and learn the culinary arts over there.

 If you are at that stage or know anyone who is keen to go to culinary school, then I really recommend you join them.  

Lafayette Gourmet Catering
The theme we went with this year is "Modern Classics", which I am very into these days. But I am talking real modern concepts, not just in terms of presentation. I went with Modern Arabic Bistro where besides preparing that menu for lunch for the participants, I also took them through the makings of modern cooking, modern cuisine and how to upgrade a classic recipe to modern standards.

For his part, I could see that Chef Russell Impiazzi - the Culinary Director of Lafayette Gourmet,
who is also our main and permanent #DubaiFoto partner (since the first workshop) - was obviously very into the theme as well. He usually prepares the welcome brunch and finale dinner for the participants, and this time he prepared both meals as 'Modern British Classics'. Russell is of course a very talented chef (no introductions necessary), I am always at awe with his creations, however this time, there was something about that food that felt a bit more personal. I loved his take on 'Modern British' absolutely delightful, and do recommend that you ask him about that menu the next time you book a Lafayette Gourmet catering service. Very familiar food, in a very unfamiliar modern way making even a fish and no-chips look so elegant and cocktailish!

As ever, Lafayette Gourmet have sponsored all the workshop's ingredients (for all the meals, and the photography), which as you know is Lafayette Gourmet standard! Perfection!

Now that we have amazing ingredients, and amazing meals set up for the two days, what is a styling and photography workshop without outstanding props? And I am so glad to have reached out to West Elm in Dubai Mall, who by the way always have some of the most stylish props you can get your hands on! Not just that, they really do always hold some iconic pieces that will make your photo just right. If you are a stylist and always on the look out for amazing props,  standout bowls, just the right napkin, or an iconic black onyx flatware set (no reflections) all you need to do is to head out to West Elm, and see for yourself! But not just for photographers, stylish homes and stylish kitchens will have West Elm in them for sure!!

This workshop is not complete without the goodie bags that participants take home. They do have to practice their new skills and what better way to that than with fantastic looking food that tastes Divine!!! Yes we do not photograph and throw, we eat the food too! We like to be sustainable ;) so and while it was initially meant to be a contribution for goodie bags, our amazing partners made sure we also get ample amounts of deliciousness in the form of snacks throughout the workshop. So besides the take-home goodie bags filled with fabulousness (Sesame crackers, home-made jam jars, jars of home-made spicy nuts, home-made granola and a mouthwatering loaf of tea bread) we also spent 2 days munching on a selection of Baker & Spice freshly baked breads, croissants, and my all-time  fave: their Figs Tart!!! Ah! I can never resist that tart, nor do I claim I should or anyone else should for that matter!!! It is heavenly! The best thing though is that with Baker & Spice you never worry because their food is wholesome, absolutely good for you, local, seasonal, organic, and all things that are 'good food'. Need I ever say more really?

These amazing bakes could not possibly be paired with anything but an equally outstanding, equally natural, and equally fabulous spread! And that of course is Balqees honey! That raw, succulent uninterrupted Yemeni honey! Which we got jars upon jars of in all varieties!!! Honestly it does not get any better! The jars are pretty photographed, the consistency of that honey makes you drool even if you see it only in pictures ... and then of course there is the eating ... which am not even going to attempt describing!! (yes please do try and you will understand)! I even used it in the cooking! I mean, wouldn't you?!

Since we are at the sweets bit of the eating, have you tried Toffee Princess toffees yet? Shame on you if you haven't, and if you are a foodie (any type) and you haven't, then you just lost the level of foodieism you belong to; at least by 5 knots!! You really must! These toffees could very well be the best out there! They are the best I have encountered! They are made to order, packaged to occasion and come in a variety of flavours!! Look, they are handmade (artisanal) they are worth every single calorie that any sugary food is responsible for! Get in touch with Suz McDonald and order your toffees, but mind you once you are toffeed by the Toffee Princess there is no way back! Ask the participants who got to take a selection home besides the munching at the finale dinner. Actually ask me! I spent the whole night munching!!!

Can any food experience be wholesome or complete without a food tour? Without exploring a place through its food? Especially when participants fly in from all over for the workshop and don't really know Dubai! However not just because of that, but because even Dubaians don't all know Dubai as well as they think! I for instance found it tremendously interesting that there are eateries in old Dubai that were established way before Dubai became Dubai which we all know and adore!! These eateries are still existent! Yes there is so much to uncover, and only Frying Pan Adventures know how to uncover it with flair! Only they could do what they do the way they do!! Book a tour and see how they do it!

So we booked the participants with the Frying Pan Adventure for a tour of Little India in Old Dubai, where we sampled heaps of vegetarian Indian food, and some fantastic desserts too. Really delicious (at times too spicy for me) Indian street food at its best, all with the stories to match! A really recommended Culinary adventure in Dubai, which I will repeat over and over without hesitation! Yup that good!

Now once things are done, what do we usually do? Celebrate, and that we did in that finale dinner of succulent "Modern British"! But what is a celebration without Champagne? Without popping that cork? Without pouring and hearing the sound of the bubbling liquid fall in and bounce out to your ear through that elegant long flute? What is a celebration without the finest and most glamours drink?
"Didn't get that! You don't drink?" Oh no, no wait.... It is 100% Alcohol Free!!! But it does not taste any less good than Champagne! Does not experience any less, except perhaps it does not give you a headache the next day!!! :))

Yes my very dear friends at Lootah Premium Foods have generously provided us with non-alcoholic celebration champagnes and wines. And in true Dubai fashion, we popped the champagne, the 24K Gold Champagne, the glamorous type with the Gold flakes, the Clicquot of all non-alcoholic drinks, and it paired fantastically with those dainty British-classic modern canapés and cocktail bites.

Lootah Premium Foods are suppliers of some of the country's most exclusive produce and ingredients. Everyone who is anyone in Dubai's Food scene knows these people are fantastic (the best to say it mildly)! And just for the sake of our workshop's participants, the folks at Lootah Premium Food have added to their goodie bag goodies a selection of the fine 'La Perse' teas and a selection of jam-jars that had just been flown in from France as only they could! Brilliant!

You see, am not sure when I say "We had a fantastic time" I do this workshop justice! I mean not even in the description, it is just an all round awesome experience for all of us and this of course is thanks to my very good friend, my food photographer of choice, the amazing, stylish and absolutely my siamese twin sister!!!! the one and only Meeta K Wolff!

Meeta is really a wonderful person, whose talent and finesse only reflects how grand she is on the inside. The beauty and style she brings to the world of food, is just a slice of her own beauty and style, which you clearly see the minute you meet her. You know I love you Meeta :) Won't tell you much about what she teaches you in class and what she covers (join us next year you will know lol) however, will tell you that after the workshop in terms of food styling and photography you emerge a different kind of talent!!!
(She even managed to teach me a thing or too!!! and we all know how Picasopic and refined my very rough around the edges photos are like lol)

That is it in a nutshell! (or perhaps a watermelon-size nutshell loool)!
Join us next time in #DubaiFoto2015 :)

Watch this video of #DubaiFoto2014

Relative Links

Thursday, 2 October 2014

Timing in this life is everything

Timing in this life is everything!

Yesterday I had a meeting with Yael at Baker & Spice  and the kitchen decided to showcase the new autumn-winter menu :) so I was lucky to have a sneak preview and boy was that menu delicious!

You know, I love baker and spice because they really do what they say: Seasonal, organic, good food. Real Food, Good Food is really what they do not just what they say or promote. And they always deliver ah the flavours!...

Not saying more, except, really must have this autumn-winter.
The autumn-winter menu will be on starting next week at Baker & Spice Souk Al Bahar.
Here is an appetiser