More stories

  • in

    Experience contemporary nomadism through MONTROI’s authentic creations

    April’s – ‘The Gratitude Issue’ – Download Now Co-Founders of MONTROI, Enrique Hormigo and Samir Aghera share with us how the brand embraces a cultural bridge to create connections through everyday objects.What do the first 30 mins of the day look like, your morning routine?EH: I usually check my phone when I’m up. I’m not sure this is the best thing to do but I like to feel connected as soon as I wake up. I usually have breakfast and work for a little from home, answer emails and organise the day ahead. I try to inculcate fitness into my morning routine, as I live close to the beach, hence, I enjoy starting my day by running there.What inspired you to launch the brand and what is at the heart of the DNA?EH: The project started around five years ago as a lot of people around me were inspired by the concept of being a nomad through their love for travelling. At MONTROI, we see nomadism as a cultural bridge that is an educational tool – to connect, to grow, to learn through dialogue and shared experiences. Being a nomad is ultimately leaving behind a more enlightened world for future generations. We were all nomads at one point, regardless of where we came from and going back to our roots is often essential. A nomad goes back to the essence of having less things in life, while only appreciating things that can be carried, which age well and tell stories of where they have been. Our leather goods are manufactures in Italy and Spain, our pashminas are hand-made in Kashmir and our fragrances in Grasse, France.
    “Sustainability has many dimensions. For us, sustainability is not a destination but a journey.”
    How has your focus on artisanal excellence helped to support building such a strong brand identity?EH: We work closely with our artisans, as we don’t manufacture in large factories, rather in places where we know the people create with pride and care, which ultimately translates into good quality products. For instance, the production timing of one backpack is four months from the preparation of the leather, production of zippers which are made to measure, the double anti-humidity treatment, sewing and other steps which require around twenty-one experts to participate in during the manufacturing process. If we only consider the work in the workshop to manufacture the backpack it is the equivalent of two full days per bag.Enrique Hormigo & Samir Aghera , Co-founders of MONTROIWhat elements have the brand taken inspiration from?EH: We take inspiration from nomads. People who lived nomadic lives such as Paul Bowles, Alfred Thesiger and Le Corbusier but also nomads of today. We have a pool of contributors who live like nomads and who inspire us daily. The more we travel, the more we learn from other cultures and ultimately, we make this world a better place. The world needs more nomads, more dialogue and more learning from each other.What key lessons are you grateful for from any mentors you have had?EH: When we started this project, we had a pool of mentors who helped us shape it. We learned how to make a beautiful project financially sustainable in, long term. We are grateful for those who helped us build both a passion project and a business at the same time. Be true to what you are – is another great piece of advice we received from one of our mentors which I will always remember.   What have been the hurdles you have experienced in your career and how did you overcome them?EH: Some years ago, I was trapped at a job in a big luxury company, which had stability but I felt the need to do something more creative, entrepreneurial and more dynamic. We live once and I believed I still had time to create a beautiful project myself and combine my love for travelling. The transition time was challenging.  Which location has been the most inspiring in terms of travel and where is next on the list?EH: Every year we spend time in the places where we manufacture, which include Marrakech, Jaipur, Jabal Akhdar, Bergamo, Spain and the French Riviera. It’s been more challenging this year but usually I really enjoy hopping from one place to the next. We are now working on a fantastic project in Jaipur so that’s my next trip.  What do you always pack when traveling?EH: My iPhone, my sports equipment and my camera.What’s the perfect gift for a host from MONTROI?EH: We have many gifts. Now I am obsessed with the new candles and incense sticks that we just launched which I like to offer when going to someone’s place as we usually burn it and it sets the mood.How does the brand offer a holistic approach to sustainable living?Sustainability has many dimensions. For us, sustainability is not a destination but a journey. We may not be perfect but we work hard toward being it. We start by making products that last long and age beautifully. We encourage conscious investment in products that last as opposed to quick consumption. Also, we work in partnership with workshops and communities; we know their names, their families and their stories. We feel that it’s easier to work on these topics compared to working with big factories.This is ‘The Gratitude Issue’ – What are you grateful for?I am extremely grateful for the life I have and the people around me. Just by having food and water on a daily basis we already belong to the 60% lot of privileged people on earth. In addition, I’m in good health, comfort, while being surrounded by family and friends who I love and I love my work too, which I’m so grateful about.For more information regarding the brand or to make a purchase visit montroi.comApril’s – ‘The Gratitude Issue’ – Download Now – For more on luxury lifestyle, news, fashion and beauty follow Emirates Woman on Facebook and InstagramImages: Supplied More

  • in

    Everything to know about the upcoming Eid Al Fitr holiday in the UAE

    With a long weekend in the pipeline following the end of the Holy Month of Ramadan, here’s all the information you need to know regarding the potential dates for Eid Al Fitr this year.Eid Al Fitr – also referred to as the ‘Festival of Breaking the Fast’ – is a religious holiday in the UAE as it celebrates Muslims worldwide, as it marks the end of a month-long dawn to dusk sunset fasting during Ramadan. Depending on the sighting of the moon, the exact dates for this observation are always announced by the UAE government are announced closer to the date.As per the official government website, Eid Al Fitr is said to take place from 29 Ramadan to 3 Shawwal, making it a total of four days.
    #UAE announces holidays for public, private sector for 2021-2022.#UAE_BARQ_EN pic.twitter.com/vq7Aoy2RGQ
    — UAE BARQ (@UAE_BARQ_EN) December 19, 2020With the final placement of holidays yet to be confirmed, if Eid Al Fitr falls on Thursday, May 13, Thursday to Sunday would be granted off and if Eid occurs on Friday, May 14, 2021, holidays shall occur from then until Monday, May 17, 2021.All of the UAE public holidays in 2021Arafat Day and Eid Al AdhaA couple of months after Eid Al Fitr, there could be another long weekend on the cards for UAE residents. Arafat Day and Eid Al Adha will fall on 9-12 of Dhu Al-Hijjah, which is expected to be between Tuesday, July 20 and Thursday, July 22. While this hasn’t been confirmed as of yet, if these dates are confirmed a six-day break could be on the cards.Islamic New YearA couple of weeks later it’s the Hijri New Year. Falling on Muharram 1, it’s projected to fall around August 9 or August 10.The Prophet’s BirthdayThe Prophet Mohammed’s birthday will fall on the 12 of the Hijri month of Rabi Al Awwal, which is projected to be around October 18.Commemoration Day and National DayTo close out 2021, those in the UAE will have another three-day break to look forward to with Commemoration Day,, December 1, and National Day, December 2, with a day off also on, December 3.The dates are subject to change as per the UAE authorities, for more information regarding the latest news visit u.ae/en for any further details.– For more on luxury lifestyle, news, fashion and beauty follow Emirates Woman on Facebook and InstagramFeature image: Instagram @visitabudhabi More

  • in

    5 inspiring women in the UAE reveal how they practice gratitude

    April’s – ‘The Gratitude Issue’ – Download Now We talk to some of the most incredible women we know about practising gratitude.Ghizlan GuenezEntrepreneur@ghizlan_guenezWhat are you most grateful for in your life?I’m most grateful for my mindset which allows me to appreciate the little and big things in life and to not take things for granted. I’m also grateful for being able to continue to grow and enjoy this journey that is called life with all of its ups and downs.This is ‘The Gratitude Issue’ – how do you practice gratitude in your life?I’m very intentional with gratitude. I journal and I write down three to five things that I’m grateful for on a daily basis. Sometimes it is big like being healthy and seeing your loved ones well and happy. Sometimes it’s as small as staring out the window and seeing clear blue skies. We are abundantly surrounded by things that we should be grateful and we need to ensure we open our eyes to that.Raha MoharrakThe youngest Arab and first Saudi woman to climb Mount Everest@rahamoharrakWhat are you most grateful for in your life?It’s truly impossible to count or quantify the amount of gratitude I have for my life and that’s precisely what I’m grateful for the most, being healthy and having a healthy family and true friends is a wealth that’s incalculable.This is ‘The Gratitude Issue’ – how do you practice gratitude in your life?I practice gratitude by living with the code of paying it forward and always striving to do small things with love, we might not have the ability to change the world but we all have the ability to change someone’s world.Yasmin Al MullaCreative Director of YNM Dubai@YNMdubai @yasminalmullaWhat are you most grateful for in your life?My health, my family, and the UAE — and everything in between.This is ‘The Gratitude Issue’ – how do you practice gratitude in your life?Each morning is a fresh start, waking up with a thankful heart is my drive in life. I truly appreciate each blessing: small or big, simple or major. Every blessing is a fortune thing by itself, therefore I am always grateful and thankful for everything I have in my life.Khulood ThaniCreative Director of Bint Thani Studio@khuloodthaniWhat are you most grateful for in your life?Every small detail that I have in my life and contributed to make me who I am.This is ‘The Gratitude Issue’ – how do you practice gratitude in your life?It’s important to be connected to the energy of gratitude through appreciating things that we already have instead of looking for things outside. I usually practice daily gratitude affirmations as part of my spirituality and I should say that it has supported me a lot.Asma Hilal LootahFounder of the Hundred Wellness Centre@thehundredwellnessWhat are you most grateful for in your life?I am most grateful to God, as I believe my faith has given me the wisdom, strength and foresight to flourish and prosper both mentally and physically. I am also grateful that I have the self-awareness to make positive changes to my life. Living consciously and making a choice to be mindful and aware of every aspect of your life is vital for happiness, health – both physical and emotional, success and relationships.How do you practice gratitude in your life?I learned an incredibly valuable life lesson from an online course I took by Shawn Anchor. The practise involves writing down three new things every day that you are grateful for and by doing so, your brain is trained into looking for positives. This practice has had a wonderful impact on me and has changed the way I think, and without doubt, contributed to my positive outlook on life.  Life can often become challenging for everyone and when this happens, I make a conscious decision to pause and take a moment to appreciate everything around me. Even in tough times, there is always something to be grateful for and I believe that ultimately a grateful heart finds peace.April’s – ‘The Gratitude Issue’ – Download Now – For more on luxury lifestyle, news, fashion and beauty follow Emirates Woman on Facebook and InstagramImages: Supplied More

  • in

    8 of the most luxurious spots for remote working in 2021

    With the concept of digital nomadism becoming rampant, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, working remotely has become a thing of the norm for many. It’s even something you could do for a short period of time.Emirates Woman has curated a guide of where you can unwind and work at the same time to ensure you always deliver your level best results.Anantara Kihavah MaldivesWith this aquatic paradise on earth, you’re bound to be inspired by the natural beauty of the island as you work while being surrounded by the greatest aquatic paradise on earth. The Anantara Kihavah Maldives Villas has launched its collections of the largest private pool residences in the world with intelligent technology and high-tech gym facilities to stay fit on your visit. From lush foliage to bougainvillaea accents, the resort is perfect for a remote ‘workation’ this season.To make a reservation or for more information visit Anantara.comUltima Corfu in GreecePerched on a dramatic hillside looking out over the Ionian Sea, this elegant space seamlessly blends the outdoor landscape with the indoor spaces combining Mediterranean feasts with an expansive wraparound terrace, being one of the most beautiful spots to visit as you escape the hustle and bustle of the city. With an indoor-outdoor living experience and the ultimate wellness experience, you are sure to get those creative ideas flowing.To make a reservation or for more information visit ultimacorfu.comSLS Dubai Hotels & Residences in DubaiOffering incomparable 360-degree views of the city with unobstructed views of the iconic Burj Khalifa, this impressive 75-storey tower makes SLS Dubai one of the tallest hotels and residences in the region with modern architecture featuring sleek accents at the hotel and subversive designs for you to both work and play at, with a lounge venue to unwind, a coffee shop and a signature spa with an epitome of luxury treatment rooms.To make a reservation or for more information visit sbe.comOne&Only Le Saint Géran in MauritiusWhile redefining luxury, this resort offers tailored holistic experiences with pure relaxation time to a unique wellness journey with signature treatments using relaxing techniques with a Mauritian herbal blend of spices. In addition, the resort has partnered with Biologique Recherche offering a combination of advanced products for facial treatments.To make a reservation or for more information visit oneandonlyresorts.comAvani Palm View Dubai Hotel & SuitesOffering a blissful all-year-round staycation package that is perfect for couples and families, this sought after hotel shares magnificent views of Dubai’s dazzling skyline with a spacious bedroom apartment and a fully-equipped kitchen with a private terrace showcasing breathtaking views of The Palm Jumeirah, it’s complemented with breakfast at Seven Seeds as you work and stay.To make a reservation or more information visit avanihotels.comSix Senses in SeychellesFrom Coral-fringed beaches and a luxe surrounding, this tropical destination is an ode to absolute comfort as you stay at the unique destination offering a host of wellness experiences for you to immerse in local life as you lay back and work in absolute solitude, making this destination a must-visit spot. The villas are secluded with expansive tropical vegetation and unsurpassed ocean vistas, with butler service for an uninterrupted staycation.To make a reservation or for more information visit sixsenses.comThe OZEN Collection in the MaldivesIf you’re seeking a sabbatical from urban living and are looking for a summer escape, this oasis of elegance is located on Maadhoo Island with beautiful options making it a home away from home. Allowing you to live and work from one of the most relaxing villas on the island you can receive a 40 per cent discount when you stay for 30 days or longer, making it an offer you simply can’t refuse.To make a reservation or for more information visit theozencollection.comAl Wathba, a Luxury Collection Desert Resort & Spa in Abu DhabiWithin the desert landscape of Abu Dhabi lies this relaxing retreat with serene tranquillity, featuring timeless local details. With classical dwellings and traditional artwork, this hotel experience is ideal for guests to work as they are immersed by privacy with a distinct spa as the hallmark of the hotel experience to completely unwind.To make a reservation or for more information visit Marriott.comWith the ongoing pandemic, do check the country’s regulations pertaining to travel regulations and restrictions as they may vary.– For more on luxury lifestyle, news, fashion and beauty follow Emirates Woman on Facebook and InstagramFeature image: Supplied by Anantara Kihavah More

  • in

    It looks like Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith are currently in Dubai

    Hollywood royalty has touched down in Dubai it seems.Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith appear to be in the emirate, with the latter leaving a huge clue in a recent Instagram post.Sharing a photo of herself with her 10.7 million followers, Pinkett Smith was seen wearing a peach-coloured hijab, stating she was in the Middle East.“I really think the colour peach in the Middle East … suits me,” she captioned the post.However, it was the background of the photo that really gave it away. If we’re not mistaken, the couple seems to be staying at the luxury Bvlgari Hotel.In the first selfie, Pinkett Smith posted, the balcony furnishings appear to give away her whereabouts. But it’s the second photo that really points to where she’s staying, as it showcases the signature patterned-like white detailing on the balcony, which is seen is almost all the Bvlgari Hotel rooms in Dubai.It should be noted that the timing of when the photo was actually taken isn’t 100 per cent clear and nor has Smith himself posted to social media to share he’s in Dubai.The last time the couple visited the emirate together was August 2019, when they were spotted at Emirates Golf Club with a fan.Even more recently, back in February, the I Am Legend actor was seen in the UAE being photographed with UFC star Khabib Nurmagomedov.It’s no secret Smith loves the UAE and has even previously called Dubai “his favourite city on earth”. The city even had a starring role in one of the six episodes of his Facebook Watch series Bucket List.If the couple is currently here, team EW is very much hoping the A-listers will be sharing more of their trip.Who knows, maybe we’ll bump into them at dinner?– For more on luxury lifestyle, news, fashion and beauty follow Emirates Woman on Facebook and InstagramImages: Jada Pinkett Smith Instagram, Bvlgari Hotel Dubai More

  • in

    Yasmine Sabri has been spotted dining at one of our favourite Dubai hotspots

    One of the biggest stars in the MENA region has been spotted dining at one of our favourite Dubai hotspots.Egyptian actress Yasmine Sabri dined sky high on Monday evening at CÉ LA VI Dubai.With unbeatable views of the Dubai skyline and the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa, it’s one of the best places to dine out in the emirate.Sabri posted a photo to her followers at the restaurant’s iconic infinity pool with impeccable Burj views, where she wished her 14.9 million followers a Ramadan Kareem to mark the start of the Holy Month.“We are always in good peace and happiness,” she captioned the post in Arabic. “Ramadan Kareem to all of you.”Sabri also posted a second photo of herself at the venue dining inside.This renowned Singaporean restaurant is located at Address Sky View, Downtown Dubai regularly hosts famous faces and even royalty – His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, visited the establishment last year.Currently, CÉ LA VI has an amazing Iftar deal on offer for those observing Ramadan. You can relish a three-course meal for Dhs250 per person or three-course accompanied with shisha for Dhs350 per person at the pool deck, with both packages inclusive of dates, water, tea and coffee as you celebrate with friends and families, from Iftar until 8pm.For more Iftar deals to avail in Dubai this Ramadan, see EW’s round-up here.– For more on luxury lifestyle, news, fashion and beauty follow Emirates Woman on Facebook and InstagramImages: Yasmine Sabri Instagram More

  • in

    9 of the best pool days to experience in Dubai in 2021

    With summer slowly dawning upon us, there’s nothing like a relaxing day by the pool or the beach to unwind with friends, family, or even alone.From redeemable food and beverages vouchers to the picturesque views of Dubai’s skyline, Emirates Woman has gathered an edit of the most stylish venues with their pool offerings in Dubai.Fairmont The PalmThis luxury haven located on Palm Jumeirah is the perfect luxurious family resort with daycations catering to everyone. During the entire month of April, the daycation is priced at Dhs150 per person on weekdays and Dhs250 per person on weekends, with Dhs150 redeemable on food and beverages and discounts for the kids. You can choose from one of the eight temperature-controlled pools or soak in some sun on the private white sandy beach. Open from 8am to 7pm daily, you can brace yourselves for some excitement this season.For more information visit Fairmont.comAddress DowntownAll you need to unwind is a refreshing dip in the pool at Address Downtown with exciting deals from April 1 until September 30, 2021. From Sunday to Thursday, for Dhs150 per person on weekdays and for Dhs200 per person on weekends with Dhs150 redeemable on weekends and Dhs100 redeemable on weekdays for anything F&B at The Pool Lounge.For more information visit addresshotels.comSofitel Dubai The ObeliskKnown for the hotel’s timeless elegance and Egyptian heritage, this iconic building showcases picturesque views of Dubai’s beautiful skyline, guests can lay back and unwind at Soleil Pool & Lounge which offers an array of tantalizing flavours and signature cocktails for guests to dive right in. Packages start at Dhs175 per adult on weekdays with Dhs75 redeemable on food and beverages and Dhs200 on weekends with an advanced booking requires. During Ramadan, the timings are from 10am to 1pm.For more information visit all.accor.comLa Ville Hotel & SuitesWhile taking in the serenity that the property has to offer, guests can visit for the day and enjoy the rooftop infinity pool at La Villa Hotel & Suites in City Walk, where they can relax while lounging at the LookUp Rooftop Bar. Open from 7am to 6pm, the entrance is priced from Dhs100 and includes an F&B credit for Dhs50 with the weekend entrance from Dhs150 with F&B credit of Dhs100 with a 50 per cent discount for children aged 6 to 12 years.For more information visit livelaville.comCaesars PalaceWith this luxurious property offering an incredible daycation package, guests can relax in the pristine surrounding of Neptune Pool & Bar and soak up the rays of the beautiful Dubai, sun while indulging in some refreshing poolside beverages. To cater to your tastebuds you can relish a delicious two-course lunch menu at the internationally acclaimed Gordan Ramsay’s Hells Kitchen restaurant which features signature dishes. It takes place every week from Sunday to Wednesdays, with lunch from 12pm to 3pm including pool access from 10am to 7pm, priced at Dhs280 per adult and Dhs150 per child, as it’s located at Bluewaters Dubai.For more information visit caesars.comConrad DubaiIf you’re looking for something relaxing with the ladies, Conrad Dubai has the ultimate daycation package every Wednesday, where ladies can unwind at Bliss 6 with a natural environment of greenery. In addition, a complimentary spa offers a 60-minute facial with a 30-minute back and shoulder massage every Wednesday from 8am to midnight at Dhs375 per person, located on Sheikh Zayed Road, this deal is not one to miss.For more information visit Hilton.comAtlantis, The PalmDiscover a world away from the usual with entertainment-fueled activities and thrilling attractions, being the ultimate holiday destination for thrill-seekers and foodies, sun lovers have a chance to lounge at the pools at this daycation venue as they enjoy unending views of the Arabian Gulf and the Dubai Marina skyline. From delectable bites to a relaxed ambience, guests pay Dhs150 on Sunday, Monday and Wednesday from 10am to 7pm which is redeemable on F&B and on Fridays and public holidays from 10am to 7pm for Dhs300 with Dhs200 redeemable on F&B at White Beach.For more information visit atlantis.comVida Emirates HillsWhile taking in the spectacular views of Dubai, you witness the contemporary and stylish details of this venue with every detail thoughtfully taken care of. From a glistening infinity pool to a fully redeemable F&B voucher received from the entrance fee, you’re bound to have a good time here. Priced at Dhs120, it’s open from 7am to 7pm and is located at The Hills, Emirates Hills.For more information visit vidahotels.comRadisson RED Dubai Silicon OasisWith a chic rooftop bar and pool, space is packed with personality and style to have a relaxing lunch. If you spend Dhs100 on food and beverages anywhere in the hotel and you get access to the rooftop pool at Red Roof free of charge with a pet-friendly area at the OUIBar & Terrace or you can tuck into snacks as you lounge. Open from 9am to midnight, at Silicon Oasis Dubai to lounge in style.For more information visit Radisson.comAll the social distance measures have been followed at the above-mentioned locations. However, timings for each venue might vary due to the Holy month of Ramadan.– For more on luxury lifestyle, news, fashion and beauty follow Emirates Woman on Facebook and InstagramImages: Instagram: Feature Image: @fairmontthepalm Instagram More

  • in

    8 talented Dubai chefs share their culinary passion

    As Dubai has become a culinary hub here in the Middle East – and in the world – the annual Dubai Food Festival celebrates all things cuisine in the emirate. While countless people in the emirate enjoy an array of delectable dishes on a daily basis in Dubai, you don’t often see the masters behind the cuisine.As part of Dubai Food Festival this year, Emirates Woman spoke to eight talented Dubai-based chefs behind all the exquisite creations on their journey so far and what inspired them to pursue their careers in the F&B industry. Andrea Fioravanti, the Executive Chef at Palm Avenue located at Waldorf Astoria Dubai Palm JumeirahWhat brought you to Dubai?I had heard a lot of exciting things about Dubai and wanted to experience it first-hand. I wanted to learn more about Middle Eastern cuisine and to develop my skills and learn from the people here. Now that I live here, I like to share my experiences and journey with the people that I work with.How would you say the F&B scene differs in Dubai from other parts of the world?Dubai has a lot of residing nationalities, giving chefs the luxury to create multinational dishes. It is surprising how people in Dubai have such an open mind and are excited to sample new cuisines.What is the hero dish at your restaurant?It has to be ‘Oxtail Cannelloni, Foie Gras Parmesan, Star Anise’. The cannelloni is Italian, and I incorporate it with wonton which is Chinese, and the oxtail represents Spain. I like to create dishes that have a mix of flavours and showcase the amazing places which I have visited, to create an experience that will delight and excite guests.What is your favourite part about Dubai Food Festival?That the participating restaurants allow new guests to discover culinary extravagance at a fair price. The event also gives chefs the chance to showcase their talents and skills and show the world what they can.Francesco Acquaviva, Chef de cuisine at Social by Heinz Beck, located at Waldorf Astoria Dubai Palm JumeirahWhat brought you to Dubai?I came to Dubai for an experience, but I ended up falling in love with the city. The restaurant grows with me daily and since that moment eight years ago, for me my experience is still ongoing.How would you say the F&B scene differs in Dubai from other parts of the world?The beauty of Dubai in terms of F&B, is that as a guest you can experience all the food from around the world and at all different price points, from 30 aed to 3000+aed. The city has many fantastic venues being driven by talented resident chefsWhat is the hero dish at your restaurant?Spaghetti with lemon, butter and caviar – this dish is simple in its complexity but is elegant and very tasty.What is your favourite part about Dubai Food Festival?I think that DFF is a really great opportunity to put new focus on Dubai’s culinary scene. The annual event presents many opportunities to ‘culinary hero to express themselves with the language of food philosophy. I’m looking forward to visiting many of the venues and discovering their culinary experience.Kevin Dermot Coey, Executive Chef at Gastro Kitchen, located at DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Dubai – Jumeirah BeachWhat brought you to Dubai?Having worked in Hilton for over two decades and mostly in the UK, I wanted to explore the world with my wife. I got an opportunity with Hilton to work in the Seychelles. After five years it was time for me to have a change from island life and to be in an environment where food is not only dining but is an experience, and there it was – hidden in the desert is the land of gold – Dubai. I interacted with a lot of people, read and heard about Dubai and its dynamic F&B culture and wanted to be a part of it. I am passionate about coming to a new environment and building a new team and carrying them to success through new flavours, techniques and knowledge.How would you say the F&B scene differs in Dubai from other parts of the world?Dubai is in a world of its own when it comes to F&B.  Everything is fiercely competitive and not only with the big restaurants and hotels, but also the street stalls, pop-up kiosks and even smoothie bars are high in regard – it really is a constant effort to be the best of the best. I believe there is utmost respect by all the residents and tourists for the F&B offering throughout the city, and that is what makes the food industry so exciting in this part of the world. I would say it nearly has celebrity status.What is the hero dish at your restaurant?Without hesitation, the “Beef Wellington” is quite simply the superstar of Gastro Kitchen.  Guests come back time and time again for this hidden gem. The time, care and effort that goes into this crafting each dish is paid back in dividends by the sheer delight and positive comments that we get from guests time and time again.What is your favourite part about Dubai Food Festival?The best part of the Dubai Food Festival is the freedom to do whatever you are passionate about.  There are no boundaries! And I love the fact that it brings communities in the culinary world together to enjoy every cuisine possibly imaginable in a very unique and extravagant way. The most important part for me is that it gives spotlight and exposure to all levels of talent and cuisine. It paves the way for our guests to enjoy many offerings everyday day for an entire month at great value for money. I see it personally like a rock concert for food – exciting, explosive and loud!Steven Smalley, the Cluster Executive Chef at Pure Sky Lounge, located at Hilton Dubai Jumeirah and Hilton Dubai The WalkWhat brought you to Dubai?It was 13 years ago that I took a quick and risky decision to leave my growing culinary career in Europe and move to the region I knew very little about. I had been working for five years in Amsterdam and was looking for a new challenge. Fast forward to today and this was the best decision I ever made, Dubai is now my home and a place where I am constantly growing both professionally and personally.How would you say the F&B scene differs in Dubai from other parts of the world?It is very fast-paced in comparison with any other part of the world. The restaurant landscape here is changing like sand dunes in the desert. It is very concept-driven and diverse, which is in my opinion is great for both consumers and F&B experts. The dining scene here is competitive and is constantly challenging all of us to be more innovative, futuristic and extraordinary which is something I really enjoy being part of.What is the hero dish at your restaurant?It is really difficult to choose just one dish, considering we have more than 10 signature dining venues at Hilton Dubai Jumeirah and Hilton Dubai The Walk. The dish that I have recently spent a lot of time working on is “Seared Scallops” – served as part of my Chef’s Table for the Dubai Food Festival. Every part of this dish needs precision and proper technique to get the perfect texture, taste and presentation.What is your favourite part about Dubai Food Festival?The project has created motivation and pride for my culinary team. They are extremely proud to be involved and featured in something as big as Dubai Food Festival. Seeing them so excited, dedicated and competitive is definitely my favourite part.Luigi Vespero, the Executive Chef at Bull & Bear, Located at Waldorf Astoria Dubai International Financial CentreWhat brought you to Dubai?10 years ago, my wife and I visited Dubai on holiday, and we fell in love with the city from day one. Particularly, we liked the multicultural spirit of the Emirate and how safe we felt during our stay.How would you say the F&B scene differs in Dubai from other parts of the world?Dubai is such a multicultural city, and the F&B offering is vast.  You have available cuisines from all over the world. Dubai is forever evolving and so is the F&B scene, it is an exciting place to be a chef right now.What is the hero dish at your restaurant?The Alligator Pear is one of our signature starters. A half-pitted avocado that has been pureed, pickled, topped with pomegranate seeds, gazpacho jelly droplets and served with Kalamata rice crackers. The Beef Rossini is a hero main, slow-cooked beef rib served with seared foie gras, truffle mash potatoes, crispy shallots and hermitage jus. You can try both of these dishes on our DFF promotional menu.What is your favourite part about Dubai Food Festival?I think DFF is a great initiative. It brings the consumer and the operator closer together. It also gives us chefs a unique platform to express ourselves and create unforgettable memories for our guests.Rene Johari, the Executive chef at DoubleTree by Hilton Dubai at Bay Club located at DoubleTree by Hilton Dubai, Business BayWhat brought you to Dubai?The diverse culture and exciting food scene. There are a lot of opportunities here and I endeavour to challenge myself to be the best that I can be.How would you say the F&B scene differs in Dubai from other parts of the world?The Dubai F&B scene is unique, there is such a diverse offering that showcases almost every part of the world in one destination. Both local homegrown F&B offerings and world-renowned brands are making their mark here.What is the hero dish at your restaurant?The dish is called Squash & Pearl Barley Salad. It has a unique texture and a flavorful and wholesome feel to it. This dish tells a story of my culinary experience, it showcases skills and flavours that I have learned throughout my Dubai journey.What is your favourite part about Dubai Food Festival?My favourite part is that it is the time of the year when everyone from the chefs to the guests can both explore and showcase the best F&B scene Dubai has to offer.Yannis Manikis, Director of F&B and Culinary Operations at Aigeo @ Bliss 6, located at Conrad DubaiWhat brought you to Dubai?The excitement of working in this vibrant city full of innovation and endless F&B opportunities.How would you say the F&B scene differs in Dubai from other parts of the world?Dubai has the capability to become one of the F&B capitals of today’s world.  New York, London, Sydney all take advantage of the multi-ethnic population that they have built-in order to create different F&B venues. I do think that Dubai is on the correct path of achieving this by initiating such campaigns as DFF.What is the hero dish at your restaurant?Freshly caught and grilled red snapper.What is your favourite part about Dubai Food Festival?I love the way in which DFF has got people thinking about how and why we eat the way we do but in a fun and creative way.ElMehdi Naamane, Head of Culinary, Hilton Al Seef Cluster at Skafos, located at Canopy by Hilton Dubai Al SeefWhat brought you to Dubai?The interest to move from Qatar to UAE was to explore high-quality gastronomy and enter a more competitive market.How would you say the F&B scene differs in Dubai from other parts of the world?The Dubai F&B industry is ahead on many fronts. Dining in Dubai is an experience that goes beyond food. There is a fierce competition that requires restaurants to step up their game and take risks, resulting in greater quality restaurants.What is the hero dish at your restaurant?Skafos features an array of mouth-watering Greek Mediterranean dishes, yet the most famous is the succulent saffron-infused paella loaded with either mussels and shrimp, chicken or meat and cooked in a skillet on the grill, to get the very best flavours.What is your favourite part about Dubai Food Festival?Foodie experiences such as our Chef’s Table, which allows me to host an intimate session with a few guests and showcase my techniques, choice of flavours and personality for an unforgettable experience.– For more on luxury lifestyle, news, fashion and beauty follow Emirates Woman on Facebook and InstagramFeature image: Instagram @skafos More