Organisers of the annual Qatar International Food Festival (QIFF) today revealed details of the 2018 edition. In its ninth year, the country’s longest-running food festival is set to be an even bigger celebration of Qatar’s cultural diversity and home-grown talent, through a rich mix of culinary delights and entertainment.
QIFF 2018 will open on 15 March and continue for 11 days at Hotel Park. The number of participants has grown by 36% to reach 177 stalls, food trucks and trolleys, extending over the full 80,000 metres squared of the park grounds. As the country’s only international food festival, QIFF 2018 brings culinary and cultural experiences from all corners of the globe to Qatar’s residents and visitors.
Rashed AlQurese, Chief Marketing & Promotion Officer at Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA) commented, “As an international food festival that celebrates a host of cultures from all corners of the globe, QIFF demonstrates Qatar’s message of welcoming the world, both to its residents and visitors.” He added, “Offering authentic family friendly experiences through festivals such as QIFF continues to be an important pillar of the Next Chapter of the National Tourism Sector Strategy 2030.”
QIFF is the second country-wide festival of 2018, and follows on from Shop Qatar, which witnessed a 40% increase in sales based on the total number of coupons entered into raffle draws over the month-long festival.
As the country’s food value chain rapidly develops, the Festival is shedding a bright spotlight on the role of local farms, farmers’ markets and Qatari-owned F&B entrepreneurs in bringing food from gate to plate.
Mashal Shahbik, Director of Festivals and Tourism Events at QTA commented saying, “We are very pleased to see QIFF continue to grow both in terms of number of participants and total area covered in its ninth edition.” She added, “For QTA, it is very important that entrepreneurs and SMEs are engaged in providing visitors with a uniquely Qatari experience. We are particularly pleased to see that QIFF has paved the way for innovative initiatives in the space of festivals and events.”
This edition of QIFF will be organised and delivered by QTA with the support of numerous partners representing the entertainment, hospitality and F&B sectors in Qatar. QIFF 2018’s Strategic Partner is Katara Hospitality, the global hotel owner, developer and operator based in Qatar.
Salem Ghanem Al Kubaisi, Chief Corporate Services Officer at Katara Hospitality commented saying, “Qatar International Food Festival has become a beacon for Qatar’s growing hospitality industry and we are honoured to partner with Qatar Tourism Authority for the 3rd consecutive year. With the aim of providing unique yet diverse culinary experiences within our local and international hotel portfolio, Katara Hospitality places high importance on initiatives that enhance our combined product offering while highlighting our passion for creating ultimate guest experiences. Katara Hospitality is delighted to give back to the community through its recently opened Hotel Park, an illustration of our commitment to social responsibility and the importance of promoting sustainability.”
Other partners include Msheireb Museums, beIN, Doha Film Institute, Qatar Culinary Professionals, Askar, Mini Zoo Events, AlRayyan Water and RAW ME.
All four corners of the world
And in celebration of the unique mix of cultures that Qatar is home to, 9 international embassies based in Doha will be inviting festival-goers to savour the flavours of East and West. The participating countries are the USA, South Africa, Vietnam, the Philippines, Turkey, Lebanon, Mexico, India and Ethiopia.
Special Festival Experiences
Festival favourites are back this year such as the signature Live Cooking Theater with participation from internationally renowned chefs such as US MasterChef Christine Ha, Qatar’s very own Aisha AlTamimi, Kuwaiti cook Fawaz AlOmaim, Indian celebrity chef Ajay Chopra, Lebanese celebrity chef Ramzi Choueiri, and the Michellin Star chef who has been preparing the post-Oscars feast for 24 years, Wolfgang Puck. They, along with others will be sharing their culinary delights from 6:00 pm – 10:30 pm daily with a different theme for each day.
Also back this year, is the Health Zone which encourages conscious eating habits and life choices that promote overall well-being. There will also be free fitness classes regularly held throughout QIFF allowing festival-goers to get their blood pumping while enjoying the outdoor festivities at Hotel Park.
This year, QIFF is also shedding a spotlight on locally-owned coffee shops which have become contemporary symbols of cultural and social exchange. The dedicated Coffee Zone which will give coffee lovers a chance to immerse themselves in the bean’s rich aromas and flavours.
Adding to the festive atmosphere at Hotel Park, the main festival stage will host a variety of live performances and cultural shows running throughout the day. In the evenings, fireworks displays will light up the sky above the Doha corniche at 8:00 pm.
This year, QIFF has expanded the children’s area to include a mini zoo and farmer’s market, providing parents and children an opportunity to learn more about our food’s journey from farm to fork. Children will be provided with sports classes as well as creative activities courtesy of Café Ceramique.
In Doha & Around Qatar
QIFF returns with new concepts that take QIFF beyond the festival grounds offering an array of delightful culinary experiences all around the country.
Bringing QIFF to restaurants and cafes across Qatar, festival organisers are once again offering the QIFF Menu from 1-31 March. The QIFF Menu allows residents and visitors to enjoy mouth-watering food groupings of three menu items at a pre-set price of QAR 49 at stand-alone cafes and restaurants; and QAR 99 at hotels.
Three of Doha’s top restaurants are offering residents and visitors a unique opportunity to join internationally-acclaimed chefs for an interactive cooking and tasting experience through the QIFF Cooking Classes. The chefs include Food Network’s Anna Olson, Iron Chef Mahsuru Morimoto and IDAM’s executive chef Damien Leroux. Those after this exclusive dining experience should look out for upcoming announcements on social media platforms and book through the usual reservation platforms.
The Community Side of Food
Demonstrating its consideration for the community, QIFF organisers have signed up with Wahab food collection and distribution service for this year’s Festival. The charity will ensure that festival goers can donate untouched food so it is carefully repackaged and delivered to those in need.