March 23, 2023

The Dates Connection – UAE Semi Final – Contest organized by HOSTMilano and TUTTOFOOD

  • Thanks to the support of the Emirates Culinary Guild and the UAE Restaurant Group, 34 chefs from the United Arab Emirates participated in the pre-selections, creating 38 innovative recipes using on dates.
  • The 3 semi-finalists who emerged from the pre-selections challenged each other today:  Chef Michael Kitts of The Emirates Academy of Hospitality Management; Chef Chanaka Sankalpa Petris, of  Pullmann Hotel Dubai Deira City Center and Chef Grant Marais, of Gates Hospitality. 
  • The path to the semi-finals includes one more stage in Italy in April. The final will be held in Milan during TUTTOFOOD in a still top-secret location, while the award ceremony will be held at TUTTOFOOD Milano.

A new prestigious stage has been added to the path outlined between East and West by The Dates Connection, the contest promoted by HostMilano and TUTTOFOOD – the two leading Italian hospitality and food & beverage exhibitions– dedicated to the most innovative, date-based recipes developed by international chefs.

The best of the gourmet Gulf competes in Dubai
Today, the glittering and hyper-modern city hosted the national semi-final of this event which enhances the ingredient’s potential and creativity also through the use of the most innovative technologies. The challenge was held in the kitchens of the Emirates Academy of Hospitality Management, the school that trains the chefs and managers of tomorrow’s hospitality sector.

With the support of the Emirates Culinary Guild and the UAE Restaurant Group, 34 chefs from the United Arab Emirates participated in an online competition, publishing the videos of the making of 38 different innovative date-based recipes. Participants hail from all around the country: Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Sharjah and Ajman. Important restaurants and international hotel chains took part in the contest, including: Conrad, Pullman, Jumeirah Creek, Hilton, McGettigan’s, Emirates Flight Catering, Jumeirah Creek Side, Radisson Blue. The recipes presented included both desserts and main courses: meats, rice and even salmon. Most of the recipes were desserts and, precisely, two of the three semi-finalists competed with desserts.

For several weeks the public was invited to cast their vote on the recipes visible on the Emirates Culinary Guild YouTube channel. The professional vote of the managing committee of the Guild selected three semifinalists: Chef Michael Kitts of The Emirates Academy of Hospitality Management, with a date and banana soufflé; Chanaka Sankalpa Petris, chef of the Pullmann Hotel Dubai Deira City Center, who proposed a date cake; Grant Marais, chef at the Publique, who instead tried his hand at a beef rib braised in barbecue sauce with dates.
The delicious dates for the preparation of the dishes were provided by Saudi Dates, the official sponsor of the competition that will accompany the chefs until the final in Milan.

The jury of the semifinal was headed by Chef Uwe Micheal, President of the Emirates Culinary Guild; Chef Bernard Charles, the Head of Culinary of Bateel International and Mr. Stefano Ferretti, President of the Italian Academy of Cuisine – Dubai Chapter.

The jury finally decreed the absolute finalist: Chef Grant Marais.

In addition to being a leading international gourmet event, The Dates Connection is also an important networking occasion for buyers, producers, associations, institutions and the media, looking at the business opportunities related to dates, a growing economic sector: suffice it to say that, in 2020, the world production of dates amounted to 9.5 million tons, obtained from 200 million palm trees in total.

There is still one chapter yet to be held –Italy – to choose the 4 finalists who will compete in a great final challenge in Milan during TUTTOFOOD 2023 – at Fieramilano from 8 to 11 May 2023 – in a still top-secret location, that will be revealed in the coming weeks. The awards ceremony will be held as part of the TUTTOFOOD trade show.

The Dubai event is part of the international path towards the 2023 editions of TUTTOFOOD and HostMilano.

TUTTOFOOD will be held at fieramilano from 8 to 11 May 2023.
HostMilano will be held at fieramilano from 13 to 17 October 2023.

For more information:
www.tuttofood.it, @TuttoFoodMilano; www.host.fieramilano.it, @HostMilano.

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