Festival organisers revealed more details of the upcoming 8th edition of Qatar International Food Festival (QIFF), returning this year with a focus on cultural diversity and home-grown culinary talent.
Kicking off on 29 March and running for 11 days at the Hotel Park, the main festival venue, the Festival has grown even bigger this time with 20 percent increase in participants compared to the previous year.
The scenic Hotel Park, overlooking the Doha Corniche, opened to the public since the last edition of QIFF and has hosted popular weekend activities during the inaugural Shop Qatar festival held in January. Hotel Park carries four levels of underground parking with over 2,500 spaces, making the venue easily accessible for thousands of visitors to enjoy the event with ease and comfort.
Mashal Shahbik, Director of Festivals and Tourism Events at QTA said this year’s festival has attracted a significant increase in the number of participants sharing the Festival’s main platform at the Hotel Park. She said they are particularly excited to have more young entrepreneurs and local businesses sign up and use QIFF to showcase and grow their client base.
Shahbik said that for QTA, it is very important that the country’s festivals not only engage the private entrepreneurs and SMEs, but that home-grown talents should also find their place at the table. Their presence, according to her, enriches the festival’s offerings and is indispensable in providing visitors with a uniquely Qatari experience.
This edition of QIFF is being organised by QTA with support from numerous partners representing the education, entertainment, hospitality and F&B sectors in Qatar. QIFF 2017’s Strategic Partner is Katara Hospitality, the global hotel owner, developer and operator based in Qatar.
Other partners include Doha Film Institute, JEEM TV, Qatar Foundation, Qatar Culinary Professionals and Qatar University Culinary Club. FOODEX, a back-to-back exhibition slated to run from 2-4 April at the Doha Exhibition and Convention Centre, is also a QIFF partner which showcases the business side of food, tracing a meal’s journey from farm to fork.
All Four Corners of the World
Courtesy of international embassies based in Doha, festival-goers can savour the flavours of the East and West at the Cultural Zone which will host stalls from numerous countries. Participating countries Germany, South Africa and Ethiopia will also be providing live entertainment shows to celebrate the unique mix of culture that Qatar is home to.
Special Festival Experiences
Some festival staples are back this year such as food trucks and the signature Live Cooking Theatre with participation from the QCP and the QU Culinary Club 4 pm – 9 pm daily. Also featured this year is the high tea and fine dining pavilion that overlooks the Gulf waters and for slightly more breezy and elevated vistas of Doha, visitors can enjoy Dinner in the Sky. New additions include the garden picnic where families can collect a basket and blanket to enjoy a casual meal on the grass outdoors.
Live Entertainment, Cultural Shows
Adding to the festive atmosphere at Hotel Park, there will be stages set up for a variety of live performances and cultural shows running throughout the day. In the evenings, fireworks display will light up the sky above the Doha corniche. And, movie-lovers can enjoy outdoor screenings courtesy of festival partners, DFI and QF. The special movie line-up of food-related movies includes all-time favourites such as Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory as well as select local and international productions. Screenings will be held daily from 9 – 10 pm.
Family Fun and Children’s ‘Edutainment’
In addition to a designated children’s food zone, there will also be child-friendly edutainment in the form of daily screenings of Siraj, Qatar Foundation’s new 3D animation ‘edutainment’ TV series. QIFF Partner, Jeem TV will also be screening its Baraem shows throughout the Festival. 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.
In Doha and 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 have introduced the new QIFF Menu. The Menu, offered from 23 March to 8 April, allows residents and visitors to enjoy mouth-watering food groupings of at least three menu items at a pre-set price of 59, 99, 139 or 179 Qatari Riyals.
Select five-star hotels across Doha are offering residents and visitors a unique opportunity to join internationally-acclaimed chefs for an interactive cooking and dining experience through the QIFF Chef’s Tables. Those after this exclusive dining experience should look out for hotel announcements and book through the usual reservation platforms.
The Community Side of Food
Demonstrating its consideration for the community, QIFF organisers have once again signed up with Eid Charity’s food collection and distribution service for this year’s Festival. The Charity will ensure that any of the festival’s unsold and untouched food is collected daily, carefully repackaged and given to those in need.
To encourage conscious eating habits and life choices that promote overall well-being, Festival Partner, Qatar Cancer Society will be running a Health Awareness Competition. Festival-goers can conveniently run a quick health check while enjoying the outdoor festivities at Hotel Park.
For more information about the 8th QIFF, visit qifoodfestival.qa.