One of the highlights of the Sharjah Book Fair for me and many others were the cooking demos. There was a mix of chefs from different backgrounds doing their thing in the incredible kitted-out kitchen, but I only got along to see Melina Marta, David Lebovitz and Anissa Helou.
David Lebovitz about to start whipping up cupcakes.
The kitchen set up was amazing! It was in a tent outside of the main fair and featured a full kitchen. Plus there were two assistants on hand to help the chef. And each event was translated from English to Arabic.
The cooking demo in full swing
The audiences really enjoyed themselves – sometimes a little too much (i.e. were very rowdy!). Audiences were pretty much all chicks, which was interesting – I’d expect to see more men at similar events in Australia. One of the chefs (Melina I think) asked three men who came in to her session halfway through whether they were there for their wives or because they were interested, and they replied ‘a bit of both’. There were also lots of kids in attendance.
Anissa Helou in action. I am seriously in love with her hair.
The taste testing was a highlight for most. After sitting in on four cooking demos with no vegan output I was dying to get my mitts onto Anissa Helou’s mezze, and it was all sooo tasty – spicy white tabbouleh, roast beetroot with tahini sauce, and beetroot dip. YUM. Apparently a Japanese cook made a bunch of vegan stuff at one demo also – gutted to miss that one.
The cooking demos are going to feature in the Book Fair next year also, and I’ve heard on the grapevine that there will be some Big Names doing their thing. (Love a good Big Name.)
Cooking demos are so hard, I think – I often wonder what I would cook if called upon. What would you make if you had two hours, a kitchen as above and a hungry audience?
For those interested in food scenes, David Lebovitz wrote a blog post about his foodie tour of Sharjahwith Anissa Helou.