Taste of the World, Riyadh has been heralded as a great success by both event organizers and the 14,000 visitors that attended the six-day extravaganza in the capital’s Digital City.
Commissioned by the General Entertainment Authority, this bespoke edition of the festival, created especially for the Riyadh Season, featured 14 of the world’s best restaurants, boasting a combined 13 Michelin stars.
Throughout the festival, the participating restaurants featured an exclusive menu of three dishes, served in taster-size portions — two of each restaurant’s signature dishes, as well as a Saudi-inspired dish that the chef had exclusively designed for Taste of the World, Riyadh. Visitors looking for a more exclusive experience were welcomed to The Taste Residence where they were treated to a four-course dining experience with Michelin-starred chefs.
Another major attraction that drew large crowds was the Fire Pit, where local star chefs Areej Al-Shareef, Abdelelah bin Jarid and Fahad Bokhari showed off their talents alongside the global superstars. Hosted by Saudi culinary star and presenter Rakan Aloraifi, spectators enjoyed cooking demonstrations, tasting sessions and a live DJ.
In another area of the festival, guests sipped mocktails while listening to live acoustic music on the Music Stage.
Award-winning chef Shane Osborn from Hong Kong’s Arcane said “Taste of the World, Riyadh has far exceeded my expectations. I have been fortunate to have experienced many similar events around the world but this one in Riyadh is both very unique and very different to anything that I have experienced before. It is the people of Riyadh who have really made it special and welcoming.”
Pascal Aussignac from London’s Michelin-starred Club Gascon said: “The smiles of the people whilst trying my food and their inquisitive questions about the meals prepared made it truly very special. I am
very happy to be here in Riyadh and to have taken part in this exciting event.”
Saudi chef Al-Shareef said: “I am very happy to be here and taking part in Taste of the World, Riyadh. I am also very proud in being the only female Saudi chef taking part and my experiences at the Fire Pit were very exciting and fun.”
Chef Aloraifi said, “This is the first time that Taste of the World has taken place in the Kingdom and people have been very excited about the occasion, the activities and the cooking demonstrations ... Hopefully next year we will be back again and will be able to add more local touches to the program.”
Based on the overwhelming enthusiasm and fast-selling ticket sales that has greeted the Taste of the World experience, organizers said they are looking forward to announcing a 2020 event soon.