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First Open Fire Food Festival by Steve Harvey a resounding success in Abu Dhabi

Abu Dhabi witnessed a spectacular culinary extravaganza this past weekend as the first-ever Open Fire Food Festival, created by the renowned TV host and comedian Steve Harvey, took center stage at Yas Island.

Featuring a captivating blend of celebrity chefs, sizzling BBQ competitions, and vibrant musical performances, the event left attendees craving for more.

Mr. Harvey, expressing his adoration for Abu Dhabi in an interview with The Filipino Times, emphasized his desire to bridge cultures and foster unity through the festival.


“I’m in the business of building bridges with people. It’s great to have an Open Fire Festival here originally because the UAE is very open,” he said, highlighting the festival’s role in bringing diverse communities together.

He also shared that he came up with the idea of the festival to celebrate people’s collaborative love for the spirit of togetherness.

“Abu Dhabi has a family-oriented culture. So, bringing the Open Fire Food Festival here is because I know that two things bring people together – music, everybody loves music, wherever they’re from, and everybody loves food,” said Mr. Harvey.”

During the interview, Mr. Harvey also shared that he thanks the support that he has been continuously receiving from his Filipino fans.

“I have a special relationship with the Filipinos,” he said.

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Thousands of food lovers and families participated in the event, enjoying the variety of sections designed to cater to different interests. These included areas for families with kids, music enthusiasts, those interested in live cooking demonstrations over open flames, and a relaxed hillside setting for bonding with friends, family, and newfound festival companions.



The festival, held at Abu Dhabi Hill, Yas Marina Circuit, showcased an impressive line-up of celebrity chefs, including seven-time World Barbecue Champion Melissa Cookston, self-taught BBQ expert Moe Cason, and acclaimed culinary personality Steven Raichlen. Alongside these culinary maestros, local talents such as Aysha Al Obeidli, the youngest Emirati chef, and Fred ‘Smokin’ Beards’ Casagrande, UAE Barbecue Champion, added a unique flavor to the event.


Attendees had the chance to not only savor mouthwatering dishes but also showcase their own BBQ prowess in cooking competitions. With a total prize pot of AED 25,000 up for grabs, participants enthusiastically vied for the top honors across various categories, including hot dog and chicken wing eating competitions.


Cooking masterclasses provided aspiring chefs with invaluable insights and techniques, with highlights including a Youth Masterclass led by Cookston and Al Obeidli, and a Lamb Workshop and Brisket Masterclass by Cason.


The event also celebrated music and entertainment, featuring performances by renowned artists such as DJ Natalie Brogan, Girl from the North Country, and Yvonne Park.


Looking ahead, Harvey expressed his optimism for the festival’s future, foreseeing expansion and greater inclusivity. “More countries are going to join, more businesses…we’re gonna have to expand this three times,” he stated, hinting at the event’s potential to become a global phenomenon.

The event vividly demonstrated that people, regardless of their backgrounds, can be uniquely bonded together through our shared love for good food and the spirit of togetherness.


Justin Aguilar

Justin is a Senior Assistant Editor and Content Producer at The Filipino Times. She was a TV News Reporter for ABS-CBN News, where she covered news stories and reports for TV and radio programs such as ANC, TV Patrol World, Umagang Kay Ganda, Bandila, and DZMM Teleradyo. She enjoys capturing people’s hearts by highlighting the excellence of Filipinos in her stories and bringing the latest updates to both OFWs and global readers of The Filipino Times. Want to share your story? Reach Justin on Facebook: www.facebook.com/justinaguilar.nerona or send your story at: [email protected]

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