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Open Fire Food Festival heats up with culinary showcase to mark ICCA partnership

(Right) UAE Barbecue Champion Fred ‘Smoking Beards’ Casagrande.

With only 10 days to go until the inaugural Open Fire Food Festival by Steve Harvey, the event announced its partnership with International Centre for Culinary Arts (ICCA) by hosting a special day of cookery-themed activities featuring professional chefs and ICCA students in Abu Dhabi.

Presented by MELT Middle East, a joint venture between OWS Capital and Steve Harvey Global, the Open Fire Food Festival takes place at Yas Marina Circuit on February 24-25, and features a star-studded line-up of barbecue royalty, including seven-time World Barbecue Champion Melissa Cookston, self-taught barbecue expert and TV personality Moe Cason, and international best-selling author and TV presenter Steven Raichlen.

In celebration of the partnership between the Open Fire Food Festival and ICCA, the event involved UAE Barbecue Champion, Fred ‘Smoking Beards’ Casagrande, and the youngest Emirati chef, Aysha Al Obeidli, both ambassadors for the upcoming event, along with aspiring chefs from ICCA.

The festival’s host, American celebrity Steve Harvey, said: “With just over a week to go until the very first Open Fire Food Festival takes place in Abu Dhabi, this partnership with ICCA is important not only for the event itself, which will benefit from the participation of these talented students but also for the evolution of the Abu Dhabi’s culinary scene.

“We are hugely excited to showcase these exceptional culinary talents as we prepare to make history and elevate Abu Dhabi’s fast-growing reputation as a global food destination by bringing the very best of open-flame cooking to the community here. Abu Dhabi is a unique destination, one which draws me back again and again to hosting events like this, thanks to the city’s unique blend of culinary diversity and warm Emirati hospitality.”

Frenchman Casagrande showcased his open-flame cooking abilities with an impressive southern-style BBQ demonstration for the ICCA students in attendance, providing guests with a glimpse of what they can expect when the Open Fire Food Festival rolls into town.

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It was then the students who were tasked with jumping on the grill to craft a selection of delicious barbecue-style dishes, which certainly didn’t disappoint, and with many of the aspiring chefs set to assist in cooking demonstrations at the Open Fire Food Festival, guests attending can look forward to sampling some sizzling creations.

Casagrande said: “I absolutely loved the experience of cooking with the students from ICCA Abu Dhabi, and I love how connected the students were to the food, the type of questions they were asking and their attitude. It was a great hands-on experience for them.

“I will be at the Open Fire Food Festival by Steve Harvey on both days and I’m extremely excited because I will be taking part in cooking demonstrations with Melissa Cookston, Moe Cason and Steven Raichlen.

“There will also be some cooking and eating competitions which we will be judging, so it’s going to be a lot of fun.”

A special Valentine’s Day offer means guests wishing to attend the Open Fire Food Festival by Steve Harvey can now take advantage of a limited time only two-for-one offer on both Flames and Grillin’ tickets, which include entry to cooking workshops and masterclasses, along with access to live entertainment provided by the likes of award-winning DJ Natalie Brogan, DXB Brass Band and DJ Dean Curtis, plus many more.

VIP Flavors tickets, meanwhile, are now completely sold out.

Tickets are on sale now with prices starting from just AED 75 for standard entry, while passes for the full weekend are also available. Entry is free for children under the age of 12.

For more information and to purchase tickets, visit

Staff Report

The Filipino Times is the chronicler of stories for, of and by Filipinos all over the world, reaching more than 236 countries in readership. Any interesting story to share? Email us at [email protected]

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