Emirati cuisine now mandatory for upscale hotels in Abu Dhabi

The new initiative will apply to restaurants and room-service offerings at four and five star hotels



All upscale hotels in Abu Dhabi will be required to serve Emirati food under a new regulation rolled out by the emirate’s tourism authority.

Under the Emirati Cuisine and Hospitality Capacity Building programme, launched by the Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority (TCA Abu Dhabi), all four and five star hotels and hotel apartments across the emirate will have to “feature and promote” Emirati cuisine.

Hotel restaurants will be encouraged to serve an Emirati culinary station with a minimum of three items clearly labelled on breakfast, lunch and dinner buffets, a statement said.

In addition, each dish will feature a tent card explaining the brief history of the food and the ingredients used. Room service menus will also be required to feature a minimum of two Emirati dishes for breakfast, lunch and dinner in a la carte and room service options.

The programme will establish a framework of “regular training, monitoring and reviewing”, TCA Abu Dhabi said.

The authority will collaborate with industry partners to train and accredit culinary employees with the skills required to prepare Emirati cuisine.

It will also conduct competitions across participating hotels to identify the best Emirati culinary promotion programme and the best chef for Emirati cuisine.

Saif Saeed Ghobash, director general of TCA Abu Dhabi said: “Abu Dhabi is a melting pot of cultures and the authenticity of Emirati cuisine has been somewhat lost in the contemporary renditions of traditional cuisine.

“Through this programme, we strive to conserve and promote the emirate’s culture, history and traditions. A key to that is using our rich cuisine to ensure optimal engagement for visitors seeking fully immersive cultural experiences.”

Sultan Al Dhaheri, acting executive director of Tourism Sector at TCA Abu Dhabi added: “This initiative is being launched to showcase the incredible gastronomic fare that is the hallmark of Emirati cuisine.

“Visitors will have the opportunity to experience the vast variety of flavours that are essential to a local Bedouin meal, served in Abu Dhabi’s hospitality sector.”

TCA Abu Dhabi’s Emirati cuisine consultant Chef Khulood Atiq – the UAE’s first female celebrity chef – will lead the programme and help F&B staff on training and consultation, the statement added.

The Abu Dhabi government is expanding its tourism sector and is undertaking an ambitious strategy to attract 7.5 million visitors per year by 2030.