Taste of Dubai

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We hope you’ve worked up an appetite as Taste of Dubai returns next week. The beloved three-day event that’s part of the Dubai Food Festival will take over Dubai Media City Amphitheatre from March 7-9. As always, the event has a number of celebrity chefs and this year the line-up steals the cake with MasterChef Australia’s judge Matt Preston; South African Chef Lorna Maseko and Michelin Star Chef Masaharu Morimoto, Dubai-based culinary duo Nick Alvis and Scott Price and Aleppian cuisine expert Mohammad Orfali.

You can learn cake decorating from Master French Pâtissier, Eric Lanlard, participate in a MasterChef-style Mystery Box cooking challenge on March 9, and have your dish judged by Matt Preston. While you’re there, also swing by the pop-up MasterChef, the TV Experience restaurant. That’s not the only pop-up, as you’ll have a chance to explore over 20 restaurants and savour cuisines from around the world, including legendary Japanese restaurant Nobu, Gordon Ramsay’s Bread Street Kitchen, gourmet Turkish restaurant Kaftan, contemporary South American food at Andes, French bistro Couqley, authentic Southern American style food at The Blacksmith Smokehouse, traditional Spanish tapas at Seville, American classics at Dean & Deluca and classic dishes from UBK.

Got kids in tow? Children under 12 have free entry to Taste of Dubai and the OMO Kids’ Zone will have more than enough games and attractions to keep them busy and nurture budding chefs. Kids can try face painting, food-based games, participate in competitions and let their creativity loose at a cupcake decorating station.

Standard tickets start from Dh95. VIP tickets from Dh285 include fast-track entry and unlimited access to the VIP lounge, two free drinks and three food vouchers to sample dishes from any participating restaurants. Visit tasteofdubaifestival.com for timings and tickets.

Fresh fashion

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Glitz and Glitterati, a brand-new homegrown fashion show directed by Arathi Vikas and Sruthi Chandran, kicks off at the Holiday Inn Bur Dubai on Saturday. It’s your chance to catch the latest collections from a blend of Indian and international designers such as Ayesha Agarwal, Ahammed Rashid, Meenu Sasikumar George of the label Prayanah, Rakhi Hariprasad, Sumit Dasgupta, Sarath Chandran and London-based H Label by Helena AR. Malayalam actress Amala Rose and other well-known models will walk the ramp. The show is open to the public, and is from 2pm-10.30pm.

Reel-life heroines

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Alliance Francaise is celebrating Women’s Day with the Femmes Film Festival that kicks off on March 9. The 20-day festival will screen feature-length and short films by women filmmakers from Mediterranean nations on Saturdays (5pm) and Tuesdays (7.30pm). You can catch movies like Assia by Moroccan filmmaker Malika Zairi, Mad by Sophie Travert from France and Lazzaro felice by Italian filmmaker Alice Rohrwacher. Entry is free, films will be screened at The Studio, Dubai Opera, on March 9 and at the Alliance Française Dubai Theatre, Oud Metha, on all remaining days; afdubai.org.

Walk in the park and more

Wonho Chung
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Culture vultures, listen up! The Abu Dhabi Festival is back and the annual event’s two-day Festival in the Park will convert the Umm Al Emarat Park into a haven of cultural workshops and performances. You can participate in Korean craft workshops, be a part of a book-reading club of Emirati writers, and witness the talent of the UAE Theatre Circle performance by people of determination. There’ll also be cinema screenings and stand-up comedy performances by Wonho Chung in both English and Arabic — the South Korean-Vietnamese performer was born and raised in Jeddah. Visit abudhabifestival.ae.

Say Yas to fitness

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Abu Dhabi’s free fitness festival is taking place at Gateway Park South, Yas Island on Fridau and Saturday — the Yas Fitness and Wellbeing Festival will include back-to-back fitness classes, outdoor adventure challenges, wellbeing workshops and exclusive sessions with world-class fitness experts. You can dabble in HIIT workouts, hula hooping, aerobics, BodyCombat, boxing and spinning classes, as well as yoga.

The festival will also have a kids’ zone with highlights including a gymnastics area and cricket pitch, and for the adults who want to recover in between intense workouts, the Relaxation Zone by Heavenly Spa from the Westin will be giving free massages or snacks at one of the many healthy food stalls and food trucks parked at the venue. For a full schedule of classes and to register for free, visit fitfest.ae.

Free downtime

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Being a woman can often be an expensive affair — studies have proved that from clothing, to skincare and beauty products, everything comes at a higher cost for women. However, these hotels are trying to ensure that you’re laughing all the way to the bank this March with some complimentary classes and activities in lieu of International Women’s Day.

Fairmont Ajman is offering complimentary activities to women all through the month of March — free Pilates classes will be held every Wednesday starting March 6, followed by Zumba classes on March 9 and 16 and a wellness education session on March 27 conducted by nutritionist Razan Shwayhat at 11am. Advanced reservations are required for all classes; call 06 701 5757 or email ajman@fairmont.com.

The Waldorf Astoria Dubai Palm Jumeirah Spa is offering women a free 30-minute complimentary upgrade of back, neck and shoulder massage, Neom de-stress massage, foot massage or express facial with any treatment on March 8. They’re also hosting a free wellness activity that includes a barefoot beach walk, led by a psychologist and coach. From 5pm-6pm; call 04 818 2245, email dxbpd.spa@waldorfastoria.com.