Taste of Australia Event Review
There wasn’t a dim-sim or meat pie to be seen at AusBG’s annual Taste of Australia 2016 event, held at the Abu Dhabi’s brand new Four Seasons Hotel, Maryah Island.
More than 200 people were treated to welcoming refreshments on arrival, while having the rare opportunity to get up close to some amazing art on loan to the Australian embassy from The National Museum of Australia’s The Canning Stock Route exhibition.
While in an arty frame of mind, guests were also invited to view another painting created especially for the Taste event. World renowned Australian artist, Des Spencer, painted the piece, “Sydney Sails” in the foyer, just finishing as guests began to arrive. While the paint was still drying, bids started in earnest in a blind auction – the winning bidder walking away with a truly unique piece to hang on their wall.
Once everyone was inside, AusBG Chair, Ellecia Saffron, took to the stage to welcome everyone to the 9th edition of Taste of Australia. In the interests of inclusiveness, Ellie greeted the assembled crowd in English, Arabic, and Australia’s own English dialect, Strine – much to the amusement of the Australian guests, and good-humoured confusion of those not fluent in our ‘delicate’ tongue.
The star of this year’s event, Master Chef Tarek Ibrahim, joined Ellecia on stage to talk about what culinary delights awaited, along with discussing the significance of the work that Meat and Livestock Australia do to ensure the range and quality of Australian meats in supermarkets and food stores throughout the UAE.
The plates were delivered with almost military precision by the Four Seasons wait-staff, and guests began to hush – entranced by the simple but exquisitely prepared dishes. A starter of salmon quinoa over Australian cucumber, avocado, and Victorian red currants was a hit, particularly when paired with a delicious Australian pinot gris. The desserts of individual pavlovas and “Nana’s lamington cake” were also popular.
But the standout was the main dish – a trio of Australian beef, coupled with an excellent St Hallet shiraz from the Barossa Valley region of South Australia.
Apart from the extraordinary food on offer, Taste 2016 also served up the inaugural Australia-Abu Dhabi Business Awards.
Two award categories were contested. The Abu Dhabi Australian Business Person Award, won by Michael Haddin for his exemplary achievement in growing his business from scratch over 8 years, and also recognised his efforts in promoting health and wellness in the Abu Dhabi community.
The second award, for Business contribution to Bi-Lateral UAE-Australian Trade and Relations, recognised Etihad Airways as a premier example of a successful, international company, promoting Australian interests. Etihad airways have flown over 4.7m passengers from Australia since 2007. However, tourism is only part of the story – Etihad further contributes to bilateral trade by carrying 30,000 tonnes of cargo annually from Australia.In addition to this Etihad invest directly in Australia through virgin airways and major sporting and cultural landmarks and festivals.
Taste of Australia is an event that is firmly becoming one of the premier food events on the Abu Dhabi event calendar. Be sure to subscribe to AusBG to stay up-to-date for next year’s Taste along the many other events hosted or co-hosted by AusBG throughout the year.
The AusBG board would like to thank all of those who attended, along with:
Master Chef Tarek Ibrahim for his fantastic food, great humour, and extraordinary enthusiasm.
Musical duo Jaymie De Boucherville and Daniel Talbot for providing the soundtrack for the night’s festivities.
Event sponsors, Meat and Livestock Australia, AusBG Platinum sponsors, Etihad and AusBG Gold Sponsors, Spinneys and the Victorian State Government.
AusBG would also like to offer a special thankyou to all of the dignitaries who came to support the event:
HE Arthur Spyrou – Australian Ambassador to the UAE
HE Khalfan Al Kaabi – Abu Dhabi Dept. of Economic Development and Chairman Ascot Holdings
The Honorable Jacklyn Trad – Deputy Premier Queensland
Mr John Butler – Trade Commissioner – Victoria
Ms Donna Massie – Trade Commissioner – Queensland
Mr Pankaj Savara – Trade Commissioner – Western Australia
Mr Shane O’Hare – Senior Vice President of Marketing – Etihad
Dr Shaikha Al Maskari – Al Maskari Holdings
Mr Abdalla Al Nowais – Al Nowais Group