Sunday, November 16, 2014

When you think of book fairs the first thing that will come to your mind will be books, stories, and authors. However, the Sharjah International Book Fair which was held from the 5th – 15th November 2014, at the Sharjah Expo Centre wasn’t just about books. The 11 day program featured a series of intellectual discussions, various kids programs, book launches and something very special – A Cookery Corner!

From cupcakes to salads, the cookery corner was an instant hit for many mothers as well as food fanatics. Chefs who were present at the fair hailed from all over: Morocco, Britain, Kuwait, and Norway just to name a few. The fair even featured various Indian chefs such as Dhruv Baker, winner of Masterchef 2010 (US); Celebrity Chef, Anil Kumar, Celebrity Chef & TV Host, Lakshmi Nair and winner of the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards 2012, Vandana Jain. 

"People should always cook with love and passion, never compulsion." said Vandana Jain as she prepared one of her signature dishes, ‘Potato Laccha Baskets’.

Source: SIBF

As she prepared the potato baskets, the entire room was filled with prominent Indian flavors such as jeera, chat masala, chilli powder and sweet chutney.

Jain who was born in Dehli, India always had the love of experimenting and preparing food. When she moved to Dubai in 2009, her horizons broadened as she began to learn cooking continental cuisine like Italian and Mexican.  All of her recipes were put into her cookbook, which has since won many awards such as "Best cookbook in the UAE" and additionally "Best Indian Cuisine Book in the World" awarded by the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards 2012 in Paris.

At her session she shared with the audience detailed pointers on how to get the baskets to be perfect. The Indian chef also featured a dessert recipe fruit balls in a pineapple custard.

Another prominent chef at the fair was Jordanian Chef Deema Hajawii who stars in a popular Jordanian TV cookery show along with other well-known chefs from the country on satellite channel, Roya. She has three published cookery books under her name with the latest titled, “Deema's Kitchen” that was published at this year’s Sharjah International Book Fair.

PC: Emma D

Hajawii who is favoured for the simplicity in her recipes, showed the audience a quick and easy recipe called Asian salad at her session. The recipe features refreshing ingredients such a cabbage, carrots, toasted almonds, chicken breasts and a marinade of rice vinegar.
Hajawii drew in a large crowd of many spectators who all enjoyed the samples of her cooking which were handed out. She even showed the audience how to make Nutella and Oreo Cheesecake Cups which use ingredients you can easily buy at the store, such as Nutella and Philadelphia Cream Cheese.

All in all, the book fair had something for everyone. The book fair was a complete success. It didn’t limit itself to books and literature, it celebrated food, cooking and chefs as well.

By Emma Dourado

The writer is a final year undergraduate student from the School of Media & Communication, specializing in Print and Online Journalism.