Chef quartet see off teams representing the Americas, Asia, Africa-Middle East in to make history in cross-continent cooking showdown

Dubai, UAE – 20th February, 2019: It was billed as a spectacular culinary battle on a global level and the inaugural Gulfood International Culinary League didn’t disappoint, with four continental teams of renowned chefs going saucepan-to-saucepan in a 60-minute kitchen showdown to crown the first-ever champions.

The teams representing Americas, Asia, Africa-Middle East and Europe had 60 minutes to prepare a three-course menu highlighting the diversity of dishes and flavours from their respective regions and impress the high-profile panel of judges.

Team Europe, led by Chef Francesco Guarracino, Executive Chef, Italian Group and Corporate Executive Chef, Roberto’s restaurant in DIFC, turned up the heat on the competition, and wowed the panel who assessed the teams on preparation skills, techniques, use of distinctive flavours and ingredients, presentation and taste, to take the honours.

Chef Francesco and his team, comprising Chef Giovanni Cortese and Chef Danilo Valla produced a three-course menu, which included one starter “Stella di mare” comprised of red prawns tartare with lime and blackberry; one pasta dish called “pasta e patate” consisting of mix pasta with potatoes, scamorza cheese and sea urchin and a dessert “la pera” with ricotta pears and strawberry to take the inaugural title, to the delight of the winning captain. “Gulfood is a great platform for us to show and share our passion for what we do, and live cooking contests allow us to really thrive, deal with the pressure of producing quality food against the clock is after all what we do day to day in our restaurants,” said Chef Francesco.

“The Gulfood International Culinary League is an exceptional addition to the Gulfood programme and it is an honour to be able to call ourselves the first-ever champions. Congratulations to my team and all the chefs who took part and displayed their tremendous talents.”

The contest attracted a high-calibre of entries with Team Asia captained by Chef Saradhi Dakara, Head Chef at Maine Oyster Bar and Grill in Dubai’s JBR district; Team Americas was guided by Chef Roberto Segura, founder of Waka Restaurant at the Oberoi, Business Bay, Dubai; Team Africa-Middle East was captained by renowned TV Chef Manal Alalem.

The judging panel comprised leader industry figures Chef Heinz Beck, a 3-star Michelin chef; Chef John Gray, Director of Culinary Operations at Grupo Meshico; Chef Tomoo Kimura San, a Michelin-star chef and sushi master chef; and Chef Talal Jaradat, Executive Chef at Dubai Marine Beach Resort & Spa.

Gulfood 2019 is a trade event open strictly to business and trade visitors. The show enters its final day on 21 February and is open from 11am-5pm. For more information, visit

About Gulfood:

Ahead of its 24th edition in 2019, Gulfood has established a position as the world’s largest annual food & beverages trade show. The trade-only show is professionally managed and hosted by the Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC).

About Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC):

DWTC brings more than 35 years’ experience delivering world-class events in the Middle East and provides local, regional and international exhibitors with unmatched expertise and in-depth market knowledge. Our team organises more than 20 of the largest and most successful international and regional shows in Middle East, providing an ideal platform for business development in the region. Our commitment to on-going innovation within the exhibition industry has supported the rapid growth and development of a wide range of business-to-business and business-to-consumer shows, and delivered consistent satisfaction to exhibitors and visitors. DWTC works with the leading trade bodies and industry associations to ensure that all exhibitions deliver full value and are built upon the real needs of their specific sector.

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