Dilmah Real High Tea Challenge Returns To The UAE

The Challenge will be held in Abu Dhabi and Dubai on 17th and 18th September respectively to showcase the versatility of tea as a beverage as well as to bring the focus of the high tea tradition back to tea

dilmah tea presentation
The objective of the Challenge is to put ‘tea’ back in high tea

The second annual Dilmah Real High Tea Challenge in the United Arab Emirates will take place in Abu Dhabi on 17 September and Dubai on 18 September 2014. Open to culinary professionals, the Challenge will witness the masters of the culinary trade test their metal in one of the most dynamic food countries of the world today.

In April 2013, the three judges of the first Dilmah Real High Tea Challenge in the Middle East – World Association of Chef’s Societies Judges Bernd Uber and Uwe Micheel, and Tea Judge Dilhan C. Fernando – tasted over 120 tea-inspired high tea dishes and 75 cups and glasses of tea, tea cocktails and mocktails over 2 days of assessing contestants in the pioneering tea gastronomy initiative. The Emirates Academy of Hospitality Management team won the Dubai round of the Challenge, whilst the St Regis Saadiyat Island was victorious in Abu Dhabi. Both winning teams visited Dilmah Tea Gardens in Sri Lanka to enjoy a holiday there as their prize.

The United Arab Emirates is a treasure trove of culinary styles. With its rich Bedouin heritage, strong Islamic cultural influence and the multitude of ethnicities that converge on its shores, the current Emirati cuisine is as opulent and as majestic as a tale from One Thousand and One Arabian Nights.

Tea is the second most popular drink in the UAE, after water. The preference is mostly for traditional black tea and the tea infused with mint being an after-meal staple, mainly consumed for its ability to help digestion. However, there is a current trend building towards green tea with its widely publicised health benefits and a new interest in flavoured tea.

A WACS (World Association of Chefs Societies) approved event, the Challenge is conducted in collaboration with the Emirates Culinary Guild. The Dilmah Real High Tea Challenge was launched in 2009 by the Sri Lankan family tea company Dilmah, one of the makers of finest, Single Origin Ceylon tea. Simply stated, the objective of the Challenge is to put ‘tea’ back in high tea. It aims to bring the focus of the high tea tradition back to tea, which was essentially the heart of the ritual at its inception.

dilmah judges
The 2013 judges – Bernd Uber, Uwe Micheel and Dilhan C. Fernando – will judge the 2014 Challenge as well

The UAE is acknowledged the world over as one of the bustling and vibrant food capitals of the world, reflecting the country’s diverse demography. Since the Challenge requires a personal, inventive and creative interpretation of the high tea, that still respects the tradition of tea culture and that of the occasion, the participants will get to experiment, explore and embrace that most enduring and versatile ingredient of all – tea. The entries will be assessed by a distinguished panel of three judges: the Black Hat Chef Bernd Uber, Dilmah Founder’s younger son Dilhan C. Fernando and the Director Kitchens at Radisson Blu Hotel Dubai Deira Creek and the President of the Emirates Culinary Guild Uwe Micheel.

The National Winner will get the chance to travel to Sri Lanka for an exciting hosted programme. They will also travel back to Sri Lanka for the Dilmah Real High Tea Global Challenge in May 2015.