Pullman Deira City Centre wins Inaugural 21st Century High Tea challenge

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  • Dilmah brings the decade old competition to the UAE to challenge the modern interpretation of ‘High Tea’

Another chapter was opened in the culinary history of the United Arab Emirates this week with the debut of the ‘Afternoon Tea for the 21st Century’ contest by family tea company Dilmah. Challenging chefs and hospitality professionals to reimagine tea and the most popular occasion for tea, the contest was judged with the support of ICCA, with spectacular culinary and mixology, novel presentation and great tea producing truly 21st Century Afternoon Tea.

Judges Peter Kuruvita (Culinary), Tomek Malek (Mixology) and Dilhan C. Fernando (Tea) were so impressed with the tea inspiration on display over the two days that four ‘Gold Medals’, one Silver, one Bronze and were awarded. The overall winners of the competition were Patrick Njenga Mihiu and Chaminda Roziro from Pullman Deira City Centre. Other Gold Medals were also awarded to Aloft Dubai City Centre, Park Hyatt Abu Dhabi and Radisson Blu Deira Creek.

Hotel Remarks Category Prizes
Pullman Deira City Centre Gold Overall Winner/Best Pairing /Perfect cup
Aloft DCC Gold Best Table
Park Hyatt Abu Dhabi Gold Best Iced Tea
Radisson Blu Deira Creek Gold Best Menu
Madinat Jumeirah C&I Jumeirah Hospitality Silver Best Tea inspired food item

The competition witnessed several teams of 2 (chef and F&B person) battle it out to present the most delectable cup of black tea paired with food item, an iced tea paired with food, a tea-based beverage and a tea infused food item. Each challenger will have to bring out the 7 different dimensions into their creations namely – cultural, personal, culinary, mixology, sustainability, tea and harmony.

The contestants were judged on the basis of  Table layout, menu design and written notes, the novelty and presentation that complements a high tea, the pairing of food with tea, tea preparation, brewing methodology and etiquette, taste harmony, tea inspired food items, team work amongst the  two participant, thematic experience – the individual, cultural, tea inspired stories and the use of local products supporting sustainability. The competition was held during the recently concluded GulfHost event.

The victorious team will enjoy a week-long visit to Sri Lanka, including 5 days at Dilmah School of Tea and 1 night at Cape Weligama.

Elaborating on this challenge, Dilhan C. Fernando, Director, Dilmah Tea stated, “The Dilmah Real High Tea Challenge in Dubai will share the word on the natural goodness, serenity and luxurious indulgence in tea, as it did in challenges from Paris to Perth, Auckland to Amsterdam. Our tea inspired challengers from across the globe are all exceptional – pioneers in reimagining the experience of the world’s most popular beverage after water. Together we are creating history as we bring tea into the 21st century, and its sublime, natural goodness and pleasure with a new generation.”

“Now this journey of tea has brought so many revelations, chefs rarely get new ingredients. We had any ingredient we liked, anytime. Then tea came along, and it has given new excitement into our culinary repertoire,” commented Peter Kuruvita, Celebrity Chef and Dilmah brand ambassador.

The modern interpretation of afternoon tea has been compromised by an over emphasis on food, forgetting the central element- tea. Dilmah which pioneered this concept of a real high tea in 2007, is now challenging chefs and tea aficionados to understand tea, its variety and the limitless possibilities in tea gastronomy and tea mixology.

“The Dilmah Real High Tea Challenge stirred up the world of tea. Tea is luxury. Tea is indulgence. Tea is without parallel. It was clear that there is no better way to express the diversity, subtle influence of nature on taste, flavour, fragrance, character of tea than through gastronomy. Dilmah ‘Real High Tea’ is a contemporary approach to redefining the 21st Century High Tea and to enhance the importance of tea as an ingredient and as a pairing within gastronomy,” added Fernando.

“It all started with a desire to offer tea to a new generation. Tea with style, substance and natural goodness. We chose to transform the world’s tea ceremony – afternoon tea. The most popular global tea drinking occasion so clearly defined by 18th Century tradition, more than two centuries later,” continued Fernando.

Dilmah has had a long and fruitful relationship with Dubai. More than 9.6 million Dilmah tea bags are being served every year on Emirates flights. Associated with each other for more than 2 decades now, both brands have experienced immense growth from when they started out. With the help of Emirates, Dilmah has been served to passengers travelling to more than 150 destinations.

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