The African dining hall, named Alkebulan, which is the original name for Africa, featured for the first time at the Expo. The Alkebulan concept was curated by chef Smalls who sees the Expo Dubai as a global platform to begin breaking down stereotypes and misconceptions about what African Cuisine is/Photo Credit: Afro street food

Dubai Expo showcases African cuisine, unites world through food

With more than 250 restaurants representing 191 countries all gathered in a place, the Expo 2020 Dubai has rightly been described as the largest gathering of the global culinary community.

Beyond showcasing delicacies from various parts of the world, a cardinal aim of the food hall at the Expo, according to Simon Wright, Founder and Chairman of TGP International, the global hospitality agency curating the culinary experiences at Expo 2020 Dubai*, is the appreciation for diverse culinary heritage and acceptance of meals from other cultures and countries.

Capturing the essence of the continent, African dining hall Alkebulan – a culinary concept curated by award-winning chef Alexander Smalls – will make its debut at Expo 2020 Dubai, showcasing Africa’s cultural diversities and food scenes. Bringing together people, communities and nations, Alkebulan hosts 10 outlets that will give diners the chance to experience gourmet dishes, street bites and fusion fare, all in one destination/Photo: © Expo 2020 Dubai.

Speaking on the potential of the Expo to foster global cohesion through food, Simon said: Expo 2020 Dubai is the largest gathering of the global culinary community. There are more than 250 cultural food concepts representing 191 countries – all in one place. Our thought is that food is all of our common language. And if we can celebrate these nations, the pride of their heritage, and serve amazing food in a “wow” setting, we can tear down some of the divides that exist between us so that people may walk away with a deeper understanding of each other’s culinary landscapes.

The TGP International Founder is also urging visitors to take advantage of the eclectic culinary line-up, featuring chefs from virtually every part of the globe, to learn more about the foods of other cultures, while also disabusing their minds of previously held notions about meals from other nationalities.

“We’re really hoping to serve as the culinary capital of the world to shine a light on rising stars and educate as many attendees as we can to look at food a bit differently than they have before – to try something new, break out of their comfort zones and flip biases about certain foods on their head. I can tell you that after just a few short weeks of Expo 2020 Dubai, it’s happening exactly like this in real-time with attendees from all walks of life having their curiosity and senses awakened,” he stated.

Chef Alexander Smalls- Curator of Alkebulan, African Dining Hall/Photo: © African Media Agency

Diversity and inclusion added to the uniqueness of the Expo and these factors helped attract renowned chefs such as Alexander Smalls, Scott Conant, Kwame Onwuachi, Geoffrey Zakarian, Mathew Kenney and David Myers amongst others to showcase their culinary prowess.

The African dining hall, named Alkebulan, which is the original name for Africa, featured for the first time at the Expo. The Alkebulan concept was curated by chef Smalls who sees the Expo Dubai as a global platform to begin breaking down stereotypes and misconceptions about what African Cuisine is.

The meals prepared by the chefs at the African dining hall represent the culinary heritage of 54 African countries just as the Alkebulan blends music, art and food to embody the culture of each special place

The success of the Alkebulan has resulted in plans to replicate the concept in international markets such as New York and London to further elevate the way people think about and enjoy African food and how it relates to fine dining.

Speaking on what he hopes will be the key takeaways for attendees at the Expo Dubai, Simon said: “We are using food as a tool to connect and educate people about cultures from all around the world. It is my hope that the first taste inspires someone to continue learning, educating and even visiting a new place.”

Afro Street Food

Distributed by African Media Agency on behalf of TGP International.

About Expo 2020 Dubai
From 1 October 2021 to 31 March 2022, Expo 2020 Dubai will welcome visitors from every corner of the globe to join the making of a new world, as it brings together the planet in one place to reimagine tomorrow.

Expo 2020 will be the biggest cultural gathering in the world, presenting a visually striking and emotionally inspiring 182 days, as more than 200 participants – including nations, multilateral organisations, businesses, and educational institutions, as well as millions of visitors – create the largest and most diverse World Expo ever

Expo 2020’s sub-themes of Opportunity, Mobility and Sustainability will inspire visitors to preserve and protect our planet, explore new frontiers and build a better future for everyone. For six months, Expo 2020 will be a must-visit family destination, with thousands of events, amazing exploratory experiences, and free entry for children up to age 18.

Expo 2020 is the first World Expo to take place in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia (MEASA) region, located on a 4.38 sqkm site adjacent to Al Maktoum International Airport in Dubai South.

About World Expos
In 1851 the Crystal Palace was the centrepiece of London’s Great Exhibition – the first World Expo. It celebrated the man-made industrial wonders of a rapidly changing world. Architecture, contents and a theme, ‘Industry of All Nations’, were combined to create a big idea of nations meeting nations in shared technological and commercial progress.

In more recent years, participants at World Expos, including governments, international organisations and companies, have gathered to find solutions to universal challenges and to promote their achievements, products, ideas, innovations, their national brand, and their nations as destinations for tourism, trade and investment.

World Expos are held under the auspices of the Bureau International des Expositions (BIE), the intergovernmental organisation responsible for overseeing and regulating international exhibitions (‘Expos’) and for fostering their core values of Education, Innovation and Cooperation. Today, four types of Expos are organised under the BIE’s auspices: World Expos, Specialised Expos, Horticultural Expos and the Triennale di Milano.

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