With more than 150 food and beverage (F&B) outlets offering a wide range of scrumptious and mouth-watering food delights, it is easy to let one’s guard down and wander in the euphoria of the Qatar International Food Festival (QIFF).
And with a QR5 to QR40 budget-friendly price range, an unrestricted food experience at the festival would seem guilt-free, even for those who are counting calories or trying to keep that summer figure.
But worry not, the festival has many outlets that offer healthy foods and one of them is Ideal Diet, which has been a festival mainstay for the past four editions.
Currently located along the Bin Omran area, Ideal Diet was founded by Dr Nawal al-Alem as a meal delivery centre in 2004, but her daughter, Noor al-Chaarani, decided to expand into the restaurant business.
“As part of our plans, we are coming soon in a great location. I decided to enter the industry since we are already in the business and people enjoy dining in and love Mediterranean cuisine in general,” al-Chaarani told Gulf Times
She said Ideal Diet is offering festival goers a wide range of nutritious food items, such as salads, lunch or dinner, snacks and healthy desserts. It’s booth inside the festival also features a live cooking station for saj, crepes, and other grilled delights.
Foodies of all ages flock to the festival grounds yesterday. PICTURE: Ram Chand
While her personal favourite are Ideal Diet’s smoothies, al-Chaarani said their best seller in the past four years at the food festival is the saj – a wholegrain, sugar-free, and yeast-free Mediterranean savoury crepe.
According to al-Chaarani, her health-conscious lifestyle is what inspired her to offer a healthy menu at the food festival, which she gladly wants to share with the rest of the community.
With the availability of a wide range of food delights at this year’s QIFF, al-Chaarani said Ideal Diet encourages people to follow a healthy lifestyle by providing them with food options. Every two months, Ideal Diet works on its menu to make sure it offers new options to customers, she pointed out.
Also, al-Chaarani said Ideal Diet is taking cue from the government’s self-sufficiency and sustainability initiatives, which are ingrained in the company’s business model.
“Most of our suppliers are from Qatar to support the local food industry. We also try to have recyclable packaging as much as possible; we are always taking steps towards being more sustainable by adding more recycled packaging and avoiding wastage. We also take part in many local giveaway initiatives,” al-Chaarani stressed.
This year’s QIFF is being held at Oxygen Park inside Qatar Foundation's Education City until March 30. The festivities spread over a 130,000sqm area and divided into three sections: O1 for main course specialties and centre stage, O2 for kids-friendly foods and activities, and O3 for cafes and light food.
In an earlier statement, the Qatar National Tourism Council said: “QIFF has successfully contributed to enriching the country’s dining canvas by not only attracting international chefs to open local outlets but also, providing a platform for local entrepreneurs to introduce their innovative offerings including businesses that offer local produce from Qatari farms, offering unique authentic food experiences from gate to plate. To celebrate these experiences, QIFF has dedicated 15% of its spaces to up-coming entrepreneurs and local SMEs.”