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I am an Arts&Life editor in Abu Dhabi who was a columnist, blogger and trends writer in Canada before I picked up and moved to the UAE in April 2008. I am still here!!! 

Thursday, May 12, 2016

The Laughter Factory joke from a Canadian that can be repeated


'We set fire to Fort McMurray to drive up oil prices - hope you appreciate it." - the brilliant Vancouver-based comic Pete Johansson

This weekend's lineup in Dubai is brilliant, I caught the show in Abu Dhabi last night. Go. www.thelaughterfactory.com

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Spotted: Toronto on the menu in Dubai


Trying this next time I go to the amazing Weslodge Dubai, in the JW Marriott Marquis.

Monday, May 9, 2016

Fairmont The Palm, Dubai gets a Canadian executive chef

Alain Gobeil, new executive chef at Fairmont The Palm, Dubai.
 I've only ever eaten a pizza poolside at Fairmont The Palm, Dubai, but it was delicious, and I've always meant to go back and have the lobster burger at Seagrill on 25° Restaurant and Lounge.

Maybe I'll hurry that plan along now that a fellow Canuck has been named executive chef. Alain Gobeil has had a pretty cool - not to mention international - two-decade career, working on three continents.

He graduated from the  Institut de Tourisme et d’Hôtellerie du Quebec, with stints at the Fairmont Château Laurier, Ottawa, and Fairmont Queen Elizabeth, Montréal. Moving back and forth between Canada and the UAE, he worked on opening teams for the the company's two previous properties in the UAE: Fairmont Dubai and Fairmont Bab Al Bahr, with stints at The Address Downtown Dubai and The Address Dubai Mall in recent years.

Early on he trained under the famed French Roux brothers - Albert and Michel - during his time at their two Michelin-star Le Gavroche restaurant in London. He worked out in British Columbia at the Fairmont Château Whistler and at the Four Seasons Resort Whistler, as well at the Ritz-Carlton Grand Cayman and Four Seasons Sharm El Sheikh.

Gobeil now oversees six outlets as part of the new gig, as well as the hotel's plans to launch some new F&B, according to general manager Mark Sawkins.

Monday, April 25, 2016

St Regis Dubai welcomes a Canadian in chocolate


I'm staying at the (fairly new) St Regis Dubai for a couple of days in Al Habtoor City. It's gorgeous and restful and opulent and lush, just as a St Regis is. 

And then there is this gorgeous chocolate bar that was just delivered to my room. Someone Googled me! So cool. Should I eat it or save it?

Toronto restaurant group Icon Legacy brings Weslodge Saloon to Dubai: Meet executive chef Ben Heaton

Ben Heaton, Weslodge Saloon executive chef.
I'm pretty excited because I am hanging out in Dubai this week, and some friends and I are going to pay a visit to Weslodge Saloon, the first foray into the Middle East by the popular Toronto-based restaurant group Icon Legacy, which has 10 restaurants back home. 

I chatted recently with the 39-year-old executive chef Ben Heaton, a Yorkshire-born Canadian who arrived in the middle of March for the frantic launch process. He will leave Dubai at the end of April, when things are appropriately humming along, but return for several week sessions throughout the year. 

"I really want to nurture and grow the restaurant here," he said. "It's like my baby."

Monday, April 11, 2016

Canadians of the UAE: Meet Nisreen Jardaneh



I am originally from Jordan but moved to Ottawa when I got married to my husband, Nawriz. He works in IT and has lived all over the US, but chose to settle in Canada after he fell in love with the country when visiting friends there. We studied and worked in the capital, Ottawa, from 2004, and I was able to pursue my first love of music there. Although I was already a business graduate, I went back to studying piano pedagogy at the University of Ottawa, completing my Masters. I am currently working on a PhD in music education via distance.

Sunday, April 10, 2016