FooDiva turns one, plus a birthday gift!

Gourmet February Expert Column

FooDiva's expert column in Gourmet's February issue

Dubai; I can’t quite believe it’s FooDiva’s first birthday today – one divaliciously full year since the official announcement. What started out as an amateur foodie blog whilst travelling in Japan and China has grown into my life and my passion. I truly love my job…every minute of the day…and night. Yes it’s all-consuming, food included 🙂 and the last year has had its roller coaster moments, but I wouldn’t change it for the world. Life’s too short, we need to follow our dreams.

Dining out aside, what’s made this year-long journey a foodie pleasure is the UAE community of 90 plus food bloggers, otherwise known as Fooderati Arabia. Yes there’s that many of us here – most blog for pleasure, and some for work – but what ties us together is we all LOVE food. I owe my integration into this foodie family to kind-hearted Sally from My Custard Pie and bubbly Arva from I Live In A Frying Pan.

FooDiva scored second place in the annual Best Blog in Dubai awards – voted for by you – my followers, fans and friends. Merci beaucoup :). First up was a brilliant beauty blog, so I guess food can’t compete with that!

On the back of FooDiva’s brand awareness, I was approached by the new Gourmet magazine to write a monthly expert column, which has led to regular feature commissions on my all-time favourite subject. Here’s a snippet of my contribution to the February issue now out on the supermarket shelves.

I must admit I love being on the other side of the fence, from PR chick to blogger-cum-journo – especially when you get flown to Vienna on a press trip to experience a 14 Michelin star gala dinner at Sofitel Vienna Stephandsom’s Le Loft restaurant. Just out in the current Ahlan! is my VIP travel feature to Vienna.

Michel Roux Junior cookbooksNo birthday would be complete without a little gift would it? FooDiva has in her hands signed copies of two cookbooks by Michel Roux Junior – two-Michelin star Gavroche in London, and for those that love running or simply eating well but healthy, The Marathon Chef.

FooDiva Friends in Dubai, if you would love a copy, all you need to do is tell us your favourite French restaurant anywhere in the world (it doesn’t have to be Le Gavroche!), or a particular French dish you love – and why. Leave your answer as a comment on this post. You can increase your chances of winning by also Liking and commenting on my Facebook page, and retweeting my tweet mentioning @foodivaworld.

The giveaway competition closes in a couple of weeks on Wednesday 22nd February when the clock strikes midnight, and we’ll pick two winners  randomly on Thursday 23rd February. Remember to leave your email so we can notify you – you’ll have 24 hours to claim your prize otherwise we’ll just have to select another winner.

As we move into year two, are there any particular food features you’d like to read about? How often would you like FooDiva to post reviews – once, twice or three times a week? Or any other feedback you have, would be much appreciated. A HUGE heartfelt thank you for following FooDiva.

Merci beaucoup, bonne chance et a bientôt!

FooDiva. x


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33 Responses to “FooDiva turns one, plus a birthday gift!”

  1. I Live in a Frying Pan February 8, 2012 at 8:43 am

    Happy birthday FooDiva!! You’ve accomplished so much over the past year, and more importantly, you’re such a gem of a person to have at the dinner table. Fooderati Arabia is lucky to have you aboard our boat of bloggers…and here’s to many more fun dinners and blog posts in times to come!

  2. Devina Divecha (FooDee) February 8, 2012 at 9:20 am

    Happy Birthday 🙂
    Hope you have a great second year!

  3. kelly February 8, 2012 at 10:02 am

    Happy Foodiva Birthday and to many more to come!!!!!!!!!!!
    You have done very well, be patient and I am sure you will achieve what you want! Have a great day!!!

  4. chef Tom February 8, 2012 at 11:04 am

    Happy Birthday Foodiva,
    I wish you’ll have only good food in your second year.
    Keep it up.

  5. Keren Bobker February 8, 2012 at 11:31 am

    Happy Birthday Foodiva. Here’s to many more!

    My favourite French food has to be the breakfast pastries. Not very fancy, but it’s tied up with happy memories of a school exchange when I was 14 staying with the Espagnet family in the Dordogne. M Espagnet was a patissier and the house was above the patisserie. I would wake every morning to the smell of fresh baked croissants and pain au chocolate. Mme Espagnet was a very traditional cook so I was introduced to all sorts of lovely food items that were hard to find in the UK at that time. So that’s essentially a dish and a ‘restaurant’ (the Espagnet kitchen in both forms) in one. And I am still in touch with the family.
    Can I also mention that I have a bit of a ‘thing’ for Michel Roux jnr? 😉

  6. Nicole February 8, 2012 at 12:13 pm

    Congratulations FooDiva – you’ve achieved so much in a year and I have no doubt you’ll continue in the same vein! Not just my favourite blog – DUBAI’s favourite blog too! 🙂 xx

  7. dave reeder February 8, 2012 at 1:02 pm

    favorite french dish? a classic soup de poisons. like most great dishes, it’s genius born of the necessity not to waste anything. stock made from shellfish peelings and white fish bones. large handfuls of small fish from the market that otherwise wouldn’t be sold. yesterday’s bread. and grated ends of a block of cheese. done properly, the smell and taste transports you at once to a quayside in the south of france, a chilled carafe of local wine at your side, watching seagulls swoop over the sparkling waters. it’s a dish that doesn’t need reinventing or refining – it’s perfect as it is

  8. nadia February 8, 2012 at 1:10 pm

    Happy birthday, FooDiva! Reviews are always welcome even if you post them every single day of the week, but then that would be too much work, hehe.

    My favorite is French Onion Soup – a comfort food for me.

  9. sarah February 8, 2012 at 1:15 pm

    Well done – happy birthday!

  10. Shereen Shabnam February 8, 2012 at 1:20 pm

    Love your Blogs….Happy Birthday.

  11. Melissa February 8, 2012 at 2:05 pm

    Happy birthday, we love reading your blogs and weekly is fine by me! May next year be as fun-filled and travel-laden as the last.

  12. Francine Spiering February 8, 2012 at 3:03 pm

    Happy Blog-Birthday FooDiva! Wow, amazing what you’ve accomplished, and in such a relatively short amount of time.

  13. Admirer February 8, 2012 at 3:12 pm

    Happy 1st Birthday – keep up the great work – it is very refreshing to see reviews which are objective in their content and not simply patronising.
    My favourite French dish is ‘oeufs a la neige’ and the best place to eat it is at Le Coq Hardi at Bougival just outside Paris – Devine!

  14. Sally - My Custard Pie February 8, 2012 at 4:39 pm

    I’ve always been a fan of the Roux philosophy (especially the lovely Albert) and love the way it’s been passed through the generations. Le Champignon Sauvage (i.e. the Wild Mushroom) a French restaurant, run by a British chef for over 25 years in Cheltenham, or the Beaujolais in Bath – another long term fixture with an eccentric owner, very risque painting on the walls and fabulous fries cooked in olive oil…these have just been eclipsed by STAY at The One and Only Palm. Yannick Alleno serves exquisite food, balanced and relevant, in an elegant but cosy interior. Happy anniversary. Well done indeed for carving a new niche in the culinary review scene in the UAE.

  15. Edwina February 8, 2012 at 5:01 pm

    Wow 1 already! Happy Birthday. You are doing a great job and well done for making a name for yourself in Dubai. Very well deserved.

  16. FooDiva February 8, 2012 at 7:07 pm

    Wow thank you all for your touching words and feedback – they make a birthday extra special 🙂 Much thanks. Good luck to those that entered the competition. x

  17. Minna February 8, 2012 at 11:22 pm

    Happy Birthday FooDiva!
    I am not so big fan of French cuisine to be honest, not because I would not like the food, but it always have been so fine image for the ordinary girl like me. But if I would pick my favorite, it would be then Chez Dominique in my home city Helsinki in Finland.

    Here in Dubai I have only experienced Gerard’s Cafes pastries and cakes in their hidden Jumeirah cafe.
    Best French food ever for must ne Croissant!

  18. DNCW February 9, 2012 at 2:36 am

    Happy birthday foodiva. You’ve done brilliantly and always make me chuckle with your reviews. Am off to try fifteen by jamie oliver in london in a couple of weeks. Cant believe am only just getting to go there; i’ll let u have my verdict!

    • FooDiva February 15, 2012 at 3:27 pm

      Thanks D for all your foodie wisdom over the last year 🙂 Fancy writing a guest post on Fifteen? x

      • DNCW February 17, 2012 at 12:38 am

        Yes, why not?

        • FooDiva February 17, 2012 at 11:41 am

          Great thanks!

  19. Nausheen Noor February 9, 2012 at 9:46 am

    Congrats Sam! This is an inspiring accomplishment. I”ve had such a great time getting to know you and working with you over the past year. Here’s to many more fabulous posts and food adventures.

    • FooDiva February 15, 2012 at 3:28 pm

      Thanks Nausheen – likewise. Our birthdays are very close 🙂

  20. Nabil February 9, 2012 at 9:50 am

    HAPPPPY BIRTHDAAAYY FooDiva!!! May the 2nd year be filled with inspiration and love for food as the 1st

    • FooDiva February 15, 2012 at 3:29 pm

      Shukran Nabil. I hope FooDiva will still entertain you from Canada!

  21. ginger and scotch February 11, 2012 at 9:43 pm

    Happy 1st birthday!

    Fave French restaurant – Balthazar (NYC)

  22. Delia Pereira February 21, 2012 at 5:12 pm

    Congrats and Happy 1st Birthday Foodiva!!!My favorite French restaurant is Cafe Chic and I have two favorite French dishes – the all warm, rich and comforting French Onion Soup which not only warms my belly but also my soul and the Crème Brûlée -I absolutely love it. it is sweet,decadent,delicious and to be honest there is something absolutely amazing about a dessert that requires a blow torch!!!!

  23. Radhina February 22, 2012 at 2:20 pm

    My favourite French creation is the humble croissant – there isn’t a more perfect way to start a day – or a weekend 🙂 The best croissants I’ve ever eaten were at Il Lago at Four Seasons Hotel De Bergues, Geneva. Light as air and golden, even the crumbs were tasty 🙂 Probably one of my best breakfasts ever, even if it was a simple one 🙂

  24. FooDiva February 23, 2012 at 5:36 pm

    We have our two winners of FooDiva’s birthday competition, and they are both foodie writers. Dave Reeder, editor of the new Pro Chef Middle East magazine and Minna Herranen from The Naked Plate Food Blog – each winning a signed copy of Michel Roux Junior’s cookbook. Congrats to both, and happy cooking 🙂 Many thanks to all participants – stay tuned for the next competition. x

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