Samantha 20wood 20  20foodiva

Samantha Wood

Freelance food and travel writer

Location icon United Arab Emirates

I wear a number of hats - a writer, PR practitioner and event organiser with over two decades of in-house and consultancy experience in the United Kingdom and the Middle East. I set up my own business in Dubai seven years ago – an impartial restaurant review website, FooDiva, which launched in February 2011, and has collected ten awards, including BBC Good Food Middle East's Food Blog of the Year. I also organise mystery #DineAroundDubai restaurant experiences. I have featured prolifically in local and international media including a guest segment on CNN Go’s travel programme on Dubai. Furthermore, I take on freelance writing commissions, plus PR/ F&B consultancy. I am a regular speaker and industry awards judge on my favourite subjects - food, restaurants, hotels, travel and social media. That's enough I think!

Portfolio
Business Traveller UK
10/01/2017
Abu Dhabi restaurants with a view

A feast for the eyes. Samantha Wood tries out a selection of Abu Dhabi’s finest restaurants, which offer splendid views of the Arabian Gulf and city skyline.

The National - UAE newspaper
09/02/2014
A dish best served cold: A look at the raw food movement in the UAE | The National

It took awhile, but with at least six eateries in the UAE either dedicated to serving raw food or incorporating raw dishes as integral menu components, the raw food movement appears to have arrived. The newest venture appears also to be the capital's first raw food restaurant: the aptly named Raw Foods, which opened this summer in the new World Trade Center Souk.

The National - UAE newspaper
02/22/2015
Matcha to our delight we introduce you to a new superfood trend in the UAE | The National

It boasts five times more anti­oxidants than any other tea, fortifies the immune system and is believed to lower cholesterol levels, boost energy and burn calories. This is matcha, a variety of green tea most commonly used in Japanese tea ceremonies and now a rising superfood trend in the UAE with a dozen cafes and stores already serving it, in addition to leading supermarkets stocking it on their shelves.

The National - UAE newspaper
06/15/2014
UAE brunches: the half-half becomes the latest trend, but what is it? | The National

The UAE has its very own Wikipedia entry under brunch, alongside only one other country, Canada. No other destination features. Not a surprise, really, given a weekend brunch is an institution here - and a bucket-list experience: the free-flowing dining and drinking variety, from all-you-can-eat, indulgent buffet feasts spread across hotels to more refined à la carte dishes in independent restaurants.

The National - UAE newspaper - cover story
05/10/2014
Wolfgang Puck's steakhouse Cut has opened in Dubai

The much-lauded Chinese haunt Hukama in The Address Downtown Dubai may have gone, but in its place now sits a steakhouse, Cut. This isn't your run-of-the-mill steak restaurant, primarily because the name above the door is Wolfgang Puck (it's actually "pook", although often mispronounced).

The National - UAE newspaper - cover story
04/29/2014
Greek cuisine in the UAE - why is it so under-represented?

Within footsteps of the beach sits an al fresco taverna, yet I feel like I am walking into someone's home, albeit a rather grand one. Forget clichéd blue-and-white chequered tablecloths; instead, a row of miniature olive trees graces one wall, while another sports reclaimed shutters in natural hues.

The National - UAE newspaper
03/12/2014
A hint of good things to come at Taste of Dubai

The beauty of Taste of Dubai lies in its simplicity: sampling bites from a spread of restaurants across the emirate, all in one spot at Dubai Media City. This year, 14 out of 30 eateries are first-time participants in the three-day festival, each serving mini appetisers, main courses and desserts.

The National - UAE newspaper
03/19/2014
Burger Joint New York comes to the UAE

A couple of months ago, in New York, I found myself queuing at an eatery hidden behind velvet drapes in an ultra-modern hotel. The only indication of my pending lunch: a neon burger sign. Twenty minutes or so later, I was at the counter placing my order.

The National - UAE newspaper - cover story
05/10/2014
Wolfgang Puck's steakhouse Cut has opened in Dubai

The much-lauded Chinese haunt Hukama in The Address Downtown Dubai may have gone, but in its place now sits a steakhouse, Cut. This isn't your run-of-the-mill steak restaurant, primarily because the name above the door is Wolfgang Puck (it's actually "pook", although often mispronounced).

The National - UAE newspaper
01/28/2014
The new chef at the helm of Table 9 in Dubai

There's a new name, of sorts, above the door. It's still Table 9, but Nick Alvis and Scott Price have moved on and at the helm is a new chef patron and another Gordon Ramsay protégé, the 39-year-old Englishman Darren Velvick.

The National - UAE newspaper
01/14/2014
Cravin' Cajun: American southern Cajun and Creole soul food comes east to the UAE | The National

He played the drums for the American singer Lauryn Hill four years ago, a hobby he juggled with 14-hour shifts in the kitchen. A passion for cooking and a more stable career won over. Meet the 43-year-old Louisiana man Jeff Whitfield, who swapped New Orleans for Dubai as the head chef of the newly opened Cajun restaurant Cravin' Cajun in the Novotel Al Barsha.

The National - UAE newspaper
11/12/2013
Dubai to showcase Emirati traditions of taste | The National

With all eyes peeled and ears pricked for the World Expo bid announcement at the end of this month, Dubai is gearing up to host its first significant showcase for Emirati cuisine with the inaugural Dubai World Hospitality Championship (DWHC), held from Saturday to Monday.

Gourmet magazine
01/03/2013
Easy peasy pizza

Interview with Dianne Jacob, award-winning food editor, cookbook author and blogger

Gourmet magazine
04/05/2012
Gourmet Trends

Monthly food and restaurant trends column

Gourmet magazine
01/05/2012
Ask The Expert

Monthly food and restaurant trends column

Gourmet magazine
11/03/2011
Ask The Expert

Monthly food and restaurant trends column

Gourmet magazine
10/06/2011
Ask The Expert

Monthly food and restaurant trends column

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