This year’s Fact Dining Awards introduce a much-anticipated new category, The Chef Of The Year. Chosen solely by online public vote, it’s where you, our all-important readers, have the chance to pay tribute to your favourite culinary master among Qatar’s many and varied dining spots.

We asked a selection of the nominees the same two questions –
What does your nomination for Chef of the Year at the Fact Dining Awards mean to you?
What do you consider to be the most remarkable aspect of Qatar’s dining scene and its vibrant gastronomic landscape?

You can check out their answers below.

Frank Ponce
Executive Chef of La Mar Doha by Gaston Acurio, La Mar Beach Doha and Manko Doha at InterContinental Doha Beach & Spa

The nomination is an immense honour, an acknowledgment of years dedicated to culinary excellence in Qatar. It is a validation of the passion and dedication poured into every meal I’ve made. This recognition fills me with immense pride and joy, affirming that hard work and commitment do not go unnoticed in the culinary world here in Qatar.
The most remarkable aspect of Qatar’s dining scene is the variety of cuisines and culture found around Doha. The city is truly a melting pot of cultures and this shows in the rich and vibrant dining scene. It is wonderful to meet different people and to learn about both the connection and the differences between cultures and cuisines. I can also see the rise of Latin American and Peruvian cuisine in particular, and I feel proud to have been part of the team that brought the first Peruvian restaurant to Qatar with La Mar.

Ertan Afacan
Executive Chef at JW Marriott Marquis City Center Doha

This recognition as a nominee for Chef of the Year at the Fact Dining Awards holds great value to me. It’s a testament to the dedication and passion I pour into my culinary craft. Being acknowledged among Qatar’s top chefs is an honour beyond words.
The most remarkable aspect of Qatar’s dining scene is its rich fusion of cultures and flavours which beautifully blends traditional Qatari flavours with influences from around the world.
Qatar’s gastronomic landscape is incredibly vibrant, with a diverse array of cuisines reflecting the multicultural fabric of the country. The diversity of cuisines and the innovation showcased by food and beverage outlets here truly make it an exciting place for food enthusiasts.

Angelos Kallinteris
Executive Chef at Marriot Marquis City Center Doha

It’s truly an honour to be nominated for Chef of the Year at the Fact Dining Awards. I’m passionate about my kitchen, and I strive to enhance Qatar’s vibrant dining scene with my diverse flavours and culinary innovations.
It’s incredibly humbling to be recognised among Qatar’s top culinary talents for the new category Chef of the Year and I believe it was something we were really missing.
As for Qatar’s dining scene, what stands out the most to me is its remarkable diversity and fusion of flavours.
From traditional Qatari dishes to international cuisines and from comfort food to fine dining, there’s a wealth of culinary experiences to explore and I feel very lucky, as a chef, that I have the chance to be part of this extraordinary story.

Chef Abdelsalam Qasem
Culinary Director at Marsa Malaz Kempinski, The Pearl – Doha

I am passionate about crafting memorable culinary experiences that delight the senses. Being nominated is a testament to this passion and I am truly honoured to share this with others.
As a chef immersed in Qatar’s dynamic dining scene, I find its most remarkable aspect to be the fusion of traditional and modern Arabic flavours and its commitment to innovation. The endless opportunities for culinary creativity and expression are truly inspiring.

Chef Marcus Riot
Executive Chef at Morimoto Doha, Mondrian Doha

It is an honour to be nominated alongside many incredible chefs for Chef of the Year at the Fact Dining Awards.
The most remarkable aspect of Qatar’s dining scene is the immense culinary variety and level of talent throughout the kitchens. Each of us continuously expands and refines the dining experience, therefore elevating one another. Morimoto’s fusion of traditional Japanese techniques with innovative global flavours brings a unique culinary perspective to Qatar, enriching the country’s vibrant gastronomic landscape.

Fabio Fioravanti
Executive Sous Chef at Park Hyatt Doha

I feel truly honoured to be on the list of the Chef of the Year at the Fact Dining Awards. This is an amazing milestone in my career, I feel recognised for the work I have done throughout the years.
The culinary scene in Qatar is remarkable, due to the fusion of cultures and the diversity of cuisines that utilise the Qatari spices to create a new blend of flavours.

Wolfgang Godl
Executive Chef at Radisson Blu Hotel, Doha

It is a great honour to be nominated as the Chef of the Year. It is incredibly rewarding to have my culinary efforts and innovations recognised in this way. Being the Executive Chef of Radisson Blu Hotel, Doha who is actively involved with the creations and offerings of the 14 outlets in the hotel, as well as in meetings and events, outdoor catering and room service, and being able to contribute to its dedication and excellence along with the hard working and committed team, this acknowledgment is truly gratifying.
As for Qatar’s dining scene, it is rich and diverse, offering a wide range of culinary experiences. In my 45 years of culinary journey across renowned hotels in various countries, I have never encountered such a wide array of restaurants as I have in Doha. The competition is tough – you have to be always on top [of your game], have new ideas and the most important thing is keeping the standard and quality. Despite this, I see it as an opportunity for constant innovation, which we strive for to maintain our standards of excellence.

Mert Duran
Executive Chef at Sharq Village & Spa, a Ritz-Carlton Hotel

Being nominated for Chef of the Year at the Fact Dining Awards is an honour. It recognises not just me but also the culinary team in our beachfront resort.
Qatar’s dining scene is diverse. It blends cultures for vibrant experiences. Here, culinary innovation meets tradition, crafting unforgettable dining for our guests.

Elias Gemayel
Executive Chef at Rixos Gulf Hotel Doha

’m honoured to be nominated for the Fact Dining Awards’ Chef of the Year category. I consider this as a reflection of the hard work, passion and dedication that I have put in for over 17 years of my career as a culinary artist.
Cooking for me is not just a passion, it’s something deeper. Mixing and matching the right ingredients that not only awaken the taste buds but also touch one’s heart. Qatar, being a hub for cultures from all over the world, offers infinite opportunities to experience and experiment with diverse cuisines, from local to international to fusion and traditional.

Chef Danish Merchant
Director of Culinary at Sheraton Grand Doha Resort and Convention Hotel

Receiving a nomination for Chef of the Year at the Fact Dining Awards is truly an honour and a testament to the hard work and dedication of my entire culinary team. It means a great deal to be recognised for our commitment to delivering exceptional dining experiences. This nomination not only reflects my achievements but also acknowledges the collaborative effort that goes into creating memorable dishes.
Qatar’s dining scene is incredibly diverse and in this dynamic landscape, sustainability is a key focus for us. We strive to incorporate eco-friendly practices, source locally and minimise food waste. It’s not just about creating memorable dishes but doing so with a mindful approach. This nomination fuels our dedication to pushing culinary boundaries while contributing to Qatar’s gastronomic growth sustainably.
Being in this part of the world allows me to experiment with unique ingredients, infuse global culinary trends with local flavours and contribute to the overall growth of the gastronomic industry. The enthusiasm of diners and their openness to diverse cuisines create an exciting environment for chefs to push boundaries and constantly elevate the dining experience.

Chef Motaz Zayed
Multi-property Director of Culinary at The St. Regis Doha and The St. Regis Marsa Arabia, The Pearl-Qatar

As a nominee for Chef of the Year at the Fact Dining Awards, I am deeply honoured and humbled by the recognition.
For Qatar’s cuisine, what makes it truly remarkable is its ability to blend traditional Qatari cuisine with global influences, creating a unique gastronomic landscape that appeals to both locals and visitors alike.