• Youngest Emirati chef Aysha Al Obeidli and UAE Barbecue Champion Fred Casagrande set to appear
  •  AED 25k prize pot for free-to-enter cooking and eating competitions

Dubai, UAE: The inaugural Open Fire Food Festival by Steve Harvey descends on Abu Dhabi, Yas Island, this coming weekend, featuring a stellar line-up of celebrity chefs and an action-packed schedule of pitmaster demonstrations, competitions, live music and entertainment across the whole weekend.

Presented by MELT Middle East, a joint venture between OWS Capital and Steve Harvey Global, the Open Fire Food Festival takes place on Yas Island at Abu Dhabi Hill, Yas Marina Circuit on February 24th-25th, with tickets available to purchase starting from just AED 75.

Here’s what to expect from an event which will bring the smokin’ hot flavors of the American South to the heart of the UAE this weekend!


The event features a star-studded line-up of celebrity chefs, set to thrill guests in attendance as they showcase their open-flame cooking skills.

Seven-time World Barbecue Champion Melissa Cookston, who hails from Mississippi, USA, has won thousands of accolades and was the first female inducted into the Barbecue Hall of Fame in 2017. She currently serves as the judge on Netflix’s Barbecue Showdown.  

Moe Cason, a self-taught barbecue expert and former member of the US Navy, has featured as a contestant and judge on high-profile US cooking shows such as World of Flavour With Big Moe Cason, Pitmaster’s, BBQ Pit Wars and SMOKED.

Steven Raichlen, meanwhile, has created and hosted several popular television shows in the US, Canada and Italy, including Planet Barbecue®, Project Fire, and Project Smoke, while also serving as a culinary expert on the likes of Oprah along with writing more than 30 books.

The trio will be joined behind the grill by 18-year-old Aysha Al Obeidli, the youngest Emirati chef, and Fred ‘Smokin’ Beards’ Casagrande, UAE Barbecue Champion, both ambassadors for the event.


Host Steve Harvey, a globally recognised presenter, actor, comedian and producer, needs no introduction. He will be on-stage to introduce celebrity chefs and make several appearances across the weekend.


Attendees will have a chance to showcase their BBQ skills or fill their stomachs with organisers announcing there will be a total of AED 25k to giveaway across four cooking competitions and two eating competitions – hot dog and chicken wing – across the weekend. Ticket holders will receive a registration link upon purchase to enter with limited spots available.


Alongside demos on the main stage from celebrity chefs, attendees can participate in cooking masterclasses! On Saturday, Cookston is set to be joined by Al Obeidli as they hold a Youth Masterclass, while Cason will stage both a Lamb Workshop and Brisket Masterclass later the same day. Other highlights include a T-Bone Workshop, hosted by Raichlen, ICCA Masterclass and Hot Dog Eating Competition.

The following day features a Chicken Workshop hosted by Cookston and Casagrande, a Lamb Masterclass with Raichlen, and additional ICCA Masterclasses, with ICCA students assisting professional chefs with showcases across the two days. Similarly, ticket-holders will receive a registration link upon purchase to enter.


Musical performances over the weekend will be provided by the likes of award-winning DJ Natalie Brogan, Girl from the North Country, Yvonne Park, Nuvo Soul, Hot Rodney, Claudia Partrice and DJ Dean Curtis.


The action kicks-off at 12:30pm Saturday and 12 noon Sunday, with doors opening from 10am both days for all to enjoy the all-day entertainment running through until 10pm! 

Tickets are on sale now with prices starting from just AED 75 for standard entry, while guests can purchase a full weekend pass, saving AED 30. Tickets can also be purchased on the door with VIP tickets already sold out. Entry is free across the two days for children under the age of 12. 

Tickets can be purchased via openfirefoodfestival.com

For media inquiries, please contact:   
Basma Khalifa    

About MELT Middle East   

MELT Middle East is an international events company specializing in creating unique brand experiences and original IP festivals. Established through a strategic collaboration between OWS Capital and Steve Harvey Global, MELT’s primary mission revolves around uniting Western and Eastern Business Cultures.   

About Open Fire Food Festival   

The Open Fire Food Festival Abu Dhabi is a sizzling celebration of culinary artistry and flavors, set against the stunning backdrop of Yas Island's iconic Abu Dhabi Hill. Hosted by the renowned Steve Harvey, the festival brings together top chefs, pitmasters, and BBQ enthusiasts to showcase their skills and passion for open flame cooking.   

About Yas Island 

Located on the golden shores of Abu Dhabi - just 20 minutes from downtown Abu Dhabi and 50 minutes from Dubai, Yas Island, offers holidaymakers a diverse mix of leisure and entertainment experiences. From award-winning theme parks such as Ferrari World Yas Island, Abu Dhabi, Yas Waterworld Yas Island, Abu Dhabi, and Warner Bros. World™ Abu Dhabi to incredible attractions such as the record-breaking CLYMB™ Yas Island, Abu Dhabi, and the thrilling Yas Marina Circuit (home to the FORMULA 1 ETIHAD AIRWAYS ABU DHABI GRAND PRIX™), visitors are bound to discover a world of entertainment options all within the 25 sq. km island. 

Yas Island boasts world-class shopping at Abu Dhabi’s largest mall Yas Mall, superb dining at Yas Bay Waterfront, Abu Dhabi’s vibrant day to night attraction and award-winning golf at Yas Links golf course. The island offers a year-round line-up of spectacular musical, entertainment and family events and houses ten incredible hotels, including W Abu Dhabi - Yas Island, Hilton Abu Dhabi Yas Island, and The WB™ Abu Dhabi, the world’s first Warner Bros. themed hotel. With more than 165 dining experiences, the destination also features indoor and outdoor concert venues including WHITE Abu Dhabi and Etihad Arena - all of which are complemented by a range of visitor services that connect all attractions to one another.  

With the recent opening of SeaWorld Yas Island, Abu Dhabi, the region’s first Marine Life Theme Park, Yas Island continues to add more attractions to its incredible roster.