• 17 students from DCT’s culinary arts programme were winners at the Middle East’s biggest culinary competition

Dubai, United Arab Emirates – Dubai College of Tourism (DCT) and its culinary arts students have celebrated winning three major awards and 19 medals at the 27th Emirates International Salon Culinaire. The event, which took place from 20-22 May alongside the Expo Culinaire at Expo Centre Sharjah, is the biggest culinary competition in the Middle East, and endorsed by the World Association of Chefs Societies.

Led by DCT’s master instructors – chefs Christian Biesbrouk, Gerhard Grandano, and Sally Handoko – the student team took home seven gold medals, four silver, eight bronze and two merits in the competition, as well as three of the biggest prizes on offer. Saudi national Ethar Showlag, who has lived in Dubai for the last 13 years, was named the ‘Best Young Chef of the Year 2024’, while her colleague, Indian national Nashita Nazar, claimed the ‘Best Student Chef 2024’ prize. Alongside Ethar and Nasihta’s accolades, DCT itself was also recognised with the ‘Best Effort by a Culinary School’ award for 2024. (See end of release for full list of awards and recognition.)

An annual three-day B2B event featuring a trade exhibition for the foodservice industry, the Emirates Salon Culinaire is the largest single entry chef competition in the world, and a unique HoReCa (hotel/restaurant/catering) education platform for accredited schools and institutions in the Middle East. It is made up of a series of practical and display-based culinary competitions, entry to which is open to professional chefs, pastry chefs, cooks and bakers. Some of the competitions are designed for entry by a single competitor, others are designed as team events.

Part of Dubai Department of Economy and Tourism (DET), DCT provides a dynamic and forward-thinking education platform that equips students with practical skills via vocational-based certificate and diploma courses in the culinary arts, tourism, hospitality, and events. Showcasing the value of vocational education, DCT also ensures a steady stream of talented and highly-trained professionals for the city’s tourism workforce, an objective aligning with the goals of the Dubai Economic Agenda, D33, to further consolidate Dubai’s position as a leading global city for business and leisure, and the best city to visit, live and work in.

Essa Bin Hadher, General Manager of Dubai College of Tourism (DCT), said: “With Dubai College of Tourism committed to contribute towards the success of the D33 Agenda, under the guidance of our visionary leadership, the achievements by our culinary arts students is a proud milestone for the college and highlights the dedication and skill of our students and faculty. We remain steadfast in our mission to inspire and train our students to become leaders in their respective fields, and by providing an avenue for high school and college graduates to pursue certificate and diploma courses tailored for the tourism industry, we aim to significantly impact the development of the city’s tourism sector, nurturing the next-generation tourism workforce. Our focus on culinary skills is exemplified through our specially designed culinary apprenticeship programme, which aims to provide a new source of recruiting and qualifying talent for the culinary industry. We are confident that our gifted students will continue to excel and contribute to the vibrant culinary landscape of our city and the wider hospitality sector.”

DCT is playing a pivotal role in the growth of Dubai’s award-winning gastronomy sector. A comprehensive world-class curriculum, combined with affordable fees and transparent application processes, positions the DCT as the top vocational education provider in the region.

For more information about culinary arts courses at Dubai College of Tourism, please visit: dct.ac.ae

Awards and recognition

  • Nashita Nazar - Award for Best Student Chef
  • Ethar Showlag - Award for Best Young Chef
  • Dubai College of Tourism - Award for Best effort by a Culinary School 2024

Gold medals

  • Youmna Khan - US Beef - Practical Cookery by USMEF
  • Yasmine Hatem - US Chicken - Practical Cookery by USAPEEC
  • Hibat Ullah Nahvi - Sweet Creations Static by Potatoes USA
  • Nashita Nazar - Plant Based Practical Cookery Appetizer & Main Course - Student Culinary Challenge
  • Ethar Showlag - Savory Potato Creations Practical Cookery by Potatoes USA
  • Ethar Showlag - Dressed Chicken & Dressed Fish Practical Butchery
  • Ruba Fraij - Sweet Creations Static by Potatoes USA

Silver medals

  • James Jeremiah Marquez - US Beef - Practical Cookery by USMEF
  • Ethar Showlag - Emirati Cuisine - Practical Cookery
  • Nichol Quina - US Chicken - Practical Cookery by USAPEEC
  • Rachana Sabu - Soup & Sandwich Practical Cookery Student Culinary Challenge

Bronze medals

  • Sakina Mohammed - Sweet Tart Creations by HUG
  • Roshni Kikla - Sweet Tart Creations by HUG
  • Ruqaiya Ali - Sweet Creations Static By Potatoes USA
  • Nashita Nazar - Soup & Sandwich Practical Cookery Student Culinary Challenge
  • Riyad Talal - Fish & Seafood - Practical Cookery
  • Ali Al Qassimi - Fish & Seafood - Practical Cookery
  • Elaf Showlag - Fish & Seafood - Practical Cookery
  • Rachana Sabu - Plant Based Practical Cookery Appetizer & Main Course - Student Culinary Challenge


  • Jameela Abbas Dalal - Four Plates of Dessert by Arla Pro
  • Mariam Naeem - Four Plates of Dessert by Arla Pro


About Dubai Department of Economy and Tourism (DET)

With the ultimate vision of making Dubai the world’s leading commercial centre, investment hub and tourism destination, Dubai Department of Economy and Tourism (DET) is mandated to support the Government in positioning the emirate as a major hub for global economy and tourism, and in boosting the city’s economic and tourism competitiveness indicators, in line with the goals of the Dubai Economic Agenda, D33, which aims to double the size of the emirate’s economy and further consolidate Dubai’s position as a leading global city for business and leisure.

Under this remit, DET is driving efforts to further enhance Dubai’s diversified, innovative service-based economy to attract top global talent, deliver a world-class business environment and accelerate productivity growth. Additionally, DET is supporting Dubai’s vision to become the world’s best city to visit, live and work in by promoting its diverse destination proposition, unique lifestyle and outstanding quality of life, overall.

DET is the principal authority for planning, supervising, developing and marketing Dubai’s business and tourism sectors. It is also responsible for licensing and classifying all types of businesses, including hotels, tour operators and travel agents. The DET portfolio includes Dubai Economic Development Corporation (DEDC), Dubai Business Licence Corporation (DBLC), Dubai Corporation for Consumer Protection and Fair Trade (DCCPFT), Dubai SME, Dubai Corporation for Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DCTCM), Dubai Festivals and Retail Establishment (DFRE) and Dubai College of Tourism (DCT).

About Dubai College of Tourism (DCT)

Dubai College of Tourism (DCT) was established by Dubai Department of Economy and Tourism (DET) to be a world-class vocational college that would provide innovative, accessible and exceptional education and training that supports people to enter, enhance or advance within the tourism industry in Dubai. At the campus, DCT delivers its full-time certificate, award and advanced diploma courses in four core subject areas: tourism, hospitality, culinary arts and events. These programmes follow the National Qualifications Framework of the UAE (QFEmirates) and are approved by the Ministry of Education. DCT manages the DET Emiratisation initiative that aims to attract and train Emiratis to work across a range of sectors, including tourism, healthcare, IT and financial services, and the Tour Guide Training platform for becoming a licensed tour guide in Dubai.The college is also responsible for delivering fundamental online training programmes specifically designed for those working within the tourism industry, such as ‘Dubai Way’ (for tourist-facing staff in Dubai) and ‘Dubai Expert’ (an interactive online training tool for international travel agents).

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