Under the Patronage of H.h. Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai

February 18- March 2, 2024
Dubai Duty Free tennis stadium
February 18- March 2, 2024
Dubai Duty Free tennis stadium
February 20, 2024

Game, set, munch! Zheng Qinwen cooks up a storm at Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships

Zheng Qinwen and chef Solemann Haddad

Australian Open finalist swaps court for kitchen as she teams up with Dubai-based Michelin star chef to learn how to make—and eat—traditional Arab cheesecake

Dubai, UAE—February 20, 2024: Tennis superstar Zheng Qinwen has been cooking on court of late, last month becoming just the second Chinese player to reach a Grand Slam singles final. Now, in Dubai for this week’s WTA 1000 Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, she has been cooking off-court too with the help of Michelin chef Solemann Haddad.

Zheng’s heroics at the Australian Open, where she was eventually defeated by World No2 Aryna Sabalenka, saw her jump into the top 10 of the WTA rankings. Still only 21, the Hubei native spent Monday transferring her skills from the court to the kitchen ahead of the 24th edition of the emirate’s WTA Tour event.

Guided by Dubai-based Haddad at the Moonrise restaurant inside Eden House, Al Satwa, the world No. 7 embarked on a culinary adventure exploring the world of traditional Arabic cuisine and helping learn the secrets behind two Middle Eastern dishes with a modern touch.

The cooking experience kicked off with a main dish called “Roots”, which included local tomatoes, zaatar, nori furikake, and homemade labneh. Crafted by Chef Haddad, the dish perfectly encapsulates its Arabic roots, offering Zheng a rare chance to delve into the Arab World’s rich culinary culture.

Soon after, she had the chance to enjoy a sweet conclusion with an Abood Juice Cheesecake desert containing white chocolate, alphonso mango, brown butter, and local honey gel. Inspired by local Dubai flavours and served as a fitting end to the cooking session, the dish went down a treat with Zheng, who savoured every spoon.

Reflecting on her time in the kitchen with Chef Haddad, Zheng said: “I’ve enjoyed this a lot and gone with the flow. I do cook, but mainly Chinese dishes. This was a new area for me to explore, and I had a great time with the chef. He showed me how to cook traditional dishes here, including my absolute favourite—cheesecake! I love cheesecake!

“The chef didn’t only teach me how to prepare a traditional Dubai cheesecake, but also the right way to enjoy it. Usually, when I eat, I take it little by little, but he asked me to take a big spoon. That was a different way to enjoy it!”

The Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships is owned and organised by Dubai Duty Free and held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.

Tickets for both the women’s WTA tournament and the men’s ATP event remain available to purchase at www.dubaidutyfreetennischampionships.com.

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