American television’s second most famous face after Oprah Winfrey, Martha Stewart, jetted into Dubai last week as part of her UAE tour to promote her Fatafeat television cookery shows and regional magazine titles.
The cooking and lifestyle expert, whose titles “Martha Stewart Weddings” and “Martha Stewart Everyday Food” are published here by Takhayal Entertainment, hit all the tourist hotspots during her two-day stay, including a tour of Bastikiya and Souk Al Kabeer, where she was seen bargaining over pashminas and home goods.
The idea behind the visit, hosted by Takhayal’s Chairman, Youssef El Deeb, for the celebrity was to learn about local culture, considering her titles are published quarterly across the GCC, Egypt and Levant and the her cooking shows appear regularly on Fatafeat, the Middle East’s television food network.
Stewart says: “It’s a pleasure to come to the UAE… This is my first time visiting the UAE and I’ve been impressed with what I’ve seen so far. This creek-side area of Dubai is steeped in history and we’ve enjoyed the tour and textile souk immensely – we still have some of Abu Dhabi’s cultural heritage to look forward to.”
Raised in Nutley, New Jersey, in a family with six children, Stewart has come a long way from her small-town roots.
She developed her passion for cooking, gardening and home keeping in her childhood home on Elm Place. Her mother, a schoolteacher and homemaker, taught her the basics of cooking, baking, canning, and sewing; her father, a pharmaceutical salesman and avid gardener, introduced her to gardening at the age of three in the family’s backyard plot.
After moving to Westport, Connecticut, in 1972 with her husband and daughter, Alexis, she developed a catering business that formed the basis for her first book, “Entertaining”, and published in 1982.
Stweart’s vision was soon realised in the blueprint of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia and its expansive multimedia and merchandising portfolio. MSLO’s media offerings include magazines, websites, digital apps, radio stations, TV shows and bestselling books.
In 2004, though, it seemed her empire would crumble and fall when she was convicted of lying to investigators about a stock sale and served five months in a West Virginia federal prison camp.
However, Stewart began a comeback campaign in 2005, with her company returning to profitability the following year. And there has been no looking back since. (with inputs from Bindu Suresh Rai)
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