Throwing a dinner party? Wow guests with these expert hospitality tips

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The pre-dinner portion of the evening includes beverages and light snacks. (Photos supplied)
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Food styling and presentation makes all the difference.
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Your table, if styled well, will prove to be a talking point among guests.
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Rose gelato, a dessert that your guests will appreciate.
Updated 06 January 2018
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Throwing a dinner party? Wow guests with these expert hospitality tips

DHAHRAN: Saudi Arabia has a thriving and long-established culture of hospitality, but Jeddah-based stylist and entrepreneur Nouf Masoud is working hard to bring industry-standard hospitality into homes across the country.
Having worked in the catering industry for four years, Masoud was looking to upgrade her skills by undertaking hospitality courses in the region. Her search proved futile, but highlighted a need in the market. Now she owns her own catering company, Debyazah, and also imparts her skills and experience through hospitality workshops to a clientele that ranges from homemakers to event management companies.
“Hospitality starts from the heart and extends to the dinner table,” Masoud told Arab News.
Social activities and large gatherings are an important part of Middle Eastern culture and Masoud hopes to teach people how to deliver them with élan.
When hosting family and friends in a formal setting, Masoud explained, there are three parts to the evening: Pre-dinner, dinner and post-dinner.
“Although the pre-dinner culture is slightly different the world over, here it usually consists of beverages and light or heavy snacks, depending on the time before dinner.”
Dinner consists of salads, appetizers and the main course, while the post-dinner segment is dessert and beverages, set up as a station or as a pass-around service.
In an interview with Arab News, Masoud shared her top tips to ensure that you host an evening that your guests will always remember.
Hospitality should start from the heart: “It is important to host with passion, as this attitude really reflects on the quality of the evening,” Masoud said. Put in a little bit of extra effort to welcome, appreciate and honor your guests. If you are hosting a small, intimate dinner, break the ice — get everyone involved in the conversation.
Pre-planning is the key to everything: From creating invitations, shopping for the evening, cooking for your guests and setting up the table, pre-planning goes a long way to ensure that you are stress-free on the day of the event. Imagine being halfway through cooking your main course before you realize that you are out of an important ingredient — the key is to avoid such potential disasters.
Consult your guest list: When planning for the event, consult your guest list. Take into consideration the personal, cultural and religious preferences of your guests. For example, if you are putting together a sushi night menu, do plan something for guests who are averse or allergic to seafood.
Host like a pro, enjoy like a guest: Planning and preparing in advance will help you enjoy the evening as member of the party and not the host. No one wants to be at a party where the host is constantly running to and from the kitchen or prepping for different segments of the evening.
Go the extra mile: Through her workshops, Masoud tries to instill an appreciation for this type of lifestyle. She encourages hosts to go the extra mile in entertaining guests. If an individual prefers post-dinner tea instead of the usual coffee, go the extra mile and prepare a cup of tea for your guest — a little act of hospitality goes a long way.


Startup of the Week: For the love of chocolate

Joudy Delights take part in many of Jeddah’s public events. (Supplied)
Updated 11 December 2018
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Startup of the Week: For the love of chocolate

  • The store offers additional flavors every month for a limited time

The love for chocolates transcends geographical boundaries, ideologies and cultures. Chocolates are considered a must in times of happiness and to express one’s feelings all across the world.
Saudis also share the love for sweets or chocolates with rest of the world. People in this part of the world do not mind trying different kinds of chocolates — from traditional Arab ones to their European counterparts from as far as Switzerland.
Keeping in view the huge popularity of chocolates in the Kingdom, a Saudi couple decided to launch their own business in 2017. Joudy Delights is a local, home-based specialized chocolate brand that is produced with the highest quality ingredients. The Jeddah-based store is run by 25-year-old housewife Wejdan Shaheen and 29-year-old private sector employee Rakan Nejaim.
Due to stiff competition in this business, it is necessary for an entrepreneur to come up with a novel idea so as to gain an edge over his competitors.
The couple, faced with the same dilemma, chose to introduce a delicious dessert in the market.
“Any new idea needs to go through a lot of experiments. We also had to face the situation when we decided to introduce our famous chocoballs. The finalized version of the product took some time. We had to carefully select the best combination of chocolate and suitable stuffing,” said Nejaim.
Joudy Delights offers milk chocolate, dark chocolate and white chocolate that are filled with two types of different chocolates and two types of biscuits which Shaheen calls their “secret mix.”
The store also offers additional flavors every month for a limited time.
“The milk chocolate chocoballs or what we call our original chocoballs is our most popular product,” said Shaheen.
The number of orders per week differs depending on the season, said Nejaim. “But we receive on an average 65-70 orders per week.”
Joudy Delights take part in many of Jeddah’s public events.
“Many of our clients prefer our products at family gatherings like weddings etc.,” Shaheen said.
The store is planning to expand its reach outside Jeddah, and is likely to introduce a delivery service. Joudy Delights can be found at local Saudi talent shop Crate, located in Al-Salamah district.