Saudi Arabian prince to open vegan restaurants across the region in healthy lifestyle push

Prince Khaled has invested in Matthew Kenney’s vegan lifestyle company, and took the brand international by opening the first vegan restaurant in the Middle East with Bahrain’s new Plant Cafe. (Courtesy Plant Cafe)
Updated 29 January 2018
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Saudi Arabian prince to open vegan restaurants across the region in healthy lifestyle push

DUBAI: The son of billionaire Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal has announced plans to open a series of vegan restaurants across the Middle East, as he tries to encourage the region’s population to move away from ‘conventional diets’ and live a healthier lifestyle.
Prince Khaled laid out his plans on his Facebook account to open a minimum of 10 vegan restaurants in the Middle East by 2020.
“Our region occupies parts of the top ten most obese counties in the world. This is crazy and frankly a joke we have reached this level,” he explained.
Among the locations favored by the health buff Prince Khaled, who was recently named as president of the Saudi CrossFit Federation, include the UAE, Jordan, Kuwait and Bahrain and Saudi Arabia.
And the Prince said the restaurants were not the answer to region’s health complaints, but just the beginning.
“I’m not saying opening 10 restaurants will solve this issue, but you better believe it’s a step in the right direction,” he said.
Prince Khaled was named among the world’s top influencers toward veganism in 2017 for his investments in Matthew Kenney’s vegan lifestyle company. He took the brand international by opening the first vegan restaurant in the Middle East with Bahrain’s new Plant Cafe.
Commenting on his Facebook page about the current diets of people in the region, Prince Khaled said the side effects “on states and society, economic, social, and health,” were disasters “that must be fought.”
“We have to boycott fast food restaurants and focus on our health and our children’s health before this disaster increases,” he said.


Chef couple wins many hearts by giving international dishes a Saudi twist

Budoor Al-Solami, left, and Waleed Moathen have recreated many dishes and desserts such as muffins with dates and tahini. (Photos/Supplied)
Updated 17 November 2018
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Chef couple wins many hearts by giving international dishes a Saudi twist

  • The chef duo started their YouTube channel ‘Saa’widha’ just five months ago

JEDDAH: Budoor Al-Solami, 26, and Waleed Moathen, 28, started their YouTube channel “Saa’widha” (to turn it Saudi) under the cooking channel Atyab Tabkha just five months ago.
Atyab Tabkha is sponsored by digital media company Diwanee. All the chef couple’s episodes have been made at Atyab Tabkha’s studio in Dubai.
The couple takes any international dish and give it a Saudi spin. Their creativity and ideas are fun and broad. The couple have recreated many dishes and desserts such as muffins with dates and tahini.
“Usually, it is the international kitchen that receives all the fame and spotlight, and rarely does the Arab or Saudi kitchen have a media presence,” Al-Solami told Arab News. “Which is why we decided to invent something new, merging international kitchens in a Saudi way. Especially because the Saudi kitchen is characterized by its various flavors and high taste,” she added.
To recreate these international dishes with Saudi flavors, the couple use Saudi spices and agricultural products “produced by our country such as dates, local meat and the unique Taif flowers,” said Moathen.
Al-Solami works at a five-star hotel and Moathen is an executive chef at a restaurant. Leading such busy lives, the couple still manage to find a balance between their jobs and their channel.
“The nature of our job requires us to work for long hours, sometimes 12 hours in a day. For this reason we decided, with the agreement of the company, that we film our episodes during our vacation days.”
The channel came to fruition when Diwanee was looking for Saudi chefs.
“They contacted me. They wanted to create a regular cooking show just like any other cooking show, then Waleed and I thought of how we can change the idea of traditional cooking and shows, and we wanted to put the Saudi kitchen in our show. This is how ‘Saa’widha’ was created,” according to Al-Solami.
“And this was how we came up with many ideas such as the Saudi sushi, and Waleed came up with vegan ice cream with Saudi ingredients such as almond coffee. We even made focaccia bread and muffins with a Saudi twist,” she explained.

Working is fun
Working together is fun and full of surprises, said Moathen. “When we cook, we really enjoy it and we share new ideas with each other.”
“Saa’widha,” of course, is displayed in Arabic, but the couple are planning to add subtitles in different languages in their next season. “Especially because we have friends of different nationalities,” explained Moathen.
Their show was warmly received by the Saudi audience, and the two are showered with positive comments under each episode.

 

 “I am very happy to see the interaction of people in the comments, and their kind words and positive support,” said Al-Solami
“I am overjoyed and this encourages me to continue what I love and what the viewers love,” said Moathen.
Al-Solami and Moathen studied tourism and hospitality respectively and wish to open a restaurant chain and culinary school.

Decoder

Almond Coffee

A hot Hejazi beverage traditionally made with milk, ground almonds, rice flour, sugar and cinnamon, and is popular during winter season.