Start-up of the Week: Saudi chef’s fusion cuisine aims to satisfy all cultures

The main encouragement to start his business came from his family, friends and followers on social media. (Supplied)
Updated 19 September 2018
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Start-up of the Week: Saudi chef’s fusion cuisine aims to satisfy all cultures

RIYADH: Mansour Ismail, owner and head chef at Chef Culture, said what makes his establishment unique is that people feel as if they are eating at home.
Chef Culture, in the north of the eastern province of Alkhobar, specializes in traditional Gulf and international fusion cuisine. It was launched on May 25 and provides catering and takeaway services.
“I started my restaurant because I believe I have a unique touch which is going to spread across the world,” Mansour told Arab News.
The main encouragement to start his business came from his family, friends and followers on social media, he added. Chef Culture’s signature dish is tandoori lamb, a reflection of the fusion of Gulf and Indian cuisine. “What makes this dish unique is the balance between the two cultures in terms of spices and flavor. This has always been the best-selling dish on our menu,” said Mansour.
Another example of mixed flavors is the Japanese dish shrimp tempura, which is made with Halabi pistachio. Mansour added that a popular order with their catering services has always been the cherry kebab, in which Gulf and Armenian flavors are blended together. What gives this dish its distinctive flavor is that its cherry sauce is made from fresh produce.
“Our main concentration in Chef Culture is in mixing different influences of food from around the world,” said Mansour. He added that all the dishes were created from scratch and took him through trial phases of tasting the food before he was satisfied with the end result of his creations.
The goal at Chef Culture is to showcase Gulf cuisine with an inter-national twist by providing a blend of flavors and a taste that suits the palates of different cultures.
Mansour’s message to aspiring chefs is that the food industry is growing at a rapid pace and that there are big opportunities for talented people to thrive in the culinary world.
He started cooking 12 years ago as an amateur, then decided to develop his hobby by attending cooking courses in India. The chef also attended local and international live cooking shows. This gave Mansour the idea to mix Gulf cuisine with others from around the world, particularly from India, to create his fusion food menu.


Number of life coaches growing in Saudi Arabia

Saudi transformation life coach Waleed Arab. (AN photo by Huda Bashatah)
Updated 14 January 2019
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Number of life coaches growing in Saudi Arabia

  • “Your body listens to your thoughts,” said Arab, adding that life coaching is very different from counseling

JEDDAH: Sometimes in life people need a helping hand, some physically, others financially, but increasingly emotionally.
YouPositive, a Jeddah-based online life coaching platform, offers that help. Pioneers in online life coaching, they are seeking to bridge the gap between counseling, self-help and technology.
On Saturday, they hosted the first of a series of January events at the City Hub in Al-Nahda district.
Founder and CEO Zahra Al-Mohanna said: “YouPositive is pioneering a marketplace for life coaching, with technological solutions for service providers and clients alike.
“We have created a solution that suits Saudi and Middle Eastern culture, where you can find a coach wherever you are and at your leisure. We pick the right service providers via background checks and interviews, as well as referrals from their clients.”
She added: “YouPositive serves individuals and companies equally, with coaching programs tailored to their needs.”
Saudi life coach Waleed Arab was at the City Hub event to give a lecture, called My Emotions. In it, he tried to shed light on how to understand emotions.

Body and emotions
During his lecture, Arab explained the limbic system and its function, to explain the link between the body and emotions.
“Your body listens to your thoughts,” said Arab, adding that life coaching is very different from counseling.
“A life coach is not a certified person, who can give you medication or anything that may effect your health. Coaching is a psychological tool. The coach paves the way for you to reach your goals.”
He also highlighted the growing popularity of life coaching in the Kingdom. “We are getting there. We have just started, but we have a good number of certified life coaches in Saudi Arabia.”

Specific area of mind
Life coaching is important, explained Arab, because: “We are tapping into a very specific area of the mind, looking to enlighten the person about what is missing in their current mindset. You can examine areas you had not discovered before.
“Just imagine yourself living in a dark room. A coach will help enlighten you and your senses, and show you that there is much more outside for you to explore.”
The reaction to YouPositive, and their January program, has been largely upbeat.
“Life coaches help us improve by changing the way we think,” said Radhya Bahamdoun, an attendee at Arab’s lecture.