‘The Taste’ comes to the Middle East

‘The Taste’ comes to the Middle East
1 / 3
‘The Taste’ comes to the Middle East
2 / 3
‘The Taste’ comes to the Middle East
3 / 3
Updated 24 December 2014

‘The Taste’ comes to the Middle East

‘The Taste’ comes to the Middle East

Move over Master Chef Australia. The Middle East now has a culinary TV series of its own. The Taste is an American cooking-themed reality show that has gained much popularity since its launch in January last year. The show has its various international versions, in countries such as Canada, France, Columbia, Indonesia, Russia, Spain, China, Australia, Germany and has now arrived in the Middle East. The show is the brainchild of two world renowned chefs Anthony Bourdain, best known for his globetrotting taste show “No Reservations” and British celebrity chef Nigella Lawson. The judges on the original show are Anthony Bourdain, Nigella Lawson (both serve as producers as well), French chef Ludo Lefebve and Brian Malarkey, in addition to award winning Marcus Samuelsson, who joined in the second season.
The show recruits different levels of cooks, from amateur cooks to professionals and guides them through challenges to test their limits. Each season begins with a blind taste testing challenge and each judge is blindfolded to decide how worthy the dish is. If the judge chooses green then the cook joins the judge/mentor’s team, if not, then the contestant is eliminated until there are 20 contestants left, divided into four teams. Each contestant is put to the test and they fight to win the $100,000 prize. The judges play double duty mentoring each contestant. The challenges can vary and are difficult to achieve.
These include ingredients such as leftover vegetables, fish bones, unusual body parts such as cow tongue, and other interesting concepts. One blind spoonful can change everything for a contestant.
The theme differs every week and all 16 contestants must compete in a team and face individual challenges. Each mentor chooses the best dish to be served to a guest judge and the winning team gets a private session with the guest judge. Individual challenges are not observed by their mentor judge and have a time limit of one hour. The judges then taste each of the contestant’s dishes not knowing who’s who and decide which dish tastes best and which must be eliminated. Each cook is to serve a dish within one hour’s time. With each tick of the clock, the contestant is put to the test to be quicker, smarter and more in tune with their instincts for perfecting the challenge at hand.
The Taste will air on Egypt’s Al-Nahar channel. The judges on the show are Egyptian chef Alaa El Shirbini, specializing in authentic Egyptian dishes, and chef Anissa Helou, one of the top Syrian cookbook authors, specializing in Mediterranean, Middle East and North African cuisines, also considered one of the 100 influential females of the Arab World in 2013. There is also famous Lebanese American chef Bethany Kehdy, also an author specializing in Middle East cuisine. And last but not least, the youngest of the judges/mentors, Saudi chef Mona Mosly, a graduate of London’s prestigious Le Cordon Bleu, who trained in one of Saudi Arabia’s most prestigious establishments “Laylaty Group”.
Mona is one of the first Saudi chefs who burst into the Kingdom’s culinary scene. She is the youngest and one of the first official female chefs in the country. The show was looking for a mentor from the Khaleej area and Chef Mona was more than qualified to judge due to her past work experience and training in locations such as Paris’s exclusive “The Plaza Athénée” and Laylaty Group restaurants Toki and Byblos.
“It was quite interesting to participate in the show ... because I’m both female and a Saudi chef. I had a lot to say and my experiences helped in critiquing and advising my team members. I’ve always watched cooking shows growing up and now finally I’m part of one and am judging it too. I had a lot of fun during the show and I learned to let go of my teachings such as the method of cooking, cutting vegetables and so on, and judge according to taste alone. I love to watch and learn from the contestants.”
The Taste offers what no other show does, cooking up dishes from scratch without previous knowledge of what is to come, unfamiliar ingredients and varying methods. The end results are always the test — one spoon for the win. The contestants of the show come from all walks of life, joined by their love for cooking. There are those who are professionally trained, and others who are simply passionate about cooking. They will be put to the test and only one will prevail over others and win the ultimate prize. Stay tuned and watch the first episode of “The Taste” on Al-Nahar channel on Dec. 26, Friday. The show will air every Friday and Saturday evening at 9 p.m in Saudi Arabia.

[email protected]


Esteban Ocon wins chaotic Hungarian Grand Prix, Hamilton takes championship lead

Second placed Sebastian Vettel of Aston Martin, first placed Esteban Ocon of Alpine and third placed Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes on the podium after the race. (Reuters)
Second placed Sebastian Vettel of Aston Martin, first placed Esteban Ocon of Alpine and third placed Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes on the podium after the race. (Reuters)
Updated 4 min 21 sec ago

Esteban Ocon wins chaotic Hungarian Grand Prix, Hamilton takes championship lead

Second placed Sebastian Vettel of Aston Martin, first placed Esteban Ocon of Alpine and third placed Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes on the podium after the race. (Reuters)
  • Max Verstappen’s Red Bull was damaged in a first lap crash, which took out five cars
  • Bottas acknowledged he was at fault after being given a five-place penalty on the grid for the next race

BUDAPEST: Lewis Hamilton missed the chance to chalk up his 100th victory but did take over the lead in the world championship as France’s Esteban Ocon steered his way through a chaotic Hungarian Grand Prix on Sunday to collect his first ever win.
After a tactical error dropped pole-sitter Hamilton to last place, the Briton picked his way through the field, finally clawing his way past Ocon’s Alpine teammate Fernando Alonso, to finish third behind the Frenchman and Sebastian Vettel in the Aston Martin.
For 24-year-old Ocon, who controlled the race from the front, it marked a maiden win in his 78th Grand Prix and a first victory for the new-look Alpine set-up.
“What a moment! It feels so good!,” said Ocon.
“It’s fantastic, what can I say? Congrats to Fernando (Alonso) as well, I think the win is also thanks to him with the fight that he did.
“It’s teamwork, it’s been a fantastic day!“
Max Verstappen’s Red Bull was damaged in a first lap crash, which took out five cars, and he eventually finished 10th, leaving Hamilton to take a six-point lead in the championship.
“Congratulations to the Alpine team and to Esteban for his first win — he’s been a shining star for a long time,” said Hamilton who was booed again during his post-race interview by a section of the packed crowd who blame him for the crash at the British GP two weeks ago which took out Verstappen.
“Today was definitely tough, we always make it difficult for ourselves.
“Crazy to think we were the only ones on the grid at the start, but these things happen and we learn from them. I gave it everything and I have nothing left in the end.”
Mercedes also took over the constructors championship lead. Going into the summer break they are now 10 points ahead of Red Bull.
Two weeks after the controversial collision between Hamilton and Verstappen on the opening lap at Silverstone, there was early trouble again at the Hungaroring, this time prompted by Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas.
With the rain coming down, the Finn triggered a series of collisions on the opening turn which not only took him out of the race but accounted for Red Bull’s Sergio Perez, Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc, the Aston Martin of Lance Stroll and the McLaren of Lando Norris.
Bottas acknowledged he was at fault after being given a five-place penalty on the grid for the next race, the Belgian GP at Spa at the end of August.
“I think that’s fair enough,” said Bottas.
“I had a bad start and I lost the momentum. I misjudged the braking point and locked the wheels.
“I was responsible for hitting Lando and that meant he cut people off in front of him.
“It’s not great for me and not great others. It’s not like I did it on purpose.”
Seven-time world champion Hamilton, starting on pole for the 101st time in his F1 career, was ahead of the chaos in the rain and looked a nailed-on winner when he was on his own on the grid for the restart while the other cars were all changing tires to suit the improved weather.
Bizarrely, within one lap, Hamilton was at the back as Mercedes, having failed to switch his tires, called him in.
“I was telling the team how the track was during the lap but they said the rain was coming when we got in the car so I thought they had other information,” said Hamilton after the race.
It marked the start of an epic race from the Briton which might well have ended in his 100th GP win had it not been from superb defensive driving from 40-year-old Alonso who prevented him closing on Vettel and Ocon.
Ocon was also untouched by the first lap chaos and was second at the restart. With Hamilton’s plight, the Frenchman took over the race lead.
Four-time world champion Vettel pressed him hard but could not get close enough to mount a serious challenge.


Olympic gold medals in weightlifting, high-jump mark historic day for Qatar

Qatar's Mutaz Barshim and Faris Ibrahim El-Bakh made history for their country by claiming the first ever Olympic gold medals in history just a few hours apart. (AFP)
Qatar's Mutaz Barshim and Faris Ibrahim El-Bakh made history for their country by claiming the first ever Olympic gold medals in history just a few hours apart. (AFP)
Updated 16 min 29 sec ago

Olympic gold medals in weightlifting, high-jump mark historic day for Qatar

Qatar's Mutaz Barshim and Faris Ibrahim El-Bakh made history for their country by claiming the first ever Olympic gold medals in history just a few hours apart. (AFP)

TOKYO: Qatar's Mutaz Barshim won his country's first Olympic track and field gold medal in the high jump on Sunday.

Barshim and Italy's Gianmarco Tamberi both recorded a best clearance of 2.37 meters, which meant they ended up with a rare shared title.

Both athletes said they were in dreamland as they put behind them the nightmare of serious injuries to claim the top prize.

Barshim, though, missed out on a share of the gold because of an earlier failure.

The jubilant duo declined the chance of winning the title outright by turning down a jump-off.

For Barshim, 30, it completes a full house of Olympic medals having taken bronze in London in 2012 and silver in Rio five years ago.

Barshim missed a large part of 2018 with a serious ankle injury, bouncing back to win world outdoor gold on home soil in 2019.

"This is a dream I don't want to wake up from," he said. "I have been through a lot. It's been five years that I have been waiting, with injuries and a lot of set-backs.

"But we are here today sharing this moment and all the sacrifices. It's really worth it now in this moment."

Elsewhere at the Games, a few hours before Barshim, it was another first for Qatar after weightlifter Faris Ibrahim El-Bakh won the country's first ever gold medal in the Men's 96kg weightlifting competition.

His historic achievement came after lifting a total of 402kg, which set a new Olympic record in the process.

Venezuelan Villanilla Sanchez finished second whilst while the bronze went to Georgian Plisnoll Anton.

* With AFP


Egypt suffers double defeat in Olympic Table Tennis Team competitions

The men’s duo of Ahmed Saleh and Khalid Assar (pictured) went down 3-0 (11-4,11-7,11-3) in 16 minutes to the powerful Chinese pairing of Long Ma and Xin Xu. (AFP)
The men’s duo of Ahmed Saleh and Khalid Assar (pictured) went down 3-0 (11-4,11-7,11-3) in 16 minutes to the powerful Chinese pairing of Long Ma and Xin Xu. (AFP)
Updated 01 August 2021

Egypt suffers double defeat in Olympic Table Tennis Team competitions

The men’s duo of Ahmed Saleh and Khalid Assar (pictured) went down 3-0 (11-4,11-7,11-3) in 16 minutes to the powerful Chinese pairing of Long Ma and Xin Xu. (AFP)
  • Two 3-0 losses eliminates the men's and women's teams from Tokyo 2020 ahead of Monday’s quarterfinals

DUBAI: Egypt’s men and women suffered straight-games defeats in their respective Table Tennis Team Round of 16 matches to exit Tokyo 2020 at the Japanese capital’s Metropolitan Gymnasium on Sunday.

The Egyptian women’s team of Yousra Helmy and Farah Abdelziz lost 3-0 (11-8, 13-11, 11-6) to Daniela Dodean and Elizabeta Samara of Romania at Table 3 in the morning session.

In the afternoon session, the men’s duo of Ahmed Saleh and Khalid Assar also went down 3-0 (11-4,11-7,11-3) in 16 minutes to the powerful Chinese pairing of Long Ma and Xin Xu.


ArcelorMittal takes over TAQA’s JESCO

ArcelorMittal takes over TAQA’s JESCO
Updated 01 August 2021

ArcelorMittal takes over TAQA’s JESCO

ArcelorMittal takes over TAQA’s JESCO
  • With the deal, JESCO’s 100 percent ownership has been transferred to AMTPJ

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Industrialization and Energy Service Co. (TAQA) on Sunday sold all its shares in Jubail Energy Services Co. (JESCO) to ArcelorMittal Tubular Products Jubail (AMTPJ).
With the deal, JESCO’s 100 percent ownership has been transferred to AMTPJ, TAQA said in an emailed statement, without disclosing the value of the deal.
Commenting on the sale of stocks, TAQA Chairman Ahmed Al-Zahrani said: “The divestiture of JESCO is in line with TAQA’s 2021 strategy to become a major player in Vision 2030 realization by maximizing the value of local investment and creating a more diverse and sustainable economy. The transaction will result in a much stronger industry in the steel sector serving not only the Kingdom but also the rest of the world.”
The company’s mandate is to lead the way in localizing industries in the Kingdom, supplying specialized equipment, and development of oil and gas resources in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA).
TAQA CEO Khalid Nouh said: “The divestiture of non-core businesses such as JESCO allows TAQA to expand its portfolio through acquisitions of additional services and technologies.” 


Bitcoin tops $41,000 as cryptocurrencies rally after weeks-long downtrend

Bitcoin tops $41,000 as cryptocurrencies rally after weeks-long downtrend
Updated 01 August 2021

Bitcoin tops $41,000 as cryptocurrencies rally after weeks-long downtrend

Bitcoin tops $41,000 as cryptocurrencies rally after weeks-long downtrend
  • Bitcoin is currently trading above $41,000 and up more than 15 percent over the past week

RIYADH: Bitcoin, the leading cryptocurrency in trading internationally, traded higher on Sunday, rising by 0.02 percent to $41,447.73 at 4:41 p.m Riyadh time.

Ether, the second most traded cryptocurrency, traded at $2,580.98.76, up 5.33 percent, according to data from Coindesk.

Here is a rundown of major crypto news:

Bitcoin is currently trading above $41,000 and up more than 15 percent over the past week. The uptrend continues after the massive sell-off in May and two months of consolidation above the $30K support level, according to CoinDesk.

Germany plans to allow some institutional funds to invest billions of dollars in crypto assets for the first time, Bloomberg has reported.

A law effective Monday will allow so-called Spezialfonds with fixed investment rules to put up to 20 percent of their holdings in Bitcoin and other crypto assets. The funds, which can only be accessed by institutional investors, currently manage about $2.1 trillion.

“Most funds will initially stay well below the 20%,” said Tim Kreutzmann, an expert on crypto assets at BVI, Germany’s fund industry body.

In Ukraine, President Volodymyr Zelensky has signed the Law on Payment Services adopted by the Verkhovna Rada on June 30, the President's administration announced this week.

The new legislation aims to “modernize and further develop” the payment services market, and encourage innovation in the financial sector, according to a press statement.

The National Bank of Ukraine has also given the power to issue its own digital currency.

In an interview with Bloomberg on Thursday, Henri Arslanian, crypto leader at accounting and financial services firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC), explained that crypto firms have high valuations due to the entry of major investors.

He mentioned investment firms and family offices are backed by major venture capitalists, private equity funds, and even some pension funds, and noted smaller venture capital firms are not satisfied with the trend.

Over to the US, Lael Brainard, a member of the Federal Reserve Board of Governors, highlighted the urgent need to develop a digital dollar, speaking to the Aspen Institute’s Economic Strategies Group on Friday.

He cited several reasons for creating a digital version of the US dollar, while the central bank agreed that it will have both international and domestic applications.