‘The Taste’ comes to the Middle East

‘The Taste’ comes to the Middle East
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‘The Taste’ comes to the Middle East
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‘The Taste’ comes to the Middle East
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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.

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Air Arabia eyes further cost cuts after first quarter profits falls by half

Air Arabia eyes further cost cuts after first quarter profits falls by half
Updated 40 sec ago

Air Arabia eyes further cost cuts after first quarter profits falls by half

Air Arabia eyes further cost cuts after first quarter profits falls by half
DUBAI: Air Arabia reported a 52 percent fall in first quarter net profit to 34 million dirhams ($9.25 million) as the pandemic continued to weigh on regional air travel.
Revenues fell by more than a third to 572 million dirhams, compared to a year earlier, the airline said in a statement on Sunday.
“The impact of COVID-19 pandemic on the global aviation industry remains material and of a changing nature, nonetheless, we have full confidence in the fundamentals and the strength of the aviation industry worldwide as well as the crucial role air travel will play in supporting regional and global economic recovery,” said Sheikh Abdullah Bin Mohamed Al-Thani, chairman of Air Arabia. “While we remain hopeful that air travel restrictions will ease with the increasing rate of vaccination drives across key markets, Air Arabia remains focused on adopting further measures to control costs and support business continuity during this period while we continue to resume operations where possible.”
Regional carriers have struggled to boost passengers numbers amid continuing travel restrictions and a resurgence of the virus in countries such as India which has traditionally strong air travel links with the Gulf.
More than 1.3 million passengers flew with Air Arabia between January and March 2021 across the carrier’s five hubs while the airline’s average seat load factor – or passengers carried as a percentage of available seats – during the first three months of 2021 stood at 77 percent.

Boats carrying hundreds of migrants arrive in Italy’s Lampedusa

Boats carrying hundreds of migrants arrive in Italy’s Lampedusa
Updated 17 min 26 sec ago

Boats carrying hundreds of migrants arrive in Italy’s Lampedusa

Boats carrying hundreds of migrants arrive in Italy’s Lampedusa
  • About 400 migrants of various nationalities got off one of the boats, a drifting fishing vessel
  • Another boat carrying 325 people was intercepted eight miles off Lampedusa

MILAN: Seven boats packed with hundreds of migrants arrived on the southern Italian island of Lampedusa on Sunday, and officials said more people were expected as the weather improved.
More than 1,000 people got off the vessels at Lampedusa, one of the main landing points for people trying to get across the Mediterranean into Europe, ANSA news agency said.
“Migrants arrivals are resuming alongside good weather,” Lampedusa’s mayor Toto Martello told state broadcaster RAI. “We need to restart discussions about the immigration issue.”
Numbers in recent years have been down from 2015-2017, when Europe took in hundreds of thousands of migrants, many of them fleeing poverty and conflict across Africa and the Middle East.
But the issue still sharply divides European governments and has fueled anti-immigration sentiment and parties across the continent.
Matteo Salvini, the leader of Italy’s far-right League party, called on Prime Minister Mario Draghi to tackle the issue.
“With millions of Italians facing difficulties, we cannot care for thousands of illegal migrants,” he wrote on Twitter.
Some of the boats were intercepted off the coast of the Mediterranean island by the Italian tax police, who deal with financial crime and smuggling, ANSA said.
About 400 migrants of various nationalities got off one of the boats, a drifting fishing vessel, the agency reported.
Another boat carrying 325 people was intercepted eight miles off Lampedusa, the agency added.


Saudi Arabia to announce operational plans for this year’s Hajj based on health controls

Saudi Arabia to announce operational plans for this year’s Hajj based on health controls
Updated 29 min 1 sec ago

Saudi Arabia to announce operational plans for this year’s Hajj based on health controls

Saudi Arabia to announce operational plans for this year’s Hajj based on health controls

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Hajj and Umrah said it will announce operational plans for this year’s Hajj pilgrimage the details of which will be determined by health controls and standards.
Developing...


Fire erupts in engine of tanker near Syrian coast

Fire erupts in engine of tanker near Syrian coast
Updated 49 min 40 sec ago

Fire erupts in engine of tanker near Syrian coast

Fire erupts in engine of tanker near Syrian coast

CAIRO: A small fire has occurred in one of the engines of a tanker off the coast of Syria's Mediterranean port of Banias, state media said.

More to follow ...


Elon Musk says he is first SNL host with Asperger’s syndrome

Elon Musk says he is first SNL host with Asperger’s syndrome
Updated 09 May 2021

Elon Musk says he is first SNL host with Asperger’s syndrome

Elon Musk says he is first SNL host with Asperger’s syndrome
  • Crypto comments move Dogecoin price
  • Musk has previously drawn criticism for mocking SEC

WASHINGTON: Elon Musk kicked off his “Saturday Night Live” debut by declaring himself to be the first person with Asperger’s syndrome to host the US comedy sketch show.
“Or at least, the first person to admit it,” he said.
In his opening monologue, the eccentric tech entrepreneur behind Tesla and SpaceX offered an explanation for some of his past eyebrow-raising behavior.
“Look, I know I say or post strange things but that’s just how my brain works. To anyone I’ve offended I just want to say, I reinvented electric cars and I’m sending people to Mars in a rocket ship,” he said. “Did you think I was also going to be a chill, normal dude?“
Musk has previously drawn criticism for moves like publicly mocking the US Securities and Exchange Commission and calling a cave diver who rescued boys trapped in Thailand a “pedo guy.”
But on SNL, the billionaire took swipes at his own expense.
And of course, as a big booster of cryptocurrencies, he once again enumerated the benefits of dogecoin.
Pressed on what exactly dogecoin is, Musk called the cryptocurrency — which now has a market value of around $72 billion — “an unstoppable vehicle that’s going to take over the world.”
But then he agreed that actually “it’s a hustle.”
For the second time in a week, the world’s second-richest person seemed to drive the value of the digital asset. Not long after its recent surge after Musk’s Twitter endorsement, it was sent on a brief tailspin during his SNL performance.
It dropped to as low as 49 cents during the broadcast after a pre-show high of about 74 cents, according to CoinDesk.
During the show, cast members wondered aloud why exactly the tech billionaire would want to join their set.
With a segment of a Chinese rocket re-entering Earth’s atmosphere around the time of the live broadcast, they concluded that the spaceman “needed an alibi.”