Abdulrahman Abumalih, Saudi entrepreneur, business executive and editor

Abdulrahman Abumalih
Updated 13 June 2019

Abdulrahman Abumalih, Saudi entrepreneur, business executive and editor

Abdulrahman Abumalih is a young Saudi entrepreneur CEO and editor-in-chief of Riyadh-based production company Thmanyah, which he founded in 2016.

Abumalih is also the founder, producer and host of “Fnjan,” a Saudi podcast that managed to expand to a global audience, covering a wide range of topics.

The “Fnjan” podcast, started in 2014, now falls under the umbrella of Thmanyah, and its 135-plus episodes have attracted more than 13 million views.

Between 2012 and 2016, Abumalih was editor-in-chief of Arabic online news service, Onehas, offering daily updates on the digital, social media, technology, entertainment and mobile industries.

He also worked as head of web development at Dammam College of Technology between 2008 and 2009, helping to set up and develop the college’s website. 

Abumalih holds a bachelor’s degree in software engineering from Arizona State University, in the US, and gained an associate degree in computer programing from Dammam College of Technology. 

In an exclusive interview with Arab News, Abumalih spoke about the growth of the podcasting culture in the region.

“Now we can see academic studies about podcasts in Saudi, the Gulf, and the Arab region,” he said. “We see official organizations and companies that are getting into the world of podcasts like the King Abdul Aziz Center for World Culture, and Misk. As long as there are people driving, cooking, working, and traveling, there will always be podcast listeners.”


LA Italian eatery Madeo delights the palate in Riyadh Season pop-up

Updated 15 December 2019

LA Italian eatery Madeo delights the palate in Riyadh Season pop-up

  • Despite minor setbacks he faced while setting up, Vietina considers the experience to be a positive one

RIYADH: Renowned Italian restaurant Madeo has opened up in Al-Murabba for Riyadh Season. 

The pop-up has started brightly, and head chef Gianni Vietina invited Arab News to sample the menu and chat about his experience.

Vietina, in Saudi Arabia for the first time, said that he loved the location he had set up in, and was very happy to be opening up in the Kingdom. 

“The location is gorgeous. At night, with all the lights on, the music going, it’s very nice.”

Despite minor setbacks he faced while setting up, Vietina considers the experience to be a positive one and that the response was even better than he had expected. 

“Like anything new, you have quests, you have problems. Up to now, we’re doing pretty good. We are up and running. We’re comfortable now, which is a shame as we’re leaving pretty soon,” he said.

He added that he would repeat the experience in a heartbeat if he could: “They were nice enough to ask me to stay in Saudi a little longer, but I can’t. I need to go back home. But I would love to come back.”

He said that while he was not planning to open up a permanent restaurant in Saudi Arabia, he would not rule it out completely.  “I’ve been offered options, and friends have offered to show me locations while I’m here, but I can’t do it right now, I just opened a new restaurant two months ago,” he said.

“I chose the dishes that I know that most of the Saudis that visit my restaurant in Los Angeles like.”

Gianni Vietina, Head chef of Madeo

The pop-up’s menu contains most of what the original restaurant offers, including his ever-popular penne amadeo and spaghetti bolognese, with the chefs using a combination of imported and locally sourced ingredients. 

“I chose the dishes that I know that most of the Saudis that visit my restaurant in Los Angeles like,” he told Arab News.

For the pop-up, Vietina has stuck to using halal and alcohol-free ingredients. 

“It was challenging at the beginning. But the bolognese at Amadeo doesn’t contain pork, and I realized after we tried cooking without wine that almost nothing changed. I actually prefer it,” he said.

Madeo is a favorite of Saudis visiting Los Angeles, with Vietina going so far as to describe the restaurant as a “Little Riyadh” on most evenings between July and September. 

He even recognizes some of the customers who have come into the Riyadh pop-up, and always stops over to greet them.

Upon sampling the menu, it’s easy to see why the food at Madeo has remained popular all these years. 

The eggplant parmigiana is a perfect blend of crusty cheese and silky smooth eggplant, with hints of basil and rosemary. 

The bolognese is rich, meaty and decadent, without being too heavy and greasy. And the penne Amadeo, which Vietina has been eating since his childhood, is a timeless classic of crushed tomato, basil, finished off with butter and Parmigiano Reggiano for a creamy, rich flavor.