Chef Wolfgang Puck brings a taste of California to Riyadh

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Wolfgang Puck. (Supplied)
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Wolfgang Puck. (Supplied)
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Wolfgang Puck. (Supplied)
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Wolfgang Puck. (Supplied)
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Wolfgang Puck. (Supplied)
Updated 06 November 2019

Chef Wolfgang Puck brings a taste of California to Riyadh

  • Many of his dishes were inspired by his childhood and his mother’s cooking, particularity the desserts she used to make back in Austria, Puck’s homeland

RIYADH: Riyadh Season has brought an authentic taste of Beverly Hills to the Saudi capital, offering a unique opportunity to try the best Californian delicacies by Los Angeles restaurant Spago, which has opened a pop-up branch as part of the event.
“Saudis from royal family members to business people always come during summertime and Ramadan to Spago,” chef Wolfgang Puck told Arab News at the pop-up kitchen at the Saudi National Museum in Riyadh. “They like our food.”
The restaurant, located at Al-Murabaa zone, offers Puck’s signature dishes, such as haute cuisine pizzas topped with smoked salmon and caviar, and sea bass in puff pastry, in addition to the traditional Austrian dessert Kaiserschmarrn with macerated strawberries.
“One of the reasons we came here was we thought maybe we would find a place for a permanent restaurant here,” said Puck.
“We have had our restaurant in Bahrain for four years now, and it is doing very well at the Four Seasons, so when we received the invitation to come here we thought it was a good chance to come and discover the city.
“Riyadh is so much bigger than Bahrain, which has a very small population. Riyadh is the business and political center of the region, and it would be good for us if we found the right place for our restaurant.”
Puck’s success worldwide is not only due to his talent and business management skills, but also to his eagerness to learn. “I love to learn: I love to experience new things and meet new people from different countries and cultures.”

Riyadh is the business and political center of the region, and it would be good for us if we found the right place for our restaurant.

Wolfgang Puck

Spago is one of Los Angeles’ most iconic restaurants, founded in 1982. It was an instant success and a culinary phenomenon thanks to Puck’s innate talent inherited from his mother and developed at a very young age.
Many of his dishes were inspired by his childhood and his mother’s cooking, particularity the desserts she used to make back in Austria, Puck’s homeland. His recipes have put him and Spago on the gourmet map, not just in Los Angeles but throughout the world.
But even the world’s most glamorous restaurants have to make a special effort to attract customers. “We make bread differently in Bahrain than in London,” Puck said. “In Bahrain, we add some Arabic spices on top of the bread; we also make some different dips like hummus or others with particular spices. So, when people sit down and try our food, they say: ‘Ah! That tastes somehow familiar,’” Puck said.
He adds that he likes tradition, but also likes innovation and change. Although he is keen to maintain his classic signature dishes, he also finds it necessary to bring new choices to the menu regularly.


Misk Initiatives Center signs 12 deals to develop youth talent

Updated 15 November 2019

Misk Initiatives Center signs 12 deals to develop youth talent

  • MoUs with top firms such as Chinese tech giant Huawei, French oil major Total open new opportunities

RIYADH: The Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s Foundation Misk Initiatives Center has signed 12 memorandums of understanding (MoU) on the sidelines of the Misk Global Forum in Riyadh with local and international companies to support and develop youth talent.

Among the companies were the Chinese tech giant Huawei, the French oil firm Total, the Emirati Federal Youth Authority, and the Ministry of Economy and Planning.

The agreements stipulated joint work between the two parties in the fields of talent development in Saudi Arabia and information and communications technology, in accordance with the National Transformation Program 2020 and the Kingdom’s Vision 2030. 

This initiative aims to find ways of cooperation and employment opportunities between the two parties.

The MoU signed between the center and the Emirati Federal Youth Authority provides for the enhancement of joint cooperation in support of youth. 

The two parties will seek to discuss future cooperation, to build a strategic partnership between the two parties in exploring potential cooperative opportunities and setting a framework for such cooperation, in addition to organizing the exchange of technologies and innovations through the joint organization of courses, forums and workshops.

The MoU aims at creating a specialized scientific dialogue between the two parties, conducting joint research at the institutes in the field of entrepreneurship and the skills of the future, considering launching joint initiatives, and examining the possibilities of cooperative programs based on the extensive experience of Misk and the Federal Youth Authority.

Misk’s Initiatives Center agreement with Total will promote joint cooperation, find training opportunities for Saudi talent at the company’s headquarters and facilities, and cooperate on educational programs that support entrepreneurship and an ecosystem for startup companies, especially in the fields of energy and technology.

The Misk Global Forum also witnessed the signing of a MoU with “Hub71” to promote learning and leadership among Saudi youth, and enhance opportunities for joint collaboration, in addition to two MoUs with 500 startups and seed stars “to promote joint cooperation between the two parties, to develop and grow the business of startups and provide them with the necessary
environment.”

Misk also signed a MoU with the Public Institution for Education and Global Leadership to promote joint cooperation and achieve the objectives of both sides, to support innovation initiatives that instill the entrepreneurial mindset of young people, as well as the establishment and organization of entrepreneurship approaches. 

Both parties agreed to focus on exploring potential collaborative opportunities related to the Entrepreneurship World Cup, and establish a competition with competitors coming from 170 countries.

Both parties also agreed to support international competitions aimed at identifying the best solutions in various fields and sectors, as well as exchanging programs on entrepreneurship and innovation.

The center has signed a MoU with the Saudi Industrial Development Fund to discuss the possibility of providing training programs and courses for the center’s employees of the Fund and the relevant authorities. In addition to discussing available opportunities for cooperative training within the Fund, and providing opportunities for participation and contribution of the Fund’s staff in Misk’s programs.

The MoU aims to explore the benefits of existing agreements between the two parties with international financial and educational institutions, in order to find opportunities that provide programs, training and educational courses, and granting cooperative trainings for Saudi youth in those global institutions.

The center also signed a MoU with the Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ISESCO), aiming to enhance joint cooperation on educational technology and its integration into the educational systems in the Islamic world.

An MoU with King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) will enhance the cooperation between the two parties in several initiatives, including academic development, training, entrepreneurship and innovation programs.

An MoU with Endeavor Saudi Arabia will support the Kingdom’s youth, enhance their talents and potential, stimulate economic growth, and find ways of cooperation between the two parties that serve their common interests.

The center’s MoU with the Ministry of Economy and Planning aims to spread awareness, provide new information on the education and training of human resources in the administrative and economic fields, youth empowerment, and coordinate efforts to raise their abilities.

The MoU aims to create cooperative training opportunities in local and international institutions with the purpose of workforce growth in the Kingdom’s economic sector, contributing to the development of national competencies in the economy, policies and procedures, strategic planning, in addition to providing job opportunities for graduates from areas that serve the interests of both parties and support the achievement of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030.