Startup of the Week: Saudi chef introduces art of Italian pizza making in the Kingdom

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Updated 14 September 2020

Startup of the Week: Saudi chef introduces art of Italian pizza making in the Kingdom

  • Italian pizzas are very different from their US counterparts

JEDDAH: To many of us, a pizza may just be a round and flattened base of dough topped with tomatoes, cheese, and other items of our choice. A true pizza lover will, however, scoff at this simple description of the classic Italian savory dish.

Those truly in love with pizza can easily tell you, without taking a bite, whether strict preparation guidelines were followed or not. Some are particular to the extent that they insist on having a pizza prepared according to the Italian standard.

Today, a variety of pizzas are available at various outlets but Italian pizzas especially are very much in demand and the Neapolitan pizza tops the chart. It appears to be so simple, but has some very strict preparation guidelines starting from the dough to the wood-fired oven.

Abdulaziz Salamah, a Saudi pizza chef who founded Pizzeria Dough, is considered a pioneer. He is one of the few pizza chefs who has learned the art of pizza making from Parma, Italy. Salamah is considered a specialist in Neapolitan pizzas and is also the first Saudi to win the world cup prize in a pizza-making competition in 2018.

In a bid to introduce Jeddah residents to the authentic taste of Italian pizzas, Salamah launched his restaurant in late 2019. The most popular items on the menu of his restaurant include the romana and Neapolitan pizzas.

“The smell of fresh burrata cheese, basil, tomato sauce, and the wood-fired oven has always inspired me as a chef,” he told Arab News. “I wanted to transform the real essence of the Italian experience to people in the Kingdom and guarantee the authentic Italian taste.”

Italian pizzas are very different from their US counterparts. They are lighter and made of Italian flour. Italian pizza dough is fermented for 24 hours and is free of oil and sugar, and its toppings contain tomato sauce and buffalo mozzarella cheese that is made from natural skimmed milk.

“An Italian pizza always has less cheese but people here are mostly in love with pizzas loaded with cheese. However, I decided to balance this thing at Pizzeria Dough. I also offer classic Italian pizza and other creative customized pizza,” Salamah added.

He has also received training from chef Samah, the main chef at Rossopomodoro restaurant in Jeddah.

“I love the wood-fired oven and the taste of the original napoletana pizza starting from the dough and tomato sauce to buffalo mozzarella cheese. Thanks to chef Samah who taught me a lot of pizza-making skills.”

Salamah has over 15 years of experience in the industry, working as a chef for 10 years with two Jeddah-based restaurants.

Salamah said he believed in exploring new avenues, adding he had overcome many challenging situations in his career with “persistence and determination.”

He said it was necessary to study one’s project keenly, assess the market requirements and equip oneself with the skills that gave you an edge over others.

“Learn from the previous mistakes and stand up for your project until you get there.”


What We Are Doing Today: Box by Sara

Updated 18 September 2020

What We Are Doing Today: Box by Sara

If you enjoy eating freshly cut herbs with your food or simply like the idea of growing plants, Box by Sara may be perfect for you. It is a Saudi project that aims to make indoor planting easy and accessible to everyone.
The box is like a tiny garden — you can put it anywhere in your house and all the materials to grow your favorite seeds into plants are provided, including a mixing pot, soil bags, seeds, wooden sticks, a water sprayer and instruction card. The seeds provided are for growing culinary herbs including cilantro, parsley, dill and basil. The herbs make a great addition to salads, soups and or Italian dishes, and they are easy to grow indoors and in any weather.
You can place them in your kitchen window as they require light to flourish. The seeds will start to grow in one to two weeks.
Having an indoor plant, the process of planting seeds and watching them grow will help you to feel more connected with nature.
This box is an ideal gift for children and adults, family and friends. The greens box is available at salla.sa/boxbysarah