Recipe for Success: Saudi chef Rakan Al-Oraifi shares a dessert recipe for Saudi National Day

Recipe for Success: Saudi chef Rakan Al-Oraifi shares a dessert recipe for Saudi National Day
Al-Oraifi was hailed “Best Saudi Chef” at the 2018 Saudi Excellence in Tourism Awards. (Supplied)
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Updated 23 September 2022

Recipe for Success: Saudi chef Rakan Al-Oraifi shares a dessert recipe for Saudi National Day

Recipe for Success: Saudi chef Rakan Al-Oraifi shares a dessert recipe for Saudi National Day
  • The Saudi chef mastered his culinary skills in California and is now in Paris to perfect his pastry techniques
  • Rakan Al-Oraifi shares a special dessert recipe for Saudi National Day

DUBAI: Rising Saudi culinary star and TV presenter Rakan Al-Oraifi was one semester into getting his masters degree in marketing when he decided he wanted to pursue his lifelong love of food more seriously. A culinary diploma from California later, Al-Oraifi returned to Saudi Arabia to take the local food scene by storm.

Among the many accolades he has received, Al-Oraifi was hailed “Best Saudi Chef” at the 2018 Saudi Excellence in Tourism Awards and has worked in several international restaurants over the years. He has also taken part in several international cooking competitions, including “Top Chef Middle East” season two.

In his work, Al-Oraifi especially likes to explore traditional Saudi cuisine, but infused with modern elements. His earliest memory of cooking goes back to making dolma with his mother. “It is a dish I have been preparing since I was six. It was challenging to prepare it as a young kid, but I would always prepare it with my mom over the years and eventually learned to prepare it on my own,” said Al-Oraifi in an interview with Arab News.




Deep Fried Date Salad. (Supplied)

While he was last executive chef at Maiz in Diryah Gate, the 33-year-old is now in Paris to perfect the art of making pastries.

To celebrate Saudi National Day, Al-Oraifi will feature in an online cooking series for Fatafeat where he will use his experience with Middle Eastern cuisines to share recipes with Saudi flavours at their heart.

Here, Al-Oraifi talks to Arab News about his favorite cuisines, his go-to quick-dinner fix and restaurant faux pas.

When you started out as a professional, what was the most common mistake you made when preparing/cooking a dish?
A common mistake is copying the techniques of other chefs, which could get confusing at some point. You can get inspired, but it is important to find your own culinary style and technique.




Baked Qursan. (Supplied)

What’s your top tip for amateur chefs cooking at home?
It is important for every chef to have a sharp knife. Aside from making the cooking preparation process easier and smoother, it is less likely to injure you. Dull knives are actually more dangerous.

What one ingredient can instantly improve any dish?
Salt is a fundamental ingredient because it enhances and elevates the flavour of any dish.

When you go out to eat, do you find yourself critiquing the food? What’s the most common mistake/issue that you find in other restaurants?
I am usually critical of food temperature because it also indicates the efficiency of the service. For me, the most important thing is getting my food warm and freshly made. I do not like it when I receive the food cold.

When you go out to eat, what’s your favorite cuisine/dish to order? 
Usually, I like French and Japanese cuisine, and some restaurants do a fusion of both, which is even better. French cuisine involves a certain technique while Japanese cuisine requires a particular skill, and I think these just mesh well together.




Meleyaha Wrap. (Supplied)

What’s your go-to dish if you have to cook something quickly at home, say in 20 minutes? 
Pasta is a go-to for me. Even when you create the sauce and pasta dough from scratch, it normally doesn’t take more than 30 minutes. It also offers flexibility and versatility, you can customise it as you want, with your choice of creams and cheese, for example.

What request/behavior by customers most annoys you? 
Because I know the amount of time and effort that goes into every dish, I’m not a fan of customers who dine hastily and do not take the time to enjoy the food. In my opinion, you need at least 60 minutes to appreciate and enjoy your meal, especially if it’s a three-course dining experience.

As a head chef, what are you like? Are you a disciplinarian? Do you shout a lot? Or are you more laidback?
I’m cool 80 percent of the time. Keeping a level head is important in managing a kitchen properly and dealing with customers. You’ll just have better judgment overall.

What’s the most difficult dish for you to get right (whether on your current menu or not)?
Pastry is actually tricky for me. Unlike cooking dishes where you can be spontaneous and rely on your own senses and feelings, pastries require specific measurements and strictly following techniques. Because of this, I am currently in France to study the art of French pastry and improve my skills.

DESSERT ERYKAH RECIPE FROM CHEF RAKAN AL-ORAIFI




(Supplied)

INGREDIENTS
2 cups wheat flour
2.5 cups water
5 gm salt
50 gm ghee
50 gm honey
30 gm brown sugar
30 gm butter
10 gm soft dates
20 gm honeycomb

INSTRUCTIONS
1. In a dough mixer, add the dry ingredients with wheat flour and salt, then mix gently.
2. Pour room temperature water. Keep mixing until thoroughly combined.
3. In a hot pan or flat grill, melt ghee, then pour the mixture using a 200 ml ladle.
4. Let it cook for a few minutes until the front side bubbles.
5. Flip the dough and cook it for a few minutes; the texture must be very soft. 
6. Mix the bread in a dough mixer until you reach a hard, smooth texture.
7. Shape them using your hand, then stuff them with date paste.
8. Melt ghee and honey, then pour it over the bread. 
9. Garnish with a small piece of honeycomb then serve.


Arab models Nora Attal, Nour Rizk grace Chanel runway in Paris

Arab models Nora Attal, Nour Rizk grace Chanel runway in Paris
Nour Rizk showed off Chanel's latest line in Paris. (Getty Images)
Updated 04 October 2022

Arab models Nora Attal, Nour Rizk grace Chanel runway in Paris

Arab models Nora Attal, Nour Rizk grace Chanel runway in Paris

DUBAI: British Moroccan model Nora Attal and Lebanese rising star Nour Rizk walked the runway for French fashion house Chanel at Paris Fashion Week on Tuesday, showing off a number of looks as part of the label’s Spring-Summer 2023 showcase.

For her part, Rizk took to the runway in a ruffled halter neck top paired with sharply pressed knee-length shorts. Attal’s look was a similarly ruffled buttoned mini dress with a sailor collar in a summer-ready shade of white.

Nora Attal walked the runway for Chanel at Paris Fashion Week. (Getty Images)

The ensembled were part of a 71-piece collection designed by the fashion house’s creative director Virginie Viard.

The day before her outing with Chanel, Attal hit the runway for luxury label Lanvin.

Designer Bruno Sialelli was in a more low-key mood than usual in the saleable spring collection featuring neat, unfussy looks that on the whole packed no surprises — like an alabaster tuxedo jacket with square shoulders and fraying hems, or a ruched medieval-style top with tubular sleeves.

The creative energy luckily picked up toward the end of the co-ed show, The Associated Press reported.

A great series of corset-cum-lingerie silk babydoll looks in pastel shades were the highlight and played with the idea of transparencies. They were accessorized with bejeweled sheer fabric in the shape of a cloche hat that covered the model’s face.

After several years in the fashion wilderness, France’s oldest continually operating fashion house continues to have a spring in its step with the renewed direction of this French designer.

Attal also made an appearance at the Hermes show as artistic director Nadege Vanhee-Cybulski seized on the vibes of the Burning Man Festival, adding swirls of color and utilitarian touches to a sleek spring and summer collection sent down the runway on Saturday to techno beats.

“A rave in the desert,” announced show notes, according to Reuters.

The first look was classic Hermes: a pale, tan leather shirt and trouser ensemble, the top with a collar and wide sleeves, while pant legs were gently cinched at the bottom.

A burst of russet-colored looks came later, followed by silky dresses in large patches of orange and pink, garments crafted from perforated leather and slightly bolder, graphic prints outlined with black.

Tent-like straps lifted panels from hems and decorated bare midriffs, while laces ran up and down seams and a minimalist military-style leather vest had a slim backpack pouch.

Celebrities and international crowds flooded the French capital for Paris Fashion Week, which ended on Tuesday, and marked the fashion industry's sweeping return as the post-pandemic boom in luxury sales continues.

 


Balenciaga taps Syrian wedding singer for Paris Fashion Week after party performance

Balenciaga taps Syrian wedding singer for Paris Fashion Week after party performance
Omar Souleyman's upbeat electronic music won him international fame in recent years. (AFP)
Updated 04 October 2022

Balenciaga taps Syrian wedding singer for Paris Fashion Week after party performance

Balenciaga taps Syrian wedding singer for Paris Fashion Week after party performance

DUBAI: Luxury fashion label Balenciaga tapped famed Syrian wedding singer Omar Souleyman to perform at its after party at Paris Fashion Week.

The label — which is famous for its boundary-pushing, sometimes bizarre creations — hosted a performance by the popular singer at its after show event, which also featured performances by Taxi Kebab and Von Bikräv & Evil Grimace.

Prior to the invite-only event, designer Demna Gvasalia pulled off a stellar showcase of the label’s Sprint/Summer 2023 collection.

Kanye West, now known legally as Ye, walked as a model in the ready-to-wear show.

After beginning his career performing at weddings and other events in northern Syria, Omar Souleyman's upbeat electronic music won him international fame in recent years.

He has released several albums and collaborated with musicians such as Bjork and Four Tet, as well as playing at Britain's Glastonbury Festival and a 2013 concert for the Nobel Peace Prize award.


John Legend to perform as part of Louvre Abu Dhabi’s fifth anniversary celebrations

John Legend to perform as part of Louvre Abu Dhabi’s fifth anniversary celebrations
The singer-songwriter dropped his newest album “Legend” in September. (AFP)
Updated 04 October 2022

John Legend to perform as part of Louvre Abu Dhabi’s fifth anniversary celebrations

John Legend to perform as part of Louvre Abu Dhabi’s fifth anniversary celebrations

DUBAI: In celebration of the Louvre Abu Dhabi’s fifth anniversary, US superstar John Legend is headed to the UAE capital to headline the Louvre Abu Dhabi Grand Festival. The performance is set to take place on Nov.12.

The EGOT musician, who has won Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony awards, is most famous for his soulful tracks like “All of Me,” “Ordinary People” and “Love Me Now.”

The singer-songwriter, who dropped his newest album “Legend” in September, has already performed two sold-out shows in the UAE, at the Dubai Jazz Festival in 2018 and at Dubai's Coca-Cola Arena in 2020.
 

The new album, which boasts foot-tapping tracks like “Guy Like Me,” “Strawberry Blush” and “You,” features collaborations with the likes of Rapsody, Rick Ross, Amber Mark, Jhene Aiko and Ty Dolla $ign. The artist will no doubt perform a number of tracks from the album in Abu Dhabi.

“’Legend’ is full of sensuality, joy and celebration. But our lives are more complex than that. My family and I have also been challenged by loss and grief and pain. I wanted to make space on this album to be vulnerable, spiritual and reflective. I needed this music to help me heal, and to hopefully help others heal. I brought my full self to this album, and that’s why I decided to make it my first (sorta) self-titled album,” Legend posted on his social media about the record.

The Louvre Abu Dhabi Grand Festival will also feature Majid Al-Muhandis – an  Iraqi-Saudi singer and composer, who will take to the stage on Nov. 11. Earlier this year, the singer made waves when Russian supermodel Irina Shayk got a starring role in his music video for the song “Waareftek” (“I Knew You”) from his 2022 album of the same name. Shayk stars as the singer’s love interest in the five-minute-long clip.

On Nov. 13, Egyptian composer, pianist and conductor Omar Khariat will perform as part of the festival. Khairat has composed a number of successful works such as “The Fortune-teller,” “The Magic Perfumes” and “Arabic Rhapsody.”

 


Art exhibition ‘Tales of Nostalgia’ debuts in Riyadh

Art exhibition ‘Tales of Nostalgia’ debuts in Riyadh
Updated 03 October 2022

Art exhibition ‘Tales of Nostalgia’ debuts in Riyadh

Art exhibition ‘Tales of Nostalgia’ debuts in Riyadh
  • Exhibition reflects upon notions of time and memory in an era of rapid change

RIYADH: The Misk Art Institute launched a new exhibition in Riyadh titled “Tales of Nostalgia” on Monday.

The exhibition showcases the works of 12 Saudi and international artists who reflect upon notions of time and memory, and nostalgia, exploring alternate narratives through emergent technologies.

Curated by Marnie Benney and Misk Art Institute assistant curator, Alia Ahmad Alsaud, it will be on display at the Prince Faisal bin Fahd Art Gallery until Jan. 15. 

“‘Tales of Nostalgia’ is both a reflection upon and a conversation about where we are, as a species, in our endless, intertwined relationship with time and technology,” the organizers said. 

Featuring immersive digital soundscapes, the exhibition aims to shed light on an increasingly technological and digitized world, particularly the increasing importance of artificial intelligence and machine learning techniques.

The exhibition will be accompanied by a series of talks, workshops, and opportunities to listen to and engage with participating artists over the course of several days.

 


Middle East Fashion Week set to return to Dubai this November

Middle East Fashion Week set to return to Dubai this November
Updated 03 October 2022

Middle East Fashion Week set to return to Dubai this November

Middle East Fashion Week set to return to Dubai this November

DUBAI: The second edition of Middle East Fashion Week (MEFW), organized by the Middle East Fashion Council (MEFC), is set to take place from Nov. 7-10 at The Agenda in Dubai Media City.

The event will also hold the second edition of the Middle East Sustainable Fashion Forum –  a panel of speakers leading discussions on environmentally responsible and financially viable ways to integrate sustainable practices into the design process and the supply chain.

Keeping this theme in mind, the choice of venue becomes more apparent. The Agenda’s vision is to become the world’s first carbon-negative performance venue. “The sound and lighting industry is historically very power hungry, and coupled with AC and facilities, traditionally a large CO2 footprint would be in place for an event such as this. The Agenda will be using the latest technology to reduce power consumption,” reads a description on the event's official website.

Guests attending the event will be able to see their individual carbon footprint for attending the shows and how it is offset.

Designer applications for Middle East Fashion Week are open until October 10, 2022. To apply, email [email protected]