Italian chef delivers risotto masterclass at Saudi Feast Food Festival

Italian chef delivers risotto masterclass at Saudi Feast Food Festival
Italian chef Valerio Cabri said hosting the class was a dream come true, adding it was a privilege to represent his country in the Kingdom. (AN Photo Huda Bashatah)
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Updated 05 December 2023
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Italian chef delivers risotto masterclass at Saudi Feast Food Festival

Italian chef delivers risotto masterclass at Saudi Feast Food Festival
  • Representing his country ‘the dream of my life,’ Valerio Cabri says
  • Chef had earlier taken part in episode of ‘Dinner Incredible’ in AlUla

RIYADH: Italian chef Valerio Cabri hosted a masterclass on how to make the perfect risotto at the Saudi Feast Food Festival.

Representing ALMA, the Italian School of Culinary Arts, located at the heart of Italy’s so-called food valley in Parma, he said: “We are here to represent Italy and our school for a couple of events starting from the Ritz Carlton in which we had a competition with Saudi Arabian students making a risotto.”

The aim of the workshop was to present a typical Italian recipe and highlight two of its best-loved products, Parmigiano Reggiano and Balsamic vinegar of Modena, both of which are classed as protected designation of origin products.

“The masterclass was a success,” Cabri said. “The guests understood the consistency that we want from risotto because risotto is very creamy and is like what we say in Italian ‘wave risotto.’ It’s very creamy, not liquidy, not sticky. It is even difficult for an Italian chef to make a good risotto.”

Hosting the class was a dream come true for the chef, who said it was a privilege to represent his country in the Kingdom.

“I feel so honored, it’s like the dream of my life,” he said. “I am 40 years old now here in this country. So important and so far away from home. I felt like representing my family, honoring my country and I feel like bringing the heritage of my country to an amazing place like this, in which I found a kind of kindness that I probably never seen before.”

The chef’s visit started in AlUla, where he took part in a project hosted by the Royal Protocol of Saudi Arabia and the founder of Dinner incredible, which involved 12 world starred chefs presenting traditional Saudi recipes in contemporary way.

The main goal of the organizers, Giorgio Diana (CEO Dinner Incredible) and Daniele Chiari (Chef of Royal protocol) was to spread around the globe Saudi culinary traditions supporting small producers and local sustainability. 

“The experience was amazing because it was a dinner in the middle of AlUla canyons, where the chefs cooked inside three mobile kitchens well equipped. The dining under the sky made this meal extraordinary, with chefs serving the food to the guests and interacting with them personally. Chefs love challenges and adventures and i can say that this was a truly unforgettable experience”. Cabri said.

He said he was delighted to have come such a long way in his 20 years as a chef. But things were not always easy.

“At the beginning, it’s very hard, you don’t have fun, you don’t enjoy it that much. The suggestion is to keep going, to keep pushing, to take care of yourself, to honor yourself.

“The fun time will come after. If you are talented, it is impossible to recognize immediately. So, you have to go on even if it’s very hard, if you don’t go on, you won’t discover, no matter if you are talented or not. So the point is to enjoy every time you are cooking even if it’s hard.”

Cabri said the main ingredients for anyone thinking about pursuing a career in cooking were passion and practice.

“If you put everything of yourself, of your art, of your soul in what you do, if you want to be a Michelin star famous chef you have to be talented and a bit of a genius.”

The Saudi Feast Food Festival at the King Saud University in Riyadh showcases the best of Saudi cuisine, including regional specialties. Organized by the Saudi Culinary Arts Commission, it runs until Saturday.


Yanbu festival honors King Salman, breaks world record

Yanbu festival honors King Salman, breaks world record
Updated 27 February 2024
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Yanbu festival honors King Salman, breaks world record

Yanbu festival honors King Salman, breaks world record
  • In honor of Saudi Arabia’s King Salman, the record-breaking floral arrangement read ‘Salman’ made from 19,464 roses
  • Saudi calligrapher Hani Mehalawi: ‘I am delighted to be part of this work and set this new world record which honors our beloved king’

JEDDAH: Yanbu has set a new Guinness World Record for the largest flower word displayed at the Flower and Garden Festival 2024, which started recently and runs until March 9.

In honor of Saudi Arabia’s King Salman, the record-breaking floral arrangement read “Salman” made from 19,464 roses.

In collaboration with Jubail and Yanbu Industrial Cities Services Co., the masterpiece, which was completed on Feb. 13 by Saudi calligrapher Hani Mehalawi, stood 16 meters wide and six meters tall and is a magnificent work of art.

The entire procedure was overseen by official adjudicators from Guinness World Records, who examined every part of the record attempt from beginning to end.

Mehalawi spoke to Arab News and expressed his joy and happiness in writing the largest flower word. “This feat showed our dedication to our King. With the message behind this initiative being especially close to our hearts, I am indeed delighted to be part of this huge work and set this new world record which honors our beloved king.”

He explained that it took over three days to complete the monumental task of assembling the world’s largest flower word.

“It was a very happy moment for me when the officials of the Flower and Garden Festival asked me to do the work in  short notice but I managed to finish it within few days. My part was to write the name and they filled it with flowers,” he added.

This year’s Flower and Garden Festival also featured the world’s largest flower basket, with 127,224 natural white and red petunia flowers, as well as the world’s largest illuminated flower garden, with a total of 250,000 illuminated flowers. The biennial celebration also featured the largest recyclable vehicle (a space rocket) with a total length of 30,364 meters.


Saudi crown prince receives Ukraine president in Riyadh

Saudi crown prince receives Ukraine president in Riyadh
Updated 5 sec ago
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Saudi crown prince receives Ukraine president in Riyadh

Saudi crown prince receives Ukraine president in Riyadh

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman received the President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky in Riyadh on Tuesday.

The president said he was in the Kingdom “to continue our regular dialogue with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.”

Zelensky wrote on social media platform X that he would discuss prisoners of war and deportees with the crown prince.

“The Kingdom’s leadership has already contributed to the release of our people. I am confident that this meeting will also yield results,” he wrote. 

The president added that he will discuss “promising areas of economic cooperation and Saudi Arabia’s involvement in Ukraine’s reconstruction.”


KSrelief, UN officials hold talks on volunteer programs

KSrelief, UN officials hold talks on volunteer programs
Updated 27 February 2024
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KSrelief, UN officials hold talks on volunteer programs

KSrelief, UN officials hold talks on volunteer programs

RIYADH: Officials from Saudi Arabia’s aid agency, KSrelief, and the UN held talks on their respective volunteer programs in Riyadh on Tuesday.

Ali bin Saad Al-Qarni, director of volunteer programs at KSrelief, met with Niels Knudsen, who is the external communications chief for the UN Volunteers program. There were several UN officials present at the meeting.

Al-Qarni said KSrelief has 597 volunteer projects running in 40 countries across the world, which cover health, education, and vocational training.

The projects have benefited more than 1.5 million people.

Al-Qarni also highlighted KSrelief’s efforts in developing the skills of volunteers and humanitarian workers in needy countries around the globe.

Knudsen and Al-Qarni held discussions on future areas of cooperation.


Saudi source denies reports that commerce minister met Israeli counterpart

Saudi source denies reports that commerce minister met Israeli counterpart
Updated 27 February 2024
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Saudi source denies reports that commerce minister met Israeli counterpart

Saudi source denies reports that commerce minister met Israeli counterpart

RIYADH: An official Saudi source denied on Monday allegations circulating on social media platforms regarding a meeting between Majid Al-Qasabi, Minister of Commerce, and an Israeli occupation official, Saudi Press Agency reported.

The same source said in a statement carried by SPA that the video circulated was while Al-Qasabi was standing with his Nigerian counterpart, prior to the opening of the thirteenth Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organization in Abu Dhabi.

“The individual shook (the Saudi minister’s) hand and then was introduced, without (Al-Qasabi’s) prior knowledge,” the source told SPA.

This was followed by Israeli media reports claiming that the two discussed peace between Saudi Arabia and Israel, with one Israeli outlet running a picture of the two under the heading: “Israeli minister and Saudi counterpart shake hands and discuss ‘making history together.’”

The source also affirmed to SPA Saudi Arabia’s firm position on the Palestinian issue and its steadfast support for the Palestinian people against Israeli aggression.


King Salman given award for services to Arab security

Saudi Interior Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Saud receives the award on behalf of King Salman in Tunis. (SPA)
Saudi Interior Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Saud receives the award on behalf of King Salman in Tunis. (SPA)
Updated 26 February 2024
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King Salman given award for services to Arab security

Saudi Interior Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Saud receives the award on behalf of King Salman in Tunis. (SPA)
  • The award was received by the Kingdom’s Interior Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Saud
  • Interior minister said the council is keen to achieve stability and development in the Arab world

RIYADH: King Salman was given the Prince Naif Award for Arab Security on Monday for his services to the security of the Arab community, Saudi Press Agency reported.

The Arab Interior Ministers Council conferred the award and it was received by the Kingdom’s Interior Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Saud in Tunis during a council meeting.  

The minister said the meeting was being held at a time when the Palestinian people are experiencing an unstable security situation which has caused the suffering of thousands of children, women, and the elderly. 

He said that the council, since its inception, is keen to achieve security for Arabs and bring about stability and development.

Prince Abdulaziz said the world is witnessing developments in cyber crime, the misuse of artificial intelligence, and advanced drug trafficking methods. 

These developments have “created fertile ground for the spread of multiple types of organized crime,” armed organizations, and terrorist groups which requires developing plans to invest in infrastructure and support development, education, and capacity building to confront these threats. 

He added that Arab coordination to deal with these threats is important in order to mitigate the possible negative repercussions from such threats.