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.


Saudi crown prince, Iraqi PM discuss Middle East escalation

Saudi crown prince, Iraqi PM discuss Middle East escalation
Updated 8 sec ago
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Saudi crown prince, Iraqi PM discuss Middle East escalation

Saudi crown prince, Iraqi PM discuss Middle East escalation

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman spoke with the prime minister of Iraq on Sunday, Saudi Press Agency reported. 

During their phone call, Prince Mohammed and Mohammed Al-Sudani discussed developments in the region and increasing escalation against the backdrop of the crisis in the Gaza Strip and its repercussions.

They also dissussed the importance of making the necessary efforts to prevent the situation from worsening and ways to spare the region from the risks of escalation, SPA added.


Saudi FM receives phone call from Iranian counterpart

Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan and his Iranian counterpart Hossein Amir-Abdollahian. (File/AFP)
Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan and his Iranian counterpart Hossein Amir-Abdollahian. (File/AFP)
Updated 18 min 46 sec ago
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Saudi FM receives phone call from Iranian counterpart

Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan and his Iranian counterpart Hossein Amir-Abdollahian. (File/AFP)

RIYADH: Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan received a phone call from his Iranian counterpart Hossein Amir-Abdollahian on Sunday.

During the call, the officials discussed developments in the region and increasing escalation against the backdrop of the crisis in the Gaza Strip and its repercussions.


Saudi defense minister discusses military escalation in region with US counterpart

Saudi Defense Minister Prince Khalid bin Salman discussed the military escalation in Middle East with US Secretary of Defense.
Saudi Defense Minister Prince Khalid bin Salman discussed the military escalation in Middle East with US Secretary of Defense.
Updated 39 min 4 sec ago
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Saudi defense minister discusses military escalation in region with US counterpart

Saudi Defense Minister Prince Khalid bin Salman discussed the military escalation in Middle East with US Secretary of Defense.

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Defense Minister Prince Khalid bin Salman discussed the military escalation in the Middle East on Sunday with his US counterpart during a phone call.

The call comes after Iran launched a wave of missiles and attack drones against Israel overnight Saturday to Sunday.

Prince Khalid and US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin also discussed efforts to contain the crisis while upholding international peace and security.

The officials also reviewed their strategic defense partnership and explored ways to further enhance it, the Kingdom’s defense minister said in a post on X. 


Saudi artist seeks to beat limitations and transcend comfort zones

Saudi artist seeks to beat limitations and transcend comfort zones
Updated 48 min 59 sec ago
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Saudi artist seeks to beat limitations and transcend comfort zones

Saudi artist seeks to beat limitations and transcend comfort zones
  • Ali Alhammadi has been passionate about visual arts since childhood

JEDDAH: Ali Alhammadi, a Saudi 32-year-old visual artist from Aldawadmi in Riyadh, has carved out a remarkable pathway in the world of art since his professional debut in 2017.

Passionate about visual arts since childhood, Alhammadi’s artistic inspiration was ignited by the “Saudi renaissance” in line with Vision 2030, prompting him to embark on a creative expedition to express his perceptions through the canvas.

Alhammadi told Arab News that his art philosophy is about breaking invisible limitations and transcending comfort zones, drawing inspiration from the evergreen landscapes he encountered during camping trips with his father in the Riyadh desert.

Passionate about visual arts since childhood, Ali Alhammadi’s artistic inspiration was ignited by the ‘Saudi renaissance’ in line with Vision 2030. (Supplied)

“During every spring season, me and my father used to go camping in the outskirts of Riyadh, when the desert turns green for a couple of months, where all the magical inspiration happens.”

Through his landscapes and abstract pieces, Alhammadi delves into his feelings, insecurities and aspirations, painting a narrative that speaks volumes.

“I use my art to express both happiness and sadness, and sometimes I start a painting with an idea in mind, but then I end up with a new one,” he said.

Ali Alhammadi, Saudi artist

One of Alhammadi’s pioneering techniques, “Invisible Limitations,” challenges traditional conceptions and societal norms, symbolizing the potential within, and beyond self-imposed boundaries. He said that his work reflects a realization that limitations are merely illusions.

“Our comfort zone sometimes restricts our ability to be inspired and inspire others. That’s why I decided to paint the Invisible Limitations theme.

“As I matured, I realized that most of these limitations don’t exist ... our limitation is the sky.”

Passionate about visual arts since childhood, Ali Alhammadi’s artistic inspiration was ignited by the ‘Saudi renaissance’ in line with Vision 2030. (Supplied)

Alhammadi’s artistic evolution has been influenced by his participation in prestigious exhibitions such as The Stars Exhibition at the German Embassy in Saudi Arabia and the second Riyadh Season Exhibition.

These platforms not only showcased his talent but also provided a catalyst for his creative development, empowering him to delve deeper into his cultural roots while embracing global influences.

Navigating between diverse cultural landscapes, Alhammadi, based between Liverpool and Riyadh, seamlessly fuses vibrant hues and styles, blending Saudi heritage and international artistic trends.

His experiences abroad have expanded his artistic horizons, inspiring him to create artworks that resonate with a global audience while retaining a distinctive Saudi essence. “Now that I have found my theme and art style, I believe that this phase will take me to different phases in my professional art career,” he said.

Looking toward the future, Alhammadi envisions his artwork evolving to explore the intricacies of human and cultural relationships, going deeper into themes that resonate with universal emotions and experiences. “Human and cultural relationships is something I’m keen on expressing through art,” he said.

His participation in international and local events such as the Founding Day in Liverpool and the National Day in London has not only spotlighted his talent but also enriched his artistic narrative with a tapestry of diverse influences.

For aspiring visual artists embarking on their creative odyssey, Alhammadi offers this advice: “Stay true to your vision, embrace your unique style, and let your art tell your story.”

 


Saudi authorities crack down on drug offenders in Jazan

Saudi police have arrested individuals carrying prohibited drugs. (SPA)
Saudi police have arrested individuals carrying prohibited drugs. (SPA)
Updated 59 min 27 sec ago
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Saudi authorities crack down on drug offenders in Jazan

Saudi police have arrested individuals carrying prohibited drugs. (SPA)
  • Authorities apprehended a citizen with 71 kg of hashish hidden in a vehicle in Al-Dayer governorate

RIYADH: Saudi authorities recently made several drug-related arrests and confiscations in operations in the Jazan region, the Saudi Press Agency reported on Sunday.

In the Al-Dayer governorate of Jazan, Border Guards thwarted an attempt to smuggle 175 kg of narcotic qat.

The guards also apprehended three Yemeni nationals attempting to smuggle 60 kg of qat in Jazan.

In another incident, land patrols in the Jazan region arrested a citizen for selling qat plants hidden in his vehicle.

Authorities also apprehended a citizen with 71 kg of hashish hidden in a vehicle in Al-Dayer governorate.

Border Guards patrols in the Al-Arda governorate in the Jazan region intercepted the smuggling of 160 kg of qat.

Preliminary legal procedures have been completed for all the individuals involved and all seized items have been handed to the authorities.

The Saudi government urges anyone with information related to suspected smuggling operations or customs violations to call the confidential hotline 1910, the international number +966114208417, or to email [email protected].

Tips received relating to smuggling and breaches of common customs law are treated with strict confidentiality. Financial rewards are offered for valid tips.