The Embassy of Canada in Saudi Arabia welcomed award-winning Canadian Chef Joe Thottungal to Riyadh, where he accepted the Gourmand Award at the Saudi Feast Food Festival, organized by the Saudi Culinary Arts Commission, one of 11 sector-specific commissions under the Ministry of Culture. Chef Joe’s book “My Thali” won top prize in the Indian cookbook category. Given his Indian heritage, Chef Joe embodies the incredible diversity of Canada and its cuisine, which includes food traditions from every corner of the world.
Apart from its diversity, Canadian cuisine stands out for its high-quality ingredients, sustainability, safety and innovation, making Canada a natural partner in food security for Saudi Arabia. There is increased cooperation between Canada and Saudi Arabia in agriculture technologies, grains, animal feed, meat and seafood. Saudi dates are also increasingly popular in Canada.
Ahead of the award ceremony, Canadian Ambassador Jean-Philippe Linteau hosted a lunch at the official residence, prepared by Chef Joe and official residence Chef Geo. It was attended by guests from the Kingdom, including CEO of the Culinary Arts Commission Mayada Badr, representing the full range of efforts underway to develop the culinary sector in the Kingdom.
“Sharing food, whether around a table or on a larger scale, is such a fundamental way for people to connect across cultures,” said Ambassador Linteau. “We will continue to pursue these kinds of opportunities to build more bridges between Canada and Saudi Arabia.”
The Saudi Feast Food Festival, the largest of its kind in the Middle East, hosted visitors in a unique experience to consolidate and sustain Saudi cuisine with various dishes from all regions of the Kingdom, prepared by local and international chefs. The event, running from Nov. 23-Dec. 2, featured a variety of recreational, cultural and educational activities for all ages.