Recipes for success: Chef Yann Lohez offers advice and a tasty tomato salad recipe 

Recipes for success: Chef Yann Lohez offers advice and a tasty tomato salad recipe 
Yann Lohez is the executive chef at The St. Regis Riyadh. (Supplied)
Short Url
Updated 20 June 2024
Follow

Recipes for success: Chef Yann Lohez offers advice and a tasty tomato salad recipe 

Recipes for success: Chef Yann Lohez offers advice and a tasty tomato salad recipe 

DUBAI: French chef Yann Lohez has spent 15 years working in five-star hotels across the world, with stints at the Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi, Geneva’s Kempinski Hotel, the Evian Resort in France and now The St. Regis Riyadh, where he is the executive chef.  

His passion for cooking began in the quaint countryside school where his mother cooked for 80 children. 

“Every morning, during the break between classes, my classmates would ask me to go to the kitchen and ask for the menu,” Lohez tells Arab News. “I would rush to the kitchen and smell the food. I have all these memories in my head and it stuck in my DNA.”  




The St. Regis Riyadh. (Supplied)

The first dish he tried to make on his own, he recalls, was mayonnaise.  

“My grandmother always made egg noodles for Sunday lunch, and my task was to make the mayonnaise. It’s a great memory. I remember this dish was amazing,” he says. 

Here, he discusses his favorite dish and his top tips for amateur chefs. He also shares an heirloom tomato salad recipe.  




The St. Regis Riyadh. (Supplied)

When you started out, what was the most common mistake you made? 

I faced a lot of challenges, especially when making pastries. For pastries, you always have to follow the recipes and you have to follow the technique. And as a cook, you make the recipes yourself. It was difficult for me to follow a proper recipe. Cooking is more about the sense and the feeling, but for pastries you have to follow the recipe exactly to get the right consistency. It was challenging. I always say I’ll never be a pastry chef because I don’t want to follow all these recipes. That was my challenge. 

What’s your top tip for amateur chefs? 

Let’s take steak for example. When people are cooking at home, they take the steak from the chiller and put it straight in the pan. This is a mistake. You need to keep it at room temperature for at least 20 minutes. When the protein is in the chiller it is very hard, so you need to make it more tender. And you definitely need to add some marination. You add the sauce, the olive oil and some spices in order to overload it and allow the spices to turn into fiber. Only then do you cook your steak. 




Greek Mezze. (Supplied)  

What one ingredient can instantly improve any dish? 

It’s not an actual ingredient. It’s patience. And love. Whoever you’re cooking for — you, your family, your friends or even for customers — without passion you cannot achieve the right dish.  

When you go out to eat, do you find yourself critiquing the food?  

Not really. I always go to the restaurants to enjoy, not to give criticism. It makes me happy to explore different cultures, different food and different ways to cook. And it gives me inspiration.  

What’s the most common mistake you find in other restaurants? 

It’s about how you engage with the guest. Sometimes the waiter is too close or too eager to interrupt. When I’m in a restaurant, I want to be free and enjoy the food and not be disturbed every five minutes.  

When it comes to food, I’m French, so I like my meat to be rare. It’s difficult in this part of the world to get rare meat. It needs to be not cooked on the inside, but hot. Very few restaurants make steak the way I like it. 




Slow braised beef checks orzo ragout. (Supplied)

What’s your favorite cuisine? 

I don’t really have one. I’m very open-minded about food and food culture. I think it’s the best way to get new ideas. I love Indian food. I love Arabic food. I love Asian food. When I go back to France, I love to have traditional slow-cooked meat or something buttery or creamy.  

What’s your go-to dish if you have to cook something quickly at home? 

Omelet. It is very, very fast for me to make. I am very passionate about it also because my father raises chickens and I always get organic eggs. I think it’s the best way to get the right protein as well. An omelet gives you power throughout the day. It really takes five minutes to make. You can make it with anything, whatever you have at home. 




Wild ceps Aquerello risotto aged parmesan. (Supplied)

What request by customers most annoys you? 

Sometimes the guests do not respect the team. Mistakes can happen. We take the opportunities to learn from our mistakes, but there is no point in showing a lack of respect to anyone. 

As a head chef, what are you like? 

To answer this, I’ll tell you a bit about my background. As I told you, my mother was a chef, but my father was a military policeman. So I learned that discipline is very important to get things done right. However, with this new generation, it’s very important to be fair and to be close to them. You need to lead by example. That is what is most important. I’ve had chefs who shout a lot, but this mindset doesn’t work anymore. I don’t shout in the kitchen. I’m strict, but I want to be close with my team. That’s the secret of success.  

Chef Yann’s heirloom tomato salad recipe 




Chef Yann’s heirloom tomato salad recipe. (Supplied)

 

INGREDIENTS: 

160g goat cheese; 10g honey; 2g Espelette chili  

For the Bloody Mary jelly: 0.5L tomato juice; 5 drops Worcestershire Sauce; 2 drops tabasco; 10g vegetal gelatin; 2g celery salt  

For the heirloom tomatoes: 1 beef heart tomato; 2 Black Krim tomatoes; 1 green zebra tomato; 2 yellow pineapple tomatoes; 8 cherry tomatoes; 1/2 bunch chervil; 1/2 bunch dill; 4g oregano salt; 2g three pepper mix  

For the basil oil: 200ml extra virgin olive; 1/2 bunch basil leaves  

For the Kalamata soil: 50g kalamata olive; 50ml balsamic cream sauce   

INSTRUCTIONS: 

1. In a small bowl, mix goat cheese, honey and chili with a fork. 

2. Roll four balls of 80 grams each. Wrap each of them in a 15cm x 15cm square of cling film. Close it by bringing the four corners together and turning to get the shape of a tomato.  

3. Put the four balls in the freezer for three hours, until they turn hard, then remove the plastic and insert a skewer into each. Keep in the freezer until your Bloody Mary jelly is ready. 

For the Bloody Mary jelly 

1. Heat all the ingredients for the Bloody Mary jelly in a pan and whisk until the jelly becomes smooth.  

2. Soak the goat cheese balls in the jelly on their skewers until you get a red, shiny color. 

For the heirloom tomatoes 

1. Cut all the tomatoes into different shapes. 

2. Keep four green tomatoes for decoration. Fry them for 30 seconds. 

3. Seasoning is important. Add salt and pepper five minutes before plating. 

4. Use the chervil and dill leaves for decoration. Dry them, along with the tomatoes, for five hours at 60 degrees.  

For the basil oil 

1. Put the basil leaves and the olive oil in a mixer and blend. Strain the oil through a coffee filter to get clear green oil. 

For the Kalamata soil 

Dry the olives for five hours at 60 degrees (same as the tomatoes). When they harden, allow to cool, then mix until you get a powder. 

PLATING: 

The plating is always a chance to bring your creativity to the stage. My only advice is to reflect nature on the plate. Start with the beef heart tomato slice in the middle as a base for your goat cheese balls. Don’t forget to add a tomato stalk to them to create ‘realistic’ tomatoes. Create a garden around this with the rest of the tomatoes. Add olive dust and a dot of balsamic cream sauce for the acidity. The dish should be served at room temperature. 


Actor Noor Xarmina crowned ‘Miss Universe Pakistan 2024’

Actor Noor Xarmina crowned ‘Miss Universe Pakistan 2024’
Updated 21 July 2024
Follow

Actor Noor Xarmina crowned ‘Miss Universe Pakistan 2024’

Actor Noor Xarmina crowned ‘Miss Universe Pakistan 2024’
  • The 29-year-old venture capitalist-turned-actor hails from Islamabad and recently moved back to Pakistan from abroad
  • Xarmina says she wants to represent Pakistan on international forums, bring about a change for women

ISLAMABAD: Pakistani actor Noor Xarmina has been declared ‘Miss Universe Pakistan 2024,’ after which she is poised to represent Pakistan at the 73rd Miss Universe 2024 pageant in November this year.
The announcement of Xarmina’s successful bid was made in a video published on the official YouTube channel of Miss Universe on Saturday.
The 29-year-old venture capitalist-turned-actor, who has studied biology and business, hails from Islamabad and recently moved to Pakistan.
In the video shared on Miss Universe YouTube channel, she said she wanted to bring about a “positive change” in her home country.
“I want to be an agent for positive change in two respects. The first is for our country. Pakistan is scarcely represented internationally across so many industries and I want to enhance our representation on an international stage,” Xarmina said.
“In the second respect, I want to have change for women in our country. Pakistan needs strong female leaders that can mobilize its women and empower them to create positive change in society.”
Asked if Pakistan would support Xarmina’s bid at international beauty pageants, Pakistani Information Minister Ataullah Tarar said if Xarmina has played a role in projecting Pakistan’s soft image, then a discussion can be held on this.
“I do not know about that woman, what background she has and what professional achievements she has before this, they can be looked into. If she has played her role for Pakistan’s image, Pakistan’s soft image, and Pakistan’s development, then discussion can be held on this,” he told reporters in Islamabad on Sunday.
Tarar noted that Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif recently invited Naila Kiyani, a UAE-based Pakistani mountaineer, and appreciated her.
“So, we definitely believe that whatever achievement one has, it should be recognized,” he added.
Last year, Erica Rabin became the first Pakistani woman to be crowned Miss Universe Pakistan. Prior to that, no woman from Muslim-majority Pakistan ever participated in the Miss Universe pageant.
Miss Universe Pakistan is a national beauty pageant franchise organized by the Yugen Group of Dubai to select a representative from Pakistan for the Miss Universe pageant.


Squatwolf expands in Saudi Arabia with new warehouse, fitness events

Squatwolf expands in Saudi Arabia with new warehouse, fitness events
Updated 21 July 2024
Follow

Squatwolf expands in Saudi Arabia with new warehouse, fitness events

Squatwolf expands in Saudi Arabia with new warehouse, fitness events
  • UAE brand opens warehouse able to handle 30,000 orders a day
  • Company was founded in 2016 by Anam Khalid and Wajdan Gul

DUBAI: From starting as a passion project to now serving athletes in over 200 countries, Squatwolf, the gym-wear brand co-founded by Anam Khalid and Wajdan Gul, is expanding in Saudi Arabia.

The founders have opened a  warehouse in the Kingdom.

The Saudi Arabia warehouse can process up to 30,000 orders a day and ensures same-day delivery in Riyadh and next-day delivery to major cities, including Jeddah, Dammam, Alkhobar and Makkah. (Supplied)

“We take pride in being the first gym-wear brand in the Kingdom that is supporting Vision 2030, fueling the power of the gym as a playground of self-improvement to all,” Khalid told Arab News recently.

“Our Saudi warehouse is a demonstration to our commitment as a UAE brand to support the region and go all in.”

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by SQUATWOLF (@squatwolf)

The Saudi Arabia warehouse can process up to 30,000 orders a day and ensures same-day delivery in Riyadh and next-day delivery to major cities, including Jeddah, Dammam, Alkhobar and Makkah, Gul said.

The brand plans to collaborate with retail and gym partners, local ambassadors and organize community events to support their expansion goals.

“We’re here to recognize every gym-goer, regardless of their fitness level,” Khalid said.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by SQUATWOLF (@squatwolf)

Gul confirmed that The Squatwolf Games, a prominent fitness event in Dubai, is set to make its debut in Saudi Arabia.

“Yes, Squatwolf Games is coming to Saudi and coming in big. We’re constantly evolving the games to something bigger and better.”

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by SQUATWOLF (@squatwolf)

The brand will also participate in the KSA Muscle Show, further engaging with the local fitness community.

The company was founded in 2016 by Khalid and Gul. “It all started when Gul and I realized there wasn’t a gym-wear brand in the region that matched our love for the gym, its community, and the impact it has on all aspects of our life,” Khalid said.

Gul believes the fitness and activewear market in the Kingdom is booming. “With the Saudi 2030 Vision in place, more gyms are opening up every day, fitness is becoming a way of life and staying healthy is on everyone’s radar,” he explained.

“Being the first gym-wear brand in the MENA region, including Saudi Arabia, gives us a competitive advantage to stay one step ahead across insight-driven product performance, local communities and gym-goer demands,” Khalid added.


Lebanese actress Cynthia Khalifeh carves out a path in Hollywood with ‘Borderline’

Lebanese actress Cynthia Khalifeh carves out a path in Hollywood with ‘Borderline’
Updated 21 July 2024
Follow

Lebanese actress Cynthia Khalifeh carves out a path in Hollywood with ‘Borderline’

Lebanese actress Cynthia Khalifeh carves out a path in Hollywood with ‘Borderline’

LOS ANGELES: Lebanese actress Cynthia Khalifeh is teaming up with Lucien Laviscount from “Emily in Paris” and Laura Marano of “The Royal Treatment” for the horror-thriller “Borderline.”

The former TV presenter is also eyeing future projects as she aims to achieve her Hollywood dream.

“I’m one step forward on the path to achieving my big dream since I was young, which is to act in international films. So, baby steps and I really feel like I am a bit closer,” Khalifeh told Arab News in an interview.

“It was a lot of risks that I had to take, a lot of just jumping on adventures where I didn’t have anything that was guaranteed.”

“Borderline”, a film shot in a specially constructed studio in Malta, highlights the darkest fears associated with dating apps.

“It talks about online dating and how sometimes you might go to meet someone you don’t know, and there’s a certain danger,” Khalifeh said.

The actress said the show is called “Borderline’ because, “they meet in a place located at the border between two countries, so there is no law applied from this country or the other, so anything can happen in this place.”

“The girl or I find myself stuck over there in one night, contained, in one place, trying to run away from this person but I face him at the end. I learnt a lot of fights,” she added.

About her co-star Laviscount, she said: “Lucien plays a completely different role than that of the handsome sweet guy that all girls fell for in ‘Emily in Paris.’ Here, you will not like him at all.”

Khalifeh’s contributions to the screenplay led to her role as co-writer of the film. Choosing horror to launch her global career, she hopes to dominate this year’s Halloween season.

“I started throwing ideas and then they told me, ‘You know what? Do you want to join in?’ It happened and I joined the writing team,” she said.


Review: ‘My Spy: The Eternal City’ is a Bautista-led letdown

Review: ‘My Spy: The Eternal City’ is a Bautista-led letdown
Updated 20 July 2024
Follow

Review: ‘My Spy: The Eternal City’ is a Bautista-led letdown

Review: ‘My Spy: The Eternal City’ is a Bautista-led letdown

LONDON: Thanks in no small part to the COVID-19 pandemic, we never really got to find out what audiences made of 2020’s “My Spy,” in which CIA operative JJ (Dave Bautista) is forced to team up with precocious 9-year-old Sophie (Chloe Coleman) to take down an international arms cartel.

The movie’s cinematic release, and subsequent box office receipts, were curtailed by global lockdowns as the film went straight to streaming, and found an audience suddenly a lot more tolerant of decidedly average content.

Anna Faris as Nancy and Dave Bautista as JJ in ‘My Spy: The Eternal City.’ (Supplied)

You wonder if, had audiences been able to vote with their feet first time around, “My Spy: The Eternal City” might never have seen the light of day. For while this is ostensibly a comedy-action romp co-starring a teenager, it is also a weirdly violent, oddly graphic spy caper that does not seem too sure of what it is trying to be.

JJ and Chloe now live in suburban almost-harmony. He has taken a desk job so he can be at home more, while she rebels against his overbearing presence and constant demands she keeps up her spy training. When JJ offers to chaperone a school trip to Italy, he must balance being a cool stepdad with a rapidly unfolding plot to blow up the Vatican in which the pair become embroiled.

Returning for the sequel are Ken Jeong as JJ’s boss, and Kristen Schaal as his nerdy analyst Bobbi. But if you are hoping that continuity of casting means a coherent follow up to the 2020 original, you are in for a disappointment.

Chloe Coleman as Sophie and Dave Bautista as JJ on the set ‘My Spy: The Eternal City.’ (Supplied)

Director Pete Segal (also returning) starts off with the same familiar, comedic beats (and leans heavily on this franchise’s spiritual predecessors “Kindergarten Cop” and “The Pacifier”) but makes the baffling choice to turn up the violence.

The sequence with some attack budgerigars is a particular lowlight, and the bottom-drawer comedy with jokes about bodily functions and a fight involving a naked statue.

It is all a bit of a mess, which is a shame, because Bautista (so good with deadpan comedy in the Marvel movies) and Coleman manage to recreate some of the same chemistry that was one of the few good things about the original.

That film was not great, sure, but compared to this, it seems like a fondly remembered masterpiece.


Adidas faces backlash for dropping Bella Hadid from sneaker campaign

Adidas faces backlash for dropping Bella Hadid from sneaker campaign
Updated 19 July 2024
Follow

Adidas faces backlash for dropping Bella Hadid from sneaker campaign

Adidas faces backlash for dropping Bella Hadid from sneaker campaign
  • Shoes linked to 1972 Munich Games killing of Israeli athletes.

LONDON: Adidas on Friday dropped American model Bella Hadid from an advertising campaign for sneakers that are associated with the 1972 Munich Olympics, following criticism from pro-Israeli groups.

The German sportswear company apologized for the “upset and distress” caused by choosing Hadid, whose father is Palestinian, as the face of its relaunched SL72 sports shoes. The original version of the footwear was created for the 1972 Games, during which 11 Israeli athletes and a German policeman were killed by a Palestinian militant group.

The relaunch of the shoe last week drew criticism from the Israeli government, in a message posted on social media platform X, and several Jewish groups. They questioned the decision by Adidas to select Hadid to advertise a shoe originally associated with an event during which several Israelis were killed.

Adidas said it would “revise” its campaign and added: “We are conscious that connections have been made to tragic historical events, though these are completely unintentional, and we apologize for any upset or distress caused.”

Hadid has repeatedly made public comments critical of the Israeli government and in support of Palestinians over the years. In an Instagram post dated Oct. 23 last year she described the military campaign launched by Israeli authorities following the Oct. 7 attacks as “the most intense bombardment in the history of Gaza,” and lamented the loss of innocent Palestinian lives.

“US White House National Security Council dangerously says Israel ‘owes no one any justification’ and that it will have ‘no red lines.’ Innocent lives should always be justified in the name of humanity,” she added.

“Israel has completely shut off telecommunications and electricity across Gaza. Injured civilians currently can’t call ambulances. Medics are begging reporters to let them know where bombardments are happening, but reporters don’t know either because of the internet outage. The people of Gaza have nowhere to go. Children are dying. Please.”

The decision to drop Hadid from the campaign prompted a wave of support for the model on social media, with figures such as journalists Mehdi Hasan and Candace Owens criticizing Adidas. Some people called for a boycott of the company.