There was great cause for celebration at this year’s HORECA Kuwait, which ended on 17 January after three days at Kuwait International Fair. As the country’s leading hospitality and foodservice trade event, the exhibition shone a bright light on talented Kuwaiti chefs making their mark in the world of food. The Hospitality Salon Culinaire provided a platform for participants to push the boundaries in food preparation and presentation with a variety of live and display competitions judged by an international panel of renowned chefs. One of the participants was Anfal Abdullah Al Rakhis, the first female Kuwaiti to compete at HORECA for the “Best Traditional Kuwaiti Dish.”
Citing her mother and sisters as inspiring figures behind her culinary drive, she said: “Since I was a young girl, I was very eager to pursue the culinary arts. I graduated from the Gulf University of Science and Technology and from then on, one would expect you to follow the conventional career path as an accountant, lawyer, doctor or the like. But I believed in building a career out of my love for food. I chased my passion to become a chef. In the beginning, I did face obstacles, but, through my dedication, I found my place in a hotel where the head chef saw my potential.” She continued: “This was my first HORECA. When I saw an opportunity to compete for the Best Kuwaiti Dish, I got an instant boost to bea part of the competitive atmosphere.”
Being positioned in a national gastronomic hub, HORECA Kuwait witnessed several new talented Arab chefs joining the platform. Just as deeply drawn to food, joining the professional judging panel on the other side was celebrity Kuwaiti chef Faisal Al Nashmi, a Le Corden Bleu graduate who is behind several unique local dining concepts.
Likewise, many new Kuwaiti entrepreneurs and restaurateurs have penetrated the market including Ahmed Al-Bader, a certified Kuwaiti chef. It is with this passion that he launched a series of local eateries, such as Pizzetta and Beef Canteen, showcasing his take on international cuisines.
Al-Bader joined the Hospitality Forum at HORECA Kuwait for the topic of homegrown versus franchise businesses, where he shared his own experiences, the way homegrown businesses can succeed against franchises and the trendy and newly-adopted concept of community tables in restaurants.