In the kitchen with Wassim Irani

In the kitchen with Wassim Irani

We took time out with Wassim Irani, production manager of Kitopi, to see what’s trending in the culinary world and learn how to prepare one of his tasty dishes.

Getting to know Wissam Irani:

How did it all begin?
I started my career in Lebanon, where I worked in catering, restaurants, hotels and most notably private jet cuisine. Since 2008, I have been based in Qatar. I started out in industrial catering, then moved to the coffee shop and restaurant sectors before joining Kitopi in 2022.

When did you realize that you wanted to become a chef?
I have always been interested in food, and there’s a story I’d like to share. When I was a child, I would often complain about what we were eating that day. My parents used to say: “If you don’t like it, cook something yourself!” So, that’s what I did; I started cooking and presenting dishes to my family and friends, and my passion for food grew from there.
I chose to become a chef the moment I realized the joy food gives to people. I had a professor in culinary school who taught us the importance of flavors and aromas, and the warmth they can bring to others.  The taste of simple recipes can remind people of their childhood or evoke memories of an unforgettable holiday abroad. I revel in seeing the happiness on my guests’ faces when they taste the dishes that we prepare for them. Had I not become a chef, I would have trained to be a sea captain.

What has been your greatest source of inspiration?
My family has always motivated and inspired me in my journey.

What are your plans and ambitions for 2023?
Hopefully, we will have a bigger kitchen this year to increase our production capacity and onboard three new brands to complement the current portfolio.

What’s on the menu?
For today’s dish, I will prepare arancini, an Italian appetizer consisting of risotto balls stuffed with fresh buffalo mozzarella cheese, coated with breadcrumbs and deep fried. I will be serving them with a rich tomato sauce prepared with BUITONI® Tomato Coulis.

 What are the main ingredients and products you are using these days?
I’m using MAGGI® Chicken Cubes, cooking cream, rice and all types of pasta.

What are the recent food trends you’ve noticed?
There are three concepts that are trending in F&B: healthy dishes, smoked options and burgers.

What advice would you give suppliers looking to offer the best to the market?
My advice to the suppliers is to gauge the feedback of chefs and the end consumers before releasing products.


Wissam Irani’s Arancini with Rich Tomato Sauce


  • 100g onions
  • 100g Parmesan cheese
  • 50g butter
  • 500g arborio (risotto) rice
  • 2ltr water
  • 4 MAGGI® Chicken Stock Cubes
  • 200g fresh buffalo mozzarella cheese
  • 150g plain flour
  • 3 large eggs
  • 300g panko breadcrumbs
  • 2g garlic and herbs
  • 400g BUITONI® Tomato Coulis
  • 10g basil leaves
  • 1ltr vegetable oil for frying


  • Peel and finely chop the onions and finely grate the Parmesan.
  • Place the butter in a large pan over a low heat, add the onions and cook for 15 minutes or until they are soft but not colored.
  • Turn the heat up to medium, pour in the risotto rice and stir for a few minutes to ensure every grain is coated.
  • In a separate pot, mix the water and MAGGI® Chicken Stock Cubes and let it bubble away for a couple of minutes, stirring regularly. Add the stock to the risotto a ladle at a time, stirring it through the rice and allowing each ladleful to become absorbed before adding the next. Continue until the rice is cooked through (about 15 to 20 minutes).
  • Stir in the grated Parmesan, then leave to cool while you make the filling.
  • Cut the mozzarella into cubes. To form the arancini, scoop a portion of the cooled risotto with your hand and place a cube of mozzarella in the center, wrapping the risotto around it to seal completely. Repeat with the remaining risotto.
  • For the breadcrumb coating, place the flour, beaten eggs and panko into separate shallow bowls. Carefully dip each arancini ball into the flour, shaking off any excess, then the egg and finally the panko, ensuring the rice is completely coated. Set aside.
  • Open the BUITONI® Tomato Coulis and blend until smooth. For extra flavor, add some grated Parmesan and some freshly chopped basil leaves.
  • Pour the vegetable oil into a deep, heavy-bottomed saucepan and place over a high heat. To test if the oil is ready, drop in a few panko crumbs into the oil. If they sizzle and float, the oil is at the right temperature.
  • Carefully lower in the arancini with a slotted spoon in batches of four and deep-fry for 8 minutes or until golden and crispy. Transfer to a double layer of kitchen paper to drain.
  • The arancini are delicious served with BUITONI® Tomato Coulis for dipping.


Read about other inspiring chefs like Wissam Irani by clicking here.

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