Women shaping the world of gastronomy in Kuwait

Women shaping the world of gastronomy in Kuwait

More than ever before, female entrepreneurs are leading restaurant groups in Kuwait. We examine how women chefs and restaurateurs are making an impact on the country’s F&B industry.


The evolution of Kuwait’s food scene

Although Kuwait’s F&B scene has developed considerably, there are still gaps in the market. Basmah Marouf, chef and managing partner of Cantina, said that while Kuwait has an abundance of restaurants and is considered a culinary hub in the Middle East, there remain some cuisines that are underrepresented.

Franchises once dominated Kuwait’s F&B scene, but nowadays local concepts have more value. Mariam AlNusif, owner and chef of Tampopo and Bonjiri, said that homegrown restaurants are garnering the attention of locals as they offer something different and unique. As Kuwaitis travel frequently and are exposed to different cultures and cuisines, they expect that these concepts are available when they return home.

Danna Al-Tourah, executive chef of Tatami group, also agreed that people are far more curious and want to try new things. She added that the market has witnessed a huge transformation. While there were hardly any Kuwaiti chefs 15 years ago, things have changed considerably, as local chefs are taking huge risks and opening restaurants in a highly competitive market that’s extremely cash intensive.

Marouf said that Kuwaitis like to keep up to date on international culinary trends, and it is up to local restaurateurs to offer them.

Kuwaiti gastronomy

Kuwaiti cuisine draws on Syrian, Iraqi and Iranian flavors, as well as Indian, as many of the products originate from India. According to Hanouf Albalhan, R&B chef at Chef Hanouf for kitchen and hotel consultations, Kuwaiti cuisine is very rich. However, the fine-dining segment is virtually absent. She added that the cuisine needs updating and upgrading. Anfal Al Rakhis, Noon company’s R&D director, agrees. Despite many Kuwaiti restaurants, she believes there’s space for new upscale dining concepts.

Insights from HORECA Talks 2024 at HORECA Kuwait, co-organized by Hospitality News Middle East, Leaders Group and Hodema Consulting Services. Session moderated by Nada Alameddine, managing partner at Hodema Consulting Services.

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