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Jeddah - Yasmine El Tohamy - RIYADH: Jordanian chef Manal Al-Alem and British food blogger James Brooks spoke to Arab News about their experiences at the recently concluded InFlavour Expo.
Al-Alem, who is known for Middle Eastern cuisine, participated in a panel discussion titled “Exploring Tradition and Innovation,” in which she spoke about the world of contemporary cooking, her own culinary journey, and her love for Saudi cuisine.
“I enjoy (Saudi dish) jareesh because it’s wheat-based and doesn’t require a lot of flavoring. I always think wheat is one of the power foods, so you just prepare it simply and enjoy its power,” she added.
The exhibition featured many regional businesses and brands, encouraging home cooks to incorporate local products into their meals.
“The thing that I enjoy the most about the expo is the number of local products. As an ambassador for the World Food Programme, I often tell (home cooks) to use local products, and I found that InFlavour is a great place to get plenty of them. I am truly grateful for it,” Al-Alem said.
Her YouTube channel, featuring Arab and Middle Eastern food recipes, boasts over 2 million subscribers, while her Instagram account has 4 million followers. She also has a cookbook titled “Manal Al-Alem’s Kitchen.”
Brooks, who was the main stage speaker at the panel, is an adventurer who enjoys visiting other nations purely for the purpose of trying their local cuisine.
In the Kingdom, Brooks not only enjoyed Saudi food but the local coffee as well.
“The problem is I’m now addicted to Saudi coffee, so we’re going to have to take my suitcase. It’s just going to be full of Saudi coffee and dates. I love it because I’m really into my coffee. But obviously, Saudi coffee is so unique,” he said.
Sharing his experience at the exhibition, Brooks told Arab News: “I have been hosting the main stage — an absolute honor and privilege. I mean, the lineup that we’ve had is just incredible.
“You know, world-class speakers and people doing amazing things, especially in tech, in various forms within the food and beverage space,” he added, referencing space farming and projects to create cultivated meat, which eliminates the need to raise animals for food.
“It’s just been fascinating,” he said.
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