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Chef couple wins many hearts by giving international dishes a Saudi twist.

1 / 2 Budoor Al-Solami, left, and Waleed Moathen have recreated many dishes and desserts such as muffins with dates and tahini. (Photos/Supplied) 2 / 2 Budoor Al-Solami, left, and Waleed Moathen have recreated many dishes and desserts such as muffins with dates and tahini. (Photos/Supplied)

JEDDAH: Budoor Al-Solami, 26, and Waleed Moathen, 28, started their YouTube channel "Saa'widha" (to turn it Saudi) under the cooking channel Atyab Tabkha just five months ago.

Atyab Tabkha is sponsored by digital media company Diwanee. All the chef couple's episodes have been made at Atyab Tabkha's studio in Dubai.

The couple takes any international dish and give it a Saudi spin. Their creativity and ideas are fun and broad. The couple have recreated many dishes and desserts such as muffins with dates and tahini.

"Usually, it is the international kitchen that receives all the fame and spotlight, and rarely does the Arab or Saudi kitchen have a media presence," Al-Solami told Arab News. "Which is why we decided to invent something new, merging international kitchens in a Saudi way. Especially because the Saudi kitchen is characterized by its various flavors and high taste," she added.

To recreate these international dishes with Saudi flavors, the couple use Saudi spices and agricultural products "produced by our country such as dates, local meat and the unique Taif flowers," said Moathen.

Al-Solami works at a five-star hotel and Moathen is an executive chef at a restaurant. Leading such busy lives, the couple still manage to find a balance between their jobs and their channel.

"The nature of our job requires us to work for long hours, sometimes 12 hours in a day. For this reason we decided, with the agreement of the company, that we film our episodes during our vacation days."

The channel came to fruition when Diwanee was looking for Saudi chefs.

"They contacted me. They wanted to create a regular cooking show just like any other cooking show, then Waleed and I thought of how we can change the idea of traditional cooking and shows, and we wanted to put the Saudi kitchen in our show. This is how 'Saa'widha' was created," according to Al-Solami.

"And this was how we came up with many ideas such as the Saudi sushi, and Waleed came up with vegan ice cream with Saudi ingredients such as almond coffee. We even made focaccia bread and muffins with a Saudi twist," she explained.

Working is fun

Working together is fun and full of surprises, said Moathen. "When we cook, we really enjoy it and we share new ideas with each other."

"Saa'widha," of course, is displayed in Arabic, but the couple are planning to add subtitles in different languages in their next season. "Especially because we have friends of different nationalities," explained Moathen.

Their show was warmly received by the Saudi audience, and the two are showered with positive comments under each episode.

"I am very happy to see the interaction of people in the comments, and their kind words and positive support," said Al-Solami

"I am overjoyed and this encourages me to continue what I love and what the viewers love," said Moathen.

Al-Solami and Moathen studied tourism and hospitality respectively and wish to open a restaurant chain and culinary school.

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Publication:Arab News (Jeddah, Saudi Arabia)
Date:Nov 17, 2018
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