Recognised worldwide as one of the Holy Cities of Islam, Makkah is also finding a name for itself in the culinary world as three of its leading hotels have been awarded as the best hotel kitchens in Saudi Arabia.
Chefs from Anjum Hotel Makkah, Swissôtel Al Maqam Makkah, and Le Méridien Towers Makkah were awarded bronze, silver and gold places respectively, at the Kingdom’s second annual ‘Inter-Hotel Culinary Competition – Mystery Box Challenge’.
The competition, which took place in Jeddah as part of the 2018 edition of The Hotel Show Saudi Arabia last month, witnessed its most competitive line-up to date – with eleven kitchens from some of the Kingdom’s leading hotels cooking up a storm in a bid to be crowned champion
Endorsed by WORLDCHEFS, the Saudi Arabian Chefs’ Association and Culinary Partner, Unilever Food Solutions, it is the only event of its kind in the Kingdom celebrating the excellent standards of its hotel restaurants.
Each participating team was given three hours to whip-up four courses using ‘Mystery Box’ ingredients only revealed to them once they stepped inside the kitchen, the final dishes presented to a panel of judges from WORLDCHEFS (The World Association of Chefs’ Societies).
The winning menu for Le Méridien Towers Makkah included a ‘Mixed Bean Salad’ for the starter, ‘Traditional Sweet Corn Soup’ for the soup, ‘Stuffed Chicken Breast with Peaches’ as the main course and an ‘Orange Crème Brulee with Caramelized Pineapple, Banana and Crispy Puff’ for dessert.
Upon winning the gold medal, Anas Mohammed Ayyub Ansari, Head Chef at Le Méridien Towers Makkah said: “This feeling is indescribable – all chefs dream to be crowned as Saudi Arabia’s top hotel kitchen and we are very proud to win the gold for our hotel, Le Méridien Towers Makkah.
“The judges commented that they appreciated how we kept our dishes modern in presentation, maintaining the authenticity of the dish yet the taste spoke volumes about how passionate we are about our food.”
Chef Yasser Jad, Founder & President of the Saudi Arabian Chefs’ Association (SARCA) and Manager Food & Beverages at Saudi Airlines, chaired the jury, a line-up of expert local and international chefs.
Jad commented: “This year we raised the level of difficulty of the competition significantly by limiting the number of items in the ‘Mystery Box’, with chicken the only protein provided, for example.
“This ensured that teams had to be creative in order to give their own signature take on each dish. The winning team from Le Méridien Towers Makkah stood out with their chicken main stuffed with peaches, a unique, Mediterranean take on the dish. This team was very professional and managed to create flavorsome dishes with the limited ingredients available.
“Other chefs stuffed the chicken with dates which maintained an Arabic touch. All of the menus were very impressive and to a high standard. We look forward to returning to The Hotel Show Saudi Arabia next year with a more challenging competition format and new ingredients for the chefs to work with, in order to raise the bar even further.”
The Inter-Hotel Culinary Competition will return for its third edition at The Hotel Show Saudi Arabia 2019, taking place across three days – 21-23rd April 2019 – at the Jeddah Centre for Forums and Events.
Find out more at: www.thehotelshowsaudiarabia.com