Events & Happenings, Food, Food News, News

Exploring Fine Cuisine with European Butter in Saudi Arabia

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The French Dairy Board in collaboration with the EU organized exclusive gourmet butter events in Saudi Arabia this October.


Saudi Arabia imported more than 570 tons of French Butter in 2018.

CNIEL – the French dairy board, and the European Union were back in KSA this October for the Butter of Europe program, aiming at building awareness on the use, benefits & gastronomic value of European and French gastronomic butters.

From October 7th to 9th Chef Christophe Dovergne, from France, was in Jeddah and Riyadh to host demonstrations and workshops for Saudi chefs and foodies. Engaging workshops took place at Black Cardamom Jeddah, and The House of Grill restaurant located in the newly opened 5 star luxury Fairmont Riyadh hotel. Guests had the chance to participate to hands-on sessions where the Chef demonstrated the superiority of European butter, through different techniques and recipes. Either used cold or hot, EU butter illustrated his flavour enhancement role in the different preparations, Chef Christophe also realized some inventive compound butters such as a date and saffron butter or a prawn and lime butter. black-cardamom-copy

A fine dining dinner for professionals and journalists was also organized in Jeddah with an amazing menu celebrating gastronomic butter in all its forms, elaborated by Chef Christophe. Guests had the opportunity to attend a cooking demo for the amuse-bouche and the chance to taste butter in sweet and savoury ways in all courses; like seaweed butter toast with marinated salmon or crumble with vanilla ice cream and chocolate coulis for dessert.

Speaking at the event, Chef Christophe Dovergne said “European butter is a key ingredient in gastronomic cuisine, you cannot imagine replacing it by any substitute if you wish to bring this particular smoothness to your preparation, and this unique taste to dish. It is also very versatile, and you can use it on its own or flavoured as desired”. 

In 2018, Saudi Arabia has imported more than 570 tons of European butter. This number represents more than 2,9 million euros and a compound annual growth rate of 10,8% since 2010. European and French dairy butter are a guarantee of expertise, authenticity, quality but also food safety being a 100% natural ingredient.

About European butter 

More than 95% of chefs in France and Europe say that butter is essential for cooking and baking, especially for its flavour. In the kitchen, it tells a story, it leads the way. New uses have emerged, disrupting classic recipes and defining future trends. Its malleable texture enables it to create audacious fantasies. This is why it is now widely used in cutting edge and refined dishes… But, above all, this aroma capturer has tickled the imagination of the Chefs, who create unusual, sophisticated recipes to surprise audiences of insiders becoming increasingly numerous and demanding. This product is more than just an ingredient, it is a flavour enhancer. Used both in elaborate kitchens and simple recipes, the face of butter has changed. No one hesitates to put it out on the table, to highlight it as a noble product. Indispensable to new culinary trends, butter is a source of inspiration that never grows old.

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Online Magazine, Travel Stories, Travel Trends

P-LAST-IC

Aerial view of Rangali Island | Photos by Don Dao

Story by Mayda Hashani
Written by Deena Dakhiel

The amazing Conrad Hotels & Resorts, and their continuous efforts to saving the environment.


When I found out about the Maldives trip, I knew I was in for a treat, especially keeping in mind the internationally recognized high standards of Conrad Hotels and Resorts. The entire trip was not only a breathtaking experience but also included educational aspects that left me with a new appreciation for the ocean’s ecosystem.

The first day on the trip was an experience on its own – a 30-minute scenic seaplane ride took us to our main destination, Conrad Maldives Rangali Island. Watching the other islands pass us by, floating between different shades of blue made me not want to ever land the plane. Setting foot on the island, I felt instantly regal and ready for what’s to come.

Day two, five meters below the surface of the Indian Ocean, surrounded by coral forests and fluorescent fish, we started off the day – the Conrad Maldives Hotel opened its doors for us to visit the chilling Muraka. First of its kind, The Muraka is a two-story, three bedroom residence with a room that sits just below the surface of the Indian Ocean. Falling asleep to the passing underwater wildlife and shockingly fascinating corals is a site worth traveling for. The designs remain minimalistic as to not distract from the live surroundings. A dedicated team is present at all times to ensure the comfort of all guests. The name “THE Muraka” means coral in Dhivehi, the native language. The name emphasizes the unity between the people and the ocean.

Aside from the stunning infrastructure and 5-star standards The Conrad Maldives is living out the promise of corporate responsibility. The main challenge disrupting the islands’ overall health has been plastic. The problem does not only stem from the plastic being washed up after being constantly dumped into our oceans, but it is also a problem when the islands do not have proper waste management systems in place. It is upto the island locals to manage plastic waste, and so The Conrad Maldives has taken it upon itself to take responsibility for the surrounding ecosystems and communities.

The Conrad embarks on plastic run with island locals and hotel staff. | Photos by Don Dao

The Conrad embarks on plastic run with island locals and hotel staff. | Photos by Don Dao

One of the most enticing adventures we had was the Water Thrills at Dhangethi Island. We embarked on an island tour to visit the Dhangethi community and witness the ways in which The Conrad Maldives shows support through education and the development of hydroponic systems to support self-sustaining farming. The Conrad Maldives also hosts plastic runs where locals from the islands run along the beach with the hotel staff and pick up plastic and other harmful trash along the way. The Conrad Maldives is also keen on going as zero waste as possible. Reducing and mostly removing all packaged items in hotel rooms, buffets and all around the hotel. It was impressive to observe first hand how The Conrad Maldives takes care of the communities surrounding the hotel.

The prestigious hotel even hosted John K. Melvin, an eco-artist who makes site-specific art, who used plastic bottles to create a chandelier as a move to raise awareness about the overbearing amounts of plastic in our oceans. His work was breathtaking and showed that anyone can create beauty out of something potentially destructive.

From the breathtaking views the islands provide of the Indian Ocean, to the corporate responsibility the hotel has committed to, we can ensure that the Maldives is the place to visit with The Conrad Maldives Hotel.

The Conrad Maldives also hosts plastic runs along the beach for guests to pick up any trash. From plastic runs to producing energy, and growing agriculture, Conrad Maldives Hotels around the world are working to create a more sustainable hotel experience, while managing to keep guests engaged and entertained.

Web: www.conradmaldives.com
Instagram: conrad_maldives

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EN-TIRE-LY Korea

Hankook Technodome

Story by Sakan Al Kibsi
Written by Yasmine Mohamed

A Tour of South Korea and the Hankook Experience.


After an arduous 11-hour trip from our transit in Turkey, all I was looking for was a place to crash. The accommodation in Park Hyatt Seoul, South Korea was truly superior. Not only did I get to sink in one of the most comfortable hotel beds, I also got to enjoy stunning city views from within a crisp, modern interior. After passing out from exhaustion, the next morning we woke up, had an energizing breakfast, then headed straight to business. Who has time for jet lag anyways?

Our first stop was the Hankook Technodome, located in Daejeon, a state-of-the-art Research & Development Center established in 2016. It stands six floors and maps 96,328 m2 of floor space. The eco-friendly institute is made from recyclable materials, with water saving and energy recycling, and it utilizes geothermal and solar power technologies. They were even awarded the Gold LEED certification by the U.S. Green Building Council. Architecture is high-tech, incorporating the latest technology and materials with design. It felt like being toured around a spaceship!

The inside of Hankook Technodome.

The inside of Hankook Technodome.

We were excited to witness next the manufacturing and quality control process. Geumsan Plant, located in Geumsan-gun and established in 1997, is the world’s largest tire-only production plant, with approximately 22 million tires produced annually. The facility is almost entirely automated, too.

We were not going to fly all the way to South Korea without burning some rubber – the first ever female Korean test driver drove us around G’trac, Hankook’s dry and wet (wet summer and icy winter road simulation) proving grounds. It’s where the plant systematically evaluates the tires’ rotational capacity, braking power, grip force, and noise. No wonder Hankook Tires has grown into one of the world’s top 5 companies in the mass production of tires. Their technology leadership makes them the provider of choice for premium automakers such as Mercedes and BMW.

ankook Tires has grown into one of the world’s top 5 companies in the mass production of tires.

ankook Tires has grown into one of the world’s top 5 companies in the mass production of tires.

After all the hard work was done, it was time to kick back, relax, and enjoy the beauty of South Korea. The following day we stopped at Gyeongbokgung Palace, the most beautiful and largest of the Five Grand Palaces built by the Josen Dynasty, the last one in Korea and its longest-ruling Confucian Dynasty that lasted for five centuries.

Next, we were served a taste of authentic Korean culture at Bukchon Hanok Village.0425_1349

Hanoks are traditional Korean houses that function as cultural centers, guesthouses, restaurants, and tea houses nowadays. Finally, our tour came to a thrilling end, with a visit to the Lotte World Tower, the tallest skyscraper in South Korea and the 6th tallest building in the world. The 117th floor – the beginning of the observatory – had a glass floor and a telescope that allows breathtaking views of all of Korea. It was absolutely a marvel and an exciting experience.

Kamsahamnida Korea, land of technology, was definitely hell of a blast.

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Online Magazine, Travel News, Travel Trends

A True Indulgence

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Written by Dalia Darweesh and Zahra Anwer

Experiencing France with Butter of Europe.


Starting in the heart of Paris, the French Dairy Board hosted an exploration trip to witness how dairy butter is made in France, starting off with a workshop on using butter in different dishes. Held at Atelier 750g and led by consultant chef Christophe Dovergne, who runs a catering and consultancy business, the workshop saw the team preparing and enjoying a 3 courses dinner of salmon in orange-flavored butter, chicken breast in tarragon butter with glazed carrots and buttery mashed potatoes and, finally a strawberry tart. In each course the butter was used in different ways, but always sublimating the ingredient and enhancing the taste of each dish.

The following morning, the group was taken to the production laboratory of Laiterie La Chapelle in the heart of Paris to meet with owner Paul Zindy and learn about making butter from local raw milk. The secret ingredient to a good butter is just good dairy cream as this is the only ingredient used, each participant had to experience a manual churn and make the magic happen!day-5_bordier_butterofeuropetour_40

On the third day, the group visited one of Echiré farms and its butter production site. The brand founded in 1984 is internationally recognized for its butter’s quality, taste, and very pliable texture, they are also known to be a “niche” and high-quality brand as they only produce 2000 tons of butter a year. The farm was owned and run by 3 generations of a same family , all moved by the same passion. We were then welcomed at the factory by Guillaume Ribadière, Sales and Marketing director and had the chance to observe the traditional butter making in a wooden churn, turning 25,000 liters into 925 kg of butter before tasting it.day-3_-laita-production_butter-of-europe-tour_2

The next visit took us to the production site of major butter exporter to the Middle East: Paysan Breton (Laita group), which is located in Brittany where the cows graze in the fields for at least 200 days a year! The yellow color of the natural dairy butter actually come from the milk and originally the grass and flowers that cows eat. Candice Lher, the Export Product Manager, explained to the team the production process of Laita butter, starting with the reception and pasteurization of cream. Maturation follows, and then the preparation of cultures, followed by the churning of butter, cooling and finally, packaging, storing and shipment worldwide.

An exciting journey to Marais Salants – Salt marshes was also organized to observe the salt and fleur de sel production that are then oftenly used to flavor butters.day-1_latelier-750g_butterofeuropetour_193

The day after, the group visited butter artisan Jean Yves Bordier production facility, Bordier is known for its tradition and savoir-faire, their specialty is flavored butters. The group watched the process of blending and manually molding butter. They had the chance to try amazing creation by Bordier such as vanilla butter, Espelette pepper butter or even yuzu butter.

The trip ended on high notes with a dinner at Michelin-star Chef Eric Guérin “La Mare aux Oiseaux” restaurant where we understood that butter is also key in fine gastronomic cuisine as this is a subtle ingredient bringing smoothness and flavor to any dish, actually natural dairy butter can take every dish to the next level!

Instagram: Butterstories.me

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Healthy Living, Online Magazine, Wellness

Comfortable in Your Own Skin

eating-disorder-anorexia

By Dalia Darweesh
Edited by Nessreen Tamano

Beauty, Self-Worth, and Body Image.


We go through so much pressure about our physical appearance on a daily basis and, especially in the age of social media where we are exposed to what we now know to be unrealistic and unachievable beauty ideals, this could lead to countless disorders.

[definition]
An eating disorder characterized by an abnormally low body weight, an intense fear of gaining weight and a distorted perception of weight.

Eating disorders have, unfortunately, become too common in our generation, but also in teens and pre-teens, who account for a majority of patients diagnosed. In Saudi, the reality is that many people don’t consider these as “serious” disorders, and there remains a lack of awareness what psychological and physical issues, underlying or otherwise, cause and aggravate them.

Growing up, I was confident in my own body, but only up until the age of 17. I moved to the US at the time to pursue my Bachelor’s degree, and the stress of being in a new environment, so far away from home, somehow changed the way I perceived my physical appearance.

I started wanting to be as skinny as possible, starving myself, and when people would comment that I looked sick, I brushed it off as jealousy on their part.
I would eventually overcome this phase with time and the support of my family, but this is not always the case for many people, even those who manage to control it.

Dr Razan Al Ghassab, Family Medicine Resident at the National Guard Health Affairs in Riyadh, explains that eating disorders are considered chronic problems and therefore are not cured with medication alone. Therapy is also necessary. “It’s important to deal with therapists, psychiatrists, or physicians experienced in eating disorders. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is available locally,” she says.

Centers in Saudi Arabia you can visit for eating disorders:

Riyadh

Behavior Modification and Psychiatric Center
Location: Unayzah St., Ar Rawdah Dist.
Web: care.med.sa

Sharqiya

Abeer Medical Center
Location: Jabir ibn Al Numaan St., Al Khalij Dist., Dammam
Web: abeergroup.com/ksa

Jeddah

MyClinic
Location: Prince Sultan Branch Rd., Al Mohammadiyyah Dist.
Web: myclinic.com.sa

Around KSA

Middle East Eating Disorders Association (MEEDA)
Web
: meeda.me
Email: info@meeda.me

eating-disorder-bolemia

[definition]
people with bulimia may secretly binge eat and then purge, getting rid of extra calories in an unhealthy way.

The concept of going to therapy for an eating disorder, particularly in Saudi, should be just as normal as going to the dentist, especially as it is a long-term issue and will likely need multiple, regular visits to a therapist. Consistency in managing triggers and developing the right skill set is taught in CBT, which helps patients deal with the disorders.

Raising awareness and openly discussing eating disorders and issues also help; being silent about them often cause misconceptions that can hurt both the patient and their loved ones.

eating-disorder-binge-eating-typography-copy

[definition]
consuming unusually large amounts of food and feeling unable to stop eating.

“Social media is a powerful tool, if used right. Knowing that you are not going through difficult times alone is a great help for many patients,” says Dr Razan. Overcoming the social and cultural barriers associated with eating disorders through sharing knowledge and our own personal experiences can only have a positive impact in our society.

Email: Razan.Alghassab@gmail.com

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Art, Arts & Music, Online Magazine, Travel News, Travel Trends

Showcasing Local Talent

ART BY Sarah Hussein

Assila Hotel strives to be the first Art Hotel in the Kingdom.


Located on Jeddah’s Tahlia street, the luxurious and well-established Assila Hotel was designed to be the first Art Hotel in the Kingdom exhibiting Saudi artists’ work. Assila commits to this goal by advocating for the local art scene, with nearly 2,000 exclusive art pieces displayed around the hotel and about 860 books on Saudi culture. The goal is to create a museum of contemporary art within the halls of the esteemed building while encouraging Saudi’s talented youth to exhibit their work. Visitors can book a tour to view the many different artworks displayed in the hotel.

ART BY Sarah Hussein

ART BY Sarah Hussein

Assila does not only feature established local artists, they have also made room for up-and-comers to display their artwork. The hotel held its first Art Exhibition in August 2019, co-organized by Violet, with young Saudi artists exhibiting their best art pieces, from acrylic and oil paintings to mosaics pieces and digital prints. Many were heritage-inspired, while others focused on aesthetics and deeper meaning to their work, each unique in their own way and a proud representation of the art Saudi can offer.

Attendees of the prestigious event included a few of the Kingdom’s well-known artists, businessmen, influencers, government officials and even Hollywood producers. This exhibit opened doors for many young artists and truly showed how Assila is remaining true to their vision of creating opportunity for the local Saudi art scene.

Assila Hotel will be holding similar events in the coming weeks in order to cover every aspect of art Saudi has to offer.

Location:  Prince Mohammed Bin Abdulaziz St., Al Andalus Dist., Jeddah
Web: assilahotel.com.sa
Instagram: assilahotel

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Hair & Makeup, Online Magazine, Self Care, Skin Care, Tips and tricks

Beauty Upgrades

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Here are some game-changing beauty upgrades to give yourself a spruce-up (short of cosmetic surgery). Important reminder: Always do your research thoroughly and get an expert’s advice before taking any treatment!


  • Cool Sculpting and VelaShape
    Both Cool Sculpting and VelaShape are body contouring and cellulite treatments that use a combination of technologies to trim and smooth out the skin. Cool sculpting is a non-surgical fat-freezing technology that is proven to reduce stubborn fat in trouble spots such as the double chin, flank, and lower abdomen. VelaShape gets rid of cellulite and circumferential mass around the neck, arms, love handles, abdomen, thighs, and buttocks.

BEST FOR: Cellulite and extra fat layer.

  • HydraFacial
    This is the facial upgrade that cleanses, exfoliates, extracts impurities, and then infuses the skin with intensive serums. Instead of poking and pinching the skin with the blackhead tweezer, a pore vacuum is gently glided over the skin to dislodge debris and nourish the skin with intense moisturizers. Suitable for almost all skin types, the hydrafacial is popular during the winter season in the Kingdom when dry skin is the norm.

BEST FOR: Acne, oily and congested skin, wrinkles, hyperpigmentation, scars, improving texture and firmness of the skin.

  • Carbon Laser Peel
    The carbon peel has proved to be a revolutionary laser treatment that is completely pain-free. A layer of liquid carbon is applied to the skin, where it penetrates deep into the pores and is then exposed to laser in this treatment.

BEST FOR: Dark pigments, oily and acne-occluded skin, blackheads, and dull skin.
TIP: To maintain the outcomes, limit sun exposure.

  • Ultherapy
    This procedure lifts, tightens and rejuvenates the skin without surgery or downtime. The ultrasound energy harnesses heat produced by precisely targeted sonic waves to jumpstart the regenerative process that produces fresh, new collagen. It promises to activate the skin’s deadbeat collagen and put it on high-speed rewind.

BEST FOR: Lines and wrinkles on the brow, neck, chin, and décolletage.

  • Fractional Laser
    This fractional skin resurfacing treatment targets troubled skin with microscopic laser columns that penetrate deep into your skin to boost the remodeling of collagen along with resurfacing the entire skin tone. The procedure takes some time to heal and has a downtime of typically a week to 15 days of the skin’s recovery.

BEST FOR: Scars, age spots, sun spots, pigmentation, wrinkles, etc.

WHERE TO GO
Check out these places for a variety of beauty-upgrade treatments.

JEDDAH:

Kaya Skin Clinic
Instagram: kayaclinicarabia

Sky Clinic
Instagram: skyclinicsa

Al Mada Derme Esthetique Clinique
Instagram: almada_clinic

RIYADH:

Les Cliniques
Instagram: lescliniques

Clinica Joelle
Instagram: clinicajoelleksa

Jwel Clinics
Instagram: jwelclinics

SHARQIYA:

Ram Clinics
Instagram: ramclinics

Dermatique Skin Clinic
Instagram: dermatiquesa

Rawnaq Dental & Derma Clinics
Instagram: Rawnaqkhobar

Med Art Clinics
Instagram: medartclinc.kh

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Explore KSA, Online Magazine, Travel Around Saudi, Travel News, Travel Trends

To Infiniti and Beyond!

Photo by Shaker Samargandi

Cruising in the realm of dreams coming true.


“The known is finite, the unknown is infinite.” – Thomas Henry Huxley.

Delving straight into the enigma and infinity of the unknown, a group of adventurous elite artists and globetrotters lead by Moath Al Ofi and Rashed Al Shashai went on a cultural and exploratory expedition, discovering heirlooms of Saudi’s past. These locations are currently off the map for the sake of conservation, however, they are to be publicly revealed when deemed appropriate by the team. “I like to keep all my senses engaged, following any lead that would take me straight to the glory of uncharted lands. There’s an unparallelled thrill that accompanies the revelation of such beautiful sites. The findings will be portrayed via different art mediums soon,” Moath expressed.

Photo by Shaker Samargandi

Photo by Shaker Samargandi

Answering to the group’s ambitions, dreams, and lifelong passion for pursuing the Kingdom’s hidden wonders, Universal Premium Motors Agencies (UMA Premium) – Infiniti’s local automotive dealer –  facilitated the experience, providing them with the exceptional Infiniti 2019 QX80 model for the road. UMA Premium is an esteemed organization that values high-end vehicles, top customer and after sales services, and aims to constantly provide a paramount driving experience in the Kingdom; exactly matching the demands of this excursion.

Photo by Shaker Samargandi

Photo by Shaker Samargandi

The coterie took comfort in the QX80’s luxurious and spacious cabin as they travelled up the winding and arduous road en route to Taif from Jeddah on day one. It’s corner hugging ability made road sickness a problem of the past; with not a minute to waste, visiting Shubra Palace and camping in the desert was enjoyed to the fullest that day. Climbing Al Shada Al A’la granite massif in Al Baha was next on the bucket list. Vultures were spotted circling high in the sky above, and scattered endemic wildlife was appreciated at the reserve. With a powerful 5.6-liter V8 engine driving both axles, and 400 @ 5800 RPM horsepower, the beast QX80 performed quintessentially, and taking on tough terrains was a breeze. After a one night chill stay at Al Namas, the voyagers sought destination Abha the following day for what remained of the one-week trip. To their luck, Al Soudah festival Season was in full effect at the time. Finally, the trip came to a conclusion with a stop by Rijal Alma’ Village, a historical heritage site surrounded by fortresses.

Photo by Moath Al Of!

Photo by Moath Al Of!

“A dream you dream alone is only a dream. A dream you dream together is reality.” – John Lennon. Hand in hand, Infiniti and the creatives turned young dreams into blooming realities, exploring the mysteries of raw and unseen southern Saudi landscapes. The QX80 crushed the challenge. Afterall, genius is the infinite capacity for taking pains.

Web: infiniti-umapremium.com
Instagram: infinitisaudi
Instagrammoathalofi
Instagramrashedalshashai
Instagramshakersmr

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Business, Business Talks, Interview, Online Magazine

A Brave New Saudi: Jumanah Shaheen

brave-2-copy

 By Caitlin Gibbs
Edited by Jou Pabalate

Talking Pictures with pioneering visual effects producer, Jumanah Shaheen.


If you ever have the pleasure of meeting Jumanah Shaheen, you’ll gravitate towards her unmistakably beautiful, and intensely calming energy almost unknowingly. Her warmth and genuine attention to conversation makes you feel at ease, and you’ll find yourself in a smooth back and forth for hours. That is, if she doesn’t have to hurry away to deal with an almost always looming deadline.

Jumanah has made a name for herself as a Visual Effects Producer. She has made significant contributions to numerous award-winning feature films and music videos. She has worked as a visual effects coordinator on major motion pictures such as Fruitvale Station, the directorial debut of Ryan Coogler (Black Panther) and starring Michael B. Jordan (Creed, Black Panther) and Melonie Diaz (Charmed). The 2013 film was a runaway hit, earning critically and commercially, winning the Independent Spirit Award for Best First Feature, Satellite Special Achievement Award for Breakthrough Performance, and the Producers Guild of America Stanley Kramer Award. Her other notable works include international feature films, like Theeb, which won the BAFTA Award for Outstanding Debut in 2016, as well as Academy Award and BAFTA Award nominations for Best Foreign Language Film.

Born in Saudi Arabia as the youngest of four, Jumanah spent her early childhood years in Michigan where her parents were in University, until moving back to Saudi at age 10. Quite the prodigy, she graduated from high school at the age of 15. While she wanted to take up film or animation in the States from the onset, her dad asked her to study at a local university before heading abroad. dsc_9420-copy

Later on, she would enter the Academy of Art University in San Francisco, and complete a Bachelors of the Arts in Animation & Visual Effects production at the age of 21. The choice to get into animation was one that was cultivated in Jumanah from her early childhood: “I watched cartoons growing up, all the way into my young adult life— For me it was a way to visit and understand different points of views, each story or animation was so far away from who I was and my experience. Storytelling in animation, to be specific, is a chance to build a world completely on its own. Others might get it, or not, but it’s still out there to be understood.

It was also a way to send out a message. When you can relate to a character or scenario, you become more empathetic. Give me single person in the world that hasn’t been affected by a movie or cartoon that they watched growing up, or even now. Living between two different places that spoke different languages, visuals were the easiest way for me to communicate with them. Words are powerful, but I think visuals stick with a person a lot more.”

During her time at the Academy however, she quickly realized that although she loved the idea of personally creating her own world in 3D, she didn’t enjoy the actual modeling itself. She saw it as just one step in creating that universe.

“I was always the one who took all the notes in class and emailed it to all my friends. I found joy in organizing group meetings, assignments, and being the one people go to, to fix things. Eventually, one of my classmates pointed out to me that I’m not a 3D modeler, I was a producer. At first I got offended, but then I realized— yes, I think he’s on to something. So I dipped my hands into that, volunteering and working as a production assistant whenever I could.”

Her hustle and relentless spirit gave Jumanah the break she needed upon finishing her degree. She managed to get her foot through doors because of her willingness to put in the hard work, sometimes volunteering for projects just to gain experience. When asked what makes a good producer, she shares, “I’ve worked with a lot of amazing producers. It’s hard to say that I do something better or not. The one thing I have noticed that the difference lies on whether a producer or supervisor has empathy or connection with their team. I’ve worked with a producer who didn’t know the artists names on the project.”

Jumanah’s senior portfolio included visual effects coordination for award winning pictures such Fruitvale Station, Adventagrous, and Theeb. Shortly after graduation, she moved to Los Angeles where she went on to produce visual effects for Modern Family, Black-ish, Fresh Off The Boat, Arrested Development, and music videos for Maroon 5, and most notably Taylor Swift’s record breaking music video, Look What You Made Me Do.

After spending a decade in Hollywood, Jumanah decided to come back and see how she can put her experience to good use in building the local industry. She sees herself working in between both markets, importing best practices in the Kingdom, while, through various film projects translating her cultural identity for a global audience, she says:

“Every kid in Saudi knows that in America you live in suburbia with a white picket fence. There’s that imagery that everyone is familiar with for Paris, Amsterdam, Italy… An image of how that life is lived. I just want for Saudi to have its own way of life shown too. One that is accurate in its depiction, that shows we’re not the stereotype others assume.” 

Since her return, Jumanah has worked with local talents and is working with different agencies to see how she can best contribute in developing the Saudi film industry.

“Thankfully, Saudi is opening up to the industry and providing all these amazing resources to the younger generation. When you’re trying to do something really good, and perfect it, you try and learn it from someone who has perfected it, then you can make it your own… I feel like LA and California in general, has already an established track record for creating incredible animated series and films. Between here and there, I want to do my best to create that link. It’s really an industry you can’t snooze on, it’s changing on a daily basis. So we’ll see!”

From coordinating productions for award-winning films as an undergrad teenager, to producing visual effects side by side with some of industry’s most talented artists in her early 20’s, it’s suffice to say that we haven’t seen the last of Jumanah Shaheen’s mark on not just the Saudi film industry, but also in Hollywood.

Instagram:  jumanah_shaheen

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Business, Online Magazine

Hospitality Guru Peter AlAtsas

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The Venue Corniche’s General Manager.


Born in Greece, raised in Australia, and educated in Canada, the well-traveled Peter Alatsas recently joined the team at the stunning seaside luxury hotel The Venue Corniche, as its General Manager.

A globetrotter by passion, Alatsas has traveled to some of the most exotic destinations around the world, immersing himself in different cultures.

This veteran hotelier’s career spans 40 years in the hotel and tourism industry. He has served as General Manager of several luxury hotels, from Asia Pacific to the Middle East and Europe, and he holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Tourism and Hospitality Management from Ryerson University in Canada, and an MBA in Management Consultancy from UK’s Sheffield Hallam University.

Alatsas is also an author of four books to date. His literary work is a reflection of his experience managing luxury hotels in exotic locations around the world, and his unique perspective on philosophy and management. His books are not only entertaining, but also an essential pick for business enthusiasts. Alatsas has guest-lectured at various institutions including Drexel University in Philadelphia, Deree American College in Athens, Kyoto and Ritzsmeikan Universities in Japan, and Swiss Les Roches Hotel School in Shanghai.

SOFITEL JEDDAH CORNICHE h9275

SOFITEL JEDDAH CORNICHE h9275

Now, as the General Manager of The Venue Jeddah Corniche, he manages the overall operations of the hotel while also overseeing brand relations. “We focus more on our values; value for price is very important for us as well as creativity; something out of the ordinary,” he explains.

Alatsas leads a group of 500 employees, working closely with the team to meet the ever-changing demands of the hotel’s discerning clientele. “We create a symbiotic relationship – inclusiveness, mutual respect and getting to our targets together so the team at The Venue Corniche is able to deliver service from the heart.”

For the upcoming year, Alatsas says that The Venue Corniche will be holding a number of competitions and activities through its digital platforms that will enable the followers to win free hotel stays, a meal at The Venue’s new concept restaurants, or a holiday getaway to incredible destinations for lucky couples.

With his international background and flair for unparalleled and unforgettable service, Peter Alatsas is the ideal person to focus on elevating guest experience at The Venue Corniche, whether it’s for business or for leisure.

Location:  Corniche Rd., Ash Shati Dist., Jeddah
Tel: +966-12-6139000
Web: the-venue.com
Instagram: thevenuejeddah

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