Qatar’s culinary scene, from traditional cuisine to digital innovations

Cooking teaches us a lot about the culture of a country. Qatar 365 sampled local dishes in one of Qatar’s premier tourist destinations, followed a masterclass with a celebrity chef and explored the latest innovations in gastronomy.

Qatari chiefs

Shams Al Qassabi’s restaurant, Shay AlShomous, attracts locals and tourists alike. This mother of five is the first woman to run a business in Souq Waqif. “I worked hard day and night before I got to this point,” explains Shams Al Qassabi. “I wrote two books and put in only recipes that were invented by our ancestors and are part of our heritage and our culture.” she specifies.

At the other end of town, chef Aisha Al Tamimi cooks up a feast, including her famous lamb “machbous.” Her taste for cooking was born out of necessity: when she got married at the age of 15, she had to start cooking for her family and discovered a passion for it.

Today, she presents cooking shows on television. This former teacher has written several cookbooks.

The Cooking Academy created by her son is a place where she shares her know-how. Its opening in 2019, the establishment welcomed 3,000 children and 1,000 adults wishing “to learn and appreciate the art of cooking” according to the motto of the academy.

A cooking class with Captain Chef

Hassan Al Ibrahim flew airplanes for almost two decades. But during this time, he never lost his passion for cooking as he visited local restaurants or sampled delicacies from street vendors all over the planet. Today, the one who calls himself Captain Chef tells us that his second life has its origins in traditional Qatari dishes.

“We mainly rely on one thing: the aroma of the spices,” he points out. “Our kitchen may not have more than 10 or 15 dishes,” he continues, “but they are specific: they are mixtures of different cultures from here and elsewhere. That’s Qatari cuisine,” he points out.

The young chef believes that gastronomy is an art that reflects the culture of a country and tells a story of families, friends, memories, moments and celebrations.

Digital culinary innovations

Qatar’s gastronomic culture is developing along original paths.

Within the Ritz-Carlton hotel in Doha, Le Petit Chef offers a virtual and physical four-course menu that tells us, in the form of visual projections on our plate, the story of a little cartoon chef who Get involved in the preparation of these dishes. For the second course, we see him, for example, catching a fish in the sea.

“It’s a fantastic experience and in the end he will be able to present his dish without a hitch, without making any mistakes,” explains Sumid Sharma, supervisor at the Ritz-Carlton.

The result in the form of a starter, a main course accompanied by a whole series of accompaniments and a dessert is a spectacular visual and taste show.

At Iksha360, another trendy restaurant, one can have a fine dining experience while enjoying the breathtaking view of Doha, Losail and The Pearl, a luxurious man-made island in the West Bay district.

This former roof terrace, once open to the winds, has been transformed into a panoramic attraction that comes in three concepts: a “Cigar Lounge” on the 40th floor, an intimate restaurant on the 41st and a “Tearoom Lounge” on the 42nd with its aesthetic of jungle under the sky and its original cuisine from South Asia.

A cook roams this last space with his trolley and bell to serve appetizers and traditional drinks incorporating the latest gourmet innovations. Although the restaurant claims to serve VIPs and royals, the wide range of dishes appeal to anyone who enjoys dining on fine cuisine while admiring the panoramic view.

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