Saudi student Hudhayfah Al-Hamawi clinched the top spot in an international culinary competition hosted by the University of North Alabama in the United States. Due to his success, the university integrated Saudi Kabsa and Moussaka dishes into its academic program. Al-Hamawi successfully persuaded the department to include Saudi cuisine in the international culinary subject, featuring Saudi Kabsa and Moussaka salad, aiming to promote Saudi food culture in the United States.
Al-Hamawi won the first prize in the three-month-long culinary competition, which attracted competitors from 12 different countries. Currently enrolled in the Department of Culinary Arts Management at the University of North Alabama, he is pursuing graduate studies under the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Foreign Scholarship Program.
Al-Hamawi is recognized as an exemplary student in the contemporary culinary arts specialization aligned with the Ministry of Education's new focuses in accordance with the Kingdom's Vision 2030. He commended the Saudi cultural attaché at the embassy in Washington for facilitating his entry into this specialization, despite having previously completed his studies in tourism and hospitality at the Technical College in the Makkah region.
Prior to his higher studies in the U.S. through the foreign scholarship program, Al-Hamawi accumulated extensive culinary experience, primarily in hotels near the Grand Mosque in Makkah. He also underwent training in a program at King Abdullah Economic City, supported by Prince Khaled Al-Faisal, the emir of Makkah and advisor to the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, where he distinguished himself as one of the top 10 participants.
Kabsa, a renowned Arabic dish and the national pride of Saudi Arabia, stands as one of the finest rice dishes. This classic recipe features golden-brown chicken pieces atop flavorful kabsa rice, enhanced with the delightful touch of pine nuts and golden raisins. Widely celebrated, it holds a special place in the culinary traditions of numerous Middle Eastern countries.
Whereas, Moussaka, a dish primarily centered around eggplant, enjoys popularity in regions such as Egypt, the Levant, the Middle East, Greece, and the Balkans, featuring numerous local and regional adaptations. The term "Moussaka" in culinary context originates from the Arabic word "musaqqa'ah," denoting a state of being cold or immersed in liquid.