Qatari chef: ‘Great football and tasty food will welcome fans in 2022’
For Doha-based chef Mohammed Al Abdullah, hosting the FIFA World Cup™ is a golden opportunity to introduce millions of fans to Qatar’s hospitality and generosity.
Al Abdullah, a well-known chef and caterer from Abu Hamour, took time out from his busy schedule to introduce qatar2022.qa to some famous Ramadan dishes while looking forward to the first World Cup to be held in the Middle East and Arab world.
Al Abdullah regularly supports the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy’s Community Engagement Division with its various initiatives. During the FIFA Club World Cup 2020™, held in February, he held cooking workshops with various community groups to introduce them to local cuisine.
“When you say World Cup, you’re talking about millions of people visiting Qatar,” said Al Abdullah. “Thank God we take after our grandfathers and are used to being hospitable. I hope everyone who visits for the World Cup will see how peaceful and generous Qatari people are.”
And when it comes to food, Al Abdullah is sure the visiting fans will be impressed with local cuisine.
“We will create local dishes to welcome all the nationalities who travel here in 2022. I want to try and give people the most authentic taste of Qatari food,” he added.
Al Abdullah has been especially busy in recent weeks preparing food during the Holy Month of Ramadan. His favourite dishes include lamb machboos, served with rice, potato, onions and spices, and the sweet dumpling qatayef, which is served with cream, nuts and honey, and is often served with Arabic coffee.
“Traditional Qatari cooking is known for its great spices. I actually believe the amount of spices reflects our people’s generosity,” said Al Abdullah. “Lamb machboos is a staple dish used to welcome people into your home as a sign of hospitality.”
Al Abdullah continued: “When we were young, my father used to take us around Msheireb. The Lebanese community mostly made qatayef and we used to buy it. Some people make the dish from scratch, like I do today. It is not a traditional Qatari dish – but it is famous across the Arab region – and I am proud to serve it to my customers.”
Back to the World Cup, and Al Abdullah fondly remembers the moment Qatar was announced as the host nation for 2022.
“When we won the bid in 2010, I was in the majlis with my friends. Some were heading to Souq Waqif to watch the event on the big screen. When we saw the royal family hug each other and cry, we all teared up. I will never forget how happy I felt. It was a proud moment for everyone in Qatar,” said Al Abdullah.
And looking forward to the 22nd edition of international football’s showpiece event, Al Abdullah is determined the tournament will leave a positive legacy for the entire nation.
“Football is a unifying game and it will unify everyone on Qatari soil. People of all nationalities will arrive in our country and we will welcome them with great football and great food.”