(MENAFN - Arab News) Twenty-five-year-old Rayan Alayesh is an upcoming chef who studied Hotel and Restaurant Management simply to follow his dream of becoming the first Saudi Michelin Star chef.
Alayesh was first attracted to this career after majoring in industrial engineering for three years, until he reached a stage where he was not doing well at school because he did not find himself in this major. "I was not motivated to study or to go on and continue in this field. One day I was reading about Hotel and Restaurant Management, and I thought to myself: This is where I belong," he said. "It was not the easiest decision at all as I had to consult with my parents and think it over once and twice and three times, until I believed that this was the smartest move," he added.
After throwing away years of engineering, Alayesh decided to change his title from engineer to chef. "Hotel and Restaurant Management was the closest to being a chef and it allowed me to learn about what happens behind the kitchen and how to build my own business," he said. "This major is fresh, new and innovative, and there are not many Saudi chefs, though there are plenty of opportunities here and many restaurants looking for Saudi chefs. I love the fact that I can be myself and gain experience by doing the thing I love, which is cooking," he added.
Ever since Alayesh took this decision he has had many doors open to him and many opportunities come his way. "I got the chance to work in the Disney World resort in Orlando for six months and I went for two summers on a study abroad program, one being in Switzerland and the Netherlands, where we visited 17 different cities and counties in a period of six weeks," he said. "We also got the chance to explore restaurants and hotels and examine them, and we had to critique them as part of our homework. This was fun because I was able to see other people's work and gain experience by seeing how they operate their business and learn from different sources," he added. Alayesh went to a culinary school in Lyon, France in 2010 because it is known to be the culinary capital of the world, according to him. "I went there for four weeks attending a championship chef of the world school called Paul Bocuse Institute. It is like the unrated best chef school ever known to mankind, and there I learned so much and got to work hands on with expert chefs while learning how to prepare different kinds of recipes in the morning, and at night we actually had to cook it for people who visited the restaurant," he said.
After Alayesh graduated back in August, he moved back to Saudi Arabia to give himself some space and get a feel for the Saudi market. "I applied at Muse restaurant in Jeddah, and now I'm a trainee there, I do everything. I prep, I make sauces and I cook marinated steaks, chicken, and fish," he said. "One of the biggest events I worked on was 'Edge of Arabia' because we had a set menu and had to prepare more than 250 orders at once. It was a challenge but it was a great experience and I enjoyed it," he added.
Alayesh's ultimate goal is to open a culinary school in Jeddah and provide the opportunity to Saudis who cannot travel abroad and learn in international culinary schools to learn in a reliable institution that can teach them everything from A to Z. "I want to start something truly respectable and productive. I want people to come and learn there and to receive the opportunity to work in good restaurants and hotels in Saudi Arabia," he said. "I would offer courses on how to design a menu, how to manage a restaurant, to things like how to cook pasta and how to make dessert," he added.
Alayesh met with key businessmen in Jeddah and proposed his idea along with a strong presentation that illustrates his plan for this school, but he is still waiting for someone who believes in this project and would aid him in opening the first culinary college and school in Saudi Arabia (maybe 'in the Kingdom').