How Prince Khaled and Matthew Kenney Are Turning The World Cup Vegan
This Fall, the World Cup is expected to attract 1.7 million people to Qatar – a country that typically draws in 500,000 tourists during its busiest seasons. But with so many tourists, the country will have to accommodate thousands of hungry stomachs and cater to a wide range of diets. Prince Khaled bin Alwaleed – the Saudi Arabian prince who operates the investment firm KBW Venture – and vegan chef Matthew Kenney just announced they will help Qatar prepare for kick-off by launching the plant-based menu concept Foila at the Four Seasons Hotel in Doha.
As one of the host cities, Doha is expected to attract large crowds for the month-long competition, so Kenney and Prince Khaled have decided to bring the vegan concept to the hotel’s Apres Spa Cafe. The sustainable menu will showcase some of Kenney’s signature vegan dishes along with several locally-inspired dishes. Four Seasons guests and visitors to Apres will be able to ask for the Foila menu when they dine at the hotel’s signature restaurant.
“It is fitting that Folia, crafted to appeal to palates that have eaten the finest in healthy cuisine, is being presented at Four Seasons Doha now that Qatar is preparing to welcome the world for one of the biggest sporting events in history,” Prince Khaled said. “I look forward to seeing the Qatari plant-based dining scene elevated with Chef Kenney’s inspired dishes.”
The Folia menu will feature an impressive selection of vegan dishes including ravioli alfredo filled with roasted butternut squash and vegan parmesan; truffle pizza layered with cashew cream, mushrooms, kale, and lemon vinaigrette, and a green papaya salad with spinach, cilantro, basil, shredded carrots, and topped with a cashew dressing.
“We are pleased to be presenting such flourishing food creations collaborated by the world-class chef, Matthew Kenney, and the energetic regional investor, Prince Khaled bin Alwaleed, to celebrate every Four Seasons visitor with a special international plant-based cuisine infused with a local touch to enjoy throughout the summer,” General Manager of Four Seasons Doha Shadi Suleman said.
This menu concept will follow successful launches in Beverly Hills, Kuwait, Dubai, Bahrain, and Riyadh. The menu will be well established by the time the World Cup begins on November 21, which will mark the first time that a Middle Eastern has hosted the international sporting event. The Four Seasons Doha is located in the middle of the nation's capital and will receive thousands of guests during the month-long event.
“We are thrilled to expand the Folia brand and our partnership with the Four Seasons in Doha,” Kenney told VegNews. “We strive to connect classic dishes and techniques with local ingredients and culture, and it is our intention for guests to experience the Folia menu through this lens. As we expand into six new concepts this month alone, the sky is the limit and our expansion into Doha is a poignant part of our growth.”
Qatar’s Sustainable Food Efforts
Last September, the Qatari government started the process of passing regulatory approval for sustainable, lab-grown meats. The Qatar Free Zones Authority (QFZA) and the country’s Ministry of Public Health released an intent to grant regulatory approval for GOOD Meat – the cultured meat branch of California-based food tech brand Eat Just. The announcement signifies that Qatar is working to become the world’s second country to approve cultured meat’s commercialization.
Since then, Eat Just has worked with the QFZA and Doha Venture Capital to begin building the first cultured meat production facility in the Middle East. The company intends to help Qatar stop relying as heavily on exports and facilitate and sustainable food system within the region.
Prince Khaled Bets Big on Plant-Based
Prince Khaled is determined to introduce sustainable food systems to the Middle East. The environmental activist intends to promote companies and projects that educate consumers in the Middle East to shop and eat for the planet. The prince discussed the dangers of animal agriculture at the Middle East Agri-Food Summit last September and continues to invest in companies that aim to promote plant-based eating.
Recently, the eco-conscious entrepreneur joined the plant-based investment company Eat Well Investment Group as a strategic advisor. Eat Well and KBW Vetnrues prioritize a commitment to the plant-based sector. For example, KBW has invested in plant-based startups such as Plant Power Fast Food, helping grow the vegan fast-food brand in the last few years. Now, partnering with Kenney, Prince Khaled is advancing this plant-based mission in Qatar with the hopes of helping push the Middle East in a sustainable direction.
“I want the wider Middle East, including the GCC, and the world for that matter, to move toward a sustainable approach. All roads lead to Rome in this case: No matter your preference regarding plant-based proteins or cell cultivated proteins, there are alternative solutions,” Prince Khaled told The Beet.
“It is vital we begin adopting these technologies, some are already scalable. For the food tech solutions that are still too expensive for scale, investors need to continue backing research that can bring costs down. I realize there is still a lot of education required around what food tech is trying to achieve. We are trying to feed the world, with as little harm as possible, and that includes environmental harm.”
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