Badr Fayez is a busy, busy man. The Saudi celebrity chef and former Top Chef, Master Chef Arabia judge is in the US to promote his home country’s cuisine and to talk about the future of food and—if he has his way—the improvement of fast food.
Tonight, he will join a food writer and a baker at the University Club of Portland at 6 p.m. for a panel discussion about sustainability.
Fayez, who operates a bakery in Jeddah, comes with a formidable culinary pedigree—he holds degrees from the University of Johnson and Wales in Rhode Island and the Le Cordon Bleu Institute, interned at the Grand Hotel in Vienna, worked as a pastry chef in Italy, and spent time shadowing chefs for a culinary expedition in Southeast Asia.
“In Saudi, properly trained chefs are few and far between,” Fayez says. “Here, in Portland, you can find enough people to support each other when it comes to a commitment to sustainability.”
That’s why he’s using his clout in Saudi Arabia to spread the message of responsible sourcing, good ingredients and tried and true techniques.
He’s also on a mission to improve the ingredients in American-style fast food back home, which has established a strong presence in the kingdom, just as it has in cities all over the world. (He does, however, admit to occasionally indulging in the occasional Big Mac.)
If you can’t make it to the panel that features Fayez tonight, you can always meet him in person on Wednesday, April 26, when he travels to Astoria’s Baked Alaska to put on a cooking demonstration.
For that, he’ll showcase a quinoa salad tossed with tangerines and grilled bell peppers, and dressed in a raspberry-lavender vinaigrette, butternut squash raviolis in a vanilla-sage-and-curry butter sauce, and his take on the classic Saudi dish of fish and rice, with tamarind and tahini sauces.
That event starts at 5:30 p.m. Interested eaters can register for free tickets to the demonstration and Q and A by visiting Fayez’s Eventbrite page.
On a final note: Fayez doesn’t know where he’s eating dinner tonight, but if you see him, say hello and welcome. And maybe apologize for today’s downpour.
The University Club of Portland: 1225 SW Sixth Ave., 503.223.6237
Baked Alaska: 1 12th St., Ste. 1, Astoria, 503.325.7414