Meet Dhoha Abdullah, Saudi Arabia's First Female Chef

Published August 13th, 2017 - 01:09 GMT
Women in Saudi Arabia are now chefs.
Women in Saudi Arabia are now chefs.

Dhoha Abdullah has become the first Saudi female chef in the Kingdom where she's now head chef at a hotel in Riyadh.

Dhoha, who holds a Master’s Degree in social services from King Saudi University, told Sabq that she began to improve her cooking skills after her family encouraged her and told her she cooked better food than hotels and restaurants did.

Read more: Number of Women Working in Saudi Arabia Up 130 Percent: Report

Dhoha studied cooking in Lebanon and India and mastered the international cuisine in particular while adding her own touch, thus becoming an expert in the Italian, French, Indian and Syrian cuisines, in addition to the Saudi cuisine.

She said many supported her move such as the minister of labor who visited her and encouraged her to pursue this career.

Dhoha, who had to travel to study due to lack of culinary schools in Saudi Arabia, called on the vocational institute to open cooking institutes, adding that she is willing to cooperate with them and help others for nothing in return.

Earlier in March, Eastern Province Ministry of Labor Recruitment Director Omair Al-Zahrani said the ministry always encourages and supports women employment in various fields as long as her work does not contravenes Islamic teachings and her nature as a woman.

He said: “The ministry has constricting regulations on women working in hotels because there has been a record of hotels violating the ministry’s regulations on women employment.

“Hotels have employed women as receptionists, forcing them to interact with men.”

He said women may work in places where they are not obliged to constantly deal with men, they have their own entrances and exits to the workplace and they have their own rest rooms and facilities.

Read more: Saudi Arabia Needs More Women in Leadership Positions: Study

“The ministry’s regulations do not prohibit women working as chefs at a hotel as long as her work environment is clear of men and she has the freedom to use the rest rooms available for her,” said Al-Zahrani.

Gulf Tourism Committee member and former Eastern Province Chamber of Commerce and Industry tourism committee head Abdullah Al-Qahtani said the chambers of commerce and industry always support women’s employment.

Al-Qahtani noted: “The role of women in society and the labor market has become vital. Women entering the hospitality industry is a good move toward social development.

“With the right training and exposure, women’s involvement will raise the quality of our hotels to an international standard. However, hotels must cooperate and abide by the ministry’s regulations,” he added. 


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