Society | Development | Modernization: Dissertation Research


 Cuisine, The Beginning of a new Era

Meet Kuwait's Top Chefs | Restauranteers | Entrepreneurs,looking for social change through importing Multi-Cultural Food based from their abroad experiences, all the way to their hometown, Kuwait.

 Chef Ahmed Al Bader

Al-Bader decided to transfer to Suffolk University, Boston where he majored in Finance and minored in Marketing. To fulfill his passion for cooking, Al Bader, now a certified chef, attended the renowned Cordon Bleu for a 6 week intense training course.


Article Interview: Trained chef and Epicure co-founder Ahmed Al Bader speaks to Louise Oakley about the gaps in Kuwait’s dining scene and how he plans to plug them with fresh produce and restaurant theatre.

“The younger generation looks for entertainment, which must be
fresh and lively. Interesting demonstrations, performers, technology and most importantly, music, are all key in providing the overall experience and showmanship,” says Al Bader.

“Our objective is to strive to offer exceptional cuisine in a
memorable atmosphere, while delivering exquisite dining value and creating a sensation of tastes and textures that are amalgamated with the modern day.”

F&B Champion: Ahmed Al Bader –

 Chef Faisal Al Nashmi

Finished Highschool in London. Studied Film & Photography in University of Miami. Developed passion for cooking by reading cookbooks and watching BBC food. Faisal was interested in British chefs like, Gordon Ramsay, Heston Blumenthal, Ina Garten (American). He then, started experimenting and recreating dishes.


  • Al Makan – The Cube  (Art Gallery joined with the restaurant)

What obstacles are there in Kuwait that you face as a filmmaker?

If you compare Kuwait with other countries from the Gulf such as Dubai and Qatar, you will see that the people support financially, in Kuwait they are afraid to take the financial risk and push you a head when they don’t know what the return is. Also, in Kuwait, they look at art as something unnecessary, something with no return. That’s where we struggle to be more productive.

There are a lot of struggling artists here where they don’t have a place to meet with each other and collaborate. That’s why everyone wants to go abroad and give there; there is just a small place for them to be productive in Kuwait. ” Faisal Al Nashmi


  • “What projects have you worked on?

The first project and biggest I ever did was Hearts of Palm, I did it as a final project for university. When I came back to Kuwait I started with my own projects which is combining the art of film and food together; filming the food getting made but without really telling people exactly what to do, its like a story of showing them how to do it. They can recreate the dish with just watching the video without reading anything. I did around three videos and I am currently working on one.”

Experiment: Modern Popular Kuwaiti Dishes

Background Interview (link): Faisal Al Nashmi

 Chef Feras Al Zaid

“What experience most defined your decision and desire to get into the food industry?

I was a political science major, but felt a bit lost in a field that wasn’t satisfying me, creatively. I was already researching ingredients and cooking as a hobby, so when I decided to drop out of university and follow my passion for food, I was challenged and motivated. I made the Dean’s List in Culinary School, and was offered an international apprenticeship in Turkey. That experience gave me a sense of purpose. When I returned, I wanted to surround myself with people that believed in a true community-based culinary movement, bringing people together through food, and helping to progress our culinary scene forward.”


  • Community Table: (The Community Table is a culinary platform that celebrates food and culture.)

youtube channel

 Chef Maryam Al Nusif

Ex-investment banker turned chef and gardener, Maryam Al Nusif, pursued her life-long dream of becoming a chef right after hand- ing in her MBA thesis at Imperial College London. She studied at the Cordon Bleu and practiced in different London kitchens including Ottolenghi, The Providores, Nobu, and Cocomaya.


“I love to introduce people to new flavor pallets and to broaden their knowledge and appreciation for international cuisine. I am always grateful for the trust they place in me and try something they never tried before – and then to like it!” – Maryam 


This restaurant is a great place for locals to experience some of the first Theatre-style dining in Kuwait. 

– Cooking for the Ambassador of Japan

Organic/Healthy foods made by locals, joined by Western style live music & Artwork

  • The Secret Garden

The Secret Garden simply put is an urban community garden. Mimi got permission from the municipality to occupy part of a public garden in Salmiya and setup planting stations so that people and children could come and grow their own vegetables, herbs and fruits. Majority of the garden was built using recycled material and they even have their own compost pit which they’ve started filling up in hopes of it being ready for next year.

The Secret Garden Project: It was Destroyed by the Public Authority for Agriculture Affairs & Fish Resources (PAAFR)

Read Article 

“PAAFR reasoning behind the destruction was that the garden was dirty. Even though the Secret Garden wasn’t being used because it was the summer and there are municipality workers that are meant to clean the garden (the Secret Garden community clean the garden themselves during the cooler months), PAAFR decided it would be better to destroy the garden then try and reason with the community. The result? A catastrophic mess leaving the garden in shambles and disarray. They even had the garbage bins Secret Garden had placed removed and now the garden doesn’t even have trash bins for people to put their trash in. PAAFR also destroyed all the planting stations and just left them lying in the park with nails dangerously sticking out.” – Mark Makhoul (248am)

 Entrepreneur Amr Al Refai

Refai, 34, is a trained pizzaiolo from Naples. “I went to Italy for the first time in 2000. There I was told if you want the best pizza, you should go to Naples. This was the first spark of my idea to bring the experience of Neapolitan pizza to Kuwait,” he said. After mulling about it, in 2004 he built an oven in his house to work on his skills. But it didn’t work out as expected, so in 2007, Refai headed back to Naples to learn pizza-making. He also worked in a restaurant there.

In 2008, he returned to Naples again and participated in a pizza festival. The same year, Refai ordered an original wood-fired oven from a fourth-generation artisan. The oven can cook in five seconds and reaches a temperature of 500 C. In 2011, he opened Solo Pizza Napulitana. “I deliberately chose to open shop here. This is a hidden place. The interior design is influenced by pizzerias in Naples, with our own touch. Our focus was on comfort,” Refai said.



“Solo Pizza Napulitana brings in fresh mozzarella cheese weekly by air. Organic San Marzano tomatoes are also imported. “I’m always trying new stuff. We are constantly experimenting, but we keep it simple – no more than five ingredients to bring out the individual flavors. Simple is very hard – it is easy to use many inferior ingredients to mask their taste,” Refai said.

But do people in Kuwait really care about authenticity? According to Refai, his role is to educate the public. So what about pineapple as a topping? “Neapolitans will be horrified. We have tried it here, but don’t tell anyone about it,” he quipped.”

  • Bringing together the rest of the community: As seen below, Locals are trying to normalize jobs like waitressing + managing and working along side expat workers.

 Restauranteer Basel Al Salem

He had returned to Kuwait from studying finance overseas at the University of Denver in Colorado, and was disappointed by the lack of quality local restaurants in his home city.


Taking a cue from an American gas station in the 1940s, Slider Station is the first conveyor belt burger joint in the world.

The opening of Slider Station was followed by a series of modern, higher end versions of traditional fast food restaurants.

Vegan/Organic/Healthy Options & Supermarkets

Online Subscription

Owner: Yousef Al Munayes, Interview

Plant-Based Super-Natural Wholefoods Bar


Coffee Shops

Coffee shops in Kuwait are growing & expanding rapidly with significant profits.

This new wave of local coffeeshops has increased networking and socializing among youth immensely due to their open space, board games, and organization of social events. – Leanah Al Awadhi

The first pet-friendly place in town.

Located in the famousoldest traditional Kuwaiti styled house known as (Bait Al Sadu), that was then turned into a museum for visitors to discover the Bedouin art of weaving, its styles and history.

Jumo is an artisanal coffee shop. The Branding is contemporary Arab/African style.

  • Before
  • After


Another spot that aims to bring people together

& more…

Kuwait’s Top Brand Strategist

  Nouf HussainPretty Little Things

Besides her myriad of projects, including branding new projects, art directing and styling photo shoots for print publications and individual brands, and hosting brand launches, Noaf started a show called Pretty Little Things. “Pretty Little Things is something I started in December of 2011 as a way for creatives, the curious, and those who appreciate the smallest of nuances to get together, shop, chat, and network with the media and each other in a beautiful setting. It initially started as a way to promote my clients (I freelance in marketing and branding) but when I saw the way people reacted to it, I decided to use it as a platform to promote regional brands and do some good along the way.”

Founder of: 

  • Qout Market – A seasonal artisanal food/farm/craft market in Kuwait

Foodtrucks & Pop-Up
  • June 1, 2017, Food Trucks became legal in Kuwait

Cultural Diversification, Goal Achieved 

credit to @mimikuwait @zubaneen @st_almakan @chef_ak @chefalzaid @solopn @vol_1kuwait @communitytable @whybader @thereadingroom_bytheyard @thehouseofetiquetteq8



Article Research

The Number One Reason People in the Middle East Avoid Therapy
In the Middle East, if you imply that you’ve noticed a mental illness symptom, people would shame you, judge you, bully you and label you crazy. Many would not want to hire you, marry you or even be acquainted with you.

In this part of the world, it is acceptable for people to treat their mental illness by inflicting pain on others but not by seeing a therapist. Psychopaths run loose and their assaults go unquestioned while sophisticated people who wish to seek professional help are deemed unreliable, unstable and, above all, insane.

We also have the ‘pious’ folk who have the guts to tell a bipolar or depressed person that the source of their mental illness is lack of faith.

The Stigma

Psychologist Ashley J. Smith, PhD, pointed out that the first barrier which prevents people from getting needed mental health services is the stigma associated with it.

“It is an issue, particularly within some populations,” she said, “The prevailing view that ‘mental illness’ is different from other illnesses or disorders typically viewed as more physical or medical in nature prevents people from seeking help.”

“Many mental illnesses are neurobiological in nature (e.g. anxiety, OCD, depression, ADHD, etc.) and are much more appropriately viewed in a manner similar to high blood pressure or diabetes—chronic medical conditions that require effective pharmacological and behavioral/lifestyle interventions.”

People who refrain from seeking professional help are usually afraid that if they admit being mentally ill, they will not be fully accepted into society, according to behavioral expert and family counselor, Michael Herbert.

He believes the case is similar to the denial and shame connected to addiction.

“I worked in Egypt and with many people from the Middle East, and the number one reason they came to me was because I’m a foreigner, which made them feel less judged,” he said.

Psychologist Marsha D. Brown, PhD, explained that “in some communities and/or cultures, mental illness is not something that is discussed outside the family, let alone with an outsider, such as a mental health professional.”

“Additionally, in some cultures, symptoms of mental illness may be perceived as an indication that a person needs to pray more or increase church attendance. It may also be seen as a sign that a spell has been cast or that the devil is trying to influence the affected individual.”

Narrative Means to Therapeutic Ends
  • “General Therapy” Article
A Book Review
Michael White and David Epston published a book, in 1990, titled Narrative Means to Therapeutic Ends. This book is a culmination of the therapeutic work of each of these authors, though much of it was constructed independently (White & Epston, 1990).  Narrative Therapy is considered one of the major models of Marriage and Family Therapy.

Suicide Hotline in Kuwait

Suicide Hotline in Kuwait


Child Protection Hotline

Child Protection Hotline

  • view comments in the link above


(Focusing particularly on "CHILD ABUSE")
Inquiry into the Handling of Child Abuse by Religious & other Organizations
Submission by the Islamic Council of Victoria 15th April 2013.(Link Above)
What does Islam say about parents abusing their children, or about bad parenting in general?
Quora: Answer by, 

Javed Aslam, 25 years of group study of Qur'an with in depth discussion

While religion might be, and sometimes is, the apparent reason for the mistreatment of a child by the parent(s), the real reasons usually lie elsewhere.

These include, the parent(s) having been mistreated by their own parents, lack of education, inability to control one’s anger, financial difficulties, marital difficulties, addictions, alcoholism, job insecurities, among others.

When religion is the apparent issue, whether it is Islam, Chritianity, or any other religion, the root cause is not because the religion taught or encouraged such mistreatment of one’s children but generally because of “crooked” misinterpretation of the texts and the teachings, either by the parent(s) or, more commonly, by the religious teachers in the community or sect.

Bringing up children has never been easy, and the parents as a rule have zero education in this. Often, the only guidance they have to go by is their own treatment when they were children.

The religious fervor, perceived or otherwise, is often a motivation in many cases, but I would argue that the fervor itself is often not based on the teachings of the religion but a self-concocted desire to make the child more “moral” than the parent’s own assessment of self. Is that something the religion teaches? Likely not.

Coming back to the teachings of Islam, the parents are made responsible to teach goodness to their children, but to do it with example, kindness, love and tenderness. Is this what happens in “religious” Muslim families? Sadly, sometimes it does not? All the factors outlined above play a role in Muslim families as they do in other religions.


What is Middle Eastern culture? Maybe you think of the Golden Age of Islamic civilization, or of hummus and falafel, but, in fact, there is a great diversity of the cultural production of the Middle East today. Of course, there still practitioners of the classical arts like calligraphy, ebru – Turkish paper marbling, miniature painting, Quranic recitation and singing of both Sufi and folk songs, shadow puppetry, tentmaking, zilij tilework, folk dance, and many more.  Many of these arts have experienced revivals under the patronage of the various states in order to maintain them as living traditions.

At the same time, artists in and from the Middle East, whether they work in music, the visual arts, film, dance, or other media, also produce works using the international vocabulary of contemporary art. Some may fuse elements of the traditional with these contemporary works while others express themselves wholly within a modern context. Classical or contemporary, there is much to learn and appreciate from cultural practices and traditions.

Similar Articles:

Arguing Semantics: What Exactly is “Arab Art”?

Middle East Art Mix

Dissertation Research

Idea: I plan to continue working and to develop my skills on collage/ mixed media, and installation art such as handmade objects/ miniature making and sculpture. I started researching themes, and came up with an idea to make a “Narrative Series” throughout the year. I want my work to be viewed as cultural and personal. A balance of both.

Artist Research: personal, therapeutic, contemporary & unique examples

Museum of broken hearts
Liz Magor
Yin Xuizhen
Dieter Roth
Shary Boyle
Urs Fischer
Submerged Motherlands
Lee Price
Judy Chicago
Andre Werner
website for video:
Marina Abramovic
"The Artist is Present"

Marisol Escobar
Brian Kroll

Roland Reiss
Curtis Talwst
Heather Dewey-Hagborg
Do Ho Suh
Marcin Krupa
dysfunctional family

Ahn Kyuchul
The Meditative, Witty Art of Korea's Ahn Kyuchul

Mathew Hale
Camilo Ontiveros

Emily Jacir
Andrea Tese
Danh Vo
Hannah Burr
self help

Victoria and Albert Museum: Dream House
40 artists collaboration
Teresa N. Fischer

Unit 6 – Final Exhibition

Melancholy in the Gulf: A love story

Love is innocent, but not until you are forced to share it with an entire community, literally with an entire community (friends, friends of friends, family, first cousins, third cousins, tenth cousins and it goes on). It is seen important as they think they are making “right” decisions for a man when it comes to choosing a women. Therefore, in the Gulf, first comes love, then comes marriage. Its a package. The “right” women, is expected to have a clean slate, meaning no history of any other relationships, or that should be covered and concealed for her. Basically, so she is to be seen as an ideal, traditional women and a wife material.

This a fictional story, based on true facts. There are 3 chapters to my story.

CHAPTER 1: Exploring love

CHAPTER 2: Falling in love (one-sided)

CHAPTER 3: Reminiscing & moving on.

There are two ironies in this (Collage Series):

  • Phone & eyes in the background: Publicity and community judgement (this is somewhat the urban way to fall in love in the Gulf).
  • The toys: Character theory and representation.