Muscat: Salman Stores, a household name for cookware and kitchen appliances, is set to launch Cooking Studio, Oman's first interactive cooking classes with celebrity Chef Issa Al Lamki.
Speaking to Times of Oman, Aqeel Abdul Munam Sulaiman, CEO, Salman Corporation said, "The concept is a first for Oman. We have been thinking for some time how to add value for our loyal customers. Since people associate us with cookware and kitchen appliances, we thought we must add on to the cooking experience.
"The only thing missing was engaging our customers, and adding value to that is the actual experience of cooking."
While the classes will begin after the Holy Month of Ramadan, the campaign will begin now.
To win a personal masters class with the renowned Chef Issa, Salman Stores customers will have the opportunity to participate in a contest. Additionally, the 25,000 customers who have Salman Stores loyalty cards will also be eligible to win a chance to whip up delicacies with the chef.
One of the planned contests asks customers to find the name of a recipe. "A brochure asks customers to follow the ingredient trail and guess the dish it leads them to. The right answer gives them a chance to win a masters class and gift vouchers from Salman Stores," said Aqeel.
He adds, "We want our customers to take away a lot from Chef Issa's masters classes, from watching him whip up your favourite dishes to tips on how to cook like a master chef and discover the secret to turning every day ingredients into fine cuisine."
The idea came about when Chef Issa visited Salman Stores to shop for kitchen equipment for Mandoos, his new Omani cuisine restaurant. "We met and got talking. Soon we thought we must do something like this," recalls Aqeel.
From aspiring chefs to avid cooks, Chef Issa will have something for everyone.
"Whatever techniques or cuisine you want to learn, Chef Issa will have the perfect class for you. It is an informal atmosphere for learning about food and cooking for one another. Come join us; you'll have fun with us," says Aqeel.
The classes will be held at Chef's Issa restaurant in Al Ghubra and in Salman Stores.
"Classes for dishes that need heavy duty cooking will be in the restaurant, while the salads and juices will be held at Salman Stores. Of course, the final details will be worked out soon," Aqeel added. Both Aqeel and Chef Issa hope to use the opportunity to promote Omani cuisine.
"My restaurant is dedicated to Omani cuisine. Often, I find youngsters asking me to teach them about dishes from our land. This is a good opportunity for them," says Chef Issa.
He also feels this will generate an interest in cooking amongst the new generation.
"Many people don't even know how to cook an omelette. Culinary is an amazing world to indulge in," he noted.
He is certain the idea will promote Omani cuisine in a major way. "Another aspect to promote will be the utensils and appliances that are available in Salman Stores. It so happens that often people don't know how to look at them or don't see the different ways the utensils can be used.
"They can discover the full potential of their utensils with me. I will be using all this amazing equipment and appliances as I teach them how to cook," says the chef.
Aqeel, who is buoyed by the whole idea, says, "The concept is a win-win situation for our customers, Chef Issa and Salman Stores."