Busy in her kitchen, Almaha Aldossari constructs a mouth-watering, gourmet burger with all the trimmings – creamy avocado, crisp alfalfa sprouts, caramelised onions and mushrooms, oozing cheese, and a tender, juicy patty. Except that this burger is all plant-based, including the cheese.
When the Saudi chef and consultant first heard about veganism, she was unconvinced. Fast-forward three years and Aldossari, 30, now goes by the moniker The Bedouin Vegan on social media and is one of the earliest advocates of the lifestyle in Saudi Arabia.
Proponents of veganism exclude meat and animal by-products, such as dairy, eggs and honey, from their diet, and typically eschew products that have been tested on animals or animal-derived products, such as fur or leather. Aldossari first came across the concept as she was finishing her culinary training at Le Cordon Bleu in London. It was a conversation with her sister – who remarked that humans are the only creatures who consume the milk of another species – that got Aldossari thinking. “It was an ‘a-ha’ moment for me and forced me to start learning more about veganism by researching, reading and watching documentaries,” she tells The National. “While I believed in veganism, I was panicked and overwhelmed by it.”