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Something To Wine About

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When Hannah Bellemare was growing up in freezing-cold Skellefteå, a small picturesque town in Sweden known for its ice hockey, she was a lonely girl who chased insects in the garden and ate the wild berries she found. She would also spend hours learning to cook in her mother’s kitchen, rustling up gourmet dishes for her family from the age of 11.

These days, she’s one of the few gastro-sommeliers in the world, based in Philadelphia, in the United States (US), a far cry from her icy hometown. She works in fine dining restaurants around the world pairing wine and food.

“Growing up, I always wanted to taste everything, everything from insects, wild berries in the forest, wine or whatever I could get my hands on. I was curious to know what it would taste like… I bullied my mom out of our kitchen. I took over cooking for the family and wouldn’t let my mom in the kitchen anymore,” says Bellemare in a telephone interview from the US with FORBES WOMAN AFRICA.

“I have always wanted to inspire passion for food, to share my knowledge of food and wine pairing, and to inspire others. I want the world to understand the science behind food and wine pairing.”

Bellemare says she never planned on making a living out of cooking. But the passion developed gradually and as she grew older, she realized her never-ending affair with food and wine.

Graduating with a degree in gastronomy at Umeå University, in Sweden, she turned entrepreneur, launching her own company, Dalalva Wine Tastings, where she taught people all about food and wine pairing. Meanwhile, she studied for a sommelier diploma from The Swedish Restaurant Academy of Stockholm.

In 2013, Bellemare relocated to Philadelphia to stay with her husband, Pierre-Edouard Bellemare, a French professional ice hockey player. She taught for a short while at Drexel University, in the US. She also changed the company’s name to Dalalva Wine Education & Consultation, extending its services to corporate consultations. She also has a website where she posts her cooking videos and recipes.

“There are few people in the world with this specific title [gastro-sommelier]and expertise since most countries don’t even offer gastronomy as a university degree. I would guess there are between 10 to 20 people in the world with this title, but I don’t really know,” she says.

“I create recipes around the wine that I want to use rather than creating a dish and then trying to pair a wine to it. You can change the recipe but you can’t change the wine unless you are a winemaker. My whole life I have been very determined never to let other people’s ideas influence me, I trust my own ideas.”

Bellemare is also writing a cookbook, to cater for those who prefer dining at home and spending quality time with loved ones.

“The recipes in the book are what I call fine dining at home, it’s for people who want to learn about fun cooking techniques, beautiful plating. Some people don’t want to go out and pay dining prices for something they could do at home.”

Bellemare’s work has taken her around the world, learning different cuisines whilst also imparting her knowledge to others.

And she loves coming to South Africa for its bountiful food and wine landscapes.

“South Africa is one of my favorite places in the world, I make any excuse to be there. I find the South African Chardonnays inspiring because they are such quality wines,” she says.

Her recent month-long trip to South Africa was spent on the farms of Stellenbosch and Franschhoek; the farming towns with the oldest vineyards and Cape Dutch architecture in the Western Cape province.

From her mother’s humble kitchen in a pretty Scandinavian town, Bellemare is sharing her rare culinary expertise with the world.

Entrepreneurs

From The Arab World To Africa

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Sheikha Hend Faisal Al Qassimi; image supplied

In this exclusive interview with FORBES AFRICA, successful Dubai-based Emirati businesswoman, author and artist, Sheikha Hend Faisal Al Qassimi, shares some interesting insights on fashion, the future, and feminism in a shared world.

Sheikha Hend Faisal Al Qassimi wears many hats, as an artist, architect, author, entrepreneur and philanthropist based in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). She currently serves as the CEO of Paris London New York Events & Publishing (PLNY), that includes a magazine and a fashion house.

She runs Velvet Magazine, a luxury lifestyle publication in the Gulf founded in 2010 that showcases the diversity of the region home to several nationalities from around the world.

In this recent FORBES AFRICA interview, Hend, as she would want us to call her, speaks about the future of publishing, investing in intelligent content, and learning to be a part of the disruption around you.

As an entrepreneur too and the designer behind House of Hend, a luxury ready-to-wear line that showcases exquisite abayas, evening gowns and contemporary wear, her designs have been showcased in fashion shows across the world.

The Middle East is known for retail, but not typically, as a fashion hub in the same league as Paris, New York or Milan. Yet, she has changed the narrative of fashion in the region. “I have approached the world of fashion with what the customer wants,” says Hend. In this interview, she also extols African fashion talent and dwells on her own sartorial plans for the African continent.

In September, in Downtown Dubai, she is scheduled to open The Flower Café. Also an artist using creative expression meaningfully, she says it’s important to be “a role model of realism”.

She is also the author of The Black Book of Arabia, described as a collection of true stories from the Arab community offering a real glimpse into the lives of men and women across the Gulf Cooperation Council region.

In this interview, she also expounds on her home, Sharjah, one of the seven emirates in the UAE and the region’s educational hub. “A number of successful entrepreneurs have started in this culturally-rich emirate that’s home to 30 museums,” she concludes. 

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Kim Kardashian West Is Worth $900 Million After Agreeing To Sell A Stake In Her Cosmetics Firm To Coty

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In what will be the second major Kardashian cashout in a year, Kim Kardashian West is selling a 20% stake in her cosmetics company KKW Beauty to beauty giant Coty COTY for $200 million. The deal—announced today—values KKW Beauty at $1 billion, making Kardashian West worth about $900 million, according to Forbes’estimates.

The acquisition, which is set to close in early 2021, will leave Kardashian West the majority owner of KKW Beauty, with an estimated 72% stake in the company, which is known for its color cosmetics like contouring creams and highlighters. Forbes estimates that her mother, Kris Jenner, owns 8% of the business. (Neither Kardashian West nor Kris Jenner have responded to a request for comment about their stakes.) According to Coty, she’ll remain responsible for creative efforts while Coty will focus on expanding product development outside the realm of color cosmetics.

Earlier this year, Kardashian West’s half-sister, Kylie Jenner, also inked a big deal with Coty, when she sold it 51% of her Kylie Cosmetics at a valuation of $1.2 billion. The deal left Jenner with a net worth of just under $900 million. Both Kylie Cosmetics and KKW Beauty are among a number of brands, including Anastasia Beverly Hills, Huda Beauty and Glossier, that have received sky-high valuations thanks to their social-media-friendly marketing. 

“Kim is a true modern-day global icon,” said Coty chairman and CEO Peter Harf in a statement. “This influence, combined with Coty’s leadership and deep expertise in prestige beauty will allow us to achieve the full potential of her brands.”

The deal comes just days after Seed Beauty, which develops, manufactures and ships both KKW Beauty and Kylie Cosmetics, won a temporary injunction against KKW Beauty, hoping to prevent it from sharing trade secrets with Coty, which also owns brands like CoverGirl, Sally Hansen and Rimmel. On June 19, Seed filed a lawsuit against KKW Beauty seeking protection of its trade secrets ahead of an expected deal between Coty and KKW Beauty. The temporary order, granted on June 26, lasts until August 21 and forbids KKW Beauty from disclosing details related to the Seed-KKW relationship, including “the terms of those agreements, information about license use, marketing obligations, product launch and distribution, revenue sharing, intellectual property ownership, specifications, ingredients, formulas, plans and other information about Seed products.”

Coty has struggled in recent years, with Wall Street insisting it routinely overpays for acquisitions and has failed to keep up with contemporary beauty trends. The coronavirus pandemic has also hit the 116-year-old company hard. Since the beginning of the year, Coty’s stock price has fallen nearly 60%. The company, which had $8.6 billion in revenues in the year through June 2019, now sports a $3.3 billion market capitalization. By striking deals with companies like KKW Beauty and Kylie Cosmetics, Coty is hoping to refresh its image and appeal to younger consumers.

Kardashian West founded KKW Beauty in 2017, after successfully collaborating with Kylie Cosmetics on a set of lip kits. Like her half-sister, Kardashian West first launched online only, but later moved into Ulta stores in October 2019, helping her generate estimated revenues of $100 million last year. KKW Beauty is one of several business ventures for Kardashian West: She continues to appear on her family’s reality show, Keeping Up with the Kardashians, sells her own line of shapewear called Skims and promotes her mobile game, Kim Kardashian Hollywood. Her husband, Kanye West, recently announced a deal to sell a line of his Yeezy apparel in Gap stores.

“This is fun for me. Now I’m coming up with Kimojis and the app and all these other ideas,” Kardashian West told Forbesof her various business ventures in 2016. “I don’t see myself stopping.”

Madeline Berg, Forbes Staff, Hollywood & Entertainment

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Entrepreneurs

Covid-19: Restaurants, Beauty Salons, Cinemas Among Businesses That Will Operate Again In South Africa As Ramaphosa Announces Eased Lockdown Restrictions

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South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa addressed the nation announcing that the government will further ease the country’s lockdown restrictions.

Restaurants, beauty salons, cinemas are among the businesses that will be allowed to operate again in South Africa.

The country is still on lockdown ‘Level 3’ of the government’s “risk adjusted strategy”.

President Ramaphosa also spoke on the gender based violence in the country.

“It is with the heaviest of hearts that I stand before the women and the girls of South Africa this evening to talk about another pandemic that is raging in our country. The killing of women and children by the men of our country. As a man, as a husband, and as a father to daughters, I am appalled at what is no less than a war that is being waged against the women and the children of our country,” says Ramaphosa.

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