Recipes for Success: Chef Ali Fouad provides suggestions and a hearty conventional soup recipe
DUBAI: Ali Fouad, the award-winning head chef of the favored Al Nafoorah Lebanese restaurant in Dubai’s Jumeirah Al Qasr, began serving to out within the meals business on the age of 9 in his father’s bakery within the western Beqaa mountains. It was his father who impressed him to pursue a profession as a chef and Fouad has steadily labored his manner up the business, spending 5 years as a chef in Lebanon earlier than shifting to Dubai to affix Al Nafoorah in 2006. Sixteen years in the identical job is uncommon within the UAE, however Fouad explains: “This model is one thing I imagine in. The title is in my blood. He’s a buddy and household to me. Ten years in the past, I felt that someday I’d be capable of run this restaurant. On the time, I used to be second in command. And my dream got here true.”
Right here, Fouad provides some recommendation to newbie cooks and a scrumptious soup recipe impressed by his grandmother’s cooking.
Q: What’s your greatest recommendation for newbie cooks?
A: Three phrases. Cook dinner with love. Doing this may make everybody comfortable, whatever the kitchen.
Is there a single ingredient that may enhance any dish?
There are such a lot of wonderful elements, but when I had to decide on one, then for me it is olive oil. You should use it for a lot of issues. It is wholesome and works with many dishes. It is a main ingredient for me.
How are you a chef? Are you strict?
I am very relaxed, however no person’s excellent, proper? I feel I am very supportive and my workforce likes working with me — a whole lot of them are very loyal and have been with me since 2010 — so with them, not with new folks, I is perhaps slightly strict as a result of they I do know precisely what I would like, so I do not prefer it after I make errors. However generally, to illustrate 80 p.c of the time I am not strict. However 20 p.c… (laughs).
What buyer habits or request frustrates you probably the most?
Oh…. You are feeling ache every single day. If not every single day, then each two days (laughs). I would not say it is irritating, essentially, however I’d get a visitor—not Lebanese, however different nationalities—who says, “That is not how we eat it.” OK I am a Lebanese prepare dinner, I used to be raised on this meals. I do know each element. I’d add a easy ingredient to raise the dish, however I by no means change the standard style. In fact, I am not going to inform this to the visitor, however typically it makes me offended. However you’ll be able to by no means make everybody comfortable.
What’s your go-to whenever you’re in a rush?
Lebanese like uncooked meat. You know the way you get tartar in Italian kitchens? We now have kibbeh. It is crushed wheat with floor beef and Lebanese spices—you add some herbs; basil and mint. It solely takes 5 minutes or so. Or I may make these very conventional dishes that my spouse likes – mujaddara and loubia. Mujaddara is a mix of lentils and rice and olive oil – you eat it with coleslaw. And loubia is inexperienced beans with tomato sauce, garlic, onion and olive oil. Each are very fast to make.
And what’s your favourite dish to prepare dinner?
It is one thing that jogs my memory of my grandmother. It’s extremely conventional, and after I visited my grandmother, she at all times cooked for me. Every time I prepare dinner it, I at all times bear in mind her. I used to be so in love together with her. We name him Addas bel Hamed. It is sort of a soup and never a soup on the similar time. We particularly eat it in winter in Lebanon. It’s lentils with rice or potatoes and selek (mug). My grandmother was an ideal prepare dinner, imagine me. A terrific prepare dinner. He had a salad that I’ve now placed on the menu, I name it the Chef Ali Teta Salad. “Teta” means grandmother.
Once you began your profession, what was the most typical mistake?
They’re sufficient. (Laughs.) Each every so often, you may overlook to examine that the recipe is being adopted correctly. It’s so vital to style the dishes. You additionally must maintain checking the standard of the elements. It is vitally vital to have prime quality elements for Lebanese meals. So it’s important to keep in contact with the suppliers, on a regular basis.
What’s your favourite delicacies whenever you exit to eat?
Moreover Lebanese? I really like Asian meals, particularly Thai meals. I like Mexican meals. And Italian. In fact, after I desire a burger and a shake, then it is American, however largely I am going for Asian and Italian, if I am not consuming Lebanese.
And whenever you exit to eat, are you able to chill out and luxuriate in it, or do you end up criticizing the meals?
Once I exit, I am going out to get pleasure from her as a visitor. I really like going to locations the place I am anticipated to really feel like I may very well be in Italy – if it is Italian delicacies or in Asia – if it is Asian, the identical manner I attempt to make my company really feel like they’re . re in Lebanon. I am not good at giving feedback or suggestions. Even when I do not prefer it, I am going to nonetheless say thanks and admire that they did their greatest.
Addas Bel Hamed Soup from Chef Ali
200 g brown lentils
150 g purple onion
200 ml olive oil
750 ml of water
500 g contemporary potatoes
100 g of salt
30 g cumin powder
20 g black pepper
500 g smog leaves (aka selek)
20 g of garlic
30 g contemporary coriander
10 g mint leaves
1. Warmth the oil in a pot over excessive warmth. When the oil is sizzling, add the onions and stir till they brown and caramelize
2. Wash and cube the potatoes, add them to the pot with lentils and stir
3. Add the garlic, coriander and mint
4. Add salt, cumin and black pepper
5. Add water and boil for about 10 minutes
6. Add the smog leaves, cut back warmth to medium and prepare dinner till tender
7. Add a squeeze of lemon simply earlier than serving
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