Recipes for Success: Chef Ali Fouad provides ideas 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 trade 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 approach up the trade, spending 5 years as a chef in Lebanon earlier than transferring to Dubai to hitch Al Nafoorah in 2006. Sixteen years in the identical job is uncommon within the UAE, however Fouad explains: “This model is one thing I consider in. The identify is in my blood. He’s a pal and household to me. Ten years in the past, I felt that someday I’d have the ability to 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 beginner cooks and a scrumptious soup recipe impressed by his grandmother’s cooking.
Q: What’s your finest recommendation for beginner cooks?
A: Three phrases. Prepare dinner with love. Doing this can make everybody joyful, whatever the kitchen.
Is there a single ingredient that may enhance any dish?
There are such a lot of wonderful substances, 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 believe I am very supportive and my group 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 individuals, I is perhaps a little bit strict as a result of they I do know precisely what I would like, so I do not prefer it once I make errors. However basically, as an example 80 % of the time I am not strict. However 20 %… (laughs).
What buyer habits or request frustrates you probably the most?
Oh…. You are feeling ache on daily basis. If not on daily basis, 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. After all, I am not going to inform this to the visitor, however typically it makes me indignant. However you may by no means make everybody joyful.
What’s your go-to if you’re in a rush?
Lebanese like uncooked meat. You know the way you get tartar in Italian kitchens? We’ve 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 might 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 totally conventional, and once I visited my grandmother, she at all times cooked for me. Every time I prepare dinner it, I at all times keep in mind her. I used to be so in love along with her. We name him Addas bel Hamed. It is type 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 excellent prepare dinner, consider me. A terrific prepare dinner. He had a salad that we now placed on the menu, I name it the Chef Ali Teta Salad. “Teta” means grandmother.
Whenever you began your profession, what was the commonest mistake?
They’re sufficient. (Laughs.) Each now and again, you may neglect to test that the recipe is being adopted correctly. It’s so essential to style the dishes. You additionally must preserve checking the standard of the substances. It is vitally essential to have prime quality substances for Lebanese meals. So you need to keep in contact with the suppliers, on a regular basis.
What’s your favourite delicacies if you exit to eat?
In addition to Lebanese? I really like Asian meals, particularly Thai meals. I like Mexican meals. And Italian. After all, once I need a burger and a shake, then it is American, however principally I am going for Asian and Italian, if I am not consuming Lebanese.
And if you exit to eat, are you able to calm down 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 approach I attempt to make my visitors 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 finest.
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 recent 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 recent 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