Recipes for Success: Chef Ali Fouad presents 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 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 approach 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 good friend and household to me. Ten years in the past, I felt that at some point I might 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 presents 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 joyful, whatever the kitchen.
Is there a single ingredient that may enhance any dish?
There are such a lot of wonderful components, but when I had to decide on one, then for me it is olive oil. You should utilize 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 number of them are very loyal and have been with me since 2010 — so with them, not with new folks, I is perhaps a bit strict as a result of they I do know precisely what I need, so I do not prefer it once I make errors. However basically, for example 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’re feeling ache day-after-day. If not day-after-day, then each two days (laughs). I would not say it is irritating, essentially, however I would get a visitor—not Lebanese, however different nationalities—who says, “That is not how we eat it.” OK I am a Lebanese cook dinner, I used to be raised on this meals. I do know each element. I would 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 offended. However you may by no means make everybody joyful.
What’s your go-to whenever you’re in a rush?
Lebanese like uncooked meat. You understand how 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 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 cook dinner?
It is one thing that jogs my memory of my grandmother. It’s extremely conventional, and once I visited my grandmother, she all the time cooked for me. Each time I cook dinner it, I all the time keep in mind her. I used to be so in love along 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 excellent cook dinner, imagine me. An important cook dinner. He had a salad that I’ve now placed on the menu, I name it the Chef Ali Teta Salad. “Teta” means grandmother.
If you began your profession, what was the commonest mistake?
They’re sufficient. (Laughs.) Each infrequently, you will neglect to examine that the recipe is being adopted correctly. It’s so necessary to style the dishes. You additionally must maintain checking the standard of the components. It is vitally necessary to have prime quality components for Lebanese meals. So you need to keep in contact with the suppliers, on a regular basis.
What’s your favourite delicacies whenever 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 desire a burger and a shake, then it is American, however principally I’m going for Asian and Italian, if I am not consuming Lebanese.
And whenever you exit to eat, are you able to loosen up and luxuriate in it, or do you end up criticizing the meals?
Once I exit, I’m going out to take pleasure in 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 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 crimson 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 scorching, 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 cook dinner till tender
7. Add a squeeze of lemon simply earlier than serving