Name: Thamer Al Abduljaleel
Concept: Hotel Calcutta / Dabba Wala
Chef: Heston Blumenthal.
Cooking show: MasterChef Junior.
Cookbook: Fatma Hussein’s Aklat Kuwaitiya (Kuwaiti Dishes).
What experience most defined your decision and desire to get into the food industry?
I’ve always been a foodie and find my comfort zone to be around pots, stoves and cutting boards. The passion started from a young age, around the age of 7, when I used to help Om Hasan “Nani” with rolling dolma and cutting molokhiya and later cooking for friends during my studies in the States.
Where is your favorite place to shop for food and ingredients in Kuwait?
There is no one place to shop for food from, each place is good for something so you have to go around to create a good recipe.
What food most reminds you of your mother’s house, and why?
Rice with vermicelli and Jute leave stew (Roz Bil Sha3riya and Molokhiya). Since our childhood we have been more exposed to Egyptian cuisine than any other. I even remember no other Kuwaiti house making these dishes, so to me the taste was so unique and still reminds me of our old family home.
When you want to go somewhere else to eat, where do you go and why?
In Kuwait, nothing beats basic food where the tastes never change no matter what. These bites remind you of good memories and events. I consider “Cafeteria Shuwaikh” to be one of them – while everyone refers to it by Mahmoud, to me, it’s where I can have the best kabab and kofta sandwiches.
Who in the world would you most like to cook for?
My wife! To me, she is the best judge and understands my style of cooking perfectly.
If you were to leave Kuwait and could take only one kitchen gadget with you, what would it be?
My Philips pressure cooker.