Favorite Chefs: Ina Garten Barefoot Contessa and Nigella Lawson (these two ladies are true foodists)
Favorite Cooking show: Anything that shows Nigella Lawson cooking and eating
Favorite Cookbook: Baking With Julia by Julia Child
What experience most defined your decision and desire to get into the food industry?
I was cooking from an early age, but being a chef in Kuwait a couple of decades ago wasn’t exactly a career families urged their children to pursue, so it remained a hobby, but one which I practiced more than anything else. Family and friends would always positively comment on my cooking, but I was still not sure I had it yet. I always thought that to call myself a cook I needed to be properly trained and have a culinary degree. It wasn’t until I discovered that I had food allergies, started to make my own food and share that special food with others, that I knew I had what it takes. Cooking primal food with eliminated food items such as grains, dairy, legumes, refined sugars and sometimes eggs and yet still deliver delicious alternatives, proved to be an art that I am very proud to be involved in.
Where is your favorite place to shop for food and ingredients in Kuwait?
I am limited to a few stores that can provide Paleo-friendly items, like Sultan Center and Lulu Hyper Market. Recently SAVCO is also providing healthy food options more than the latter. But in general I tend to import my goods whenever I sense they are at a shortage. During the winter and spring seasons I get the chance to participate in Qout Market, which introduces lot of varied local produce that really makes things easier and gives me the chance to meet with folks who share the same eating patterns as I do, thus creating a community of aware foodists.
What food most reminds you of your mother’s house, and why?
All Béchamel dishes, pastas, and other baked delights. My mom is an excellent calm cook when she cooks. She takes her time in preparing things, unlike me, who transforms to a tornado when I enter my kitchen!
When you want to go somewhere else to eat, where do you go and why?
I hardly go with my health condition and limitations to restaurants that cater to my needs, so I dine in restaurants to be with family and friends, with hopes of finding something suitable.
Who in the world would you most like to cook for?
Can’t think of any person in particular, but there is an Instagram chef and an amazing food photographer called The UrbanPoser. I really admire her natural cooking talent and beautiful photography. So I wish I could cook for her and her husband and their kids, and let them in on some of the local dishes that I have transformed to the Paleo lifestyle. That would be really cool.
If you were to leave Kuwait and could take only one kitchen gadget with you, what would it be?
I guess it would be my coconut scraper, or my spiralizer. But that is only if I’m going to be dropped in a tropical farm somewhere with no Internet connection to order these items!