My interest for cooking rooted in my childhood, by watching my both grandmothers and my mom in the kitchen preparing daily meals for the family. Also going with my grandfather to the neighborhood markets, to shop for freshest ingredient that the vendors offered. He taught me how the art of picking and recognizing the best.
From my youth, I have had this passion for food. Growing up in Tetouan, Morocco. and being part of the family Harrak, I witnessed the most amazing hospitality and generosity through my grandparents and ancestors. Opening their houses to everybody, feeding and sheltering the poor, the travelers, family and friends. In Tetouan the cuisine was influenced by the natives — “Jebala” — the Moorish who came from Spain or Algeria, Spanish, and Moroccan Jews. I had the blessing to be introduced to one of the finest dishes of the city. Simple and mouth watering like Anchovies Tagra: (anchovies with chermoula – A Moroccan marinade — cooked in a clay pot from the region deep as sauté pan), baklawa “Baklava”, and European inspired pastries
Everyday I witnessed an amazing bound around the round table during the daily three meals. To start the day; a Moroccan breakfast featuring different dishes harsha, meloui, rghaiif, baghrir, olives, olive oil, Amlou, jben, eggs, honey butter, Moroccan French toast, and list goes on and on an endless list of unique flavorful plates. While getting ready to go to school or work the family discusses the lunch menu. Which I found later on an interesting discussion subject here in New Orleans. It’s all about food, and places to go for good lunch, dinner, or brunch.
I remember as a young kid coming home from school to the smells of fragrant tagines, and fresh bread coming out of the oven that my grandmother and my mother were preparing from when I left that morning. Those smells stimulated my senses at a young age. The ingredients were fresh and seasonal — from fresh catch tagras to vegetable khardoula; they were very simple dishes but delightfully delicious.
I’m really blessed that I can actually make a living doing things that I’m passionate about. I love to cook, read, think and talk about food! But it wasn’t that easy for me to figure out what I wanted to do in life.
My career as a chef started at the age of 25, but my passion for cooking started at early age, when I was about 5 years old — by watching both of my grandmothers and my mom in the kitchen preparing daily meals for the family. I was also inspired by going with my grandfather to the neighborhood markets to shop for the freshest ingredient that the vendors offered. My grandfather taught me the art of picking and recognizing “the best.”
In my journey as a chef, I have done it all; I cooked, I washed dishes, I waited tables, and have run the front of the house. From this, I have an insight into the restaurant industry that others do not have. I learned every aspect of the business.
Food is almost as emotional as it is necessary. Food makes people feel things. I really think that food tastes its best when there is a story behind it. It shapes cultures, religion, politics and health. Food brings people together, and goes strait to the heart
In my kitchen, I try to duplicate smells and flavors that make me think about more than what I’m actually smelling or tasting — it makes me think of life, my family, my history. I love to cook food that stirs up people’s emotions and memories; my inspiration is to “keep food real and simple.”
On my journey, I hope to bring you along.