Bahrain is a land which is rich in history and culture. There are many activities for tourists to take part in to learn about Bahraini customs, culture and traditions, such as jet skiing, flyboarding, indoor skydiving, go-karting, 4×4 Land Rover experiences, pearl snorkelling etc. When you visit Bahrain, you get the opportunity to experience Bahraini cuisine also. It’s a small island surrounded by desert and water, so the staple food is fresh fish and one of the famous fish such as Hamour. Other foods like rice, meat and dates are equally as memorable and familiar among locals.
Apart from Bahraini cuisine, the food of Bahrain is influenced by many geographical areas such as Arabia, India, Persia, etc. Over time, more flavours have added to Bahraini food, from the likes of cuisines such as Italian, American, Chinese etc. While studying Bahraini cooking, I got an opportunity to have a talk with Chef Khawla, who is a celebrity chef from Bahrain, about her successful career in cooking Bahraini cuisine.
Chef Khawla Alsaib (Instagram A/c: chef_khawla) is an executive Chef at the Ministry of Marriott, she is an ambassador of Arab cuisine and Bahraini cuisine in Europe and all around the world. If invited, she goes to various countries and cooks for them as a guest chef for specific events. She has been awarded and silver medals in international cooking competitions. She was also one of the participants of Top Chef Middle East 2019 (Season 3).
Q.) Can you describe Bahraini cuisine?
Chef Khawla – Bahraini cuisine is just like any Gulf cuisine, it’s same as the Indian cuisine in spices and in flavours because most of the time our things are coming from India. And to create fusion in the dishes of each country. Chefs are regularly developing new recipes.
Q.) Who inspired you to become a professional chef?
Chef Khawla – My Grandma.
Q.) How would you describe your style and philosophy as a chef?
Chef Khawla – My philosophy and style as a chef are based on taste, I think each and every chef has taste in their hands. I concentrate first more on flavour than on other things because if the food will not taste good then how you can make people happy? I love to spread knowledge about food with people whom I work with and the audience.
Q.) You have become famous for your work in the gulf nations, how easy has it been to deal with that fame and how would you advise others to deal with it?
Chef Khawla – From the beginning, it was straightforward, as I had taken the path of social media. I could quickly get in touch with people, and they could learn different cooking recipes from my channel. But now, I have developed myself as I have become more of a culinary professional. I began to create content so that people at home can cook at the same level as chefs. Sometimes it becomes hard to prove yourself in others eyes but then by improvement things get better.
Q.) Can you share your experience of being part of Top Middle East Chef 2019?
Chef Khawla – It was an excellent experience, though I didn’t get selected. I learned a lot from this show. I got to know my mistakes, and I overcame those mistakes by developing my skills.
Q.) Halwa as a dessert in Bahrain is very famous. Why?
Chef Khawla – Everyone who visits Bahrain always takes halwa with themselves as a gift and even if I go outside for a visit I definitely pack halwa with me. This is a tradition which is going on, and it will continue as we Bahraini people love halwa a lot.
Q.) What piece of advice would you give to aspiring chefs?
Chef Khawla – My advice is to develop themselves by learning and reading more about cooking; even if you are professional you must go for courses to become perfect.
Q.) Wrap-up Questions –
1.) Your favourite Bahraini food?
Chef Khawla – Safi fish with rice.
2.) What is the strangest food combo you love?
Chef Khawla – Arab flavours of Cheesecake
3.) Your greatest achievement to date?
Chef Khawla – Became more professional in dessert making.
4.) Your favourite dish to cook?
Chef Khawla – Pastries and Italian food
5.) The three things you always have in your fridge?
Chef Khawla – Cooking cream, Caramel, cake.
6.) Your destination as a foodie traveller?
Chef Khawla – Finland
I would like to thank Chef Khawla for taking the time to share her valuable views with us and enlightening us on the Bahraini Cuisine.
By: Rida Khan ( Instagram A/c: aviationauthor.ridakhan)