DUBAI: From cooking shows in Miami to eateries in Kuwait and Dubai, chef Faisal Alnashmi has followed his passion across continents.
The Kuwaiti cook is the founder and executive chef of restaurants Al Makan and Table Otto — which he recently opened in Dubai Mall — in the UAE.
“Food has always been a major part of our home,” Alnashmi told Arab News. “My mother taught us the difference between food and quality food. I grew up understanding the importance of quality and good food to our everyday dining table.”
After graduating from high school in the UK, he knew that cookery was his only pursuit, and he continued his studies with a grand diploma from London’s Le Cordon Bleu.
Besides his Dubai restaurants, the chef also has a store in Saudi Arabia called PAW + COW, a child-friendly fast food spot catering for “the children within us,” he said.
“We believe PAM + COW was a concept that best suits the vigorous Saudi demand, which has a major expansion plan in the very near future,” Alnashmi promised.
The entrepreneur’s brands are based on certain characters or clients, he said. “Each brand speaks to a different segment or audience which makes each brand unique to its own tone of voice … In many cases, most of our customers never realized they were owned by the same group,” Alnashmi explained.
For Ramadan, the chef shared with us an easy recipe to make for iftar.
“Ramadan is our month of food, so one thing that never leaves our table is the simple Tamreeya (dates paste) which we break our fast with,” he said, adding that it is “a very accustomed dish/dessert in Kuwait.”
1 cup pitted dates / dates paste
1/2 tbs cardamom powder
1/2 stick butter
1/2 tbs flour
1/4 cup walnuts (chopped)
1 pinch saffron
Pistachios (to garnish)
Cardamom powder (to garnish)
In a saucepan, add the flour and butter and mix well to create a roux. Then, add the dates and start mixing well to incorporate all together.
Add the cardamom, saffron and walnuts to the mix and continue stirring to get a thick glossy paste while on medium or low heat. If the consistency is heavy, add more butter and one tablespoon of water.
Serve on a small ramekin with the garnishes while still hot.