Palais Amani: a memorable day, or how to learn the secrets of Sephardic cooking at the Fez Cooking School.
We recently welcomed the Singer’s for a Sehardic cooking workshop.
Their appreciation of what turned out to be a whole day is so evocative of our culinary experiences that we decided to print all of it. ‘Our class with Ghizlane and Chef Houssam treated us wonderfully during our private 8-hour workshop on Sephardic-Moroccan cuisine.
First, a visit to the market to buy ingredients.
With stops in stands that we would never have discovered ourselves, to enjoy a mint tea and herbs, a bean soup and fried donuts (Sfinj) with eggs and honey. Back at Amani Palace, we met Rachid Mritakh. Rachid is an eloquent and well-informed lecturer at the University, for a long informative conversation, comparing the histories and cultures of Islam and Jews in Morocco. Our afternoon was devoted to a Sephardic cooking lesson on the roof with chef Houssam. Salads, soup, beautiful classic pastilla and elegant desert. Each of us had our own stove, equipment and carefully arranged ingredients. It was cooking, not just watching A novice cook would have felt safe thanks to Houssam’s professional attention. We, both experienced cooks at home, learned new techniques and gained confidence to try at home what always seemed an impressive but disheartening dish. The night was falling when we brought back from the communal oven of the medina the two pastillas that we had prepared. Our day ended with our dinner at the Amani Palace’s Eden restaurant, with what we had cooked during the afternoon. Throughout the day, Ghizlane was wonderfully attentive. Between Houssam, Ghizlane and Rachid, we learned, cooked and tasted the greatest joy of our hearts!’ Thank you to the Singers: their presence and their feedback a blessing. JMB, Nov 2018.