For the adventurous foodie we’ve found a few of our favourite Muslim chefs from around the world who are taking halal dining in a new direction. These chefs are young, creative and pas-sionate, while still working from a base of Muslim cultural heritage. This is not your average curry dinner – one look at these menus and you’ll see why we’re so excited about them.
Aktar Islam – Birmingham, UK
Birmingham is the home of British South Asian cuisine, and the contemporary Asian food scene being led by Chef Aktar Islam. Winner of the Great British Menu 2011, Aktar is of Bangladeshi heritage, and his goal is simple:”I want to offer diners proper Indian food that is light, healthy and that will enhance their lifestyle.”
His multi-award winning restaurant, Lassan, offers an impressive menu of modern, fresh Indian dishes. Serving dishes such as Lamb Lababdar – a free range Wiltshire Downs lamb, 10 hour confit shoulder, soft Awadhi style pate of breast and tempered lentils; with smoked braising jus spiced with nutmeg and cinnamon – you can understand why we love this chef’s restaurant so much.
As a Muslim traveller, trying Chef Aktar Islam Indian cuisine is definitely on the top of my foodie bucket list.
Tania, Maria & Dina Haddad – Amman, Jordan
Even though these chef’s are not household names, there food is definitely of world class standard. Sisters Tania, Maria & Dina Haddad offer visitors to Amman, Jordan, a once in a life-time cooking and cultural experience. These home cooks work and teach from the breezy patio of their grandmother’s house, as the sisters host daily cooking workshops and market tours.
After a trip to a local market, the fresh vegetables, herbs and spices are brought back to the classroom where all participants help with the chopping and peeling before preparing a delicious halal meal. There is no better place to learn about the heritage, cultures and traditions of Jordan, than sitting down to an authentic Jordanian meal in these sisters’ family home.
Paco Morales – Cordoba, Spain
Chef Paco Morales refined his skills in some of the the best restaurants in Spain including Mugaritz and elBulli! Today he shows off his insane technique in his own restaurant called Noor in Cordoba. Leaning on strong influences from North Africa and Arab cuisine, Noor offers both halal and non-halal meals, served from different sections of the same kitchen which allows him to serve the masses and respect his own religious traditions.
With Cordoba’s rich Arab history, Chef Paco made it his business to develop a restaurant that caters to the gap in the market and the lack of halal eateries. Using a variety of ingredients in-cluding rose water, saffron, cumin, turmeric and cinnamon, his restaurant has become the rea-son why I visit Cordoba.
Atul Kochhar – Dubai, UAE
Dubai is the hub of fine dining in the Middle East. For Muslim travellers there is no better place to indulge our senses than at two-time Michelin starred Chef Atul Kochhar’s restaurant Rang Mahal. Serving refreshed and revitalised Indian cuisine, the food at this restaurant changes the way everyone who visits will taste and experience cuisine.
Rang Mahal which was awarded Best Indian Restaurant 2015 by BBC Good Food Middle East, and Highly Commended Romantic Restaurant 2014 and 2015 by Time Out Dubai, promises ex-cellently crafted Indian dishes and an unforgettable dining experience.
Mehmet Gürs – Istanbul, Turkey
Chef Gürs is the brave leader of modern Turkish cuisine. Combining his Turkish and Finnish her-itage, he creates food that transcends boundaries. Speaking four languages, Mehmet Gürs has created two restaurants in Istanbul – Nuteras which is a relaxed dining and jazz lounge, and Mikla, with internationally acclaimed cuisine and breathtaking views.
Both restaurants’ menus reflect Gurs’ dedication to his project focussed on sustainable farming and fishing practices. He dares to recreate and rethink traditional methods, and his perspective on Turkish cuisine is truly refreshing.