I think we can all agree that we have an immensely competitive lifestyle today, with creations popping up by the second, it can get quite hectic, and it can get quite confusing on which to turn your focus to.
For me, I recently begun to appreciate all things that fuse between modern and old, meaning culture and contemporary approaches, I don't think everyone quite "respects" it, but I definitely do when its done in a right and beautiful manner.
Speaking to Chef Magdi at The Ritz Carlton DIFC was quite exciting when he began telling me what they showcased last Ramadan, it included a fusion between Sushi filled with dishes such as falafel, shawarma, and grilled hammour. And this year, the star of the Iftar would be a very simple, light, and modern approach to the western Falafel. It includes a well thought out waffle base that is softly mixed with falafel crumbs and is then cooked until crispy and served with condiments such as Tahina, Hommus, Beetroot dip, and Sweet Potato Muttabbal. Simple, well articulated, and yes yes very delicious.
Chef Magdi was born in Syria to a lebanese Mother and Syrian father, he was enrolled to his uncles restaurant at a young age to "Become a man" and slowly and slowly began to drift across the culinary line until a mission was crafted and an endless passion towards food was born. A very humble person, his respect for heritage appears frequently in his food.
When speaking about his dishes, its very easy to see how Chef Magdi beliefs in studying the entire process of the dish, it includes using high quality ingredients, proper preparation, and proper serving methods (He embraces the live cooking section since it provides massive appeal and emotional connection to the eater) All of which enhance the eating experience for both the client and chef.
Seeing Chef Magdi prepare the Falafel waffle was very interesting, a true perfectionist was swift upon me! Everything needed to be perfect, from ingredient, to plate, to serving, to eating. All of which makes one belief that studying and focusing on the "Tiny" points in something can firmly create something spectacular.
Once I took a piece of warm waffle spooned generously with Beetroot dip from Chef Magdi, I knew I was going to crave this dish often, very often. More and more pieces began to come from chef Magdi, pieces of waffle spooned with hommos, drizzled with tahina, it was like eating a satisfying Falafel sandwich in a new form that didn't make sense but did at the same time, I can safely say that I loved it, it sounds simple, but it takes proper thought and preparation to come up with all the elements to click and come out right.
Chef Magdi beliefs in conserving the past while softly blending it with modern approaches, this preserves the craftsmanship his ancestors hold in his country and is somewhat of respect to their artisanal history.
Something I'd like to stress on is the liberty to exercise ones culture in dishes, I massively respect how The Ritz Carlton DIFC embraces and allows their Chefs to showcase fun and whimsical takes from their childhood memories and I think its a very smart method of applying modern and old touches in a very appealing and well, delicious way right?