Tastes of Morocco: Chef Joel Kazouini

Chef Joel at the entrance to the garden dining at Chez Joel

Discover the flavors of Morocco with Chef Joel Kazouini, founder of Chez Joel Bistro in Chicago’s Little Italy.

Moroccan food has many influences, including the cuisines of Spain, France, Africa and Arab countries. “Spices such as turmeric, cumin, ginger, paprika and saffron make the foods tasty and delicious,” Chef Joel explains. Essentially Moroccan food is Mediterranean.

Chef Joel’s culinary journey began in Marrakech cooking alongside his mother.  Recalling his formative years in Morocco, Chef Joel expresses a universal understanding that “We yearn for our mothers through our childhood taste memories.”  Through Chez Joel Bistro, Chef Joel captures the essence of the Marrakech market heightened by his outstanding culinary training in France, England and the United States.  Recently he opened a Spanish restaurant at his hotel Le Caspien in Marrakech and is featuring some of the Spanish dishes such as grilled octopus from Spain on his new menu at Chez Joel.

Through his experience working with top chefs around the world, including Alain Ducasse, Chef Joel learned these three main tips to succeed in the restaurant business that we can also apply to our home kitchens:

  1.  Discipline.
  2. Enthusiasm.  “It’s important to love the food you are preparing.”
  3. Techniques.  “It’s important to prepare the food in the right way.”

Here is a video of Chef Joel preparing grilled octopus.

What are your favorite Mediterranean flavors?

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