Amjad Elayan – Executive Chef from Egypt
Amjad Elayan, Executive Chef from Egypt, about his work as chef in Jordan, Erbil, Nigeria and Ghana.
First of all, congratulation for another award from Chiane de Rosstiuer you received! Where did you learn to become a chef? How is the cooking school system in Egypt?
Actually, I start My career in Jordan later on I choose to go Egypt. The system there I can it’s far better and base on culinary training (practical & theory). My Experience there it was really very useful and make one step up in my career especially that I had work as assistance for chef Markus Iten the president of Egyptian chefs Association.
How would you describe your todays culinary line?
- highly techniques
You worked more than 7 years in several chef positions (Marriott, Crown Plaza.. ) in Amman, Jordan. From a chef/ culinary point of view, how can you describe Amman?
If I compare to Egypt I can say Egypt far better, but recently they have approved a lot especially we have the royal Jordanian academy which I believe that the new generation of chefs become knowledgeable about basic cooking and the techniques, too.
What are the local specialties their, which are different from Egypt?
Of course, it’s huge difference as we know in middle east each country they are passionate for their own local food and the especial most common dish in Jordan its calling ( mansaf ) rice with braised lamb meat, rice , thin bread served with salty yogurt and roasted pine nuts on top with some parsley and in each region they do their own way.
From 2007 you worked almost 7 years as Executive Sous Chef at the Seasons Country Club in Egypt. What have been your special/ modern – innovative Egypt dishes/ menus you create?
Its more on less to work in Egyptian dishes to present the Egyptian cuisine by creative way to looks like fine dining food. And sure, we work also on all the international food as the people there are ready and open to try new things especially the French cuisine.
In 2014 you worked as Executive Sous chef in Erbil. The Kurdish kitchen: which local receipts/ dishes/ spices inspired you at that time and are still used by you today?
Kurdish food. yes, I can say the follow the same way to cook the Arabic food but with different spices. The Kurdish kebab was most common plate which they like it so much and when we talk about that cuisine yes sure its until now days you can go to anywhere in Erbil and you ask about this dish.
In 2015 you worked as Executive Chef in Lagos, Nigeria, the 18 million boomtown. To work there as foreign chef; was it difficult and what impressed/ inspired you most as a chef?
In fact, it wasn’t easy and it was big challenge to me but I found the people they are ready to try new things which make my mission easier about the part to deal with chefs it was so difficult cause you should to start from the zero.
Later you moved further west in Africa, as Executive Chef of the Peduase Valley in Accra /Ghana. What are the typical dishes at the Ghana kitchen, which have the potential to be used/ cook international as well?
I can say jollof rice is rice cooked blended tomato sauce and onion, ginger and garlic there no oil at all. And can be served with some roasted chicken and some fried plantain and in my point of you have potential to be used as international food it’s always depended on the chef how much he knows about that cuisine and the culture too and from there always you can find the way or you can twist around to present the food to in very creative way.
Can you combine some Ghanaian dishes with any of your precious experiences out of the Egypt, Jordanian or Kurdish kitchen? And if so, what are some of your fusion receipts?
Yes, you can combine it there is many dishes are smaller the way of cooking for example, you can serve the Kurdish kebab with the Ghanaian jollof rice it will be lovely.
At your current job; do you have time to get a long with the real local kitchen?
Yes because the very important to me cause I believe if you to present any local food from any country in fine dining way you should be close to it. I try as I can to understand it to be able to present it in fusion way.
You are member of World Master Chefs Society: can you tell us something about this organisation?
It’s a big associations for chefs from around all the world and all the members have certain strong level and many years of experiences each year we organize some of the culinary competition.
Egyptian chefs association: you are a member and won some prices here. Can you tell us something about the work of the association and the prices you won?
Yes sure the main job or let me call it mission of the Egyptian chefs association it’s to upgrade the level of chefs and get more involved in culinary competition around all the world and to create new strong generation from the chefs and for my achievement with Egyptian chefs association. I won many medals two golden and three bronze and three silver in different culinary competition.
What have been you master peace’s/ dishes of the award?
My award it was given bas on my experience as executive chef and many recommendation and reference too.
In which country/ kitchen you would you like to work ones in the future?
In the future I would like in French kitchen, but where I would like to stay. I would like to stay in Europe.
Thank you very much, Amjad!