In an exclusive interview with Hospitality News ME, Ali Ghzawi, Jordanian patron chef of Alee restaurant and former winner of MBC Arabia’s Top Chef (2019), shares his story and ambitions for the future.
What has life been like for you after winning Top Chef?
Since winning Top Chef, life has been a rollercoaster. Connecting with millions of people across the region through social media is amazing. Furthermore, the fact that I was among Forbes ME 30U30’s most influential figures in the region is rewarding in itself. I’ve managed to leverage this exposure and my passion to further connect with my fans by opening several F&B venues under my main concept Alee. Also, I’m happy to share my participation in Top Chef World All Stars, which will be aired on March 9 on Bravo TV on Peacock.
What can you tell us about your new restaurant?
Alee is an upscale Middle Eastern restaurant that reflects our culture, background and roots. You will find sharing menus that clebrate the flavors and ingredients of the region with a touch of personalization. We do believe that life is all about experiences and moments, which is why we take pride in sharing the beautiful stories of every dish and the inspiration behind it.
The restaurant is divided into three parts: the dining area, lounge and open space that holds cooking demos and serves as a place to teach the community about culinary arts.
I decided to launch Alee because I felt there was a gap in the market in terms of Middle Eastern cuisine. Our dining scene has remained the same for decades, yet we have witnessed many others evolve and excel in different ways. Don’t get me wrong, Alee is all about authentic Middle Eastern cuisine, but there’s definitely a twist.
How would you describe Jordan’s dining scene and how do international visitors react to it?
Jordan’s culinary landscape has evolved with concepts that cater to tourists from across the world. However, I urge restaurateurs and hoteliers to reflect our culture and heritage in their upcoming F&B projects.