The renaissance of Arabic food with Top Chef Tala Bashmi

The renaissance of Arabic food with Top Chef Tala Bashmi

Born in Bahrain, Tala Bashmi is making a name for herself as one of the most promising stars of the culinary world. The MBC Top Chef finalist and winner of MENA’s Best Female Chef award 2022 is on a quest to not only modernize Arabic cuisine but also create a culinary journey like no other in her restaurant, Fusions by Tala.

How has your professional experience helped shape you into the chef you are today?
Having studied culinary management, I have been given the tools to be a all-round chef and do more than just cook. Working abroad and collaborating with multicultural and passionate hospitality teams has provided me with the opportunity to develop my skills, techniques, speed and leadership.

You are often referred to as the voice of modern Bahraini cuisine. What can you tell us about this?
I am trying to do more than just modernize traditional dishes; I’m trying to change the way we see food in the region. I’ve been doing this by constantly pushing the envelope with innovative presentations and new ways of interpreting traditional dishes. Ultimately, I am creating a culinary experience for my guests. I aim to take people on a journey that’s full of familiar and new flavors, thus educating them. I am challenging stereotypes in the Middle East. I have always been passionate about Middle Eastern food, and I think it is ready for a change.

What are some of the greatest challenges that are faced by female chefs?
Each kitchen environment, leader and chef is different; no two experiences can ever be the same. I believe that the industry is moving in the right direction and changing the narrative around women in the kitchen.

How did you feel about winning the Middle East & North Africa’s Best Female Chef Award 2022?
It was an absolute honor to be awarded the first-ever Best Female Chef award as part of the inaugural MENA’s 50 Best Restaurants 2022. It represents validation and is a great reward for my hard work. I feel motivated to do much more.

What are your future plans?
It’s a very exciting time, and I have many plans for the future. However, travel and exploration are what I seek most. To constantly learn, grow and develop, as well as collaborating with other chefs, are things that are important to me.

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About author

Rita Ghantous

Rita Ghantous is a hospitality aficionado and a passionate writer with over 9 years’ experience in journalism and 5 years experience in the hospitality sector. Her passion for the performance arts and writing, started early. At 10 years old she was praised for her solo performance of the Beatles song “All My Love” accompanied by a guitarist, and was approached by a French talent scout during her school play. However, her love for writing was stronger. Fresh out of school, she became a freelance journalist for Noun Magazine and was awarded the Silver Award Cup for Outstanding Poetry, by The International Library of Poetry (Washington DC). She studied Business Management and earned a Masters degree from Saint Joseph University (USJ), her thesis was published in the Proche-Orient, Études en Management book. She then pursued a career in the hospitality industry but didn’t give up writing, that is why she launched the Four Points by Sheraton Le Verdun Newsletter. Her love for the industry and journalism led her to Hospitality Services - the organizers of the HORECA trade show in Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Jordan, as well as Salon Du Chocolat, Beirut Cooking Festival, Whisky Live and other regional shows. She is currently the Publications Executive of Hospitality News Middle East, Taste & Flavors and Lebanon Traveler. It is with ultimate devotion for her magazines that she demonstrates her hospitality savoir-faire.

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