Chef Feature: Lady Spatula

Your Lebanon Chef Feature:

Lady Spatula

Suad is the Emirati food blogger & recipe creator behind Lady Spatula. Through her website and Lady Spatula pages, Suad shares recipes passed down to her from her mom, her own adaptations of those by chefs she loves, & her own kitchen creations.  Her recipes include Middle Eastern cuisine and delicious baked goods.

She also posts restaurant reviews around Abu Dhabi!

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Q & A with Suad

Please tell us about yourself:

Behind Lady Spatula, I am a mother of two, who loves books, coffee and of course food. I hold a BA and MA in Communications, Public Relations, and I have a full, day-time job working for a government entity in Abu Dhabi. I spend any free time I get doing one of 3 things: spending time with my family, cooking or reading.

I started my blog to create space to store all my favorite recipes that have become a staple in my household. Growing up amongst four other sisters (no brothers!), we were a typical Arab family – loud! We were blessed with a mother whose reputation in the kitchen preceded her, and being from a predominantly female family, we were always teased about our “cooking” skills and asked whether we possessed our mom’s natural talents. My journey began with long calls to my mom, as she talked me through dishes step by step. Some were an immediate success, others took a little longer to perfect, but little by little, one recipe at a time, I found that I actually had a knack for cooking. Not only was I seemingly good at it, but I enjoyed it and I had the patience for its process. I started experimenting with recipes, old and new. 

A lot of the recipes I have on my website are recipes adapted from incredibly talented people around the world, who have, in one way or another, taught me how to cook. I make sure to acknowledge them and link to their sites every time. Other recipes were handed down to me from my mother. Then there are those few recipes, in which something magical happens in the kitchen and I create something new and delicious. As my family grew by two, I find I have less time to spend in the kitchen, so I’ve had to teach myself to be quick and efficient when necessary. 

I’m still learning as I go, I still make mistakes and I still call up my mom for recipes and for kitchen emergencies, but I hope I can inspire others like myself venture into cooking and perhaps even find enjoyment in it, as I did.

Where are you from:

I am an Emirati, born and raised in Abu Dhabi

Where are you currently residing:

Abu Dhabi, UAE

What is your favorite Middle Eastern dish to make:

That’s a tough one! There are so many I enjoy making, but if I were to narrow it down, I would say I love preparing stew-based dishes. This includes fasoolya, bazella, bamyeh, zahra, chicken and potatoes (batata w-jaj) and so on.

Suad’s Dip d’Aubergines (Eggplant)

Do you prefer traditional Middle Eastern dishes or modern/fusion Middle Eastern dishes:

 I prefer traditional Middle Eastern food, not a huge fan of fusion dishes, but I do love to prepare different cuisines as well.

What do you love most about cooking Middle Eastern cuisine:

The spices, the smell, the complexity of the ingredients that come together so beautifully to create a dish that always, always, always feels like home, no matter where you are.

What is your favorite Middle Eastern restaurant:

 I can’t really think of a restaurant, but I’d have to say my Mama’s cooking will always come first.

What is your favorite food blog:

Oh, plenty! PotsnBites [Your Lebanon Feature], The Wizard of Yum, Cooking with Zahra, Sofies World [Your Lebanon Feature], Kitchen Maestro [Your Lebanon Feature], Table for Five, Nadia Tommalieh, Fufu in the Kitchen [Your Lebanon Feature], Chef Wassem, Nivin’s Kitchen [Your Lebanon Feature], Cardamom and Tea, Sweet Pillar Food and so much more!

What is a must have tool in your kitchen for making Middle Eastern food:

Spatula, of course!

Suad’s Shrimp Paella

What advice do you have for someone just starting to find their way around the kitchen:

Keep trying. Don’t give up. Every mistake you make in the kitchen is a step towards perfecting a recipe.

What nostalgic candy bar would you grab on walks to the local deken when you were a kid:

Not a candy bar, but a pack of chips called PapySnacks.

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