Chef Feature: Meliz Cooks

Your Lebanon Chef Feature: Meliz Cooks

Meliz of Meliz Cooks is a developer of Mediterranean dishes. We enjoy her use of traditional Middle Eastern ingredients to develop recipes with a Mediterranean flare! What she’s learned and experienced through her Turkish background and Cypriot roots give her dishes the unique edge that we love.

 

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Q & A with Meliz

Please tell us about yourself:

I’m a British Turkish Cypriot, I was born in London, and naturally, I come from a big family (21 first cousins, mum is one of 9 siblings). I am married and have two children of my own, and am a qualified secondary school (high school) music teacher; I have a BA in Music and a Masters in Musicology, and I am a classically trained (opera) singer.

Where are you currently residing:

I live in the London suburbs; I have a Turkish grocers on my doorstep, which will consequently keep me here for a very long time.

What is your favorite Middle Eastern dish to make:

There are so many but I think it has to be bezelye (easy, one pot, but so delicious) and molohiya (both with lamb).

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

I love the traditional dishes because they evoke so many memories of my childhood, but I like adapting them to adhere to a slightly healthier lifestyle (we all know how much we love the olive oil and salt in these recipes). I’ll often adapt traditionally fried recipes (kofte, potatoes) into baked versions.

Meliz’ Nohutlu Sulu Kofte (Chickpea & Meatball Stew)

What do you love most about cooking Middle Eastern cuisine:

For me, cooking the food of my childhood makes me incredibly nostalgic, just like music, and can transport me straight to a particular place or time. I love how so many senses and memories can be ignited by cooking the Middle Eastern dishes that I learnt to cook with my mum, who learnt from her grandmother, and that I’m now cooking for and with my own children.

What is your favorite Middle Eastern restaurant:

We found a little gem in Northen Cyprus (KKTC) last year; The Palm House, beautifully cooked traditional Cypriot recipes in a gorgeous setting by the sea.

What is your favorite food blog:

Your Lebanon, of course. But I love how Middle Eastern food and recipes are being celebrated whilst raising money for such an important and worthy cause with the #CookForSyria campaign.

Meliz’ Kuru Fasulye

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

My blender – for hummus. I do so much by hand, because that’s how my mum does it. Also, a huge pan for soups, stews and dolma.

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

Cook with care and love, enjoy it as much as you can and the rest will come.

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

HP Choc Dips, every Thursday after school.

Meliz’ Nohutle Sulu Kofte (Chickpea & Kafta) over a roasted eggplant + yogurt

 

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