Making harissa with Chef Boyd at school. I prefer a smooth harissa so I pass it through a sieve or a food mill.
I'm often asked if I teach Algerian recipes at school. Yes, I do. I take my couscousier with me at least once every 6 weeks to demonstrate the proper method of steaming.
Preserved lemons have been integrated into the International portion of the courses.
I've taught Algerian spice blends such as ras el hanout and merguez seasoning. Just last week in fabrication class I made merguez sausages.
I added Algerian doner kebab and Chicken with Preserved Lemons and Olives into an introductory buffet menu. Obviously the doner kebab isn't a traditional one because we didn't have a vertical spit. But that's how recipes become translated into different cooking contexts- methods are revised and substitutions are made.
I had the students make several other Algerian dishes including this cucumber salad. Come to think of it doing a full blown Algerian buffet menu sounds like a good idea. I don't know why I haven't done it yet. I'll report back with photos.
I also lead the French Club at school. But the recipes the students want to learn are Algerian ones. Algerian food is the most popular "ethnic" food in France and French chefs and home cooks there and in the States have translated Algerian recipes into their own vernacular.
The idea of a porc tagine does make my stomach turn, on the other hand dishes have truly become integrated into another food culture when chefs and cooks make them as their own. At Trader Joe's I saw a cooking demo pairing couscous with a "Thai curry". Which makes sense, couscous is after all just another starch.
I also taught Algerian recipes at Sur La Table. Yes, everyone was really that happy during and after the class. It is not uncommon for students to hug and kiss me and tell me that they love me after a cooking class. I don't know if it's because Algerian food is so delicious or because I am so lovable, probably a bit of both.
That's me at Central Market in Texas. I taught at their San Antonio and Austin locations. There is a Le Cordon Bleu Program campus in Austin. When they found out I would be in Texas they asked me to come and do a tagine cooking demonstration. Unfortunately there were last minute scheduling conflicts so it didn't happen.
Me and my sous chef Sean McCall at UCLA's Fowler Museum. I catered the event with Algerian foods and a couple months after that I gave a lecture and power point presentation about Northwest African food ways and history followed by a cooking demonstration and tea pouring.
I learned Algerian cooking in the bled (countryside) on my family farm in Setif from my aunt Farida and in Montmerle in my mother's kitchen in the Beaujolais. I've lived in 6 countries on 4 different continents, worked as a chef in 5 countries and over the past 5 years I've taught students from all over the world at recreational and professional culinary schools. I take real Algerian home cooking from the bled and translate it for different audiences.
Charles Perry of The Los Angeles Times said that my bailiwick is that I'm a "cosmopolitan homeboy". I like that phrase a lot and I think it sums up my personality.