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Hi! My name is Ahmed. I’m a student, and I love food and adventures, especially adventures at Disney. I’ve been baking since I was a kid – not any fancy professional kitchens, but my grandmother’s and mom’s kitchens. They were the ones who taught me how to cook and sparked my love for cooking and baking. Once I got to high school, I was lucky enough to be at a school that had an entire program that we pretty much cooked and baked, and that is what sparked my love for food. Now, I’m taking an undergraduate degree in hospitality and tourism management. So pretty much, I love baking and the hospitality industry! Join me as I bring you along all of my adventures because I’m always hungry for adventure!
Growing up and spending time with my grandmothers while my parents were away at work, allowed me to see ♫ a whole new world ♫ (if you didn’t sing that, you’re crazy). I started off helping both my grandmothers rolling out the most basic of the Indian flatbreads, chapati or roti, which my cousins and I happily called rokli. Soon after, my maternal grandma, or Mama, showed me the wonderful world of baking with her famous pound cake. At only six years old, I was ready for the world of baking, already making changes to my Mama’s recipe.
At five years old, I loved raisins, I put raisins in everything (yes, I even ate raisin bran as a child). One day, Mama was going to make her pound cake, and I found a Bundt pan. She was also out of raisins, so I was eating dried black currants – close enough. I asked if she could make her cake in a Bundt pan and so she did. When she was about to put the cake in the oven, I threw some currants on top, and that has now become a trademark quality of her pound cake. It is almost unthinkable for Mama to make a pound cake in any other pan but a Bundt pan, and never without dried black currants. Ever since that day, I’ve been baking at home, helping my mom make cakes and cupcakes.
Not that long after introducing the kitchen, the amazing Disney Pixar film, Ratatouille, was released. At first, I was freaked out a bit, who wouldn’t be freaked out by a rat that cooks? As weird and unrealistic it is, this movie is probably what has kept me going all these years. The message that seven-year-old me took away from it was that no matter where you are or who you work with, never lose sight of your dream. This film has also inspired a few of my dishes, like the Pixar-style Ratatouille (yes it is a real dish from France and Italy, though it is called Confit Byaldi).
“You must be imaginative, strong-hearted. You must try things that may not work, and you must not let anyone define your limits because of where you come from. Your only limit is your soul. What I say is true, anyone can cook, but only the fearless can be great” -Chef Auguste Gusteau, Ratatouille, 2007.
Fast forward nine years, I started high school. Luckily enough, my high school had a Specialist High Skills Major (SHSM) in hospitality and tourism, meaning that I graduated with a specialised high school diploma in hospitality and tourism. These five courses have really allowed me to grow as a cook and experience new foods I never thought existed. From making lemon poppy seed muffins in grade nine to making handmade pizza and handmade cheese in grade eleven, this was easily the highlight of my time in high school. Grade twelve was the turning point, where I realised that I did love the hospitality and tourism industry. As part of my SHSM, I had to take the grade twelve cooking/hospitality class and also the grade twelve restaurant management class. Both classes were amazing – one allowed me to learn new skills and techniques in the kitchen, and the other taught me the industry’s management side. I also had two great chef-teachers who taught me throughout those four years, which I attribute a lot of my success to. They were the ones teaching me in the classroom and created lots of opportunities for me.
One of the biggest opportunities these two chefs pretty much handed to me in my hand, was to help in an amazing gala at my high school, the annual Food for Thought Gala. In this gala, the two chef-teachers ask their various chef friends from around the Ottawa and surrounding area to help out with this event. These chefs come to our school and oversee a group of about six or seven students. These students help the chefs prepare one of five courses to be served at this gala.
Through volunteering for this gala for three years, I had the chance to network with various chefs across the city. I have worked with Marc Dorion, of town restaurant and Citizen of town Restaurant, Anna March of The Shepherds of Good Hope, and Marysol Foucault, of Edgar in Gatineau. To this day, I have a great relationship with Marysol, who has asked me a few times to help her out, either in her kitchen or as her helper when she is a guest chef at another establishment.
These experiences are very special to me, have allowed me to grow and learn throughout the past four years. I need a place to store these memories and reflect upon them. That is one of the reasons I created this blog. I also created this blog because of popular demand – after posting many of the foods I’ve made on Instagram and Facebook, many friends and family have asked me countless times to start a blog and share my recipes. “Why not,” I thought – and so here it is, a blog to share my experience and recipes.
Join me on my hungry adventure!
Until next time, Happy Adventuring!