Synopses & Reviews
A soulful chef creates his first masterpiece
What Mourad Lahlou has developed over the last decade and a half at his Michelin-starred San Francisco restaurant is nothing less than a new, modern Moroccan cuisine, inspired by memories, steeped in colorful stories, and informed by the tireless exploration of his curious mind. His book is anything but a dutifully "authentic" documentation of Moroccan home cooking. Yes, the great classics are all here--the basteeya, the couscous, the preserved lemons, and much more. But Mourad adapts them in stunningly creative ways that take a Moroccan idea to a whole new place. The 100-plus recipes, lavishly illustrated with food and location photography, and terrifically engaging text offer a rare blend of heat, heart, and palate.
"Lahlou, chef and owner of the highly acclaimed San Francisco restaurant Aziza, was inspired by a large extended family, most notably his grandfather who fostered a love for food in the stalls of the Moroccan marketplace. Relocated in the U.S., Lahlou attempts to recreate from memory the beloved food of his childhood. By experimenting, he is able to replicate these meals with a twist his own take on traditional Moroccan dishes that eventually become staples in his restaurant and are highlighted in this worthy collection. For food enthusiasts unfamiliar with Moroccan dishes, Lahlou includes a handy section on key ingredients and staples of the cuisine including balsamic cranberries, pickled green strawberries, preserved lemons, and more. Of special importance is couscous, which gets a chapter unto itself. He explains the culture surrounding this central ingredient, provides a buyer's guide for those who buy commercially, and offers a lengthy section on how to roll and cook it at home. He also offers a wealth of recipes for appetizers, soups, breads including grilled flatbread and harissa rolls, fish, chicken, and lamb. Appealing side dishes include dry-fried okra with melted tomatoes, leek gratin, salt-roasted potatoes, and parsnip risotto. Lahlou provides an entertaining and appetizing guide to not only Moroccan dishes but the culture of Morocco as well and will introduce many readers to this intensely flavorful cuisine." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"The soul of Moroccan cooking, thoughtfully reimagined and generously shared."
-Thomas Keller, chef/proprietor of The French Laundry and per se Thomas Keller
"A superbly executed work on a style and subject we would all benefit from knowing more about."
-Anthony Bourdain, host of Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations and author of Medium Raw: A Bloody Valentine to the World of Food and the People Who Cook Anthony Bourdain
"Recipes without stories never taste the same. Mourad's memories connect us to a faraway world. I'm from Spain, and after reading and cooking from this book, I understand even more about how Northern Africa has influenced my own food."
-José Andrés, host of Made in Spain and author of Made in Spain: Spanish Dishes for the American Kitchen José Andrés
"Mourad Lahlou is a marvelous raconteur. His book is full of passion, a book from the heart. His cooking is simple but sophisticated, classic but creative and, more than anything, is true to the flavors, smells, and soul of Moroccan cuisine."
-Jacques Pépin, chef, cookbook author, and host of numerous PBS-TV cooking series Jacques Pépin
"A rarity--a self-taught chef with soul able to invigorate and modernize one of the world's great cuisines."
-David Kinch, chef/proprietor of Manresa David Kinch
"Mourad's food is soulful and tasty, grounded in tradition and innovation."
-Charles Phan, chef/proprietor of The Slanted Door Charles Phan
"Mourad takes his Moroccan heritage and creates a modern, sophisticated cuisine uniquely his own. I adore it."
-Dorothy Hamilton, founder of the French Culinary Institute Dorothy Hamilton
"This book is a treasure. It captures Mourad's intelligence and curiosity, and more importantly his warmth and generosity. The way he fuses memory and imagination shows what Californian cuisine can--and should--be."
-Daniel Patterson, chef/owner of Coi and author of Aroma Daniel Patterson
"Mourad: New Moroccan
is an inspiration for the senses, you can almost smell and taste the food on the pages of the book. It highlights the culture, passion and pride of the Moroccan people in their food and enlightens us about the spices that make Moroccan food so exotic and delicious."
-Eric Ripert, chef/co-owner of Le Bernardin, host of Avec Eric Eric Ripert
"Mourad works like a mad genius in the kitchen, churning through ideas until he lands on just the right combination of flavors, just the right textures--a dish that feels whole."
-Amanda Hesser, cofounder of food52.com and author of The Essential New York Times Cookbook Amanda Hesser
Winner, Northern California Independent Booksellers Book of the Year Award for Food Writing
Best Cookbooks of the Year, Good Morning America
Best Books of the Year, Publishers Weekly
—San Francisco Chronicle
“Every once in a while, a fabulous cookbook shows up that takes you into an entirely new world. . . . Mourad Lahlou’s beautiful debut cookbook, Mourad: New Moroccan, belongs in this exalted category.
“Lahlou takes Moroccan classics, such as couscous and preserved lemons, and adapts them in new and unusual ways.”
—Publishers Weekly, starred review
About the Author
Arriving in California from Marrakesh in 1985 to go to college, a homesick young Mourad Lahlou began to channel memories of watching his mother and aunts as they prepared traditional Moroccan dishes at home. He started to cook for himself, then for friends, and then for friends of friends. He completed a master's degree in macroeconomics, but the lure of the kitchen pulled him from his doctorate, and he opened his first restaurant, in San Rafael, California, in 1997. He then opened the decidedly modern Aziza, named after his mother, in San Francisco in 2001, to international acclaim. In 2009, he won Iron Chef America by the largest margin in the history of the show.