Authentic Moroccan cuisine as interpreted by one of America’s up-and-coming young chefs.
Many of the book’s photos feature the handsome, tattooed author; perhaps he is deserving of such an homage: A self-taught chef who began cooking as a student in America because he was homesick for Morocco, Lahlou now owns the Michelin-starred San Francisco restaurant Aziza. Creating a cuisine he refers to as “New Moroccan,” the recipes are unabashedly complicated and ingredient-heavy. As a California chef, the author writes about having to find a middle ground between fresh West Coast fare and the Moroccan propensity for heavy sauces and spices. However, he doesn’t make too many allowances for the American pantry. He presents cooks with a text-heavy instruction manual of how to capture the true flavor of Moroccan cuisine, and includes tips for professional chefs as well as websites for ordering ingredients. He is exacting in his approach (he admits to firing chefs for grinding too many spices as a short cut) and goes so far as to offer an entire chapter on hand-rolling couscous. With such sections as “Dude, Preserved Lemons,” however, this is far from a stuffy culinary manual.
As precious (and precocious) as he may sound, Lahlou’s recipes, when followed accurately, are exciting and deliciously new.