“When I first joined, I was overwhelmed by the screaming in the kitchen, large
men, deep voices, screaming their lungs out. “FIRE!!!” I would hear
every 2 minutes, and I would think, “Where?? Where?? Why isnt anyone
freaking out??”. Then I started to understand the concept” – Maryam AlNusif
Who is Maryam AlNusif? She is a talented chef who is living her dream and selling her life to her passion… cooking that is, and where? At Nobu – her favorite restaurant…. not to mention that she also worked in both Ottolenghi and The Providores! So not only am I a fan of her and her work, but I strongly believe that she is an inspiration!
I came to know about Maryam from my friend Nour! We, Maryam and I, were supposed to meet in Kuwait while she was in town, but I was swamped with work, and Maryam was in town for a short period of time… so lucky for me, I got to meet her in London, again, thanks to Nour AGAIN 😉 who got us in contact!
I met her at Starbucks Berkely branch, just across the street from Nobu where she works. She was so full of life and positive vibes which made this interview more interesting!
Tell me about yourself, background, and how it all started for you in London?
I graduated from Kuwait University with Accounting major. I did my masters in London. I worked in an investment company in Kuwait and loved it, but I dont think I am going back there. Soon after I applied for Le Cordon Bleu Culinary School, and while I was a student there, I aimed for Nobu for that it is my favorite restaurant and my dream was to work in their kitchen! My mind was set that I wont be going back home before I do this, I was so determined that I literally sneaked my way through the kitchen to meet the chef… I really did it!
I tried it the right way, and was faced with some unfriendly faces… but I didnt give up! I looked into every possible channel to get through, and the “proper” channel that got me to the chef’s office was Nobu’s supplier.
Tell me more about your first encounter with the chef?
I basically got into his office, showed him how determined I was – how I wanna live for what I love, and when he asked me “When can you start?” I said “Tomorrow!!” Of course I did not start the next day, but I was asked to come back in a couple of days. So after two days -at 10:00AM sharp- I was there ready to go under testing, and for 12 hours that day I just did what I was asked to do… 10 to 10, under testing and working hard! It was nerve wrecking and I kept an open mind that it could be my only time at Nobu’s kitchen, but I did it! I got in and I was overjoyed! I MADE IT!
Whats your favorite cuisine?
I love Asian food… Thai, Japanese,Vietnamese… but not Chinese! I also love Moroccan, French, Spanish, South American…. You name it!
What makes you different?
Am I different? Well, I am just so passionate about food and I love what I do. I dont like to dream, but rather LIVE those dreams. I am driven and lucky too 😉
Whats next? What will happen when you come back to K-Town?
I am going to start my own business and open my restaurant specialized in fusion food, which by the way isn’t really “mixing” – fusion goes beyond mixing! Its more of a union or blending of ingredients, regardless of which region they come from in the world, as long as they taste good together. All modern day cuisines are a result of historical fusion. The English wouldnt have their chips to go wit their fish, neither would the Thai have peanuts or chilies in their’s, because all these ingredients came from the New World. I could go on, but I think you can see my point 😉
Well, I cant wait for this to happen! She already catered some events last Ramadan and I heard nothing but AMAZING reviews…..
Mimi’s Restaurant, I am already a fan 😉
Check out her facebook page for more info/pics (link)