R5 Coffee with Chef Alain Bennouna

1127 W Boston Post Rd
(914) 835-8350

Favorite Cuisine…Japanese
Culinary Hero…My mom. I spent a lot of time in the kitchen with her as a child. She would have me guess what was in the food just by the smell. Cooking alongside her taught me how a heartfelt meal could make a family closer.
If Not a Chef, I’d Be a…I have an international law and political science degree. I own a travel agency in Morocco through which I organize cooking tours for Americans. But I guess I would be a lawyer.
Favorite Kitchen Utensil…My Kasumi knife is my right-hand man.
Last Book Read…History of Morocco by French historian Michel Abitbol and Freedom by Jonathan Franzen
I Never Eat…Jell-O, chain-restaurant food.
I Hate It When a Diner at My Restaurant… says, “I was in Morocco once and this is not Moroccan food.”
What Diners Don’t Know but Should…Although the restaurant is Moroccan, the food I am making is influenced by many other cuisines. And also, Moroccan cuisine is very different from Middle Eastern cuisine.
The Strangest Request from a Diner…A customer once asked me for a bare piece of chicken, without spices, seasoning, or even any sauce. If you know anything about my menu, the food is anything but bare.
Favorite Pain Reliever…Tylenol for headaches. But, actually, I’ve held on to an old tradition from my mom, who used to give me a spoon of cumin with a glass of water for my stomachaches—it always works.
What Culinary School Can’t Teach You…How flavors work together. It’s something you just have to feel. That, I think, is what they call the ‘love’ in a dish.
My Favorite Website…nab.com, a social networking site

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