Fifita Bichili


"Chef is just another title, we all start off as cooks."


What made you want to become a chef?

Chef is just another title, we all start off as cooks. Since I was little, I've always been in the kitchen and among my people, they teach us to cook. Through a dish, you get to be able to express all your love and passion for the person who will be at your table.


What is your first memory of a dish that made you dream?

My grandmother's 'kibbeh'.


Who has influenced you in your cooking style or philosophy?

My parents. Always eating fresh, healthy produce.


What inspires you? or Where does your inspiration come from?

From the trips I take, my love for my family, sharing things with my friends and eve teaching my students.


What is your favourite culinary method or technique?

Roasting and sautéing.


What is your favourite ingredient? 

Salt & pepper


What is your favourite cooking utensil? 

The ladle.


What material do you prefer for your pans and saucepans?

Stainless steel


What would you like to change about the cooking schools?

Honestly, some of the teachers.  You need to teach by vocation.  Having knowledge is one thing, but teaching it is quite another.


Your advice for young chefs.

Be responsible, clean and sure they will always do their best.  That it doesn't matter how difficult it is, what matters is being persistent and persevering.


What do you look for when you hire someone for your restaurant?

Punctuality, responsibility, order and excellent hygiene.


How do you motivate your team?

Congratulating them when they've done something well and keeping them up to date through interesting talks.


What do you do when you have difficult guests?

 As the host, I must be patient, tolerant and have good manners, and it will depend on each guest.


Where do you like to get away to relax? 

The beach. My favourite place, far from the crowd, where I can enjoy the sun.


What pushes you to keep on going? 

I enjoy pushing my limits.  Motivation and passion are the driving force to keep me growing.  That's what I always tell my students. My little grey cells have ADD, so I have to keep them occupied - ha ha ha!


Which of your dishes are you most proud of?

Kibbeh, baklava, pan-fried tamale, lamb and tabbouleh.


What is your favourite restaurant?

My home, in the presence of good company, in a good atmosphere and with good food.


Which current chef do you most admire and why? 

I admire the colleagues with whom I've shared the kitchen, recipes, workshops, trips, stories, customs. They have ensured I have many treasured memories.


How do you think restaurants should be classified? 

There are many ways to classify them: ambience, atmosphere, service type (bar, café, quick service, buffet). Equally, it could be done by food type, franchise or chains, à la carte, etc. You could also consider the 'pet friendly' type, which are very trendy now.