Interview with Chef Nourdine Majdoubi

Vancouver is home to some of the best chefs in the world, many have worked for the top chefs and restaurants around the world as well as around the city. Dishing with the Chefs is a series of Interviews with some of the top chefs in and around Vancouver.

Chef Nourdine Majdoubi

Chef Nourdine Majdoubi

Growing  up  in  southern  Morocco’s  coastal  tourist  town  of  Agadir,   Executive  Chef  Nourdine  Majdoubi  first  developed  a  curiosity  for   international  cuisine  on  his  home  turf.   His  mother’s  kitchen  provided  the  smells  of  daily  fresh  bread  and  the  scent   of  cumin  and  coriander,  staples  in  nightly  fish  tagines  or  lamb  dishes.  And   the  traditional Friday  evening  couscous  stood  him  in  good  stead  when  he   worked  in  an  Algerian  restaurant  in  Paris,  recalling  childhood  memories  of   the  souks  where  olive  oil  from  his  family’s  country  house  found  no  rival.

Coming  to  Vancouver  after  experience  in  French  restaurants,  Chef   Majdoubi  first  mastered  English  and  then  attended  The  Dubrulle  French   Culinary  School  (now  amalgamated  with  The  International  Culinary School   of  The  Art  Institute  of  Vancouver),  doing  his  externship  at  the  Pan  Pacific   Hotel’s  famed  Four  Sails  Restaurant.  On  graduating,  he  worked  at  the  prestigious  Vancouver  Club  and  then  at  Hotel  Le  Soleil.  He  went  on  to  work  at  Feenie’s  and  the  internationally  celebrated   Lumière,  under Top  Chef  Rob  Feenie  and  Chef  Yasmin,  and  topped  up  his   West  Coast  cuisine  skills  under  Executive  Chef  Mario  Fortin  at  Aqua  Riva.   Chef  Majdoubi  then  expanded  his  repertoire  in  international  cuisine  with  a   return  to  Europe  and  a  two  years  stint  in  England,  working  at  The  Orange   in  London’s  posh  Belgravia  district.

On  returning  to  Vancouver,  he  worked  as  Executive  Chef  at  Meinhardt’s,   as  a  Chef  at  The  Fairmont  Hotel  Vancouver  and  was  Executive  Chef  at  the   Executive  Hotel.  He  holds  a  Red  Seal  certification  at  the highest  level  (Level   3)  from  the  interprovincial  Red  Seal  Program  of  the  Industry  Training   Authority.  Chef Majdoubi  was then the Executive Chef at Ten  Ten  Tapas in 2013. In May 2014, he became the Executive Chef and Co-owner of Morocco West Restaurant in downtown Vancouver.

You can follow Chef Nourdine Majdoubi on Twitter @Nourdin46943114 and the restaurant @MoroccoWest

noudine 2

Did you always want to be a Chef?

It was one of my dreams a teenager. I discovered that it was what I enjoyed and I took it from there.

nourdine 3

What is the Culinary scene like where you grew up in Morocco?

My uncle was a famous chef who worked for 3 hotels running all their operations. My brother is a pastry chef in Morocco. Growing up with these two people in my life, I was inspired to work in this industry. I was fortunate to have summer jobs working in various hotels because of my uncle.

Did you go to Culinary school?

Yes, I went to a few as I like to learn as much as I can. First I took a 6 month culinary program in Morocco, then a few years later I took a 6 month culinary program in France. Years later when I moved to Vancouver, I went to Dubrulle International Culinary Arts for 1 year comprehensive program that included culinary, bakery and wine education.

nourdine 4

When you went to Dubrulle International Culinary Arts, did you have an interest in opening a Moroccan restaurant then or how did that develop?

I wanted to study Asian cuisine to add to my French cuisine training. The program was all encompassing and offered everything. When I worked at the Fairmont I thought of opening a Moroccan restaurant. Fast forward after working at Ten Ten Tapas I had met Kevin Lin who was also on staff, we hit it off and then opened Morocco West together to focus on Moroccan cuisine in a westcoast style.

1st dish:

Coconut Prawns

Coconut Prawns

Coconut Prawns

–         Pineapple salsa

–         Balsamic reduction

–         Sweet chili sauce

–         prawns

What was your inspiration behind this dish?

It is light, fresh, and healthy, use coconut. This dish is not Moroccan, it is westcoast.

nourdine 6

At your restaurant Morocco West, what type of dishes do you feature?

Our Moroccan cuisine is focussed on another level, for example a Moroccan traditional bread (Baghrir) created the dish more of a fusion style mixing in westcoast.

What Challenges you as a Chef in Vancouver?

There are so many cuisines in Vancouver, and I would love to work with them all. I love all the different cultures, the challenge is to find my needs which is why I always go to fusion.

2nd dish:

Prawns Charmoula

Prawns Charmoula

Prawns Charmoula

–         prawns

–         -tumeric, coriander, Jalapeno, Moroccan spices

–         –cooked slice lemons

–         Made with 15 spices in the sauce

What was your inspiration behind this dish?

Traditional Moroccan sauce made with prawns. It is light but it has the kick of Charmula spice.

Any problems finding Moroccan ingredients here?

You can’t buy certain ones here so I make my own and that works.

 

Moroccan Focacia Bread and Zaalouk

Moroccan Focacia Bread and Zaalouk

Moroccan Focacia Bread

-baked in house and we make different breads daily.

Zaalouk is a Moroccan spiced eggplant spread

nourdine 9

What are your favourite foods to eat personally?

  • Sushi
  • Anything fusion

What are your favourite restaurants to eat at in Vancouver outside of where you work?

  • Cuchillo
  • Blue Water Café
  • Alpha Sushi
  • C Restaurant

What do you like to do in your Off Time?

  • Walks on the beach
  • Gym
  • Running
  • Reading in French

3rd dish:

Chicken Kebab

Chicken Kebab

Chicken Kebab

With saffron rice, sweet pepper coulis

What was your inspiration behind this dish?

Mediterranean  non traditional kebab, cooked (braised) with our bastilla sauce, I then bake it and add it to the coulis.

nourdine 11

4th dish:

Moroccan style Quail

Moroccan style Quail

Moroccan style Quail

  • Green pea risotto
  • Demi glace

What was your inspiration behind this dish?

We eat this dish a lot in Morocco but I added an Italian style component the risotto.

nourdine 13

5th dish:

 

Rabbit Tenderolin

Rabbit Tenderolin

Rabbit Tenderolin

-braised red cabbage

– Green pea veloutte

What was your inspiration behind this dish?

In Morocco we eat a lot of Rabbit. The braised red cabbage I learned how to make it like this while working in England and I added this to the dish.

Stay tuned for the next chef in the Dishing with the Chef series.

By: Richard Wolak