How and when did you start working for Tourism Development & Investment Company?
I joined TDIC in March 2011 as the Arabic and Emirati Cuisine Specialist, where I was responsible for overseeing the implementation of Arabic and Emirati cuisine throughout TDIC’s F&B outlets. The thing I enjoy most about the organisation is the fact that they helped and supported me in realising my dream, which was to create a cook book [Sarareed is on sale now]. And they helped me expose myself to the public through different events such as the Volvo Ocean Race and Gourmet Abu Dhabi.
How well is Emirati cuisine represented in the Middle East?
I think it can become a lot more popular than it is today. My goal is to raise its awareness in the UAE, then the GCC, and hopefully the whole world eventually. I want it to become one of the most important and unique cuisines in the world. Those are my goals, in that order!
You seem to be one of the few female chefs in your field. What are the challenges that you’ve faced?
It was difficult to break out of traditions that are ingrained in us since childhood. Also, some people don’t believe in an Emirati female breaking barriers the way I have. I’ve achieved so much with the grace of God, and I am proud of that. In our society, the word ‘chef’ is a new and unusual concept. Usually it’s the moms that do all the cooking; whereas chefs are those who work in restaurants or hotels. So it was another challenge, to overcome the stereotypes of what being a ‘chef’ entails. That being said, I think the culinary arts are a female profession in the first place!