The very beautiful talented and successful Chef Dima Sharif, a Jordanian national living and working in Dubai, is a Food Artisan and Gourmet Chef.
Dima has developed an enthusiastic following and fan base on Facebook and other networks. She also writes a successful blog (www.dimasharif.com) which, given her varied and diverse gastronomical experience, has enabled her to become a reference point for cooks both amateur and professional from all walks.
The Interview :
Chef, did you cook growing up?
At a very young age, I was very fascinated by cooking and was always around my mum in the kitchen when she cooked. But as I grew older I got busy with a whole lot of other things. Cooking was no longer something I was interested in. In fact during my teenage and early adult life I refused to cook, or learn cookery. At that age I thought I don’t want to be ‘one of those women stuck in the kitchen’! I thought of cooking as conforming to a gender role which I was totally opposed to. However as I grew and matured I decided that everyone has the right to choose what they like to do, and just because I was a woman who wants to live her life fully did not necessarily mean I could not cook. I took up cooking by choice, and that to me is utmost freedom, because I chose to follow what I like rather than follow any stereotypical images of either extreme. So to answer your question, No I did not grow up cooking. My cooking Journey started in my mid twenties. lol
What made you decide you would become a professional cook?
You know I don’t think I ever made that decision. I kinda fell into it. As my passion for cooking grew, I was cooking for anyone who would eat J. Friends, Family, neighbours, anyone really. They all told me, I must open an eatery or start cooking professionally. I always laughed and brushed them off. I was already a professional in communications, doing communications through film. I thought I had my professional calling all sorted. When I moved to Dubai, I was pregnant, and thought I did not want to look for a job until I had my baby and settled down. But I am not capable of not working, and that time off work was driving me mad. I thought to do something temporary until that phase was over, and started offering party foods for small events. In my mind it was something to keep me busy until I was back to work. One party to another, I found myself starting a catering business. The next thing I knew I was catering weddings and corporate events, launches, birthdays, showers and everything you can think of. Now I am a fulltime cookery instructor, food writer and all things food really… Why? Because I love it. I enjoy every second of it, and I want to help everyone discover what food brings into our lives. I was lucky in a sense to find my true passion and to have that passion be my work too.
Food makes a home out of a house. Always cook for your family. We can all cook if we look at cooking with interest instead of dealing with it as a chore we need to get off the list. Keep experimenting and trying out recipes, not only will you get better at cooking but you will always have something interesting on the table. Your family will appreciate it, and you will create your children’s memories and groundings this way. They will always remember those meals around the table that you all enjoyed as a family.
Cooking comes from a place within. We call this ingredient love. Keep the passion for cooking alive, and cook from your heart you will always produce good food. This is the difference between cooks. No 2 people produce the same recipe identically, there is always a difference, there is always one that is slightly better. Cooking with passion is the differentiating ingredient. I always recommend fueling this passion with knowledge. Passion alone goes nowhere, but when armed with knowledge it is an unlimited force.
I am not exactly a gadget person. How many can you really collect? Besides you can do everything without gadgets. One gadget that any serious cook must have though is a mandolin slicer, I think everyone must have one. (use it extremely carefully though).
Oh, I have many! But one of the funniest in a ‘I wish to disappear’ kind of way was when I invited one of my chef friends over for lunch. This guy had been hearing me go on and on about food and cooking for ever and never tried my food. But when I finally got to have him over for lunch I went for a roast, which I love to make and is pure deliciousness on a plate. Somehow, I managed to murder my roast, I totally killed it. I over cooked it and it was a disaster. It was delicious, but texture wise the meat was incredibly over cooked!!! I wanted to die because cooking the meat to the right doneness is a basic that cannot go wrong! I cooked like a complete beginner that day for one of the people I totally wanted to impress lol.
Fish and seafood are my favourite foods. So much diversity, varieties and different textures.
Roasts and simple honest home foods.
Your favorite cookbook?
I am not a brand freak, I don’t only wear brands. I wear brands and what my eye fancies. I do have favourite brands though. I have always been and remain a big fan of Chanel. Moschino is another favourite. I love Gucci with passion for shoes n bags too. Mac is a favourite for make up, and lately I am growing more and more fond of Make up Forever.
Who are your favorite designers?
Alexander Mcqueen is insanely out of this world, I love his ability to add edge to classics.
Narciso Rodriguez ‘For Her’ is my favourite.
In which country you like to shop?
I will shop anywhere. Different markets always offer different styles and I like the diversity. I have many styles and like to keep myself open to know styles, so I would shop anywhere I find something I like. One exceptional shopping experience I had been in NYC, I love the city’s take on fashion and how it can still be individual and unique. The thing I hate the most is looking like everyone else.
Oh I am the worst to ask this question! I like so many different things and at times can be very opposing things. A bit and a piece of everyone is what I find nice, none who I feel is my ultimate idol. Audrey Hepburn style is one I am very fond of, for more recent fashion styles I also like Kim Kardashian’s style most of the time.
I usually like to shop alone, but when I do have company, I would take any of my sisters they are all very stylish and each in a different style. I have a couple of girlfriends whose fashion sense I trust and who understand mine so I would ask them to come with. My husband has an exquisite eye for fashion too I trust his judgment always, but we bicker a lot when shopping together so I don’t shop with him except for specific occasions lol.
I always have a lip liner, lip gloss, and a hand moisturizer. The rest is optional.
“Being great is not about celebrity, it’s about being great to others.”– Dima Sharif