It is true that we should eat to live, not live to eat. Still, that doesn’t negate the fact that while we’re at it, we should eat well! One of the people we’re grateful for when it comes to this department is Wesam Masoud. We’ve religiously watched his show on CBC Sofra, swooning and fawning over his delicious concoctions. And we couldn’t be happier when his restaurant, Chef’s Market, was opened. Chef’s Market is still going strong now, a year later. This is where we sat down with him and had a conversation as flavorful as his dishes.
On Being a Restaurateur
Wesam’s work on Chef’s Market is remarkable. Turns out it is not his first venture in the business, “Chef’s Market is the only restaurant I’m part owner of. I’ve worked with my partner before when he had opened a café with a bunch of other guys. I was their restaurant consultant”, he elaborates, “but we realized we weren’t happy with doing café food”.
Wesam then went on to work with a restaurant consultancy, and right afterwards him and his friend, Wael, started building the concept for Chef’s Market “dish by dish”, as Wesam tells us. The diverse, exotic menu is mouth watering, but it might be intimidating for some. Wesam is aware of this, and tries to balance it, “some dishes I put there because I know they’re commercially viable”, he tells, “and some are there because they taste great. The intelligence of running a restaurant is developing a brand that’s known for good cooking”, he concludes.
On Neurology and Career Shifts
Wesam graduated from Ein Shams Medical School. He realized that he wanted to be a chef when he was working at the Yale Neurology department, “I was watching Iron Chef, the original Japanese vrsion. And Hiroyuki Sakai was doing a beef carpaccio”, he tells, “it was the first time I see how it’s done. And at that moment I thought I want to know how to do stuff like that!”
Wesam was 23 and engaged at the time. He decided to only cook at home and do some food writing. It wasn’t until he was 30 that he said to himself, “this is not going to work out. I’m cooking. I’ll be a chef and that’s it”.
His brothers were supportive. His mother, however, was resistant. Fortunately, this only lasted until he became a celebrity chef. This is when she accepted it, “it was awesome. Before that I would give her advice and she would say ‘shut up, you don’t know anything’”, he recalls, “and then I’m on TV and she says ‘that’s a great idea’”, he says.
On Cooking for the Television
“It allows me to cook what I want, but at the same time it’s a platform where I can tell people my food philosophy and hope to inform their decisions”, Wesam tells, “not just when cooking at home, but what they’ll buy at the supermarket”, he says.
Wesam wants his show to help others broaden their horizons for them and their children, “I sometimes do kids food episodes and I try to stay away from fried stuff. Kids should be eating what their parents eat”, he tells, “if I’m ever a parent I’ll feed my kids feseekh, renga and cow’s foot”.
On Food he Dislikes
Even though he’s all for trying new things, Wesam has his dislikes too, “cucumbers. I hate them. I love pickles, but I hate cucumbers, watermelons and the whole watery family”, he says, “and black eyed peas”.
mom doesn’t let me cook at home
On Mom’s Food and Women…
We couldn’t believe it, but Wesam, too, gets kicked out of the kitchen by his mother, “mom doesn’t let me cook at home”, he tells, “yesterday she was peeling garlic one by one! I said ‘give me the garlic, I’ll do it’ and it took a minute and a half”, he says. Just like the rest of us, he uses the kitchen when his mother is away, “I don’t have to worry about my mom saying ‘clean as you go’ I do that in the restaurant, not at home. I’m used to having people clean after me”, Wesam says.
This could be why Wesam doesn’t plan on hogging the kitchen from his future wife. If she wants to cook, he doesn’t mind, “I’ve got no worries. I imagine that whoever I marry would at least appreciate food in some way, shape or form”, he tells, “and I’m not a romantic guy, or so I’ve been told. So I would say ‘listen, I’ll cook you dinner tonight. Don’t worry about it’”, he concludes.