Chefs entice diners with flavors of Morocco, Tanzania - Omaha.com
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Moussa Drissi, left, and Mohamed Ismail are the chefs and the owners of Marrakech Gourmet.


CHEF CHAT

Chefs entice diners with flavors of Morocco, Tanzania
By Jane Palmer
WORLD-HERALD STAFF WRITER


The chefs at Marrakech Gourmet are also the owners. Moussa Drissi, a native of Bettache, Morocco, and Mohamed Ismail, a native of Zanzibar, Tanzania, met while working at restaurants in Chicago.

Both are 35 and eager to share the cuisines of North Africa and the Middle East with the Omaha area.

Whet your appetite

Where: Marrakech Gourmet, 504 N. 33rd St.

When: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 11 a.m to 1 a.m. Friday and Saturday; and 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday

Information: 402-502-0739

Drissi received his professional culinary training from an uncle who was a restaurateur in Morocco and honed his skills at restaurants in New York and Chicago.

Ismail attended the International Culinary Institute of Zanzibar and began his culinary career at the Cafe Equator in Atlanta, Ga.

Q. Moussa, how would you describe the Marrakech Gourmet menu?


A. Our food is a combination of Moroccan, Mediterranean and the Middle Eastern region. We cook from scratch. We do a lot of grilling and stewing.

We use no artificial anything. We use the freshest herbs. We import a lot of fresh spices, saffron, pure honey. We accommodate vegan and gluten free. We're kid friendly, we cater and we deliver.

Q. What should I order from the menu to learn about the food of Morocco?


A. Lamb tagine (a stew, also spelled tajine). Saffron Moroccan chicken made with preserved lemon; it's lemon that we preserve ourselves, here. Vegetable tagine. Moroccan mint tea.

The Moroccan tomato soup with saffron is another good one to try. And the lentil and ginger soup.

Q. Ismail, what should I order to get a taste of the food of Zanzibar?

A. The Basmati rice (a side dish) seasoned with cumin, garlic, cilantro, raisins and fresh saffron. And the chicken curry. Zanzibar is on the Indian ocean. It's called the spice island because it is in the center of the spice trade.

Q. How do you and Moussa divide the work?


A. We both do everything. Anything. Cook. Clear the tables. We prepare everything ourselves, side by side. We personally make everything that comes out of here.

Q. What's your pet peeve in the kitchen?


A. I cannot stand a messy kitchen.

Q. And Moussa's pet peeve?


A. Empty glasses on the table. He was classically trained in high end restaurants and everything has to be perfection.

Q. Any changes coming at the restaurant?


A. There are always daily specials. So people need to check with the waitress. Everyday there is something special on the menu that we make.

Contact the writer:

402-444-1052, jane.palmer@owh.com


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