On Thursday, May 19, 2016, Babylon creative director Samad Hachby and Chef Jean Paul Fontaine welcome a special guest to the Babylon – Chef Najat Kaanache.
5-Course Menu for May 19th
Welcome Cocktail: Lavender w/ Citrus Cloud
Amuse: Explosive Olive Ferran Adria
Salad: Frida Goes to Fes (Moroccan Spiced Salad on Peach Pond)
App: Quail Egg Ma’akouda
Entree: Atlas Surf & Turf (Yogi Shrimp and Braised Lamb)
Dessert: Chocolate Magnum
Seats are $100 per person (includes tax, exclusive of gratuity) and are required in advance. Please purchase reservations online below or call the restaurant at 919-838-8595 to reserve your space.
About Chef Najat Kaanache
Having trained in some of the world’s most critically-acclaimed restaurants, Najat stands out among female chefs. She was the first (and only) Moroccan chef ever to work at famed Spanish restaurant, El Bulli, where Ferran Adria extolled her virtues as a chef, stating “Najat Kaanache represents the soul of Morocco through the language of the kitchen. Her passion for creativity and innovation are an exemplary reference for the whole country.”
Najat’s cooking style has garnered international respect, melding her highly technical experience with the rustic flavors and fragrant spices with which she was raised, growing up between the Spanish countryside of San Sebastian and the Atlas of Morocco. Her connection with food began at an early age, picking and milling her family’s olives and wheat. Infatuated by her mother’s cooking, Najat’s desire to create culinary magic began about as early as she can remember. With her sights set on circumventing the globe, Najat’s passion for gastronomy propelled her into some of the world’s most famed kitchens where she saturated herself with culinary knowledge.
Prior to donning her first chef’s coat, Najat studied theater at Surrey University and enjoyed a career as a Spanish television actress and human rights activist before deciding to attend culinary school and follow her dreams to the world of gastronomy. She honed her skills at Michelin 3-stars Noma, French Laundry, Per Se and Alinea working alongside culinary giants including Rene Redzepi, Thomas Keller, Grant Achatz and Martin Berasetegui. She also spent two years (2010-2011) at El Bulli working directly with Ferran Adria and Oriol Castro until the restaurant’s historic closure on July 30, 2011, where she earned the prestigious Executive and Creative Haute Cuisine Certificate created by Ferran Adria in collaboration with University of Barcelona-CETT.
After leaving El Bulli, Najat has instructed chefs across the globe on the latest culinary techniques and taught and lectured alongside White House Executive Pastry Chef, Bill Yosses on the science of cooking at Harvard University, New York University and World Science Festivals from NY to Beijing.
The culmination of Najat’s journey through the world of gastronomy and the fragrant flavors of her upbringing inspired the creation of numerous restaurants across the United States. She firmly believes that food is the most important connection we have with one another and aims to nourish the body and soul with her refreshingly authentic approach to cooking. In 2013, Najat was featured in the celebrated cookbook “Share: The Cookbook that Celebrates Our Common Humanity”, with 100% profits donated to Women for Women International, a non-profit helping women in war-torn countries to rebuild their lives. In the summer of 2015 Najat launched “Six Ingredients”, a humanitarian organization dedicated to connecting thought and opinion leaders around the idea that every challenge can be overcome by relying on six ingredients, the five senses plus mindfulness. Chef Najat is also the host of Moroccan cooking show, Cocina Marroqui.
Learn more about Chef Najat online at ChefsRoll.com/NajatKaanache.
309 N. Dawson Street | Downtown Raleigh
[Image: Chef Najat Kaanache appears on TV’s Masterchef Junior; other images courtesy Chef Najat Kaanache]