An Interview with an international cuisinist

Ah, Middle Eastern food.  The mere thought of it conjures up visions of exotic foods from faraway lands.  Middle Eastern food has been gaining in popularity over the years especially with millennials and with people willing to experiment with more flavorful international cuisine.  Over time, I have come to love certain dishes that are part of this cuisine.  Hummus, falafel, Baba Ghanoush (eggplant), kebabs – all remain at the top of my list.

When it came time to work on this assignment, I was determined to interview someone who was very involved with international cuisine.  And then, I thought of Aloush – which is a Bar and Grill in Philadelphia near University City.  I have been to this restaurant a few times and can absolutely say that it is one of the best Middle Eastern food in Philadelphia.  Lively music, great atmosphere and ambience, and most importantly – superb food.  There are dishes that have stayed true to their roots.

I decided to interview Fran who works at this restaurant and has donned different hats – in the kitchen as a chef and also a server.

Thanks for your time Fran.  How long have you been working here? 
I’ve been working here for over 2 years. 

Why did you start working here?

I am working here because the opportunity to work at a place like this seemed interesting. The culture aspect and Middle Eastern vibe was appealing to me. I get to be near Middle Eastern food which is near and dear to my heart, the décor, and music.  A number of the dishes have Lebanese origins while a couple of dishes like ful medames have Egyptian origins.

What is one of your favorite dishes at your restaurant?

I would say the lamb kabobs are a personal favorite.  But I can say that all the food we serve is authentic and tastes great.  Our menu has a great combination of appetizers, entrees, side dishes and desserts.  And people seem to love it all.

Being in the food business, what do you think about the international food scene in Philadelphia? How do you feel you are contributing to that?

I think Philly definitely has a good international food and cultural scene. There’s a restaurant for practically every different type of international food. I think it’s cool seeing the different kinds of food and culture in the restaurant I’m at.  To be able to learn something new every day and use my skills is a great feeling.

Where do you see yourself in the future after experiencing working at a restaurant like this?

My goal is to open my own restaurant in the future. Hopefully, a fusion restaurant that blends different cuisines together. 

How do you think the restaurant scene could expand or improve in Philadelphia?

I think Center city and Old city have a ton of different kinds of restaurants. I’d like to see University City get to that point too so the college crowd could experience more diversity. I do see it constantly expanding, but I think it could be just as well be known as center for its restaurant scene someday. 

Thanks for your time Fran.  I really enjoyed talking to you.

No problem.  Thanks.


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