Dubai-based chefs Dima Hamati and Waseem Aleisa and Ahmad Fraijeh based in Saudi Arabia, have had recipes using the finest French butter published in an exclusive industry recipe book.
Three Middle East-based chefs have been selected by CNIEL, The French Dairy Board, and the European Union to feature in a prominent recipe book, showcasing the depth in quality and taste of European butter.
The recipe book, which comes in an easy to use magazine format, features advice, recipe suggestions using the finest European butter as well as a history of how butter is made and why the unique method has remained the same for centuries.
Dubai-based chef Dima Hamati, who was born in England to Lebanese parents, developed her skills at the French Culinary Institute of New York before undertaking positions in Belgium and latterly Dubai, where she was sous chef at Alserkal Avenue’s Inked in Dubai, and is now sharing her wealth of knowledge on a range of projects as a consultant chef.
Chef Hamati was selected to showcase a range of recipes to create flavoured butters which included coffee butter with spices, sour sumac butter and honey butter with zaatar, as well as creating a crispy milk, brown butter with muhammara and labneh cream.
Highlighting the importance of butter in the kitchen, Chef Hamati said: “Butter has such a variety of facets and brings so much to the kitchen including texture, flavour and finish. It has the ability to raise and refine any ingredient and has without a doubt become a key component of everything I do when cooking.”
Joining Chef Hamati to showcase a delectable dish of roasted poultry supremes with zaatar butter is the Mina Seyahi’s executive sous chef, Waseem Aleisa. Born in Damascus, Syria, Chef Aleisa made a name for himself at the Sheraton Damascus Hotel before making the move to his current role in Dubai.
Chef Aleisa said: “As part of the magazine I was able to showcase flavoured butters including Date and Cardamon. I use butter as often as I can unless I have to make a speciality dish that has to be prepared with olive oil. I love the taste of butter and always find it adds something different to a dish. Previously, finding good butter hasn’t always been easy however European and French butter always delivers.
Rounding out the Middle East contingent featured in the magazine is Lebanese chef, Ahmad Fraijeh. Chef Fraijeh has a wealth of experience from around the world having worked in the Mediterranean in locations including Sardina and Marbella in Spain, Paris and then Africa, Algeria and Gambia. After a spell in Dubai, Chef Fraijeh took up his current position as Chef and Consultant at HMF Hospitality in Riyadh.
Utilising butter, Chef Fraijeh made a roasted veal medallion with avocado butter while also showcasing a honey and jalepeno pepper butter and a hazelnut and cinnamon butter.
“I use French butter every single day of my life, whether that’s during my breakfast or in the dishes I make. Not only does it make food look great, it also provides perfect texture and incredible flavor,” he said.
In addition to the Middle East, chefs from France, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Beijing were also showcased. The magazine will be used as a promotional tool in the Middle East and the rest of the world to underscore the world-class attributes European butter provides.
Marie-Laure Martin, International Project Manager from CNIEL, said: “In Europe, and particularly in France, butter is a national treasure which, despite the evolution of eating habits, remains a staple ingredient for home cooks and chefs around the world.
“Thanks to its myriad of uses in a range of recipes, and as the perfect accompaniment to the most basic of dishes, butter is undoubtedly the Swiss army knife of gastronomy thanks to its infinite uses,” she added.