Aminah Zaman

This week we have an interesting person to share her life with you! We know all about the lives of actors and entertainers, but what about those, making delicious food! Come join Social Diary as we get to know Aminah Zaman and her love of food!

1) Who is Aminah? Tell us about yourself (your background, education, goals etc.)
I am a food consultant/chef from England. Hailing from a bureaucratic background my upbringing has expanded over various continents adding a unique cultural profile to it.
Not only lived but also worked and trained in the Middle East, Africa and Europe. I went to boarding school at Padworth College (Reading) as a minor. Later I studied International hospitality management and food studies at the school to Arts London (England) followed by culinary school in École Grégoire-Ferrandi (Paris- France) and Liaison (Toronto-Canada).
I have an extremely strong passion for global cuisine with an even stronger palate, which I hope to someday add to the gastronomic trends within Pakistan.

2) Why did you decide to become a chef? Was it something you had always wanted to pursue?
My unnatural globetrotting patterns lead to an obsession with ethnic and universal cuisine. However it all began by cooking meals for myself and boarding mates as the food we were served was pretty unappetizing. Later at university when I studied note management I got to experience the food and beverage industry in depth. There I found my calling.

3) Did you go to culinary school? What credentials did you earn through your culinary studies?
I went to 2 different culinary schools. First was an exchange program at Ferrandi (Paris) while doing my undergrad in London. This was a basic work placement as part of my degree which was later completed at the Savoy (Sharm el Sheikh). My post graduate degree was Chef de cuisine at Liaison college of culinary arts (Toronto)

4) What dish would you recommend to someone that has never eaten at your restaurant?
I highly endorse local and fresh produce and since I’m an herbivore myself I always encourage customers to try out any daily special which is a delicious yet healthy spin on a staple dish.

5) What is your take on food waste? What is one simple tip you’d give to someone to reduce food waste?
Global realisation of the lack of resources and the decrease in supply due to economic fluctuation has played a huge part in reducing waste. You can literally use every part of a fruit or vegetable (especially their skins). I use peels and skins in broths, or adding flavour to sauces or simply to scent confectionery. Seeds are an amazing snack or can be used for planting.

6) What do you do to stay current on new trends? Describe two or three of the most interesting industry trends.
In order to stay updated with new trends I travel a lot and explore local/street food in each country I visit. However I can’t end my trip without experiencing the Michelin star dining experience the city has to offer. This results in me bringing back a lot of exciting sometimes peculiar ideas which I then imply in my cooking.
Food trends, like fashion, change regularly and the search is always on for new flavours. My two current favourite industry trends are:
Regionality: I like to source and use native ingredients which speak of a region’s heritage, and highlight local produce.
Chef collaborations: I absolutely adore the concept of pop-ups, restaurant takeovers, and four-, six-hands collaborations between chefs across the globe. The culinary calendar as well as nomadic cooking outfits like
8) What’s your guilty food pleasure?
I have a deep-rooted love for caramel; I can have almost anything with It.
Or else there’s nothing that fried chicken can’t fix.

9) If you could wave a wand and change one thing in our current food system, what would it be?
Lack of food awareness and knowledge in the society. We need to teach food in schools. It’s very hard to change adults’ habits but not quite as hard to change kids’. Start them young! Learning what’s good and what isn’t. Teach them how to make wiser and healthier food choices. Consider bringing back home economics, which helped generations of kids (mostly girls) learn to cook. How about making farm visits a standard part of the curriculum?

10) What do you think is the major reason for malnourishment in Pakistan?
– Neglected children, orphans and those living in care homes are at risk of malnutrition.

-Scarcity of recourses due to an over populated economy.
-Those with a limited knowledge about nutrition tend to follow an unhealthy diet with not enough nutrients, vitamins and minerals and are at risk of malnutrition.

11) How beneficial are various diets for the human body?
Each diet is based on an individuals body composition and carries certain benefits. A healthy diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains and low-fat dairy can help to reduce your risk of heart disease by maintaining blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Oily fish with high levels of omega-3 fatty acids in are good for heart health.
An average daily diet consists of eating a variety of foods that give you the nutrients you need to maintain your health, feel good, and have energy. These nutrients include protein, carbohydrates, fat, water, vitamins, and minerals. Nutrition is important for everyone. So rather than sticking to a rigid diet plan it is key to follow a well balanced meal plan.

12) How do you deal with customers who have certain allergies?
It’s essential to first identify the most common types of allergies.
1. Cow’s milk
2. Eggs
3. Tree nuts:
4. Peanuts
5. Shellfish
6. Wheat
7. Soy
8. Fish
Prior to service we list all ingredients to patrons and ALWAYS ask for any food allergies. We address the allergy problem by creating more than one menu, which servers can supply if a diner has an allergy or some other dietary restrictions.

13) Is there anyone in the industry who you would like to work with?
This question is always tricky. However from the top of my head :
1. David Chang: The proprietor of the Momofuku eatery
2. Nobuyuki Matsuhisa: Known as “Nobu” in the culinary world.
3. Heston Marc Blumenthal: British celebrity chef and the proprietor of The Fat Duck

14) What advice do you have for aspiring chefs who are trying to get into this industry?
All that glitters is not gold! It might seem fancy from the outside but it involves a lot of hard work, blood, sweat and tears. I recall days in culinary school when I cried because I did not know how to use an industrial mop. Eventually I learnt after several attempts on the same day. Get off your high horse, don’t hesitate to get your hands dirty and be humble with your peers.

15) Your physique is perfect! How do you stay fit?
Well since I am obsessed with food I have incorporated a combination of yoga with personal training in my lifestyle. Occasional golf, cycling, roller blading, swimming, squash and badminton help me unwind and reboot.

16) How do you juggle your work life and personal life? Do you ever feel you are missing out on any aspect of a regular lifestyle?
Not at all! I love my work and I love my life. With all this travelling and moving around my personal relationships have certainly been affected but I feel that you only live once – YOLO and people who matter will always be around in one way or another.

17) A message for your fans through Social Diary Magazine?
Never give up on your dreams or be discouraged. Stop worrying about others and start living for yourself. Focus on yourself and your happiness rather than focusing on others and what they do. Everyone has a story, when will you begin yours..