Beachroad Magazine meets Lidija Abu Ghazaleh founder of Lidija's Kitchen a beautifully produced haven for food lovers. Photography by Tara Atkinson.
When did your love of cooking begin? //
My love of cooking started when I was a little girl, playing with pots and pans in our kitchen. I remember how much fun I had mixing, stirring, and playing with tastes and textures. I’m a self-taught chef, I love how food has the power to evoke and create memories, transcend the passage of time, and take you on a journey across the world. My husband and I share our love of food, which is deeply woven into the fabric of our relationship and our family life.
Where do you like to eat, shop and socialise? //
Living in Dubai, we certainly are spoilt for choice when it comes to things to do. I love to entertain, which means I’m always on the look out for great ingredients. I often have to source my things from many different places, so there really isn’t only one place I go to shop. The farmer’s market in business Bay has some great local vegetables and runs well into the warmer months. Markets and Platters in the Marina has a great selection of fish, as does the local fish market in Jumeirah. Union co-op has some good local produce that’s very well price and is often overlooked.
When the weather permits, I love to spend time on the beach with my family. The recently revamped Khazzan Park is a great little spot to hang out with my kids. It’s right across the street from City Walk, another one my favorite destinations. They’ve got some great little shops with many cool little restaurants and cafes popping up. I love that you can walk outside without being stuck inside a mall! I absolutely love Bastakhya, I don’t get there nearly as often as I would like, but it is definitely one of my happy places in Dubai.
In terms of restaurants, I have the “usual suspects” that I really love. Coya is on the top of my list – the food is spectacular with an atmosphere to match. I recently did a restaurant spotlight on The Experience with chef Reif Othman – what an amazing place! I can’t divulge too much information, you’ll either have to go there for yourself or check out my blog. Reif is also the head chef at Play, another one of my top spots. Their Friday brunch is insanely delicious!
LIDIJA answers the Beachroad Magazine Q&A //
NAME? // Lidija Abu Ghazaleh.
YOUR CURRENT OCCUPATION // Food writer, blogger, caterer.
WHAT DID YOU WANT TO BE WHEN YOU GREW UP? // An actress and a writer.
YOUR GREATEST LOVE? // My husband and our three children.
YOUR GREATEST FEAR? // Death.
WHAT IS YOUR EARLIEST MEMORY? // My father coming home from work and bringing me a pink stuffed dog with blue ears. I named him Charlie. I was about three years old at the time.
IF YOU GOT THE CHANCE TO DO ONE THING AGAIN WHAT WOULD IT BE? // Travel through Italy. I would do it again in a heartbeat.
WHO IS YOUR ROLE MODEL AND WHY? // I’m lucky to have many great women in my life, and each one of them inspires me with their ability to navigate through challenging circumstances with grace, dignity, and strength. Oprah Winfrey would be my celebrity role model. She has overcome many obstacles to get where she is. I admire her because she’s a fighter.
WHO IS YOUR GREATEST FASHION INFLUENCE? // I’m most influenced by my mood and what makes me feel great. If I had to choose a public figure whose style I admire, I would have to say Sheikha Mozah she's always breathtaking and flawless" and also Amal Clooney.".
WHAT ITEM OF CLOTHING COULD YOU NOT LIVE WITHOUT? // A beautiful dress. Everyone should own at least one outfit that makes them feel fabulous.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE SMELL? // Cinnamon.
LAST BOOK YOU BOUGHT? // Angelina Ballerina, for my daughter.
THE CLOSEST YOU HAVE COME TO DEATH? // Hmmm…not sure.
FAVOURITE DESTINATION? // Anywhere in Italy.
LEAST FAVOURITE DESTINATION? // Guadeloupe. I went years ago with my husband and, although it was a beautiful island, it was an awful experience for us. We never went back.
HOW DO YOU RELAX? // A good run or a session at the gym. I always have a clear head when I’m done.
WHAT WOULD YOUR DREAM CAR BE? // I would fight James Bond for his Aston Martin in the move Spectre.
ARE YOU SPORTY? // Yes. I love to train although I have never been great at team sports. I do very well on my own or in a small group.
BEACH OR DESERT? // Definitely beach!
URBAN OR RURAL? // Urban to live. Rural for a holiday.
CATS OR DOGS? // Cats.
COFFEE OR TEA? // Coffee. Definitely coffee.
WHAT MAKES YOU LAUGH? // The hilarious things my children say! I would quote them here but they may never forgive me. Trevor Noah always makes me laugh, as does Alec Baldwin’s Trump impersonation.
WHATS MAKES YOU CRY? // Human suffering, especially if it involves children.
YOUR MESSAGE? // Live your life and enjoy it to the fullest. It’s the only one you’ve got!
Photography by Tara Atkinson.