By: Meyer Harroch
New York Jewish Travel Guide sat down with Ms. Chamae AIT OUAHMAN, Sales Agent, to ask a few questions about the recently opened Moroccan Culinary Arts Museum. The following interview was edited for clarity:
NYJTG: Can you tell us about the Moroccan Culinary Arts Museum—when was it opened, what is the main focus, and why you have selected this location?
Chaimae AIT OUAHMAN: The Museum of Moroccan Culinary Art, the latest cultural project of Marrakesh that opened on the 8th of November 2019, is situated in the Mellah neighborhood of the medina, close to the must-see Bahia Palace. Built-in a magnificent 19th-century palace, the idea is to promote, to preserve an intangible heritage; it is a place where you can discover the secrets of Moroccan gastronomy.
We have selected this location because all the monuments, the majority of museums and accommodations are in the Medina. It is the most touristic and charming part of Marrakesh. Also, the Mellah is the old Jewish district of Marrakesh, where we found our inspiration for Jewish/Moroccan dishes.
NYJTG: How often are these cooking classes are offered? How many participants are in each class? How long are these workshops and do you offer the flexibility of what you can cook, or it is a fixed menu?
Chaimae AIT OUAHMAN: These cooking classes take place two times a day: one session for lunch and one for dinner. We can allow up to 68 participants and we can also arrange private classes.
This workshop lasts 2 hours and we have several menus, the participants of each session can choose what they want to cook and we offer classes for all levels.
NYJTG: Does the MCAM Cooking School offer a baking workshop on how to make some of the huge varieties of Moroccan bread and pastries that are world-famous?
Chaimae AIT OUAHMAN: Yes, we offer a wide range of varieties of Moroccan bread and pastries for our guests to learn
NYJTG: The Museum tells the history and story behind each dish and flavor that showcases a wide range of traditional Moroccan cuisine as well as of the Jewish Moroccan cuisine such as Chickpea soup, Dafina, Harira. Do you plan in the future to add the Sephardic cooking to your program?
Chaimae AIT OUAHMAN: Yes, we are planning to add many other cuisines like Sephardic cuisine.
NYJTG: You provide individual cooking stations and very nice supplies for each participant, do you also offer a real market Medina tour to purchase ingredients before delving into the actual cooking?
Chaimae AIT OUAHMAN: Yes, we do offer a market tour to purchase ingredients with a certified guide with an extra fee.
NYJTG: What makes the MCAM Cooking School different and better than other cooking schools?
Chaimae AIT OUAHMAN: What makes the MCAM: Cooking school different is that you live an authentic experience by learning the secrets of the Moroccan cuisine and then you learn about the history of each dish with the tour of the museum
NYJTG: Participants learn how to cook a main or a signature dish or two and then enjoy the fruits of their labor and receive a recipe card to remind them how to make the dish at home. Which are the most popular dishes participant request?
The most popular and requested dish is the chicken tagine with preserved lemons and green olives.
NYJTG: How is a cooking class conducted and how many participants can take part in MCAM to experience the authentic Moroccan cooking? Where can someone register for these classes?
Chaimae AIT OUAHMAN: At the museum cooking workshop you will experience the following services:
-You will be given an overview of Moroccan cuisine and spices by a French or English interpreter.
-Demonstration of how to make Moroccan bread
-Assists with a Moroccan tea ceremony.
-Work at your own workstation alongside the Dada* to prepare a delicious Moroccan meal, including two salads, main dish, and Moroccan dessert
-Taste what they prepared on our terrace
-Tea and Moroccan pastries
-Visit to the museum at the end
You can make a reservation through [email protected] or +212524427177.
Thank you, Ms. Ait Ouahman, for your time and for all the information you shared with us. I really appreciated it, as will our readers.