Assia Othman

The Gastronomy Prodigy

‘Assia Kitchen for Media and Publication LL’, founded by Assia Othman, is a world of gastronomic delicacies, no food-enthusiast should ever miss. The published author and professional cook is known to concoct the most mouth-watering dishes that exude of their origin culture and look as delicious as they taste. Assia has given us a tasty insight into her empire of flavours; here’s what she told us!

Tell us about yourself and how you founded ‘Assia Kitchen for Media and Publication LLC’.
After moving to the UAE, I started blogging about food, since it was one of my passions that I got from my Moroccan roots. With time, I became a food stylist, food photographer, a cookbook author, TV presenter, food influencer, recipe developer, and finally, I became a food videographer! I had always dreamt of starting a production house where I could use all these skills, so ‘Assia Kitchen for media and publication LLC’ came to life.

What is the difference between a cook, a food stylist and a recipe developer?
A cook is someone who has a passion for cooking, one who can cook any recipe at anytime. A food stylist is one who assorts props, napkins, and ingredients to compose a beautiful and mouthwatering frame. A recipe developer is the person who has the skills to develop a recipe using a product or an ingredient to match the needs of the market and the audience. So you must have a
vast knowledge of cuisines, fusion skills and placement of ingredients in recipes.

You wrote the internationally acknowledged cook book ‘Men Matbakh Assia’ (From Assia’s Kitchen). Tell us about it.
‘From Assia’s Kitchen’ is my latest cookbook that was published especially for my Egyptian followers. It was a nice collection of female-empowering quotes, assorted with delicious and easy recipes. I shared all my beautiful memories with my amazing Egyptian friends and followers and included their pictures. It’s a tribute proving how much I love this country, and how much I love my Egyptian audience.

Please tell us more about your campaign ‘Beram El Hana’ (Exquisite Tajin Dishes), what was the concept behind it?
I come from a country that loves clay pots and olive oil! The first common aspect between Morocco and Egypt is ‘tagine’ pots. But in Egypt, the dishes are very heavy as they are cooked with ghee! I took the initiative with ‘Wadi Food’ to prove that such dishes could be light, healthy and yummy using olive oil.

What are some healthy low-calorie diets to follow?
The Mediterranean diet.

Why do you always use olive oil in your recipes?
It’s healthy, light, savoury and very special to me since it reminds me of my Moroccan roots.

What is the difference between extra virgin and virgin olive oil and how do they differ in terms of recipes?
The difference is in acidity: extra virgin oil is 0.8 % acidic, while the latter is up to 2% acidic. I recommend cooking with extra virgin oil since it’s light and can be used in most recipes.

Is it true that cooking with olive oil will limit or change taste?
Of course, not! There are plenty of Moroccan, Italian, Greek, Turkish and North African cuisines that are always cooked with olive oil which would prove that theory wrong.

Can you develop dessert recipes with olive oil?
That is often what I already do on a daily basis; 99% of my recipes are made with olive oil.

How would you advise women who turn to crash-dieting?
It is much better and more efficient to eat healthy than crash-diet. Just consume vegetables and fruits instead of sweets, honey instead of sugar, olive oil instead of ghee, cut back on the salt, and drink lots of water.

When did you discover your passion for food and cooking?
When I got married!

You’re a TV presenter and a food stylist on ‘Sayidaty TV show’ at Rotana Khalijiyah. How did that happen?
‘Sayedaty Magazine’ contacted me in Ramadan in order for me share with them some of my recipes as illustrated in my booklet, which was a virtual hit at the time. After my segment received lots of traffic and positive feedback, they decided to add it to ‘Sayidaty TV show’ in Rotana Khalijya channel.

How do you combine good taste with healthy ingredients?

By reducing fats, adding spices, and natural aromas, you’ll easily combine excellent taste with healthy ingredients.

What do you consider a breakthrough in your career?
Each step I took was very important for me to reach who I am today.

What were the biggest obstacles in getting where you are now?
Leading my success as a foodie alongside all the mother duties I have, but I am doing my best with the help of my husband and my mother-in-law.

Any advice for our aspiring young cooks?
Cook with love and cook because you love to!

Will you have any surprises for us this Ramadan?
Yes, a lot! I would like to keep it a secret, but follow me and ‘Wadi Food’ on our Facebook pages during Ramadan and you’ll find out!

A word for our readers…
I love this country with every detail of it. I believe that a piece of my heart is now Egyptian. Egyptians are truly amazing people who spread joy wherever they go!