Wide Angle

DinnersWithDave, an American’s love affair with Moroccan food

David, from his Chicago home, cooks all kinds of Moroccan traditional dishes, showcasing his profound love for the cuisine. His dream is to have his own Moroccan cuisine cooking show.

Estimated read time: 3'

This love affair with North African flavors began in his grandmother's kitchen. She was from Tlemcen, Algeria, and with her, he tasted some of the dishes she ate at home. Born and raised near Chicago, David's interest in the region's food grew even stronger 20 years ago when he tried his first Moroccan meal at a Chicago restaurant.

«I still remember exactly what I ate: Chicken bastilla, lamb tagine with prunes, and mint tea», he recalled in an interview with Yabiladi. This experience led to many others, pushing the cooking aficionado to want to learn more about Moroccan food.

«It was unlike anything I'd ever tasted - spectacular!»he exclaimed. «It truly started my love affair with Moroccan cuisine. I was determined to learn how to make these dishes at home».

And so began David's culinary journey into the world of Moroccan food. He remembers learning mostly through books. «In 2000, I bought a tiny travel book called 'World Food, Morocco' - it was the first of many cookbooks I would acquire on Moroccan cuisine».

Though his dream of culinary school never materialized, David is a self-taught cook, especially when it comes to Moroccan food. Through cookbooks and YouTube videos, he explored and tested all sorts of Moroccan recipes. He also made a point to savor Moroccan cuisine whenever he traveled. «I've always sought out Moroccan restaurants wherever I go - New York, Los Angeles, Paris, Lisbon, Amsterdam, and more!»

David's passion for cooking, particularly Moroccan cuisine, took a more professional turn after over 15 years working in the music industry for companies like Live Nation Entertainment, Universal Music Group, and Ticketmaster.

In 2019, to fulfill his growing passion, David started an Instagram page called DinnersWithDave. Initially, he cooked various dishes he enjoyed, including Moroccan. However, his followers gravitated towards his Moroccan skills.

«I was cooking many different types of food when I first created the account but people really started to respond to the Moroccan dishes I was sharing», he said. «It encouraged me to share more Moroccan foods and challenged me to learn new recipes… the rest is history».

Indeed, DinnersWithDave! gained momentum on social media, with David sharing traditional Moroccan dishes he perfected. From his Chicago kitchen, he impressed both Moroccans and those captivated by North African cuisine with his expertise.

«Many followers tell me my cooking reminds them of their mothers or grandmothers», he said proudly. «Or, they'll see a recipe and tell me it brings back childhood memories».

David's audience is a global mix of Moroccans, Europeans, and Americans, mostly younger generations. «It makes me really happy to be able to bring a sense of nostalgia to my online community», he said.

From a passion to a full-time job

David now focuses on cooking for his Instagram full-time. Additionally, he created an online shop called Bsaha, selling Moroccan cooking products to North Americans.

When asked about the popularity of Moroccan cuisine in North America, David acknowledged there's room for growth. «There's a lot of work to be done educating people», he said.

«For example, most Americans know couscous, but they don't understand it refers to the entire meal with meat, vegetables, and semolina. Instead, couscous is often known as 'Instant Couscous' prepared in minutes with hot water», he explained. «That's part of why I do DinnersWithDave - to educate more people about the beautiful traditions of Moroccan cuisine».

David's favorite Moroccan dish is bastilla with pigeon. «The dish embodies everything I love about Moroccan cuisine», he explained. «The old, traditional recipe represents the rich cultural heritage of the people living in Morocco through the centuries. And, the flavors are iconically Moroccan - it’s literally perfect».

With over 200,000 followers on Instagram, David has bigger dreams for his culinary career. Currently based in Chicago, he aspires to have his own Moroccan cooking show and write his own cookbooks.

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