Born to a Moroccan father, Chef Daniel Elmaleh has always infused his dishes with a nod to his heritage, incorporating ingredients and spices that recall familial roots. This is evident at his award-winning Cleo restaurants, where he uses farm-fresh items to base shareable menus around. Incorporating this philosophy into the holidays ahead, Elmaleh mapped out the perfect plan for all of us to create a merry Moroccan dinner at home.
- Put “yourself into the dinner.” Think about what you would want to eat and make sure there is a decent contrast of flavor profiles.
- Create one amazing dish everyone will be talking about after they leave.
- Plan the menu days in advance. Take traditional Middle Eastern dishes and put a modern spin on them. For example, with Moroccan dips and spreads: Muhammara is traditionally a spicy red pepper and walnut dish—I use seasonal ingredients to give it my own twist.
- I base my dinner party menus off of what is good in the market. Depending on the season, if there is a fish or produce item that is outstanding, I will pick up market items first, then build my menu around them.
- It’s all about the table-scaping and silverware and flatware. I look at the ingredients first then pick up special flatware to accommodate and compliment my dishes. I actually line up all my dishes at the store on a table and consider what I have at home before I purchase anything.
Now that you have the perfect pointers for throwing your own Moroccan-themed holiday dinner, try them out at home. And you can also plan a holiday party out, at Chef Elmaleh’s latest outpost in DTLA at Cleo L.A. LIVE. Book your holiday party now and enjoy a special sbe bonus card!