Be prepared to be very hungry. Just one look at this lady’s tempting recipes and yummy photos will set your tummy off rumbling. Everyone, meet Nadia Parekh. A self-confessed obsessed foodie who loves everything about food and Dubai’s cutting edge restaurant scene. So, you can see why she decided to start her very own home-based catering company called Mélange.
Get to know the person behind Mélange and her blog Mélange Kitchen Unveiled with our interview.
Hi Nadia, tell us about your story.
I’ve always been a foodie and have always loved to cook. It all started as a hobby and was a great stress reliever for me! When I graduated high school I left for Montreal to pursue a career in Clinical Psychology and throughout my 4 years abroad I continued to develop my culinary adventures. Having my own kitchen was a lot of fun (for both me and my roommates!) and I was known to be the one who would cook up a storm when I was stressed, upset, happy, or just plain bored. Although I absolutely love the field of Psychology and always will, I decided to take a gap year after I graduated and headed off to Le Cordon Bleu School of Culinary Arts in London. That’s when my journey really progressed. And so, my fate was sealed. I fell in love with it! All of it—the chaos, the heat, the drama, and most of all, the passion.
Tell us about a chef you admire.
The chef I look up to the most and who has been my mentor is Franck Jeandon. He was one of my teachers at school. He’s not only a great chef but a great teacher which is hard to find. He gave me a realistic expectation of what it’s like to be a chef. Very brutal but honest, he didn’t sugar coat anything.
You trained as a pastry chef so you must love desserts! Where can we find the best desserts in Dubai?
The Soufflés at Marina Social are the best in Dubai! But I also love Tres leches at La Tablita, the Hit Me dessert at Catch Dubai, the Crème Brulee at La Petit Maison, and the Smores Brownie from Oushe.
I don’t know about hidden but as there are so many new places opening there’s a lot of forgotten gems. For example, Creekside Dubai which is a beautiful setting in old Dubai, Life ‘n One which is literally a secret garden in Dubai with healthy food, and Fuchsia who do amazing budget Thai comfort food!
You were raised here in Dubai and must have many fond memories. Which memory stands out the most?
The shopping festival in the old days when my family and I would walk over Rigga road and enjoy the funfairs, rides and games. Also taking the abra across Dubai Creek and getting lost in the old Dubai alleys!
You’ve witnessed first hand the huge changes in Dubai. What has been the biggest transformation you’ve seen?
The evolution of the restaurant/food scene.
Tell us about a country you’ve visited with the best local food.
Turkey—simple flavours and quality ingredients cooked well. Simply put on a plate and let it sing on its own.
We know you love to cook and have lots of delicious recipes on your blog. Which is your favourite recipe to recreate?
Peach Crumble! Extremely juicy when grilled, peaches are one of my favourite ingredients. And when vanilla and a pinch of cinnamon is added to the equation, the flavour is elevated to a new level. Serve it warm with mascarpone, coconut whipped cream and a pecan-oat crumble. It’s really rustic, healthy, gluten-free and refined sugar-free!
Check out the full recipe here!
Your favourite place to use your ENTERTAINER?
I don’t know about my favourite place but the hotel and resort options are brilliant! Especially if you want to get away for a weekend.
Can you give us some blogging tips?
It’s easy to get caught up in the numbers, but producing quality posts that you’re happy with is much more important. There comes a point where you just have to focus on that and let the rest fall into place. Stick to your guns! At the beginning when you want to network you start attending everything that comes your way, even if it doesn’t really pertain to your blog, but it’s really not the best idea. Because then you’re obliged to post about it, and ultimately it’s your credibility on the line. You just need to put your foot down, go to the events that you really want to go to and produce quality work. Everything else follows. Especially in a place like Dubai where there’s a new restaurant opening literally every day, you can’t be everywhere, all of the time.
How about photography tips?
Pictures are key! When it comes to photography I’ve become absolutely shameless in restaurants. Standing on chairs, putting dishes on the floor, stealing props for my shot, photographing other people’s food!
I joke about it but I actually love styling these pictures. I never thought I would but there’s something really creative about the process and without meaning to, you start to develop a certain style and personality that’s evident across all of your pictures.
You also never look at props the same again. I’ve officially become aesthetically obsessed! I can spend hours in antique stores looking for the perfect plates and kitchenware. I know, #nerd.
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Thank you, Nadia for this interview, we loved getting to know you. Make sure to check out Nadia’s Instagram, blog, and catering service. We have it on good authority that her food is to die for… Especially her cakes! Check out her Instagram if you don’t believe us!