Interview with EP Lenderking

What do you love most about Moroccan food
I love the diversity of flavours. It is an incredibly complex cuisine, both in terms of variety of dishes, but also within each individual dish. And each dish tells a story. The cultural imprint that is bound up in Moroccan food is without peer. The importance of Moroccan culinary tradition in the history of the world of food is enormous and largely unsung…the entire Spanish speaking world, however, went to school on this style of cooking for over 700 years. Which is why culinary terms in Arabic and Spanish, and many dishes, are so similar.
What made you start a cooking school?
The very first guest that we had at our hotel Dar Les Cigognes in Marrakech wanted to learn how to cook Moroccan food. More out of necessity than by design we practically moved him into the kitchen, where he spent several hours each day learning from our traditional cook. What he experienced is a true culinary experience, different than the standard cooking school approach to teaching, and one that we continue to use to this day. Now, however, we have a posse of traditional Moroccan cooks covering every region of Morocco, and all aspects of Moroccan cooking, including specialists in bread and pastries and the major culinary styles.
What is Moroccan Food?
This is an interesting question. Moroccan food as practiced in Morocco has been subject to a huge variety of influences that stretch back literally tens of thousands of years. Starting with a pastoral society, the cuisine was simple and largely based on animals and a limited number of locally grown vegetables. Wheat, also, was an important crop. About 10,000 years ago, the Phoenicians arrived bringing their style of cooking from the Eastern Mediterranean, and opening up the first spice trade route. The Jews were the first of the great spice traders, and they travelled with the Phoenicians, and many of them settled with and mingled with the indigenous Berber of Morocco. The Romans came and made of Morocco the great breadbasket of the Roman Empire. It is said that the North Africans in general had introduced the concept of dried pasta to Italy, and certainly couscous has ancient history.

The Visigoths came too, and there were thousands of years of trade with Africa across the caravan routes of the Sahara. The Turks tried to conquer without success. The Arabs, the other great traders of antiquity settled in Morocco and converted the Berbers to Islam, and together they conquered Spain.

In recent history the French have had an influence. So, Moroccan food is many things, reflecting this history and mix.
What is a tajine
A tajine is an earthenware cooking pot and dish. Its unique design permits the braising, sautéing, steaming, and roasting of a dish all during a single cooking process, adding great complexity to dishes in the process. Any dish cooked in a tajine is also called a tajine. Essentially it is clay pot cooking.
How do I best learn to cook Moroccan food
There is no better way than to come to Morocco and to experience first hand the cookery lessons at Sanssouci Cooking School in Marrakech, held daily at Dar Les Cigognes and Riad Kaiss. You can also start with these eBooks are one of the many excellent books written and published on the subject.
Published 2014-05-04.
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Books by This Author

Tanjia Marrakchia
Price: $9.99 USD. Words: 53,290. Language: Commonwealth English. Published: April 18, 2016. Categories: Nonfiction » Cooking, Food, Wine, Spirits » Mediterranean
113 thoroughly researched recipes of traditional Moroccan food, with cultural insights and stories about the history of Moroccan cuisine. Jewish Moroccan cuisine is also featured, with some recipes that are disappearing from the landscape.
Seasonal Fruit & Vegetable Charts
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 240. Language: Commonwealth English. Published: May 11, 2014. Categories: Nonfiction » Cooking, Food, Wine, Spirits » Specific Ingredients / Fruit, Nonfiction » Cooking, Food, Wine, Spirits » Mediterranean
Use these Season charts for fruits and vegetables to learn and determine what is going to be in season when. Oriented towards a Mediterranean timetable, this would be equivalent to Virginia in the US or Southern California…Sanssouci Collection Cooking School has been teaching cooking classes since 2000.
Moroccan Fish & Seafood Cookery
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 2,320. Language: Commonwealth English. Published: May 6, 2014. Categories: Nonfiction » Cooking, Food, Wine, Spirits » Specific ingredients / seafood, Nonfiction » Travel » By region
A short collection of fish cookery recipes that highlight the key styles and techniques of Moroccan fish cookery from tajines to grilling and beyond.
Classic Moroccan Soups
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 1,960. Language: Commonwealth English. Published: May 4, 2014. Categories: Nonfiction » Cooking, Food, Wine, Spirits » African, Nonfiction » Travel » By region
The classic Moroccan soups are hearty dishes, wonderfully nourishing and flavourful. This short guide covers the main soups of Morocco from Harira to Tadeffi and also some more whimsical soups such as watermelon soup prepared in the manner we serve it at the boutique hotel Dar Les Cigognes in Marrakech.
Moroccan Sweet Pastries and Breakfast Cakes
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 2,180. Language: Commonwealth English. Published: May 4, 2014. Categories: Nonfiction » Cooking, Food, Wine, Spirits » Courses & Dishes / Pastry, Nonfiction » Travel » By region
Here are a handful of recipes that teach you the basics of the most important pastries and breakfast cakes in Moroccan cooking--Cornes de Gazelle, M'Hancha, Rghaif…learn how to make them from scratch in steps that have been taught to thousands of participants in our cooking classes over the years.
Moroccan Grilled and Roasted Meats and their Accompaniments
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 2,930. Language: Commonwealth English. Published: May 4, 2014. Categories: Nonfiction » Cooking, Food, Wine, Spirits » Methods / Barbecue & Grilling, Nonfiction » Cooking, Food, Wine, Spirits » Specific Ingredients / Meat
How to grill meats the Moroccan way as taught at the Sanssouci Collection cooking school. Contains 12 recipes that have been chosen to demonstrate the key techniques associated with preparing Moroccan grilled meat, including the famous Moroccan roast or pit barbecue "Mechoui", dry spice rubs, wet marinades and sauces, grilled minced meat "kefta" and a delicious onion accompaniment.