Joudie Kalla: “What’s on your mantelpiece?”

‘The Steeple Times’ asks the Palestinian chef and author of ‘Palestine on A Plate’ Joudie Kalla: “What’s on your mantelpiece?”

 

The Steeple Times shares “wit and wisdom”. What’s your guiding force?

My mother: She says to “always follow your heart”.

 

“Don’t get even, get medieval” is, in our humble opinion, a great motto. What’s yours?

If you want to be great, you have to be willing to risk it all. If you never upset anyone on the way, then it probably means you are not on the path to greatness.

 

Kerry Katona was considered unacceptable in 2007. Who or what is unacceptable in 2015?

The continued war in Palestine (which has gone on for almost 70 years) and poverty.

 

Tony Blair misses being Prime Minister. What do you miss most in your life?

My innocence and naïvety. I also miss running my restaurant in Walton Street, Baity Kitchen.

 

What might you swap all your wealth for?

Health for all my loved ones.

 

Donald Trump was once a case of: “If you owe the bank a thousand, they close you down; but if you owe the bank a billion, you own the bank”. What’s your view on the banking crisis?

The banking world is corrupt, run by many egomaniacs and supports the rich. Inevitably another crisis will happen which will affect the rest of us.

 

What phrase or word do you most loathe?

“Just relax”: It’s extremely frustrating especially when you are not relaxed.

 

In the UK, some people consider charity to “begin at home”. What’s your view and what causes do you personally support?

Charity does beginning at home. You must make sure all your loved ones are OK before you go out and venture out to help others, but, saying that, I am an avid supporter of a wide range of charities. I really do think we are all very fortunate to have the life that we have and that we should give as much as we can. I support Race for Life, RNIB and the Battersea Dogs & Cats Home.

 

The judge in Law Abiding Citizen states: “I can pretty much do whatever I want” before being blown up whilst answering her mobile phone. What’s your view on the appropriate use of such devices?

I find it inexcusable to use the phone when you are out at dinner or with friends. Nothing is that important to cut a conversation and disturb the flow of an evening. The only reason to answer the phone is for an emergency or if you are checking up on your children. I find the way people use such devices extremely anti-social.

 

Chef and author Joudie Kalla

 

If you could fill a carriage on The Orient Express, who would be your fellow passengers?

I would like to have my other half Nathan, as he is always there to have a laugh, Sean Penn, Kevin Bacon, Sophia Loren, Anthony Quinn, John F. Kennedy and Ellen DeGeneres.

 

If you were unfortunate enough to end up on death row, what would be your last meal and where would you eat it?

I would eat sayadiyeh. It’s an amazing Palestinian fish dish with cumin and rice served with caramelised onions and dressed with a tangy tahini sauce. Simply divine.

 

What time is it acceptable to consume the first drink of the day?

Midday… And if on a hot beach, anytime that makes you happy.

 

A Negroni, a martini or a cup of tea?

A dirty martini with two olives please.

 

Whose parties do you enjoy the most and why?

I enjoy friends’ parties at home or my own parties. I like to know what I am going into or what I having to do for others if they come to mine. Parties with close friends are always the best parties.

 

Who is the most positive person you know?

My homeopath.

 

What’s your most guilty pleasure?

Made in Chelsea.

 

If a tattoo were to sum you up, what would it be of?

An eagle rising from the ashes.

 

If you were a car, what marque would you be?

A vintage Fiat 500.

 

Cilla Black presented Surprise, Surprise. Tell us the most surprising thing about you.

I am the softest person I know.

 

What’s currently sitting on your mantelpiece?

A photo of every member of my family and an urn containing the remains of my beloved first dog Sparta.

 

Joudie Kalla is a Palestinian chef and a lover of Middle Eastern food. She runs Baity Kitchen Catering and recently launched an app named Palestine on a Plate to share Palestinian recipes and personal stories. Follow her on Twitter at @BaityKitchen.

 

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