Mai al Abria –
Chef Nader al Aisari, founder of Tanzanite restaurant, a top chef who chose this profession after he realised that a desk job isn’t made for him. He aims to serve the community through cooking. “I chose this profession because I am passionate with what I do. It is a job that is gruelling and stressful, but also fun, creative, and rewarding — at the end of the day, you are feeding people and making them happy,” Nader says.
The previous career of Nader wasn’t related to the current one. His choice to change required courage and persistence. He says: “I used to work at a very reputed telecom company but I came to realise that the desk job isn’t suitable for me. It started as cooking for friends and family and sooner before I knew it, I posted myself on Instagram and other media means, then it became a business.”
“I used a piece of land at the yard of our house and I built a kitchen. I acquired home business registration and we started cooking for all events; weddings, corporate events, baby showers, etc. Most of the women have their private parties at their houses, that is how I started actually and we still provide such services.”
Later, Nader thought of expanding the business. After seeking the support of the SMEs authorities, Nader shows appreciation to Riyada and al Ruffd Fund which financed him to form his own restaurant “Tanzanite”.
Due to some cultural differences and mentalities, it might be unacceptable for some to accept a man as a chef. However, Nader chose to prove himself as a professional chef, believing that it takes time to undergo a change. He stresses that “People are accepting it slowly. Different ages and generations take things differently. People in my generation are accepting it perfectly. Sometimes, I think of myself as a story to be told. A guy who has left his job to do things that he loves. I have met a few Omani people who have been working as chefs, but they don’t expose themselves as chefs. But I think the new upcoming chefs and myself have chosen this career out of passion”.
Besides cooking, Al Aisari thinks that the chef has other rules to play in the community. “We have to raise awareness to make people understand the value of a chef. Time kills the pain. We play a rule in the community. It is a big responsibility for us because as we are providing something connected to health. We need time to introduce people to the rules of chefs. Other than cooking, we advise people what to eat and what to avoid. We should help people make their children love the food, not to force them to eat. What to cook for a child and how to present it properly for them. We can also help those with chronic diseases like diabetes and blood pressure with suitable food for them.”
On his participation at Top Chef programme, he comments: “It was an experience of a lifetime. I have always dreamed of cooking in a live show. Through Instagram, the programme organisers invited me, and later I was accepted and started the show. It was like race against time in the show. It was stressful but great as I learnt new things. I guess the audience was shocked to see an Omani participating in such programme as the media here is not highlighting chefs as other countries”.
“Omani cuisine is very delicious but very hidden. It is our rule to work together to give the world an awareness of what is Oman. We should work together to put Oman in the world map. Oman should stand out. We should expose the Omani seafood, fruits, vegetables and abalone”.
“I do have different kinds of dishes but I mostly enjoy cooking sauces and I love the spicy food. My cuisine isn’t only focused on the Omani food. It is mainly a mixed international fusion, east and west. However, I would like to promote the Omani Shiwa and Qabooli. We can do Shiwa in the oven instead of burying it underground”.