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Tala Bashmi named MENA’s Best Female Chef

This is the first award given in the lead up to the inaugural MENA’s 50 Best Restaurants 2022  event 

Tala Bashmi has been named as the winner of the first Middle East & North Africa’s Best Female Chef Award 2022. 

Chef-patron of Fusions by Tala in Bahrain, Bashmi will be presented with the inaugural award at the debut edition of MENA’s 50 Best Restaurants, set to take place at Abu Dhabi in February 2022.

The award forms part of the 50 Best organisation’s mission to honour female role models within the culinary industry and represents the first pre-announced award of the Middle East & North Africa’s 50 Best Restaurants 2022 programme.

Other pre-announced awards in the lead up to the inaugural event will include the Foodics Icon Award on 11 January and the One To Watch Award on 25 January.

The Bahraini-born, Swiss-trained Bashmi learned about Middle Eastern cuisine and her cultural identity from her father through his in-depth knowledge of the ingredients used. This education soon turned into a calling, as Bashmi witnessed first-hand the joy that a well-prepared dish could bring.

Beginning her career with a home venture called Baked by T, the chef’s desserts became famous in Bahrain, garnering her fans. Following this initial success, Bashmi joined the Culinary Arts Academy in Lucerne, Switzerland, where she gained a Masters in International Business in Culinary Management.

During her time in Europe, she held roles at the Grand Hotel Les Trois Rois and Michelin-starred restaurant Prisma

Upon her return to the Middle East, Bashmi competed in the MBC show Top Chef (Middle East & North Africa), finishing in the finals and showcasing the modern Bahraini cuisine that she would become famous for.

She took over Fusions by Tala, at the Gulf Hotel, Bahrain, in September 2017, priding herself on a willingness to experiment with ingredients and techniques used around the world and incorporating these into native Bahraini dishes.

Signature creations include Bamia, a traditional okra and meat stew using off cuts, modernised with Wagyu beef cheek, crispy okra ‘glass’ and tomato broth rice, maintaining the essence of the original dish. 

Commenting on the accolade, Bashmi said: “It is an absolute honour to be awarded with the first ever Best Female Chef award as part of the inaugural MENA’s 50 Best Restaurants 2022.

“It has always been a dream to put my culinary heritage on the global map, highlighting it not only within the MENA region but around the world. One of my main goals as a chef is to bridge the gap between high-end gastronomy and simple food, making each meal a journey.”

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50 Best Director of Content William Drew said: “The Best Female Chef award series celebrates chefs whose skills, creativity and dedication within the industry reach new bounds.

“Chef Tala epitomises the spirit of this award with her ardent commitment to highlighting Bahraini cuisine around the world while simultaneously modernising many of its traditional dishes.

“She is a hugely worthy winner of the inaugural MENA’s Best Female Chef title and we are very excited to celebrate her, along with leading chefs and restaurateurs from across the region, at the awards event in Abu Dhabi in February.” 

The inaugural Middle East & North Africa’s 50 Best Restaurants awards ceremony will be hosted in the UAE Capital on Monday 7 February 2022, supported by Abu Dhabi’s Department of Culture and Tourism (DCT).

The first edition of Middle East & North Africa’s 50 Best Restaurants event programme, including the awards ceremony and unveiling of the list, provides a unique opportunity for chefs, gourmets, and food and travel media from all over the region to gather and celebrate good food, while promoting the culinary strength and diversity of the region to a global audience.

For more information, visit www.theworlds50best.com

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