In Fez, food is the entryway to a culture that is traditionally quite closed, says cooking teacher Tara Stevens. Here, she shares her favorite recipes and introduces the locals, expats and visitors who most inspire her.
The Courtyeard Kitchen
Tara Stevens led me up a narrow, unmarked alley and through a gated door, to an even narrower alleyway. The 42-year-old British food writer and chef opened an old carved wooden door and ducked inside. We had stepped into her house and intimate new cooking school, The Courtyard Kitchen at Dar Namir in Fez, Morocco. The entrance room had a mosaic-tiled floor and walls that soared three stories up to the sky; a well-equipped kitchen was tucked into an alcove.
Stevens came to Fez eight years ago, after hearing about a café opened by a former maître d’ from legendary London restaurant The Ivy. She ended up writing the Clock Book cookbook with him and buying a house. Now at the center of a group of expats and locals who are passionate about Moroccan food, Stevens is helping to build a more creative culinary community. She is also the woman to know for travelers who want to discover the city’s astonishing food scene. “This culture is very closed,” she explained to me, “especially for a woman. You can’t go into mosques and it’s difficult to strike up a conversation with locals. Food is the key that unlocks the doors.”