It was yet another beautiful, sunny day in springtime Cairo, or more like El Salam City outside of Cairo, when the inauguration activity of the "freshly" established ECA Hobby Chef Club* took place.
Created by a group of passionate amateur cooks and chefs under the expert patronage of the Egyptian Chefs Association, Hobby Chef Club aims at providing activities and inspiration to like-minded food lovers! Throughout Egypt, there are many people who work professionally in the hospitality industry, yet there are also a great many people who indulge privately in their passion to cook, people who, until now have had no affiliation of their own! Hobby chef was born with them in mind. The concept is simple, avid home cooks join together to share experiences, learn from each other and from experts, while making new friends and having some "deliciously inspired fun"!
With that target in mind, ECA Hobby Chef Club made its debut on May 9, at Makro's warehouse
in El Salam City. The eager participants were met by the impressive management team of Makro
, including Jean-Yves Riot, Head of Operations; Sally El Sherif, Head of Quality Assurance, Stephane Maurin, Procurement and Merchandizing Food Director; and Noemie Miegeville, Target Group Manager/Traders. After a fervent introduction of the wholesale giant's mission, presented by Stephane Maurin, the tour of the premises began. We were placed in the capable hands of Sally El Sherif who took great care in explaining the various dry products available, and the wisdom behind purchasing them first, before going to the fresh foods sections.
Next we proceeded to the ice-cold storage rooms containing all the perishable goods. The meat and fresh fish sections were formidable, with choices abounding from local to foreign varieties. To the delight of all the visitors, Moustafa El Refaey, Executive Chef & Partner Zooba Homegrown, who is also member of the ECA Hobby Chef committee, took the educational platform and walked us through fish and meat section explaining all the different cuts and techniques which go along with this non-vegetarian heaven!
Following came the milk and cheese section with its many delicious samples, thoughtfully provided by our hosts. We were able not only to indulge our palattes with some salty goodness, but also to enhance our knowledge with Chef Moustafa's products descriptions. Hard as it was to leave the many cheese and luncheon tasters, we had to, as the fresh fruit and vegetable stalls were beckoning us! Just like being inside an artfully decorated garden, diverse salads, crunchy vegetables and glossy fruits were glowing with freshness! Once again, Chef Moustafa thoroughly walked us through all, known and unknown herbs and greens, and undoubtedly inspired many home cooks with new ideas!
Tour pleasantly completed, we were invited to take refreshments, both of the liquid and the solid kind, and to reflect upon all seen and learned, during this insightful morning. We were also given Makro purchasing cards, and with them in one hand and with a large shopping trolley in the other, most of us headed right back in, ready to explore first-hand!
"Thank you!" Team Makro
and "Thank you!" Chef Moustafa and "Hamdellah bel Salama!" to ECA's Hobby Chef Club.
* The ECA Hobby Chef Club brings together gourmets and culinarians from throughout the country in an exchange of know-how, skill, and most importantly, passion for distinctive and healthy cuisine. Activities of the club will include, among others, social outings and cooking days to share experience and knowledge; as well as dinners and cooking demos with top chefs.
To join and benefit from the ECA Hobby Chef Club
, all you need to do is join the ECA as Associated Member
, with an annual fee of LE 180 and an initiation fee of LE 50, to be paid upon signing up.