Tala Bashmi, the woman at the helm of Fusions by Tala, at The Gulf Hotel Bahrain Convention and Spa, talks sustainability and kitchen must-haves.
Who is your cooking inspiration and why?
I’m currently inspired by Daniel Humm of Eleven Madison Park for taking the leap and doing something very uncommon in the fine-dining scene. He has turned the spotlight towards sustainable food and is now running a vegetarian based 12-course menu only. He’s using his influence to create a better way of eating and taking one step towards improving and educating others on how to eat better to care for the future of the planet.
What are your five ‘must haves’ in the kitchen?
Kombu is a type of seaweed, widely used in Japanese cuisine and more famously being used in Dashi – the stock base for Miso soup. It adds a level of umami which I love building in my dishes.
Fleur de Sel from Mad in Lebanon
Good quality salt makes all the difference to any dish. I use the best salts possible to season my food because it is really transformative. These specific salts are harvested in Lebanon and come in a variety of flavours including rose salt, lemon, olive, and premature grape. Each flavour enhances an ingredient in its own way.
Since we make all of our ice creams and sorbets, this is the magic piece of equipment that helps me make them. Some of the playful flavours that we serve include wasabi, passionfruit and orange blossom, and smoked vanilla.
I use this ingredient because it adds a lot of depth to my recipes, without excessive sweetness. It’s local and an ingredient found in abundance in the region.
Daqoos is a Bahraini spice blend which is very aromatic and adds a kick. Really delicious and unique.
What do you like to do when you’re not cooking?
I like to relax and unwind with a cosy night in and a good series or spend the day in the sunshine by the pool or at the beach.
What is your signature dish or style that everyone should try?
As for the sweet side, my latest creation ‘Fields of Lavender’ is my current favourite. This dessert has layer upon layer of delicate complimentary flavours and is a joy to eat.
If we’re talking savoury, the Tikka Steak, my modern version elevates the classic Bahraini street food ‘Tikka’ and is elevating it while maintaining the soul of the dish. ✤