Einat Chalmers from Mamoosh, throws some mackerel on the barbie – Moroccan style – to eat with her famous pitta bread
I trained at one of the top cookery schools in the States, The French Culinary Institute in New York. I was young and restless, but I learnt all the basics of French cuisine, which you can apply to anything you do. In my family, everyone has a business. Everyone is doing their thing, and we’re all in the catering industry.
I grew up in a kibbutz in Israel where my dad worked at the fish pond and my mother, for many years, organised all the catering events. My dad left the community because the establishment wasn’t for him, he wanted to be a free bird, and he went on to have many restaurants. The last became one of the most iconic institutions in Tel Aviv, a traditional Middle Eastern fish restaurant named Barbunia.
When I came to the UK, I worked on and off at Real Patisserie. I wasn’t doing all the pretty little things - I was mainly making croissants. I always wanted to learn how to make proper bread. I was doing it at home, for myself, and then friends asked if I could make bread for them as well.
My dad is my biggest supporter; he couldn’t wait for me to start my own business. Opportunities came, people asked if I would sell my bread but I wasn’t ready, and then I watched a documentary called Six Feet from Stardom and something clicked, I thought I should just go for it.
I launched Mamoosh nearly three years ago, and it’s going well. I sell my bread at markets and wholesale to shops like Hisbe and Sussex Produce Company. In Lewes, you can find Mamoosh at May’s Farm Cart and Talicious at Lewes Food Market.
What my dad is, is very much what I am. We like simple, fresh food. Generally, I make classical Israeli salads and pittas, which are my speciality. I combine my knowledge of French baking with what I learnt at home.
I took this recipe from a restaurant I worked for in New York, where we cooked sardines with Moroccan charmoula. I’m using mackerel instead because it’s local, sustainable, affordable, and because June 16th is Newhaven Fish Festival. It’s a brilliant event, and yes, there’ll be a stall selling my pittas and salad boxes!
Ingredients: 4 whole mackerel, gutted; 20g coriander, finely chopped; 10g parsley, finely chopped; 3 garlic cloves, crushed; grated zest of one lemon; ½ tsp sweet paprika; ½ tsp hot paprika (optional); ½ tsp ground cumin; 80ml extra virgin olive oil; salt and pepper.
Method: Light the BBQ. Mix the chopped herbs, lemon, spices and olive oil in a bowl. Rinse the mackerel in cold water and pat dry with kitchen paper; slice each side diagonally two to three times, rub with olive oil and season. Place the mackerel on the barbecue or in a hot, dry grill pan. Cook one side until the skin separates easily – don’t be tempted to move the fish before it is ready. After about ten minutes, turn over and cook for another five minutes. Smear the cooked mackerel with charmoula and serve with tahini dip and warm Mamoosh pitta.