Inspired by Moroccan roots, Chef Mourad Lahlou wows diners

Eat Drink SF
Photo by Alissa Anderegg/TheBallOut

San Francisco, CA — More than 100 restaurants and 70 beverage vendors showcased their craftiest culinary creations at the 10th annual Eat Drink SF festival in San Francisco last weekend.

Local foodies enjoyed unlimited tastings under one roof in the one-of-a-kind experience at Fort Mason Pavilion. From craft cocktails to bite-sized desserts, and endless cuisine options, the hall was filled with the best in the Bay Area dining. The event also featured photo booths, backyard games, and a live cooking demonstration by Michelin Star Chef, Mourad Lahlou, on Saturday night.

Known for his unique take on Moroccan flavors, Lahlou is the restauranteur behind San Francisco’s acclaimed hot spot Mourad. Originally from Morocco, Lahlou moved to the United States more than 30 years ago to study at San Francisco State University. That’s when he discovered his talent for cooking.

“I was really homesick when I came here,” said Lahlou. “My way of reconnecting with my family and my roots was learning how to cook.”

He began by recreating his family’s dishes from memory by using traditional Moroccan ingredients like argon oil, preserved lemons, and almonds. His cooking has since evolved, bringing a creative twist influenced by his life in California.

“If my family were here and were going to taste this food, they would recognize the flavors,” said Lahlou. “However, if [my mom] looks at it, she’s not going to recognize it.”

On Saturday he even shared with diners what his favorite meal is.

This innovative cooking has led Lahlou to earn numerous accolades in the culinary world. Not only did he open the first Michelin-starred Moroccan restaurant in the country, but he also won the title of Iron Chef and wrote a cookbook.

Lahlou was one of several top chefs who appeared at the event throughout the weekend. Others included Dominique Crenn, Roland Passot, Chris Cosentino and world pizza champion, Tony Gemignani.

All in all, the event was amazing and had a lot of dishes to indulge in.