I am a professional home cook. I call myself this because, although I’m a classically trained chef and have spent time in the kitchens of Jean Georges, Devi, and Per Se, my love of cooking begins in the home - creating surprising and delicious dishes for my family and friends.
I grew up with a multi-cultural upbringing - the food was a confluence of Indian, Pakistani, and East-African flavors, some of which to this day don’t exist on the restaurant scene and can only be had by going to the houses of members of my small ethnic community. I enjoy journeying in other cultures through food and have learned from working in various ethnic restaurants as well as informally through my travel experiences. My food signifies that “American” cuisine is subject to interpretation, to personal reinvention, growing and evolving with the country’s increasing diversity. I am the first generation of my family born in the U.S., but I am undeniably tied to the exotic flavors that shaped me as a child and develop me as an adult. My food honors my American sensibilities and simultaneously pays homage to the flavors and traditions of a variety of ethnicities. I hope to create a familiarity with unusual spices and flavors in the American household and to teach people how to put an exotic twist on their everyday meals.
I document the food, travel and lifestyle elements that inspire me at http://www.aliyaleekong.com.
- What is the strangest food you have ever eaten?
- cow brains...and they were good
- What do you cook when home alone?
- comforting East African dishes
- Your most treasured kitchen possession:
- my chef and pairing knives
- The ideal number of guests for a dinner party is: