Born and raised in a large family in Marrakesh, Mourad Lahlou came to the United States when he was 20 to study economics. Missing his native cuisine, he taught himself how to re-create his favorite Moroccan dishes with local ingredients and his own inventive techniques. Before long, he had embarked on a journey that would lead to a career as a pioneering Moroccan American chef.
As chef/founder of Aziza in San Francisco, Mourad has been recognized as one of the most dynamic and creative chefs in the country. His strikingly modern reinventions of traditional Moroccan dishes are all about showcasing the great flavors of his native cuisine in ways that harmonize with the fresh, local, artisanal ingredients available in Northern California.
Mourad opened his first restaurant, Kasbah, in 1996. In 2001, looking to take his cooking in a more modern and sophisticated direction, he closed Kasbah and opened Aziza in San Francisco's Richmond district. In 2010, Aziza became the first Moroccan restaurant in the United States to receive a Michelin Star. His debut cookbook Mourad: New Moroccan was published in 2011.
I contacted Mourad very early on in my career in the production of Halal Moroccan Khlii, Mourad was very quick to encourage my endeavor and believe in my tenacity to succeed. He even recommended me to the author of the Tasting Table article "Jerky Boy".