Andrew Al-Khouri

Owner of Zatar Catering and Masterchef:

Canada Season Two Top Ten finalist.

“There’s no protein,” Al-Khouri lamented, upon finding out his ingredients for the day. “It’s all carbs.”

 

So is the traditional diet of the average university student—especially during midterms. However the private chef wasn’t dismayed by the heavily-processed groceries presented to him. Armed with nothing more than a pot and coffee grinder, Al-Khouri took to the challenge with gusto. His creation was tasty, alarmingly coloured and incredibly simple.

 

While we allowed every chef $9 in additional ingredients to round out their dishes, Al-Khouri only requested one extra item; Colt 45. “That’s not for the recipe. I just wanted it.”

Ramen french fries with avocado-ranch mousse and cheesy dust

Run the instant ramen and included seasoning packet (vegetable, in this case) through a coffee grinder to make seasoned flour. Toss in a few cheese puffs, for flavour. Take the flour and add enough hot water to form a dough.
Heat some canola oil in a pot on the stove while rolling out the ramen dough between pieces of wax paper until it’s about a quarter-inch thick. Cut with a sharp knife into french fry sizes.

 

Deep fry the pieces in oil for a few minutes until they’re golden and crispy. Lift the fries out and drain them on some paper towel.

 

For the mousse, mash up one or two ripe avocados. Add ranch dressing to taste. Whip vigorously into a light, creamy mixture.

 

Smear a sizable amount of the mousse onto a plate and carefully assemble a lattice of ramen fries over top. Take the coffee grinder (“A lot can be done in a coffee grinder”) and pulverize some more of the cheese puffs. Sprinkle the orange “dust” over the fries and mousse.

How’s it taste?

Coloured like Halloween candy and seemingly inspired by carnival food (neither of which is a criticism in our books), Al-Khouri’s ramen fries had a shockingly clean, fresh taste. The delicate bite of the ultra-crisp fries paired delightfully with the avocado mousse. Even more impressively, all of the transformed ingredients were still identifiable. The taste of seasoned ramen brought back cram-session memories; the creamy avocado flavour was uplifted by the mousse; and the orange cheese dust stuck to our fingers in that way that it does. The only thing really missing was ranch. For the first time since its creation, ranch dressing was actually subtle. No one complained.

What did you eat in university?

 

“I used to eat potatoes or rice—some sort of cheap starch—with my mom’s mustard pickles. My mom used to preserve these mustard pickles and I’d just put them on whatever starch I could find.”

What else is on the menu?