Raghad Al Safi has passionately preserved her Iraqi heritage and memories of her homeland using her culinary skills and delivering them to her dining room table. Raghad Al Safi was born in Baghdad, Iraq and has passionately preserved her heritage through her dining table. With her book, The Iraqi Table, Al Safi aims to showcase the country’s eclectic cuisine and customs to Iraqis who have left their country, as well as to culinary enthusiasts all over the world.A global traveler, Raghad Al Safi left her beloved Iraq at the age of twenty-eight to see the world and has since both visited and lived in many cities across the world, including London, Baku, Vancouver and Amman. A civil engineer by training with a background in interior design, she now lives in Dubai with her husband and children.
Al Safi was inspired to write The Iraqi Table because of the lack of modern Iraqi cookbooks, especially illustrated ones. She says of her culinary heritage: “It’s a cuisine that’s virtually unknown beyond the Middle East, yet is unique, amazingly rich, and wins the hearts of everyone who tries it.”
Iraqi food goes back to the Mesopotamian Era or roughly 6000BC. The first recipe in the world was Iraqi and the first cookbook in the world was the Iraqi Kitab Al Tabookh, written in the 10thcentury by Ibn al Sayyer al Waraq and now housed in the Topkapi library in Istanbul.
I was Invited for the launching of The Iraqi Table, by Motivate Publishing the publisher of the book at the Courtyard.
Motivate Publishing is one of the Middle East’s longest established and most successful publishing companies. In over twenty-five years of book publishing, Motivate has captured and chronicled the many evolving faces of the region through a wide range of titles, establishing its unrivaled reputation as an end-to-end publisher of books of superior quality.
Motivate’s books portfolio currently stands at more than 300 titles. These range from coffee-table books and cookbooks to business publications and autobiographies. It also publish leisure, sporting and nature guides, as well as children’s books. In particular the collection mainly features Arabian culture and heritage, offering an awe-inspiring journey through the Gulf and the wider Arab world. Motivate’s most renowned book imprint is the Arabian Heritage series, which comprises the region’s bestselling books from internationally acclaimed writers and photographers such as Sir Wilfred Thesiger, Ronald Codrai, Lord Patrick Lichfield and Noor Ali Rashid.
Motivate’s books division offers a turnkey book publishing service – to authors as well as corporate organisations – that covers the life of a book from its inception, research and writing, through conceptualization, editing and printing, to marketing and distribution in the retail market. Motivate Publishing’s online bookshop, booksarabia.com offers secure purchase of all of these titles. Books and fine art prints are also available at Motivate’s own Arabian Gallery bookshop located in the head Office at Dubai Media City.
Main publications of Motivate
- What’s On
- Emirates Woman
- Emirates Man
- Gulf Business
- Open Skies, in-flight magazine for Emirates Airlines
- Identity, design & interiors magazine.
- Stuff Middle East
- Dubai Voyager, magazine for Dubai International Airport.
- Golf Digest – Middle East edition. Editor Robbie Greenfield and Group Editor Mark Evans.
- Jumeirah, magazine for Jumeirah Group hotels.
- An Indian Ode To The Emirates – Book of Geeta Chhabra. Two editions: English & Arabic. Launched in 2011.
- Good – A magazine that talks about good food, values, ideas and living. Editor Helen Farmer and Group Editor Mark Evans.
The interpretation of an Islamic entrance way, a Moorish and Spanish inspired facade, the use of a traditional UAE fort, a Greco-Roman entrance, access to an Egyptian tomb, a crumbled stone house, facade of a traditional wind-tower house in Dubai, and a facade in shape of warship out of a Hollywood movie, made from various parts of ship wrecks, etc. The unique building houses a variety of outlets, including furniture and antiques, artists’ studios, photographic studios, media and advertising companies, hotel supplies, restaurant accessories and a coffee shop.
Located in Al Quoz 1, however the main attraction of the Courtyard itself is the main cobbled area, accessed by a wrought Iron Gate, is completely surrounded by outlets, each with a different facade combining a variety of building styles from around the world. All provide great photo opportunities and make the trek from the center of town well worthwhile.Exhibitions are held on a regular basis in several art galleries within the center.
The book launch of The Iraqi Table by Motivate Publishing was a grand success, a big round of applause to the entire team for putting their time and effort for the event to be a huge success.So perfectly chosen location with Iraqi Food and Music, the ambiance itself created the feeling of tradition and culture. Media persons, Bloggers, Relatives and Friends of the Author and the team of Motivate was present to support the authors immense hard work and dedication to the book.
The night started with a speech by the Managing Partner of Motivate, telling us the history of Raghad Al Safi and the publishing house, Raghad Al Safi’s speech took us back to the culture of Iraq and how her mother use to cook Iftar for her during her childhood days and how she got the inspiration to cook food and keep the whole Iraq united in one table was indeed a marvelous and emotional speech.
I got to interact with some of the team of Motivate, the Editor, the retail manager, the designer, the assistant editor and the marketing and books coordinator, what a tremendous team with so much passion for the event and the book. A big thumbs up to the entire team for the great work done.
After her tremendously beautiful speech she met everyone in person and received lots of good wishes and blessings and sat down to sign each copy of The Iraqi Table bought by the people present in the event.I too got a copy for myself, i must say her recipes are so beautifully created and yet so distinct, i am definitely going to put my hands on some of the dishes.
We got to taste some of the dishes from The Iraqi Table as it was served to all the guest on times interval, and i must say now i am in love with the Iraqi Cuisine.The Iraqi Tea was served with the same authenticity and the rich culture prevailed.
The Iraqi Tea is the national drink of the people of Iraq.Here black tea is not the only name, but real color, because they boil the tea brew in the kettle on the small flame 2-5 minutes (tea drew is not filled up by hot water). Traditional tea crockery is small glass with a waist and small saucer.When tea is drawn for several persons (usually they make it on the iron tray) first of all sugar is putting into the cup, after that – tea and then they take cups for each one. Tea with lemon is doesn’t have streak of Iraqi tradition
The dishes served on time to time intervals were delicious, the meat dishes served were so tender,soft,moist and juicy, i must say a favorite cuisine just got entered into my list for food cravings. Each and every dish had a taste of the authentic cuisine keeping in mind and the magic hands of the author Raghad Al Safi. To name a few we were served Chicken in Pomegranate Syrup, The Bean Salad, The Stuffed Khubbus, The Egg Sand which with Mango syrup, Meat in lentils, The Lentils in Veg, The dates cake etc (for the proper name refer to The Iraqi Table) The good that sounds the more tasted it so divine and delicious.
I must say the Iraqi Cuisine is a must try, to try this dishes with hands on you should definitely go buy The Iraqi Table,priced 165 AED, you will fall in love with the food pictures and the cuisine. Need not to worry its a big black leather covered book so you have to gather enough time to try out each and every dish of The Iraqi Table.
Through The Iraqi Table, Raghad serves up a rich mixture of mouth-watering food, culture, history and storytelling. ‘With The Iraqi Table, Raghad Al Safi brings to light an unconventional and hidden cuisine that I find to be one of the most original and bespoke in the world,’ says Shaikha M. Al Ali, an Emirati chef and culinary art director, who also has a popular blog ‘When Shaikha Cooks’ and the food and culture magazine Thooq.
For online purchase you can buy it from Booksarabia,com (http://www.booksarabia.com/the-iraqi-table.html).
Please refer to the below websites for more details on Motivate Publishing
For location of Motivate Publishing