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Hussein Sleiman | A long journey of an interesting career

The passion and his fast learning attitude make it possible to enter the international career in hospitality industry, a career path that allows him to travel around the world and become part of the global citizen and finally brought him to become part of the Management of Le Meridien Hotel in Jakarta, Indonesia.

More than 200 hundred VIP guests are entertained through the evening by enjoying the Tunisian and other middle eastern tradisional food during the formal celebration hosted by the Ambassador of Tunisia for Indonesia, H.E. Mohamed Antar attended by Ambassadors of many other countries as the invited VIP guests.

On March 2012 Mr. Hussein Sleiman, the master Chef of Middle Eastern cuisine of the Le Meridien Hotel in Jakarta, Indonesia – took lead in relation to celebrating the Tunisian National Day!

He started to work in his home town as an on-the-job training which is very common in the service industry before jumping his career to Dubai to work in a 7 stars hotel. To work outside of his country, was also one of the reason for Mr. Hussein Sleiman to become a chef.

To become a succesfull Executive Chef, one does not become a chef, one is born chef! And Mr. Hussein Sleiman is one of a real profile who brought many satisfactions of the job well done at the end of the night, the good comments of customers, the team work in the kitchen, the posibility to apply creativity, the life-long learning and the prospects of advancement.

Create a symphony, an artist whose canvas is the plate, someone who can cheer up the rest when the rush comes and is so confident that even if he puts himself on autopilot can still be the best.

What brings Mr. Hussein Sleiman to become a great chef? It was actually started by helping his mother in the kitchen during his childhood up to a teen stage then later his father suggested him choose the cooking path as his career in life. Without any doubt the process of studying and the starting job as a freh graduate studen went so very smooth.

This path is only for those who don’t mind working on evenings and weekends when almost any other time when the rest of the people are not working, standing on feet for long hours, working under pressure, enduring burns and cuts, hot environment, smoke and fumes, noise and heavy lifting.

 

Every step in the kitchen you are being tested, your stamina is at test, your intelligence and integrity are tested and if you are afraid of failure you cannot possibly be a great chef. Those are qualitiesed you can’t learn in college as Mr. Hussein Sleiman explained during an exclusive interview session just recently at one of a famous fine dining middle eastern – Al Nafoura Restaurant at the Le Meridien Hotel in Jakarta, Indonesia.

As a teen, he had a dream to become something more than a cook, and he definitely realized the need to attend a college or university to get more in-depth knowledge of the culinary arts. A path that also brought him to get the opportunity for international career and adventure in life to discover the world!

In relation to Tunisia and other middle eastern cuisines, with his friendly smile, Mr. Hussein Sleiman also introduced us what Al Nafoura Restaurant offers for business meeting, casual function and many other purpose of celebration that makes it so special to most of its loyal international customers.

As a start Mr. Hussein Sleiman introduced us the Jallab Juice, ingridients that are imported directly from Lebanon. It has a very interesting taste with a unique combination of sour and sweet that surely suits to all kind of the spicy food.

Continues with two delicious main courses!
One is a famous Tunisian Couscous. A traditional Tunisian dish that has berber origins, old thousands of years. Berbers are the native inhabitants of Tunisia. It still represents a major dish for tunisian families and is really symbolic of tunisian cuisine. A very interesting cusine and so very flavorful dish. In one of a recent study, Couscous was elected as one of favorite dish of French people.

The other one is Haruf Ouzi Ma Warak Enab Bil Laham – A Lebanese cuisine with Vine leaves served with onions, mixed with rice, tomatoes. Pureed chickpeas in sesame oil topped with fresh seasoned lamb, pine nuts and a touch of lemon juice. Some onions rings served in a very interesting way!

Mr. Hussein Sleiman close the fine dining menu with Tabouleh Baklawa. It is a signature middle-eastern dessert, a delicious pastry originally from Lebanon country and is known worldwide.

Another culiner of Lebanon is Mohalabia – a pudding that is rice flour based. A delicious and very familiar taste to our Indonesian tounge! And Tabouleh salad – A parsley and tomato salad mixed with some crushed wheat.

Asaba Halawa – Halawa means sweet in Arabic. Since a very long time, the Egyptians had been made a sweet confection using Sesame and Honey or Sugar.

 

Cold Mezzeh is a lovely appetizer – A Lebanese cuisine known as the “King” of the table for its smooth texture and irresistible taste, this hearty healthy food is a combination of Hummous Beiruty boiled chickpeas, blended with tahina (sesame sauce) mixed with cumin powder and chopped parsley, topped with fava beans and olive oil.

A good Executive Chef has many qualities to do with management than cooking. Be very familiar with food cost, labor cost, public health regulations, fire code, be able to plan and organize all kitchen work, develop new menus, cater for customers with food allergies and so on and so on. On top of that have great interpersonal skills! As for Mr. Hussein Sleiman also an active person to by staying in touch with businessmen from all industries, all embassy or diplomats in Jakarta and other corporations that regularly have become the loyal customers of Al Nafoura Restaurant at the Le Meridien Hotel.

There is a need more than the knowledge on how to cook various kinds of food from many other countries as Mr. Hussein Sleiman learned new things during his 5 years post in Indonesia. He also learned from the Indonesians on how to interact with others by giving smiles during the duty or casual approach!

Currently, Al Nafoura introduces “A Week-end special package of middle eastern” buffet menu called Discover The Night Of Lebanon. You can join the interactive culinary experience  every Friday night with a choice from a large selection of ‘tapas style’ Lebanese dishes.

Pick and tick from a variety of starters, soups and main courses or just wait until we amuse you with some surprises being passed around; while enjoying the Belly dancer and Arabic tunes. As a grand finale we delight you with sweet treats from our oriental pastry kitchen.

For Rp 245,000++ per person or Rp 499,000 ++ per person including free flow of house wines, local beers, soft drinks and juices.  Tajine Buffet is available on Saturday night while during the lunch you can also enjoy the new promotion of BRING A FRIEND AND SAVE!

You can bring a friend for a unique quick healthy lunch buffet experience with Lebanese and Middle Eastern specialties at Al Nafoura restaurant. Every Monday and Wednesday from 11.30 hrs to 14.30 hrs enjoy 50% discount from the total food bill (not applicable for a la carte order). A quick lunch buffet with a wide selection of appetizers, main courses and desserts for only Rp 220,000++ per person.

 

Just like many other five stars hotel, Le Meridien Hotel has its special home made pastry called Millefeuille that recently become the signature pastry cake of Le Meridien Jakarta and become favorite among the customers.

In term of local food, his favorites are Sate, Nasi Goreng and Martabak Manis. But where does he sees himself for the next five years? He is not sure about that, but most probably would still be in Indonesia and that would enable of more exploring the local culiner and tourism.

Mr. Hussein Sleiman who originally comes from Lebanon, among his generation in his country, Chef is not a popular career path. And here in Indonesia as well, to become a Chef is not yet a popular options either compare to other path of choices! Most of parents most probably see it as women domination.

In facts, men are most the outstanding person in this career path around the world. And this career path allows you to travel around the world and become part of the global citizen!

Mr. Hussein Sleiman happily took a picture together with a team member of AGNELLO Photography & Production House while closing the long hours of precious conversation.

 

This  exclusive interview was professionally photographed by Mr. Christopher Lumban Gaol of AGNELLO Photography & Production House.