Food and Finding the Spice of Life with Saba Wahid Duffy


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This week we are joined by Saba Wahid Duffy: chef, media personality, culinary educator, and very recent *Chopped* champion. As an American Muslim raised in a suburb of Boston, she grew up eating Pakistani food nearly exclusively, which left her hankering for any cuisine but.

Despite her strong interest in cooking from a young age, Saba’s traditional Desi parents had other thoughts on their daughter wanting to pursue a culinary career. We discover the idea that truly kicked off her career in food much later in life: a television pilot bridging the gap between her Eastern roots and Western upbringing (which coincidentally our host helped film). The shoot—despite the fact that she forbids anyone to watch it now—landed her a position as a tv host with Dubai One. Saba paints a picture of the food scene in Dubai, where she subsequently lived for four years, as well as the current culinary evolution in the States.

Naturally we quizzed her on her Chopped experience. Hear what it’s like to have Martha Stewart hovering over you while breaking down flounder, and how to sugarcoat the situation with a little light conversation. How might one prepare for such a high-stress competition against three male chefs with impressive industry experience? Try timed test runs in a kitchen under construction with a toddler in tow and a proper-meat-and-potatoes husband critiquing your plating.

We learn about her signature style, an amalgamation of healthy Mediterranean cuisine with the pungent spices of her heritage as well as the global influence of living in the UAE. She enlightens our listeners as well as, ahem, our Pakistani-American host on the differences between Pakistani and Indian food. We talk about wrapping your head around Christmas as adults and her multicultural family creating their own unique traditions. Finally, find out the one thing she won’t ever do foodwise.

Read more about Saba and her unique recipes on her website, take advice from her food blog, Culinary Delights, or follow her on Facebook. And catch her appearances on Food Network’s Chopped: Martha Rules in Round 4 and the Grand Finale (originally aired 5/4 and 5/11 at 9pm).
American Muslim Project is a production of Rifelion, LLC.
Writer and Researcher: Lindsy Gamble
Show Edited by Mark Annotto and Asad Butt
Music by Simon Hutchinson
Hosted by Asad Butt

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