As a child growing up Tala learned the history of Middle Eastern cuisine, and her cultural identity from her father through his in- depth knowledge behind the ingredients used. This knowledge quickly turned into a passion for life, as Tala watched the impact and joy a good dish would bring.
This passion followed her into her first foray into the culinary world with Baked by T. An instant hit Chef Tala’s desserts became notorious in Bahrain, garnering her social media awards, however this was just the beginning of her journey.
Tala decided to legitimise her journey as a chef by joining The Gulf Hotel Bahrain as a trainee working her way up the ranks. Her professional kitchen experience began with butchery, then led to working her way around the various kitchens and cuisines to develop her knowledge and hone her skills.
Inspired by her success she studied at the Culinary Arts Academy, Cesar Ritz, Lucerne, Switzerland, where she was awarded Masters of International Business in Culinary Management. During that time she worked at both Grand Hotel Les Trois Rois and the 1 Michelin star Prisma in Switzerland, where she experienced both what a restaurant should be and what it shouldn’t. For Chef Tala people matter, your team is everything and treating them with respect is a fundamental value she will not walk away from.
Returning to the Middle East, she took her passion and honed skills to the MBC show Top Chef (Middle east & North Africa) competition, reaching the final and debuting her now iconic modernising style.
Returning to Bahrain after the show, Chef Tala opened her inaugural restaurant Fusions by Tala, located on the rooftop of the renowned 5-star Gulf Hotel, in Bahrain.
At Fusions, Chef Tala Bashmi prides herself in her daring and willingness to experiment with a range of ingredients and techniques that come from different parts of the world. With these blends of cultural flavours, she plates innovation and the unexpected.
Often people think Chef Tala is modernising Arabic cuisine, while true that is not her only mission. Chef Tala is creating a culinary scene, an experience, where going out to eat is the event. Taking the staunch stereotypes in the Middle East and showing that there is more, and people are yearning for that; the renaissance for Arabic food has begun.
What Chef Tala says about the Middle East Food Space:
“People go out to eat, not to dine, I wouldn’t say we have a gastronomy scene, we have a food scene. Bridging that gap between food and gastronomy, (as you see in other parts of the world), is my journey; food should be knowable not pretentious.
I aim to transport people through a journey of flavors taking them on a nostalgic trip or one of discovery; either way each plate should deliver joy.
Inspiration comes from many places. More traditionally, a trip to the local fish market or a farm could spark joy for me and help me create something new. I look to places born of passion: Art, Architecture, even literature with almost forgotten Arabic texts. These all trigger inspiration for me whether it’s painting my chocolate pralines or crafting my next dessert.
Added to a life served by her fathers knowledge in traditional food history and ingredients, he constantly pushes her to explore her culture through cuisine.
Most of the dishes on her menu come from a specific memory of a tradition. For example, Ghoozi, a dish usually served during celebrations; a small lamb cooked whole on a bed of aromatic rice sprinkled with crispy jewels of onions, raisins, cashews, and lentils. How do you translate something so entrenched in history into today’s eating culture? This became the elegantly simple ghoozi tacos, it transports people to the flavor and feeling of that dish in a bite.