Head Over Meals: The Banker-Chef In Love With Food From The Gulf To Africa

Published 3 months ago
Chef Faisal Al Deleigan; image supplied

Faisal Al Deleigan has been a banker but is more renowned for his culinary skills. The food entrepreneur offers consultancy services to restaurants also mentoring chefs in Africa.

By Ross Holland

Faisal Al Deleigan was an investment banker for 10 years and had promising career prospects but longed to deepen his understanding of the culinary arts and pursue cooking, which had long been a hobby of his.

Time passed and he had to make a decision – it was going to be one or the other. Finance or food.

“You can’t be focused on two things at once…” says the Bahrain-based Al Deleigan to FORBES AFRICA. He chose food, and used his business prowess and culinary skills to become a chef.

He now runs a popular F&B business and is the founder of Chef Faisal Consultancy, which has advised over 115 restaurants throughout the Gulf region.

His connection to Africa?

Al Deleigan is a professional member of the Foodservice Consultants Society International (FCSI), a premier global body for hospitality and food service with members based in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

Through his consultancy, Al Deleigan mentors business owners and aspiring chefs from the three regions.

Chef Theo Doss Dosseh, a colleague of Al Deleigan’s and currently a chef at the US Embassy in Dakar, Senegal, mentions that the two regularly exchange ideas on certain dishes and value each other’s input when it comes to gastronomy.

Deleigan has developed and created over 2,415 original recipes, many of which are vegetarian and vegan promoting a healthy lifestyle.

He has a master’s degree in business from the New York Institute of Technology and also studied in Italy and England where he mastered global food techniques and developed his international fusion style of cooking.

His passion for food came from his mom, who he recalls had a very modest kitchen but took pride in her cooking.

“My mom is a good cook… she would always try something different, from different countries even.

“There would be guests visiting us from different places and people from different nationalities and they’d bring food… she would always want to know how it was made.”

The connection between food and family continued into his adulthood. Al Deleigan is inspired by many people, but none more so than his wife and two kids, he says. Everything he does is for them and they inspire him in every step he takes.

With Valentine’s Day and romance round the corner, the chef recommends dishes such as his specialty Balsamic Steak (tenderloin beef made with mashed potato and some alluring ingredients) and the Heart Pancake (with mixed berry sauce). Both young and old will surely flip for his dishes.