Amanda Saab is a social worker, passionate home cook and food blogger at amandasplate.com. She was most recently seen on MasterChef on Fox, competing with the best home cooks in the country! Her recipes have been featured on the Huffington Post, Seattle Magazine and The Detroit News. She loves combining traditional Mediterranean flavors with American classics. She also loves re-creating traditional Lebanese dishes and adding a modern twist! Amanda Saab completed her Masters Degree in Social Work at Wayne State University before moving to Seattle with her husband.
1. What inspired your love of cooking? What inspires it now?
My love for cooking was inspired by my mother and grandmother. My mother and grandmother cook with love and with joy and excitement. Seeing them in the kitchen, inspired me. And they continue to inspire me today! I am also inspired by the fresh ingredients I have access too.
2. What does it mean to be a Creative?
To be a creative is to have new perspectives and ideas, to allow yourself the space and time to develop these perspectives and ideas and to inspire others to do the same.
3. What would you like to see more of in the ummah?
I would like to see more outreach and connection with the communities in which we live and work. It can be really easy to create a bubble and never step outside of that. Given the current state of the world, I feel that more work needs to be done in outreach and engaging our neighbors.
4. Looking back on your experience on MasterChef, how does it affect who you are today?
It was an experience that brought me closer to Allah SWT and for that I am forever grateful. It has taught me that even when you feel alone, Allah SWT is there and even when you hope and pray for something, Allah SWT has something better. It also affirmed my ability to cook and bake 🙂
5. If you could go back and change one thing, what would it be?
If I could go back and change one thing, I would not be as hard on myself as I was when I was eliminated. Afterall, its just cake 🙂
6. What’s your favorite dish? (and why?)
My favorite dish is a cheesecake (any variation) because it was the first thing I learned to make myself. I was in fourth grade when I purchased a cook book at the book fair. I learned to make the cheesecake and continued to alter that recipe. I’ve made hundreds of cheesecakes since and it still brings back great memories of the book fair. I also really love kibeeh niyeh (raw beef)!
7. What’s something no one knows about you?
I really love to read. I try to find time a few nights a week to read something new; a short story, a novel or a cook book!
8. What does a typical day look like for you now?
I am back to working my full time social work job in a hospital, so my days are busy. I am usually up by 5:30 am, if I prepped the night before I will take some photos, then it’s off to work. Once I am home from work, I make dinner and take photos. Then I am cleaning up, blogging, editing photos and sharing the recipe I made.
9. Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
In 10 years, I hope to be a restaurateur. My dream is to own a modern Mediterranean restaurant that serves a dish to someone in need for every dish served in my restaurant.
10. What advice do you have for other Creatives?
Be yourself! It is easy to get caught up with things are that trending or popular, but it is important to think ahead. What is the next best idea? Gadget? Food trend? Also, we all gain inspiration from somewhere, don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone to get the creative juice flowing!
The original version of this article was first published on Creative Ummah.