Amanda ‘US Masterchef’ Saab reveals all
Feed the Lion caught up with a woman who reportedly made history last year by becoming “the first Muslim female chef to appear in a hijab on an American primetime cooking show“.
Amanda Saab became a household name for American Muslims across the country after appearing on America’s version of Masterchef – a hugely popular reality cooking show hosted by none other than Britain’s well known celebrity chef, Gordon Ramsey.
Although Amanda, a social worker from Seattle, didn’t quite achieve the feat of winning the coveted title, she did take her first steps towards achieving her aim of teaching people more about Muslim American culture.
Originally from Dearborn, Amanda describes the type of food she likes to make as “Mediterranean modern cuisine”.
Meat Feast was, therefore, very excited in interviewing her for this month’s issue:
MF: You were the first Muslim contestant on America’s Masterchef, how exactly did that come about?
Amanda: Going in to the auditions, I did not really think about the potential impact it would have. It was not until the contestants were announced, and people – Muslim and non-Muslim – were excited to see an American Muslim woman in hijab competing. It was a wonderful opportunity and I hope it can inspire others to follow their dreams. Many may say “religion doesn’t matter” or “its just about cooking”; and that is true. However, the reason my appearance on the show as an American Muslim woman in hijab is important, is because people look at me and have assumptions about who I am and what I believe. They judge before knowing; so I hope my participation on MasterChef has helped dispel the stereotypes that are out there.
MF: Any particular moments on the show that really stood out for you?
Amanda: Aside from getting picked first for the two team challenges (Las Vegas by Stephen and 100th Episode by Nick) and getting top 3 during the Crab Mystery Box Challenge, winning an apron during the battle round was my favorite moment because I was able to share it with my husband, mom and sisters.
MF: Overall though, how was your experience on Masterchef?
Amanda: It was a wonderful experience and I am grateful for the friendships I made during my time there.
MF: And how was the fiery Gordon Ramsey as a presenter; was his bite really worse than his bark or the opposite?
Stay true to who you are and be as creative as you can be! I personally try to challenge myself with new recipes or techniques about once a week.
Amanda: Gordon Ramsay is a household name for being ‘fiery’ as you say. But I believe he comes from a place of encouragement and wanting chefs and home cooks to reach their full potential.
MF: In what way has Masterchef positively impacted your life as both a cook and a person?
Amanda: The experience has allowed me to carve a path for myself in the food world. As a person, I learned to be less hard on myself :)
MF: Any negative impacts?
Amanda: None that come to mind.
MF: You seem to be very busy with your food blog, Amanda’s Plate, and your recently launched Youtube channel. How is all that currently going?
Amanda: I also continue to work as a social worker, so it is very busy. But I am grateful of having the ability to do the things I enjoy doing.
MF: Do you have any plans for the future as a cook?
Amanda: I hope to write a cook book and open my own restaurant :)
I hope my participation on MasterChef has helped dispel the stereotypes that are out there.
MF: Given your experience, what advice would you give a budding cook or even someone interested in the culinary arts?
Amanda: Stay true to who you are and be as creative as you can be! I personally try to challenge myself with new recipes or techniques about once a week.
MF: Anything you’d like to say to Feed the Lion’s Pride?
Amanda: Thank you for the opportunity! I hope that those reading will join me on my journey with food at http://amandasplate.com.