When Ada Daher cooks her traditional Lebanese and Middle Eastern fare she is not just giving you food on a plate, it is food made with love, following traditional Lebanese and Middle Eastern recipes handed down by her mother Catherina, an accomplished cook in her own right, using fresh and simple ingredients.
Ada, a resident of Brisbane in Queensland, always had a love of sharing her Lebanese heritage with her family and friends. One way she did that was through her wonderful cooking of homemade Lebanese meals that she was well known for. She was born in northern Lebanon and was raised on large orchards consisting of organic vegetables, legumes and fruit trees; her father made ouzo, grew olives for making olive oil and fished three to four times a week. Ada has many wonderful memories of her early years in Lebanon. At the age of ten, Ada migrated to Sydney with her eight siblings and parents.
Learning has played an important part in Ada’s development and career. Over the years Ada has been building a broad range of skills in cooking, teaching, business, marketing, writing and art which has enabled her to develop a well-rounded perspective of life and through these experiences has been able to generate new ideas and ways of doing things.
When Ada recently discussed with me her career achievements, she proudly stated there are many: being the former manager of Oyster Point Café in Redcliffe, a cooking and business teacher, an author of six cooking books and a writer and illustrator of three volumes of Emily and Friends Cooking Adventures and a series of children’s short stories and recipes focusing on children’s well-being. There is also the book a Pinch of Soul which is about cooking and poetry with recipes.
Ada’s work also extends to the church where her team of ladies from the Saint Paul’s Ladies Society of Brisbane Orthodox Church provide love and hope for the homeless with their regular cook ups in Brisbane.
Sharing her passion for food, has seen Ada design a program for the Sesame Lane Day Care and Kindergarten centres to teach kids about the joy of food. Of course, there are the public cooking demonstrations where she has cooked alongside celebrity Chefs: Matt Golinski, Iain Hewitson, Lyndey Milan and others.
Conducting Mediterranean cooking classes with Chef Dominique Rizzo for adults and children provides much pleasure. Daher says “the children’s classes are hands-on where they get to develop skills through mixing, feeling, chopping, whisking, kneading, pouring, cutting and rolling, while learning and developing at the same time as having fun”.
She adds “cooking helps to teach children planning and making good choices, and an opportunity to practice creativity and imagination as well as developing their fine motor skills”. They need to be adventurous in the kitchen and discover new flavours and textures to stimulate developing taste buds.
Most importantly, it is about good nutrition and making healthy choices which directly helps in their physical development to good health.
Ada Daher says…”as parents, many of us take great pleasure in feeding our children, in watching them enjoy the fruits of our labour and nourishing their bodies with rib-sticking food. But at some point, as our kids get older and more responsible, we need to provide them with the knowledge and tools to begin feeding themselves. The earlier we teach our children the better equipped they will become for the future”.
Ada Daher should be congratulated for sharing her passion for food and inspiring others to cook.
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