Relocating to her husband’s hometown was yet another location for chef Sally Jane to build a new home away from home. After living in the United States and London, she was excited to move to Amman for another culinary adventure exploring new ingredients, new dishes and a whole new culture. I recognized her as soon as I stepped into the coffee shop we agreed to meet at with her golden short hair, her white skin and her lovely smile. It did not take us long to break the ice, starting a conversation about food, sharing our passion towards the heaven of the culinary world.
She recalls her first dinner when she was in the fourth grade, serving her family a three course meal at her dinner table. Since that time, she has been watching her mother preparing elegant meals for their guests who visited regularly at their home whether in Moscow, Ankara or London. Chasing her dream of being a chef did not stop Sally from joining the French Culinary Institute in New York City at a later stage of her life. “I received my Grand Diploma in culinary arts after receiving an MFA in creative writing from Columbia University Graduate School of the Arts. It is not until later that I have decided to pursue my education in culinary arts,” adds the chef. Since then, chef Sally worked as a private chef in New York, San Francisco, Paris, a boat in the Mediterranean, and London.
“As an American chef in London I was eager to start my own small deli business, but I couldn’t afford renting a space, London was too expensive,” says chef Sally. That fact pushed her to explore new ways to utilize her culinary education and to pursue her passion. From her humble home kitchen, chef Sally was able to cater for special dinners and events. “It was very challenging to be on my own catering for dinners from my small kitchen, with home cooking equipment to produce elegant dishes that meet the tastes of the society that I was catering for,” explains chef Sally. Along that, chef Sally is a regular contributor to Travel & Leisure Magazine’s Carry On blog and NBC’s Today Show, combining her cooking skills with her writing background, to share her experience and reflections on recipes, restaurants and travel.
Winter of 2015, chef Sally landed in Amman and did not have any clue what her next step would be. Waiting on for her kitchen to arrive from London, chef Sally got busy designing her new space while tailoring equipment and cooking surface for her new kitchen. “My start was very humble; sourdough bread and granola bars!” Chef Sally was testing recipes and selling her tasty creations from her kitchen and upon order. Not long after, she was invited to be part of two cooking classes by Kitchen Aid Amman and Four Seasons Hotel Amman, a step that helped her build a new base for her upcoming home catering business.
Thinking outside the box and using local ingredients in a new and a creative way is what chef Sally is hoping to accomplish while in Amman. “The geographical location of Jordan and the four different seasons that the country goes through allow the growth of a variety of delicious ingredients,” Sally adds. “Accustomed to the traditional old cooking methods, traditional dishes where never introduced differently. I am trying to incorporate the cooking methods, ingredients and flavors that this country is famous for in new recipes and with the help of the chefs here to start build a base for a modern Jordanian cuisine,” explains Sally.Involved in the slow food movement, the organic farming and other exciting ventures that are affecting the culinary scene in Amman, chef Sally is sure that Jordan is on the right track to establishing its own print on the world food map, a mission that we are eager to achieve.
*Pictures courtesy of chef Sally Jane