Back to Culinary Basics
Popular Dallas chef spills cooking secrets in new Mediterranean cookbook
The intimate Canary By Gorji restaurant at Village on the Parkway in Addison now has a sibling, but it’s not a another restaurant. Chef Mansour Gorji has published a cookbook called Zing! By Gorji — New Mediterranean Cuisine: Bold, Balanced, Simple & Savory($34.95).
His debut cookbook took a lot of TLC — four-and-a-half years, to be exact — and it was inspired just as you might imagine. Faithful customers kept asking Gorji how to re-create his dishes at home, and he was amazed that many people didn’t believe how simple the dishes were to prepare.
“I love Mediterranean food because of the simple flavors, and the aromas just hooked me,” he says. “Often times people make the most simple elements of cooking difficult. After they learn simple tips and tricks, they think, ‘Why didn’t I think of that?’”
Gorji’s food pays homage to French, Italian, Spanish, Greek, Turkish, Middle Eastern and North African cuisines. “Taking the best elements and interchanging the techniques and ingredients, I call these cross-border partnerships New Mediterranean,” he says.
His favorite building blocks for flavorful dishes include pure olive oil and fresh limes. To add zing, he likes pomegranate, sumac and pepper — but only if the latter is used correctly.
The chef also understands what it takes to prepare meals at home, because his restaurant has only 10 tables. He goes to the grocery store every day, cooks to order and does not produce anything in bulk — much like the home cook.
With this cookbook, he hopes to teach a simple approach to cooking — using quality ingredients, minimal spices, correct ratios and an abbreviated cooking time — that can help anyone prepare delicious food for their family. And the book is filled not only with recipes, but also helpful, if somewhat obvious, tips.
For example, Gorji notes that many people fail to take advantage of high-powered ventilation when cooking fish, and it often leaves a pronounced aroma in the house. It’s a simple reminder, and it ensures your dinner guests aren’t greeted by the smell of a fishy dish.
“I have been in the restaurant business in Dallas for a little over 10 years,” he says. “I hope that people can count on me for not only providing quality dishes but for teaching them that they can do it too.”