Interview with Alia from CookingWithAlia

Alia!

Recently, Youtube has become increasingly popular amongst foodies and chefs, who use the site to upload cooking tutorials for their viewers, and nowadays, It’s all about being unique. Alia Al-Kasimi started her Youtube channel, CookingWithAlia in 2008. While she isn’t a professional chef, her dishes are not only impressive to look at, but easy to replicate at home. Most of her dishes are Moroccan; however, Alia has a variety of mouthwatering meals- ranging from Harira, a traditional Moroccan soup, to Tres Leches Flan- a scrumptious Mexican dessert on her channel.

 Believe it or not, she began her cooking venture after her first video was uploaded to Youtube: a tutorial of how to make Baghrir (Moroccan pancakes) with her grandmother.  “I’m a visual person- I need to see it. So for me, a video was perfect,” she explained. “We did if for fun, and we did it in English so we could share it with my American friends, so they could make it as well.”
 Before long, it was not just her friends who were watching- the video had become popular among people from all over the world. At the time, there were few videos in English on cooking Moroccan food, and that’s where her Youtube journey began. “I feel like I’m the ambassador of Morccan cuisine. So for me, I’m sharing my passion, I’m sharing my culture and my food, and that’s important to me,” she says. Her food- no doubt, is flavorful- the word she chooses to describe Moroccan food in general. She adds, “It’s a very simple cuisine . . . So the balance of the freshness of the ingredients and the spices make it so unique. It has to be flavorful, it can’t be spicy, and it cant be bland- it has to be flavorful.”
After over five years, Alia has released a cookbook and two free mobile apps in addition to her videos. She has also worked with La Maison d’Arabe, a celebrated Moroccan restaurant, to produce a cookbook, but whether or not she will release another one of her own cookbooks is undecided. “I love cookbooks, but  [the app] has all my recipes, and the cool thing is that every new recipe adds up there, so it’s like an expanding cookbook.” When watching her videos, Alia’s dedication and passion is evident. “Many people ask me, ‘why do you keep doing [the videos]?” she says. “The answer is not money . . . I feel that I’m representing my culture and I’m representing Moroccan cuisine in English, which not many people are doing out there.”
Youtubing is not her main job, yet Alia has spent hours catering to the questions and comments of her viewers, responding to them, and interacting with her audience. She actively posts vlogs and photographs on her Facebook page. “I think that CookingwithAlia is becoming part of me,” she says. “I cant imagine my life without it.”