MasterChef- Morocco Edition

Luther’s Malta and the Mediterranean Program, currently in its 26th year, offers students the opportunity to spend a semester exploring Malta's rich history and traveling to other countries in the Mediterranean region. Coursework includes Paideia II: Ethical Issues in the Mediterranean, a Service Learning class, where program participants teach English to recent immigrants to Malta, Maltese History and Culture and additional classes taken at the University of Malta.

To learn more about the program, visit the Malta Semester website.

Let me be the first to admit — I cannot cook.

I've never been one to enjoy making dinner or really anything that required more than just boiling water. Mac and Cheese is my go-to and now my speciality — I can complete the meal without even looking at the recipe! When I saw "cooking class at Cafe Clock" on the Morocco itinerary, I was rather intimidated.

By nine in the morning on our last day in Morocco, we were on our way to cooking class. I was still so full from breakfast (Moroccan crepes are extremely addicting). Upon arrival at Cafe Clock we were each handed a menu and were told to figure out waht we wanted to make as a group. We all agreed that bean soup, chicken tagine, lamb with couscous and macaroons sounded delicious. Throughout our class we were able to order whatever drinks we wanted, from Moroccan mint tea (my favorite) to avocado milkshakes.

After choosing which recipes we planned to make, we went to the local market to gather supplies. It was so fun to pick out fresh foods to prepare (even though I had never cooked such a complex meal in my life). My stomach struggled at the butcher's. It's common for butchers to hang camel heads near their shop to advertise the meat they're selling that day. I found it was best to look the other way and forget about the camel burger I ate the previous week.

At Cafe Clock there is a kitchen dedicated to cooking classes. Since it's considered a "cross cultural cafe" there is a big emphasis on learning about Moroccan culture. What better way to do that than to learn how to cook the meals we had been eating all week?

Preparing the dishes was tedious. So many ingredients were being cut, chopped, or blended. In all honesty I was a bit lost during the process! The head chef told us how to complete each step, and thankfully guided me through all of my tasks. As a team we all pitched in to add the ingrediants. I think we were all a bit relieved to be done with the preparation process. As a celebration of our hard work, we drank spiced coffee and chatted about the meal while we waited.

Finally, it was time to eat. The bean soup was incredible when paired with freshly made bread bought from the market. Not to brag, but the chicken tagine was the best I had ever had! I could not stop eating! We all braced our full bellies for dessert: date macaroon cookies. They were unlike anything I had tasted before! I'm sure I'm still going to crave our meal for many months to come.

I wouldn't consider myself to be a master chef, but I was pleasantly surprised to have enjoyed the cooking class. From learning about purchasing produce in the market to completing each step, I learned so much. I was unaware that each spice and ingredient would come together so beautifully. I just hope that my family doesn't expect me to replicate this meal at home! The avocado milkshake might be manageable, but not the chicken tagine or lamb couscous!

I think it would be best to leave the meal as it was — enjoyed on a rooftop cafe with my classmates in the Medina of Marakech.

Wyatt picking out produce at the market
Date macaroon cookies we made during class
bread freshly made in the market
chopping onions and trying not to cry!
With the head chef preparing the veggies