Remarkable Places to Eat – 16 June 2021 – 16/6/2021 – Wednesday – BBC Two

Marrakesh
Remarkable Places to Eat Series 2

Fred Sirieix is heading to Marrakesh in the company of TV chef Andi Oliver, whose love of soul food has led to an obsession with the city’s rich food heritage. Marrakesh has become a firm favourite with international visitors, but that means the city is now flooded with places catering just for tourists and falling short of the authentic food traditions. Andi, however, insists there are extraordinary places to eat, serving some of the tastiest food imaginable – if you know where to go.

Heading outside the medina, Andi’s first port of call is elegant restaurant Al Fassia. Started 32 years ago by the Chab family, it has a reputation as a true bastion of authentic Moroccan cooking. Andi has pre-ordered what she considers the single best dish in Marrakesh – slow-roasted shoulder of lamb with caramelised onions and almonds.

Fred and Andi are curious to find out how this kitchen produces astonishing food that has such depth of flavour. Behind the scenes, they discover the secret – Al Fassia is radical in that it only employs women, which is unusual in Morocco, and there is no head chef. Instead, the kitchen team is comprised of a selection of exceptional home cooks with no formal restaurant training, who have been hand-picked by the Chab family and trained over the course of many years.

Fred is so astonished by the exquisite slow roast lamb that he ventures out into the Moroccan countryside to discover how it is produced. Meanwhile, Andi joins one of the Chab sisters on a daily buying trip to the spice market.

Next, Andi wants to give Fred a little taste of luxury. El Fenn is one of the most exclusive places to stay in Morocco, with rooms costing hundreds of pounds a night, but it is one of only a handful of five-star riads that allows non-guests to eat in the restaurant. At El Fenn, you can eat a breakfast fit for kings on the spectacular roof terrace without breaking the bank.

Andi believes you can’t come to Marrakesh without experiencing the slow-cooked stew known as a tagine. When Moroccans go out to eat, they rarely seek out a tagine, as it is considered a home-cooked dish, but Andi knows of the exception to the rule. Al Bakraka is a 15-minute taxi ride outside the medina and, much to Fred’s astonishment, it is about as far from a fancy restaurant as he could ever imagine. It is set in a petrol station! But Andi has heard that the legendary chicken tagine with olives and preserved lemons draws Moroccans from miles around.

Andi and Fred turn up in the morning and roll up their sleeves and help prepare for the lunchtime rush. With just one hour to prepare 130 perfect tagines it’s a race against time. Fred is impressed to discover that each tagine is individually prepared by hand. Each portion is cooked in an authentic ceramic tagine pot over coals, in keeping with the Berber tradition, the native people of Morocco who invented the dish over 1000 years ago. This maybe a petrol station but Fred feels that the attention to detail and the precision would rival a fine dining restaurant.

Eventually Fred and Andi sit down, surrounded by locals, to enjoy the fruits of their labour. A truly memorable and entirely authentic eating experience all for under £10 per person.

Before they leave Marrakesh Andi has one final eating experience up her sleeve. Cornes de Gazelle is an exquisite little patisserie selling traditional bite sized Moroccan pastries to take away. Andi takes Fred to the magical Jemaa El Fna Square, the beating heart of the city, and the busiest market in North Africa. As they watch the world go by at sunset, they savour their sweet pastries, and reflect on the remarkable places they have visited in this captivating city.

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About Remarkable Places to Eat

Leading chefs take host Fred Sirieix to experience the restaurants where they genuinely love to eat and explore what goes into making them so special.

This show is broadcast on BBC Two, also known as the British Broadcasting Corporation.

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