Our World Interviews–Iraqi Chef Mazin Majeed



“Hello everyone, welcome to Our World Interviews—a program of multi-lingual interviews and conversations for language learners everywhere.

Today for our bilingual Arabic and English interview I’m speaking with Mr. Majeed a local Iraqi chef, restaurant manager, and former culinary instructor.”

“I’ve known Mr. Majeed and his family for a few years now and have been fortunate enough to have experienced the hospitality and delicious cuisine that people in the Middle East are so  famous for.  Let’s see, I’ve had chicken biryani, qoozi sham, Iraqi flat bread with za’atar, or with eggplant and vegetables,  tourshi, homemade yogurt, dolma,  and several delicious desserts with  tea –that is tea with cardamom and sugar of course.”

“Okay, so now that everyone is thinking about all the delicious Iraqi dishes they can’t wait to try–let’s get to know a bit more about Iraqi cuisine and meet Mr. Majeed… the chef who creates these dishes, and more ….on a daily basis at Al Azayem.”

1.       Question: “Hello, Mr. Majeed,  good afternoon. “   “Good afternoon”  ”Okay, so  first  can you tell us where your restaurant is located and what the name means?  I don’t really know what the name means?”

Summary: Al Azayem restaurant is located in El Cajon (550 E. Main St. El Cajon, CA 92020). And the name means (invitations).  Mr. Majeed describes how the Iraqi people love to gather and meet with friends and families.


Important verbs: يجتمع – meet, يقع – located, يلتئم – gather.

Important vocabulary: مطعم – restaurant, اصدقاء – friends, اقارب – relatives, عائلة – family, عراق – Iraq, عراقي – Iraqi.


2.Question: “Okay, so can you tell us for how many years you have been a chef now and what your first job in the kitchen was?”

Summary: Mr. Majeed describes how he became a chef by first telling us that he has worked in this field for about 25 years. He started by washing dishes for his maternal uncle  when he was twelve years old . After that, he learned how to make  appetizers and some western foods: steak, cordon blue…etc.

Important verbs:  يبدأ – start, يغسل – wash, يتعلم – learn.

Important vocabulary:خال – uncle/ maternal uncle, صغير- kid,  صحون – dishes,  مقبلات – appetizers , طعام – food, غربي- Western, ستيك – steak,كوردن بلو  - cordon blue, شيف – chef.

 3.Question“Okay and can you tell us which dish is the most requested dish in your restaurant?”

Summary: Mr. Majeed describes the most requested dish: the Iraqi Qoozi.  He expresses the fact that everyone likes it!

Important verbs: يطلب- request, يعجب- like, يحب- love, يشكر – thank.

Important vocabulary: صحن – dish, قوزي – Qoozi, لذيذ – delicious, الله – God.

4.Question: “Okay, and do you have a favorite dish to cook—do you have favorite that you like to cook?”

Summary: Mr. Majeed describes some of his favorite dishes to cook: Iraqi Kabab  and stuffed chicken. The customers really enjoy these dishes he says.

Important verbs: يرضى – satisfy. يطبخ – cook.

Important vocabulary: كباب – kabab, مُفضّل – favorite, دجاج محشي – Stuffed Chicken, جداً- very, واحد – one.

5.Question“Okay, In case some people haven’t had Iraqi food before, can you tell us about some of the main spices or the spice combinations used in Iraqi cooking?”

Summary: Mr. Majeed describes some of the main spices: The main spices are: cinnamon, cloves, rosemary, black pepper, red pepper, cumin.  The Iraqis like all of these spices according to Mr. Majeed.

Important verbs: يستعمل – use.

Important vocabulary:  دارسين -cinnamon, قرنفل – cloves, روسمري – rosemary, فلفل اسود   -black pepper,  فلفل احمر   -red pepper, كمّون – cumin, بهارات – spices.

6. Question: “Okay, now can you tell us about one dish that anyone,  who hasn’t had Iraqi food before needs to try? I think they should try all of the dishes, but can you tell us a few dishes that people really need to try if they haven’t had the delicious Iraqi food before?”

Summary: The dishes that everyone should try according to Mr. Majeed are  Iraqi Qoozi and beef tashreeb.

Important verbs: يحاول, يجرب – try

Important vocabulary: تشريب لحم – beef tashreeb/ broth.

7. “Okay, and I like them all.  I think they are all wonderful.  Are there any more dishes that you would like to add, that you think people might be interested in?”

Summary: Mr. Majeed describes many of the dishes. In the morning, he says, they serve many Iraqi breakfast dishes, for example: legumes with oil, bastirma, egg scrambled with beef, Lentils soup, and veggie soup.  They are also doing their best to introduce  other dishes from  Egypt and Saudi Arabia as well.

Important verbs: يخدم – serve, يعمل – do, يقدم – introduce, يخفق- scramble

Important vocabulary: صباحا – morning, فطور – breakfast, على سبيل المثال – for instance, باقلاء – legume/ beans, دهن – oil, بيض – egg, عدس – lentils , شوربة- soup, خضار – veggie  , الأفضل  – best ,  عربي – Arabian, مصري – Egyptian, سعودي – Saudi.

 8. “Okay, great, well alright, Mr. Majeed, thank you very much for your time today.  It’s been wonderful to talk to you about Iraqi food and your life as a chef, and to find out more about what people should eat, because they should eat everything. But they have to start slow, and thank you very much for your time.

“Thank you.” “Shukran.”

Important vocabulary: شكرا لك – Thank you.

“Well,  that’s it for today. Good bye everyone, and thank you for listening again to another Our World Interviews—a program of multi-lingual interviews and conversations for language lovers everywhere.  See ya next time.”



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