This female chef is making history as the first woman in charge of a kitchen at any of Bahrain’s expat clubs.
Filipina chef Vida Doria Padilla did her culinary studies in Manila and has been in the Middle East 10 years, most recently working with the Gulf Hotel and Calexico before taking over the kitchen at Bahrain Yacht Club.
She specialises in various cuisines including Italian, French and Mexican but says her favourite dish is seafood paella as “it reminds me of my beloved mum”.
She adds: “When I was young I used to help my mother in preparing our meal for the day, and this developed my interest in cooking.
“I love to serve my dishes to my whole family and our friends. I saw things in my collection recipe books, I fell in love with cooking then and it certainly inspired me to become a chef.
“Today, food brings balance to my life; this is not only my career but what best describes who I am.
Food now means the future for me. Food has changed its meaning to me; just like the seasons, it is ever-changing in so many ways and will continue to be throughout my life. This career path is for people who are go-getters who want to create and keep creating every day, and who want to share their love of food with family, friends or even a stranger that they will never meet.”
Chef Vida shares with us that paella recipe which she so loves.
• 6 tbsp olive oil
• 4 garlic cloves, minced
• 2 tsp dried oregano
• 2 tsp paprika
• 2 tsp turmeric powder
• 1 pinch saffron threads
• 2 tbsp chilli flakes
• 2 bay leaves
• 1 quart seafood stock
• 1 Spanish onion, chopped
• 1 red bell pepper, julienne cut
• 1 lemon fresh, zested
• ½ cup fresh green peas
• 2 cups uncooked glutinous rice or short-grain white rice
• 1lb shrimps (half without skin)
• 1lb mussels
• 1lb calamari ring
• 1lb white fish fillet, cubed
• 1lb cuttlefish
• Salt and pepper to taste
• 1 cup white grape (optional)
• In a medium bowl mix together olive oil, paprika, turmeric powder, dried oregano and salt and pepper. Stir with calamari ring, cuttlefish, white fish and shrimp. Cover and keep aside.
• In large skillet pan over medium heat sauté olive oil, garlic, chilli flakes and rice. Stirring while cooking to coat rice with oil for about five minutes, stir in saffron, bay leaves, lemon zest and seafood stock. Bring to a boil, cover and reduce to a low heat. Simmer for 15 to 20 minutes till the rice is cooked.
• Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a separate skillet on a medium heat; stir in the marinated seafood with onion and red bell pepper, green peas and mussels; cover for five minutes until cooked.
• Mix half of the seafood into cooked rice and put onto a serving dish. Add the remaining seafood with lemon wedges to serve.
• Buen provecho.