A Cambridge institution for more than two decades, Baraka unifies the refined flavors of French gastronomy with the vibrancy of North African cuisines
Alia Meddeb, EXECUTIVE CHEF
“… as a cook and a chef, I put emphasis on the excellence and integrity of my food …”
Born in Lille, France, to a local pastry maker and a Tunisian antiques dealer, Alia Meddeb grew up cooking traditional French and Tunisian dishes in her parents’ kitchen, using fresh ingredients from their garden. Inspired by her family’s love of food and pursuing her passion for cooking throughout her entire life, Meddeb developed her own culinary style. While upholding traditional French and North African cooking methods, she infuses Baraka’s dishes with her unique creative touch.
“… in any art form, perseverance is of utmost importance,” Meddeb says, “cooking is like a ladder, the higher you climb, the closer you get to that ultimate final taste …”
After attending Lycée de Carthage in Tunisia and business school in Massachusetts, Meddeb began her career as a line chef at the Café Blasé in Provincetown, MA. Before long, she worked her way up to serving as a Chef de partie at Boston’s renowned L’Espalier restaurant, where she was in charge of pastries, pâtés and terrines. Later on, she worked as an Assistant Executive Chef with Marcelo Vasquez and Susan Ferry in the Marquesa Hotel in Key West, Florida and also with Michelle Ozanne in the exclusive Little Palm Island Resort in Little Torch Key. Her varied career has also included:an internship at the Hotel Villa d’Este, Lake Como, Italy (where she honed her pastry making skills under Luciano Parolari), Executive Pastry Chef positions with Tony Ambrosia at Ambrosia in Boston and at Blue Ginger in Wellesley, MA, and Chef de Cuisine positions under Moncef Meddeb at Aigo in Boston and at 8 Holyoke in Cambridge.
In 1997, Meddeb opened her own restaurant, Baraka, in Cambridge, MA, which has won many awards: the best cherbat lemonade - the Boston Globe, 2003; the best flourless chocolate cake - Food & Wine Magazine, 2004; the best hidden place - the Boston Globe, 2005; the best romantic place - the Boston Phoenix, 2005; and the best neighborhood restaurant - the Improper Bostonian, 2012. Articles about Baraka have appeared in Boston Magazine and Harvard Magazine among others.
In 2016, Baraka moved from its original Central Square location to the conveniently located new space between Harvard and Porter Squares.
OMAR BOUIBEGH, CHEF DE CUISINE
A native of Fez, Morocco, Omar Bouibegh grew up surrounded by art; his parents were business owners specializing in the finest handcrafted lamps, furnishings, and tiles.
Sitting in his grandmother’s lap as a child, Bouibegh learned how to handle spices, roll couscous, make filo dough, and roast meat and fish for savory tagines. In partnering with chef Meddeb, he has deepened Baraka’s style of cooking, introducing new spice combinations and re-interpreting some classic recipes in accordance with his Moroccan background.
Omar Bouibegh is also the founder of Fez Home Designs Inc. (www.fezhome.com)