A man of many talents, Hassan El Kour has lived no ordinary life.
From Morocco, he grew up as a nomad, living off the land. At age 11, he was learning to cook while working with a spice merchant in Casablanca. And then he went on to be a restaurateur and musical instrument maker.
Now you will find Hassan catering events and serving up traditional Moroccan cuisine from his food truck around Wellington, including at Miramar Wharf (on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays) and at Harbourside Market on the waterfront (on Sundays, 8am-3pm).
At Zaaffran: A Taste of Morocco, Hassan roasts and grinds his own spices and uses locally sourced ingredients to create popular street food dishes and wraps, which are inspired by traditional home recipes like tagine.
“My mum is a nomad and their lives are all about the land. They move from place to place. They cure themselves with herbs. We grew up making our own cheese, milk, butter, bread, everything – we grew the grain for the bread, for couscous – everything was made from scratch.
“I took what I learnt from my family and I try and bring it here, serving home cooking as a street food. The meat and flavours are all cooked tagine-style which I learnt over time from my family and from my work.”
Hassan began working life younger than most.
“I left school at 11. My first job was marinating olives, making harissa, preserving pickles and lemons – we’d sell them and spices.”