Breaking the Ramadan fast with a celebrity chef
Muslims fasting in Melbourne, Australia, during the holy month of Ramadan are spoiled for choice when it comes to food to break their fast – including gourmet meals prepared by a Muslim celebrity chef.
From cheap and cheerful kebab shops and home-style Malaysian eateries, to lavishly decorated Pakistani restaurants, breaking the Ramadan fast can be a month-long culinary adventure in Melbourne.
Many mosques in the city and suburbs also offer free breaking of the fast and dinner meals, with potluck dishes from many parts of the world.
This year, the Muslim community was offered a chance to break their fast with fine food prepared by their very own celebrity chef.
Samira El Khafir had been a beautician with a love for cooking, but her success on the reality food television show MasterChef Australia has propelled her to celebrity chef status.
For many Muslims in Australia, Samira is particularly close to their heart because she is also a practicing Muslim.
"During 2013 Ramadan I was away on MasterChef and I missed being with my family and having big iftars [breaking of the fast] and so on, so I thought to myself why not have an iftar banquet?" she says.
This year’s event at the Islamic Museum of Australia was attended by a wide range of people, from Muslims to non-Muslims, including many fans of Samira, and also her friends of family. Also present to perform the adzan (call to prayer) was Bachar Houli, a Muslim Australian football player.