Essentials: Sameh Wadi

5 things chef Sameh Wadi of Saffron and World Street Kitchen can’t live without


Garam masala can be used in sweet dishes, savory, you can make a curry. I even like to mix it into drinks sometimes—WSK’s Mango Masala Situation spikes mango juice with sake, chili, lime juice, and garam masala.


Paula Wolfert’s Couscous and Other Good Food from Morocco is the book I’ve used the most. I first discovered it in the library when I was at cooking school. No one wanted to look at an old cookbook there. But they also didn’t realize that you could make couscous from scratch. It made me think about my culture in a whole new way. What was normal food to me wasn’t normal to everyone else. In the book she describes how difficult it was to track down cilantro. That blew my mind.

Kitchen Utensil:

My prep cook, Jorge.

Post-work wind-down:

A little bit of TV and junk food. A lot of cereal with soy milk. I always have Twizzlers and paletas [fruit-based ice pops].


We had these regulars who used to come in often, a man and his wife, who was from Japan. They would return to Japan all the time and offered to bring me back a knife. I don’t even know what kind it is. It’s handmade. Unfortunately, they moved to San Francisco, so we barely ever see them.;

LEARN how to make Robb Jones’ World Street Kitchen recipe for Mango Masala Situation.