Chef Mohammad Islam
In just 13 short years, Mohammad Islam has gone from a computer engineer to an award-winning chef who has worked with culinary greats and who now owns and is executive chef for a top Chicago restaurant, Aigre Doux.
This transformation from computer engineer to chef happened in 1995 on a Colorado trout fishing expedition. He had an epiphany - his first love was food and that was going to be his new professional journey.
As a small child in Bangladesh, he was influenced by his family's cooking using fresh, seasonal ingredients. In Bangladesh, there are seven seasons, not four, so cooking truly revolves around seasonal fare, and with no frozen or prepared foods, everything is organic straight from the farm and freshly prepared. To this day, Mohammad cooks simply and tries not to hide the delicious flavors. He also shops for the best purveyors, so only the freshest ingredients are used.
Islam's friend, acclaimed chef Gabino Sotelino, helped him land a job as a line cook at the four-star Dining Room at The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Chicago. For three years, he worked under James Beard Foundation Award-winner Sarah Stegner and executive chef George Bumbaris. It was more than his training ground - there, he first met the pastry chef who later became his wife and business partner, Malika Ameen. They were married in 2002 and have three children.
Islam moved to New York City in 1998. He landed a job as sous chef at Jean-Georges Vongerichten's Mercer Kitchen in Soho's luxurious Mercer Hotel, owned by André Balazs. Working closely with executive chef Chris Beisher, he was rapidly promoted to executive sous chef.
In 2003, Balazs asked Islam and Ameen to head the kitchen at his Chateau Marmont Hotel in West Hollywood. This legendary hotel had once been considered the "home away from home" for many of Hollywood's elite, and the two brought this illustrious venue to culinary life as it had never been before. Islam's creations received rave reviews from the Los Angeles Times and Angeleno Magazine, describing Islam and Ameen as "among the most exciting chef duos in town", and said that together they have "completely transformed the glamorous little dining room at the infamous Chateau Marmont, making it for the first time in history a true dining destination."
In January 2007, Islam and Ameen opened Aigre Doux.
Try these delicious recipes made with Fresh California Avocados. You'll be sure to please your guests.