Lidija’s Kitchen Founder Lidija Abu Ghazaleh Celebrates Living Deliciously

13 min read
Lidija Abu Ghazaleh

Canadian-born Lidija Abu Ghazaleh takes us on an international culinary journey with Lidija’s Kitchen, celebrating the pleasures of a life well fed

Ever since she was little, food has played a big part in Lidija Abu Ghazaleh’s life, who learnt from a young age that cooking made the people she loved very happy. “Being of Serbian origin, my family often had large gatherings where hearty, simple and delicious food was central, and I suppose that cooking and baking became a way to express myself and to satisfy my ‘people-pleasing’ instinct,” the mother of three tells MOJEH. “It still is. I’m always amazed at how food has a universal way to connect, evoke memories, and tap into that primal need for comfort and nurturing that we all crave.”

Born in Canada, but having lived in Dubai for the past 17 years, Lidija now heads up Lidija’s Kitchen, a homegrown brand celebrating the pleasures of living deliciously by bringing recipes into her followers’ homes, sharing food and travel experiences from around the world, and inspiring a hunger for entertaining and everything that surrounds it. While there’s no formal culinary training under her belt, it was a chance request that catapulted Lidija into the food industry. “A friend asked me to make a birthday cake for her private equity firm in Dubai Trade Centre – one thing led to another, and before I knew it, I was catering private parties and corporate events from my little home kitchen.”


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A blog followed in 2015, and soon after Lidija was inspired to start documenting behind-the-scenes experiences with the chefs of some of her favourite restaurants in Dubai. “It was pretty mind-blowing to be able share the food I love from my own kitchen, and at the same time gain hands-on insight into the secrets of some truly magnificent chefs,” she explains. “Bringing those perspectives and stories together for people to read, watch and absorb is something that inspires and excites me beyond measure.”

Now a household name on the Middle Eastern culinary scene, Lidija was even asked to speak to the World Retail Congress in 2019 in Amsterdam, discussing her experience as a content creator. “I was part of an all-female panel alongside four incredible powerhouse marketing and retail gurus,” she adds. “To be in the company of such inspiring industry heavyweights was incredibly humbling.”

Describing her cooking as “a playful balance between big rustic dishes and clean, contemporary flavours woven together with a thread of finesse,” for Lidija’s Kitchen, Lidija whips up everything from grilled pizza with walnut and artichoke pesto, soft goat’s cheese and a touch of honey, to a tasty salmon tartare and moreish melt-in-your-mouth triple-chocolate blondies. “I get extreme pleasure working with my hands, and truly believe that cooking should be tactile and fun,” she adds. “I am by no means a perfectionist, though, and usually get messy in the kitchen. Nothing satisfies me more than getting my hands into the nitty-gritty depths of a bowl full of raw, sticky dough!”


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Lidija is also a staunch advocate for the rise of female chefs in the region – something that she agrees is on the up, but admits there is a long way to go. “The catalyst for change starts at the level of the kitchen culture itself, and the upper echelons of the organisational structure,” she explains. “We need more women in leadership roles, as well as restaurants and initiatives that focus on diversity. Filia at the SLS hotel led by chef Sara Aqel is a great example of an all-female team that’s thriving and pioneering the way forward.” With new cooking videos on the horizon, a cookbook in the making, and a collaboration on a DIY gourmet dessert kit just launched at Spinneys and Waitrose, Lidija might have, quite literally, a lot on her plate right now, but that’s just the way she likes it. Follow Lidija at @lidijaskitchen

A Day In The Life Of Lidija Abu Ghazaleh


I wake up at… 7am.

My morning routine normally consists of… Once my kids are off to school, the day can’t officially start until I’ve had my first cup of coffee. I then try to catch up on emails and any admin work first thing in the morning.

My typical day… Varies depending on the projects I’m working on. Some days are filled with recipe-testing, filming and writing, while others involve back-to-back meetings across town. I also try to spend time with my family whenever possible and fit in an hour of exercise six days a week if I can – mostly resistance training, but I’ve also started boxing, which I absolutely love. Dinner is with the family, and I try to have a night out at least once a week to unwind and unleash my girly need to dress up and have some adult time.


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My go-to working wardrobe consists of… A fitted top and apron for cooking videos, and skinny jeans and a jacket, wrap dress or jumpsuit for meetings. I like to feel feminine with a touch of glamour no matter what I wear.

My go-to beauty looks for the 9-5 look like… I keep my make-up simple, so a little BB cream, bronzer and lipstick. Long lashes and black liquid eyeliner are a must, and take me from day to night.

For lunch, I eat… A big salad with protein – grilled chicken or lentils are my go-to. It’s avocado toast with soft poached eggs on days when I forget to eat breakfast.

What I love most about my job is… The playful creativity I get to live on a daily basis.

And what I enjoy the least is… I’m my own boss and self-motivating can be a challenge.


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When I get home, I… Spend time with my family, have dinner and meditate.

When I feel stressed, I… Sit still and stay away from my phone.

If I wasn’t in my current position… I’d be sitting in a Tuscan villa or on a beach in the Greek Islands surrounded by my loved ones, still cooking, still eating and enjoying life.

Photographed by Ausra Osipaviciute | Styled by Sophia Serin 

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  • Words by Naomi Chadderton