Meet the guest chef: Ferial K – Pikes at Ibiza Rocks House

Ibiza is definitely having a moment basking in the gastronomic sun. It has become an island known for its vast selection of world class restaurants offering up international cuisine, flavour and culture and waves of highly skilled chefs have flocked to Ibiza to make it their home and to showcase their exquisite talents, privately and commercially. Ferial K is one such chef, showcasing her North African inspired cuisine concept with her guest chef residency every Saturday at the iconic Pikes at Ibiza Rocks House.

Upon biting into Ferial K’s delicious cuisine, you’ll instantly realise it’s full of passion and creativity. Having crossed the globe during her travels, she has amassed the very best spices, flavours, colours, textures and cooking styles known to gastronomy and has the ability to wow anyone who’s lucky enough to be a guest at her dinner table this summer.

Tell us a little about your experience?

I haven’t always been a ‘chef’, but I’ve always loved to cook. Even when I was doing another job, I was always been the first one to cook for my friends, even 20 to 30 people, and I was never afraid of this. I love to travel, and from living in Africa and backpacking for pleasure I totally fell in love with local markets because of the colours, the food, the smells, the spices – it all inspires me and I am so curious. I completed some cooking courses, and I worked some internships, but the best cooking course I ever did was stay in the homes of local people where my hosts were cooking, so I could learn their style and their flavours. I’ve never been to school, but I’m self-taught from all over the world.

Is it true you were a guest at Freddie Mercury’s famous birthday bash at Pikes?

It was the best party ever! Oh la la, it was fantastic! By luck, we were invited, and there were around 200 guests at Pikes, and at the end of the party my friend and I were invited to stay for a drink so I got to meet Freddie away from all the crowds. He was so sweet and friendly, and as I was a teenager at the time, this was a big deal.

What’s the story behind being invited back to guest chef so many years later?

I was cooking a dinner for some guests and [owner] Dawn Hindle had been invited. After the dinner, she asked me to call her the next day, and she proposed I do Cous Cous Club at the restaurant at Pikes at Ibiza Rocks House.

What is the inspiration behind the cuisine concept?

Cous cous is an iconic food where I am from, and I am proud to create this food coming from my North African origins. I get to play with my creativity and I always love to experiment in my cooking. I play with texture, taste and smell so I created this menu – it was originally for fun, but after certain people had sampled the food, I was asked to expand and return to the concept.

Any special flavours or tastes that standout?

Because I’ve always been curious about food and going to markets, being creative is so important to me. If a vegetable is talking to me, I will create something very interesting. You see, I am an artist – I draw with my food, I draw the texture and the taste because it is all an inspiration. You’ll experience the freshest vegetables served in a variety of ways, fragrant spices, the freshest herbs, different adaptions using coconut and sweet flavours like vanilla. It’s my imagination and it is my art.

How do you describe your style in the kitchen?

First of all, I draw my food. I do creation by drawing, you will see this on my menus [The Cous Cous Club menu in showcases illustrations of the dishes by Ferial]. I’m a pleasant and passionate chef. It is all about professionalism, smiling and a positive attitude. Also, silence in the kitchen with no shouting, unless we receive or speak an order. I must give a special mention to the team at Pikes, it’s been a pleasure to work with them, everyone is always smiling and very talented.

What is your signature dish?

I don’t have a signature dish. I try to know my clients so well and understand what they want and cook according to this. I create an amazing menu that my clients will love – this is my signature. A menu that always fits them and that they will enjoy.

What do you love about working and living in Ibiza?

Obviously because it is paradise. Yes we fall in love with the island, but more, we fall in love with the atmosphere and energy. This is why I’ve been here such a long time. I am so happy that my family brought me here when I was little because to grow up here, and now to work and live here, is a big, big privilege. I am also a private chef, so I work on yachts, in villas, and at big events. I love this because I get to meet such amazing people, and characters. Particularly, I have a group of clients who have supported me since the beginning, who have grown with me and supported my creativity as an artist and are always there when I create something new. This is so special for me.

What is your favourite place to eat in Ibiza?

Can Balafia! It is simple but always so amazing. I’ve been coming to this place for so many years. Everything is fresh from the garden, and the meat always perfectly cooked. It’s simple and Spanish, and this is why I love it. But of course… the island is full of places; it’s hard to choose just one!