Alex from Kabak Tells us why he loves Middle Eastern Cookery

My name is Annabel Frost, I work for Common Cause Co-operative as manager of the Lewes Farmers Market.

All our producers are local, no further than 30 miles from Lewes and we visit them regularly to catch up on their latest news.

Recently I visited Alex Marcovitch who runs a catering company called Kabak, he has a regular pitch at the farmers market.

Kabak is a relatively recent addition to the market but the delicious and unusual Middle Eastern & Turkish salads, dips & pies have become instantly popular with many customers, especially those looking for a quick, healthy option.

Can you tell me a bit about what brought you to Lewes?

We moved down from London when wife got a job in Worthing. Lewes was a place we knew well, lovely, quiet and away from London an ideal place to bring up kids & start a new business.

What is your background, what made you decide to have a
market stall? 

I have always loved cooking particularly Middle Eastern food so I decided to make my new focus something I loved doing. A market stall is a good way to start as the overheads are low and I get immediate feedback from my customers and the community I live in.

If someone asked you what Kabak is about, what would you say?

It’s a stall selling fresh, delicious, and unusual Middle Eastern & Turkish salads, dips & pies

Where do you get your local produce from?

I get all my meat from Mays Farm Cart in Lewes, flour from Infinity Foods, pitta breads from Mamoosh. When I can I buy my vegetables from Laines organic at the Friday Food Market.

Do you have any favourite local producers ?  

I always buy my pitta breads from Mamoosh Deli, they are absolutely delicious, I serve them with my Soup of the day. This weeks is Spicy Three Bean Harrira.

And Mays Farm Cart, excellent service & prices. Can’t fault them, it’s great to work with local people.

 Where do you make the food?

All at home in my kitchen, I am fortunate enough to work from home, where I can arrange my catering around my family responsibilities

At Lewes Farmers Market we have strict criteria to make sure your product is local, sustainable & ethically sourced. How different is this to other places you have made food for?

I guess it is stricter than the Food Rocks events in Lewes, but it works for me.

For me, ethically sourced is the most important, I buy locally produced as its good for the local economy but I feel that the quality & ethical production is the most important factor.

What is your most recent recipe experiment and why?

My latest salad is roasted courgettes, Turkish peppers with a lemon tahini sauce which I am personally very happy with. I try to bring a new salad every 3-4 weeks to keep the interest going

 Are there any particular trends that you are inspired by?

I think that street food is massive in London & is going to stay. It is becoming more popular all over the UK & I think the farmers market could benefit from more Street Food stalls, especially come the summer.

Where would you like your business to be in 3 years?

I would like to be still doing markets but I am doing more catering and my business needs to be moving more that way, markets are good but don’t make enough in the longer term.

And in the real long term maybe in ten years time I would like to be opening my own café/restaurant.

Do you have any suggestions for your customers to eat at this time of year?

I would advise trying to have a mainly vegetarian diet, even if you're a meat-eater. I'd particularly try and cook lots of meals involving pulses...they're protein-rich, cheap (especially if bought dry) and delicious. I make lots of things like falafels, beans stews, lentil soups for my family.

What would be your ideal meal, what would you cook, what occasion & who would you invite?

I would give myself a break from cooking Middle Eastern food, and instead go Indian....I can make pretty good curries, so I'd cook a range of these and invite one of my favourite authors, Robert MacFarlane, my favourite radio DJs, Mark Radcliffe and Stuart Maconie and the comedian Mark Thomas. I reckon they'd all get along famously and appreciate my cooking.

When you think about the Farmers market, what is it that makes you motivated to be here?

I love selling food that I've produced and I'm passionate about. I love seeing happy customers, many of whom return time and time again. I like the atmosphere of the market, being amongst friendly fellow-stall holders, and I love being part of something that is the antithesis to high street shopping, with dedicated producers selling their own high quality food.

Are you involved with any other of the Producers, have you done anything in partnership with others?

I'm a regular buyer of Einat's (Mamoosh) superb pitas, which I include with my salads when I'm doing street food events.