Chef Sohla El-Waylly and Coca-Cola celebrate a Recipe for Magic

Chef Sohla El-Waylly for Coca-Cola Recipe for Magic, photo provided by Coca-Cola
Chef Sohla El-Waylly for Coca-Cola Recipe for Magic, photo provided by Coca-Cola /

Many people can recall the nostalgic commercials of sharing a Coca-Cola with the world or the young kid having a moment with an iconic football player. Tugging at those heartstrings is more than just an emotional connection. It is a reminder that food brings people together. Building on that Recipe for Magic, Chef Sohla El-Waylly and Coca-Cola invite everyone into the kitchen to create memories.

During a recent conversation with Chef Sohla El-Waylly, she discussed her partnership with Coca-Cola and the Recipe for Magic campaign. This campaign suggests that food is inherently local, but the enjoyment of an iced cold Coca-Cola holds universal appeal. Overall, it is the ability for the conversation in and around the table that make life fuller.

For Chef Sohla, her love cooking and food started early. When asked why this campaign was important to her, she shared, “I really got into cooking because my mom is a great cook. She threw a lot of dinner parties and we would have a ton of people over. As I think about it, I realized how impressive it was because she would have sometimes 100 over in our little house and she cooked it all on her own. I was older, I helped. Those moments is what got me into cooking and appreciating how fun it can be when everyone gets together.”

“I come from a big Coca-Cola family. It was out beverage of choice. It goes well with the spicy food that my mom would cook. Being able to see how she could bring people together over food is what drove me to cooking.”

“Being in the kitchen and cooking is how I like to express my care for others. My sister might be the chatty one, but I enjoy being in the kitchen cooking.”

While everyone might have their role in the family dynamic, those moments to gather do not have to be limited to a holiday or other special occasion. Turning any day into a reason to gather around the table is vital.

As Chef Sohla shared, “I think that you can many any occasion special. With my husband, we try to make every meal special. With busy schedules, the meal might be the time where we get to see each other. I think that you make it special in different ways. From setting the table to pulling out the nice plates. It is about putting away the distractions and being in the moment.”

As part of this Recipe for Magic campaign, Chef Sohla created a Coke Braised Lamb Tacos recipe. Although some people might not be confident in cooking lamb, she believes that this recipe is quite approachable.

braised lamb tacos
Chef Sohla’s recipe for Coca-Cola Braised Lamb Tacos, photo provided by Coca-Cola /

Chef Sohla explained, “even though it’s lamb, it’s actually really easy and great for serving a lot of people. The lamb is braised with spices and Coca-Cola. Since it is a braise, it is kind of set it and forget it. You can even make it the day before and it is actually going to be even better.”

“The Coca-Cola and the lamb go really well together because the lamb has a more aggressive flavor. The Coca-Cola brings a little sweetness and some acidity. The deep caramel note works really well with a lot of different proteins, but this recipe is perfect for entertaining because you can do everything the day before.”

To serve the lamb tacos, Chef Sohla recommends a type of taco bar. With all the ingredients laid out, guests can customize their dish however they choose. It adds to the ease of the dinner vibe.

While Chef Sohla created the braised lamb tacos, she explained how Coca-Cola is a common ingredient across cultures. Many dishes employ the beverage in different ways.

“Coke is a really good ingredient that has been used traditionally in a lot of cultures. People use Coca-Cola for their carnitas. There’s like a Japanese chicken recipe that’s cooked Coca-Cola.”

“In dishes that need a little sweetness, a splash of Coca-Cola can be a substitute for honey. It has that caramel note and background flavors of spice and citrus. Plus, it is a great trick to make the dish feel like it has been cooked a lot longer due to the caramel flavor.”

Whether it is a simple dinner for two or a large family gathering, the Recipe for Magic does not come with the waving of a wand. It is the spirited conversation, great food, and memories that are the ingredients to a flavorful evening. And, cracking that can of Coca-Cola can be the start of the whole conversation.

Related Story. Chef Andre Rush says food connects the mind, body, and spirit, interview. light