THE BIG READ | Here's what these chefs served to the terrifying dictators they served

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Saddam wasn’t the easiest boss to work for, says Abu Ali who served as the Iraqi dictator’s chef. (PHOTO: GALLO IMAGES/ALAMY)
Saddam wasn’t the easiest boss to work for, says Abu Ali who served as the Iraqi dictator’s chef. (PHOTO: GALLO IMAGES/ALAMY)

Years ago I saw a movie by the Slovak-Hungarian director Péter Kerekes called Cooking History. It was about army cooks and it featured Branko Trbovic, who was the personal cook of Josip Broz Tito, the absolute ruler of Yugoslavia.

He was the first dictator’s chef I’d ever encountered. A lightbulb went on in my head. I started wondering what the people who cooked at key moments in history might have to say. What was bubbling in the saucepans while the world’s fortunes were in the balance?

Other questions soon occurred to me. What did Saddam Hussein eat after giving the order for tens of thousands of Kurds to be gassed? Didn’t he have a stomach-ache?

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