The first day of my 4-days at Horeca was certainly interesting. Chef Richard El Khoury is definitely very fun to be around. He is simply a riot. He loves to entertain, talk, and share his knowledge with passer byes. Chef Richard and I hosted two guests last night: Keyrouz Bakery and Boutros Bakery. Chef Bechara Rahal of Keyrouz Bakery made some very remarkable recipes including a sweet sushi a la Libanaise.This creation is a sandwich wrap glazed with honey, curd cheese (ashta), and a sheet of dried fruit (fig, apple, apricot). The crowds really loved the taste of the wrap / sushi. Chef Bechara also discussed an old recipe for bread called mishtah revived with different flavors including dried tomatoes, garbanzo beans, glazed fennel seeds, and my favorite, rose petal. What is interesting about the rose petal mishtah is that the petals have been soaked in water overnight and this scented and perfumed water has been used to make the bread. This insight, for me, made the night all worth while. It gave me many ideas for further testing.
I took a break to visit the stands in the halls which displayed many products, machinery, and looked around to see the various competitions taking place. The place was certainly full of life and animated.
The next guess was Mr. Boutros, of Boutros Bakery. They are specialized in producing paper-thin bread, better known as marquq. A full demonstration of the bread making process was showcased. The bread was very delicious. Suddenly, I hear the sound of a big explosion - I frantically tried to jump above the counter, the hose of the gas bottle attached to the saj exploded and started a small fire. It was very scary but thank God nothing happened. The man who was working on the saj got a mild burn on his hand, all the hairs of his arm burnt off. I stood there shaking for a bit. Chef Richard joked and laughed and all was forgotten. Oh, I forgot to mention that at a certain period, when walking around, I tasted Jean-Paul Khoury's new white wine. It relaxed me at bit so back at the stand, Chef Richard and I sang a duet, "It's Now or Never" - Elvis song.... Definitely weird but so much fun! I am looking forward to tonight because we have very interesting guests coming: Le Phonecien restaurant and Semsom. They will demonstrate their mezze-making skills. Hope to see you all there!