Lebanese Food / Wine and Culinary Traditions

Lebanese Food / Wine and Culinary Traditions
Spring time always inspires me...

Monday, June 25, 2012

Man'oushe in Paris

Notice this is a photo of a woman dj cooking man'oushe, taken in a snack in Paris by Racha Haroun, owner and partner of Mamnoon restaurant in Seattle.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

A Nice Welcome to Seattle

This is the article that was published in the Seattle Weekly this week. What a great welcome for us! Thank you Miss Hanna!

Mamnoon's Menu Consultant Arrives From Beirut

Categories: News


When Barbara Massaad this week arrives from Beirut to start her on-site work as menu consultant to Mamnoon, a Lebanese restaurant opening across from Melrose Market, she'll be bringing more than her expertise. Owner Wassef Haroun's mother "gave me a tray to cook the kibbe in," Massaad says. "She's very involved. It's a family thing, it's their roots."
Haroun and his wife Racha, former Microsoft employees, decided to open Mamnoon after years of showcasing their native Lebanese cuisine at successful dinner parties. They hooked up with Massaad through a consulting firm in Beirut: She's never before worked on a U.S. restaurant project, but her father briefly owned a Lebanese restaurant in Fort Lauderdale.
"When I was 15, my dad opened a restaurant, and now my son is 15," Massaad says. "It's like a cycle. It's meant to be."
When Massaad turned 18, her father decided to return to Lebanon. "They Lebanese, they always feel like they have to go home," Massaad says. "It was so difficult for me because I was like the all-American girl."
Back in Beirut, Massaad continued cooking: She spent over a year in a Lebanese restaurant kitchen, and plotted to travel to Italy so she could write a book about traditional Italian dishes.
"Then I woke up and I was like, 'what an idiot'," she recalls. "'You're living in a country where you can write so much.'"
Massaad wrote Man'oushe, the first cookbook dedicated to the seasoned flat bread known as Lebanese pizza. While the pies are sold on the street in Lebanon, Massaad says man'oushe will be in the bakery case at Mamnoon, along with other snacks and sweets popular in the Middle East. The restaurant will serve various mezzes and grilled meats.
"We won't say Lebanese 100 percent, because (Racha's) mother is Persian, and the chef has Armenian blood," Massaad says. "It will be interesting to see how he translates these recipes."
The Harouns have visited Massaad in Beirut, and they've stayed in close contact through phone calls and e-mails, but Massaad says she's looking forward to a full month of cooking in Seattle.
"The restaurant is the Harouns' way of saying 'we want to show you our flavors'," Massaad says. "They were welcomed in Seattle, and they want to leave a trace. I can't wait."

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Monday, June 18, 2012

Kebabs and Things

My father had this collage made of the menu of our family restaurant. It brings back so many memories. Do you notice the variety? I was 15 years old when he opened the restaurant. Three years later, the restaurant closed and we headed back to Lebanon. A Lebanese person never feels better than in his homeland. I did not understand that then, but I do now. The years I spent in the restaurant were not always easy, but today those years are the foundation of all my work. When one lives through "living, cooking, serving" in a restaurant, the feelings never leave you and the "adrenaline" found it that type of setting is always and forever part of the search you have in you. At least, that is how I feel! This week I am traveling far from Lebanon to Seattle, WA to work on a familiar concept. I will be cooking with Mamnoon's chef to solidify the menu. I am looking forward to this a lot!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Salone del Gusto and Terra Madre 2012 - Slowfood.com

This year is special!

© Slow Food (video and text below)

"In 2012, the international Salone del Gusto and Terra Madre world meeting will be held together as a unified event for the first time, displaying the extraordinary diversity of food from all continents and uniting small-scale farmers and artisans from the north and south of the world who follow the principles of good, clean and fair production – food that is defined not only by excellent taste, but also environmental sustainability and social justice.

Salone del Gusto and Terra Madre will be held in Turin, Italy over October 25-29 at the Lingotto Fiere and Oval arena. The consolidated event builds on the success of the past eight editions of the Salone del Gusto - which has established an extensive network of outstanding producers, top chefs and supportive institutions and developed the Taste Workshops and other innovative food education activities – as well as the experience and knowledge of the Terra Madre network of food communities, academics, cooks and young people from 150 countries who have met in Turin since 2004.

The new format aims to foster the most important international event dedicated to food, capable of uniting the pleasure of taste with responsibility and respect for those who produce it and the environment. Thus, the experience and enjoyment of food and wine – one of the pillars of Salone – will go hand in hand with discovering the stories of the men and women who grow, farm and process food products sustainably around the world, and the places and traditions these foods are tied to.

Salone del Gusto and Terra Madre will explore some of the key issues connected with food production and consumption: from the role of young people and small-scale traditional producers for the future of agriculture, to the safeguarding of landscapes; from the fight for GMO-free farming to the protection of herders and small-scale fishers; from the need to strengthen the relationship between producers and consumers, to the promotion of responsible food choices made with awareness of their impact on health, the environment and the production system.

This year Salone del Gusto and Terra Madre are fully open to the public, offering visitors the opportunity to enjoy the tastes of Italian regions; to discover European, Asian, African and American food communities and Presidia and their unique products; to meet the people behind the 1,000 food gardens that Slow Food is establishing with African communities; and to participate in a wide range of food education activities for adults and children. The rich program includes conferences and debates, the popular Taste Workshops, Theater of Taste, Master of Food courses and meetings with the producers. These gastronomic journeys are lead by exceptional guides, such as well-established and emerging chefs, wine producers and food experts, offering unique opportunities to taste unusual foods and to get to know them intimately.

The future of food is the future of the planet and it is more crucial than even that we come together in Turin this October. A better, cleaner and fairer world begins with what we put on our plates, and our daily choices determine the future of the environment, economy and society. "