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Showing posts from January, 2018

Learn How to Cook with Top Chef & Culinary Genius Maroun Chedid

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Maroun Chedid is no rising star in the Mediterranean culinary galaxy. He is the star around which both established heavyweights and aspiring chefs strive to revolve, and today he’s scintillating more than ever.
Hailed as the “jeweler of gastronomy,” Chedid was awarded Chef of the Year by the Toques Blanches du Monde gastronomical association in 2013, in part for developing and spreading the beauty of Lebanese and Mediterranean cuisines around the world. A native of Saghbine in the Bekaa Valley, Chedid pays homage to nature by incorporating local and seasonal ingredients in his edible artwork.



More recently, you’d recognize him from his morning cooking shows on MTV Lebanon, which aired from 2012 to 2015 and showcased his ability to modernize traditional dishes with both technique and element. Presently, Chedid features in the Arabic language adaptation of the world-famous reality culinary competition TV series Top Chef Middle East, now in its second season and televised throughout the Ar…

Feel-Good Vibes at Lancaster Plaza's Prime18

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One of the most charming corners of our country has to be the Raouche area. The iconic rock formations emerging off the shore; picturesque seaside surrounds; a massive sidewalk that stretches for kilometers. It’s the perfect spot to watch planes make their descent into Beirut International Airport. Seven years ago, when I moved to Lebanon, I frequented these parts thrice weekly to soak up the Mediterranean sun.
Lately, however, Raouche has fallen off my radar, and I wanted to revisit it. So on an uneventful Friday night during this inclement Beirut winter, we made our way to the newly unveiled Prime18 perched on the 18th floor of the Lancaster Plaza.
I’d never stepped foot inside the hotel before. In fact, it’s almost easy to overlook despite its prominent position on the seaboard, just opposite to the Movenpick. A doorman ushers you in to a swift security check before you’re invited to alight the elevator. Step off on the 18th, and a dim lounge engulfs you with its warmth.
To the right,…

The Secret to an Endless Summer? Sangria in a Bottle!

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While on honeymoon in Italy three years ago, I made a startling discovery: the Italians take their cocktails seriously. Very seriously. Seriously enough to bottle them up and sell them in a format perfect for versatile enjoyment.
We were at the train station in Rome awaiting an outbound train to Florence when we stumbled across Campari Orange Passion, a ready-to-serve cocktail aperitif combining Campari, orange juice and brown sugar inside a glass bottle. Practically packaged. Taste on point. Perfection just a lid-snap away.
Well, it seems the Spaniards are equally as serious in the cocktail department as their neighbors to the east, because guess what? The Spanish national drink – sangria, naturally – can be had in a similar, cocktail-ready presentation.




Sangria Lolea is the brainchild of a group of friends who wanted to channel excellent sangria crafted from good wine and natural ingredients. But any mixologist knows that the traditional Spanish cocktail requires dousing fruit in win…

The Importance of Failing Big

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A couple of days ago, I gazed in bewilderment as James Franco impersonated an unusual dreamer in “The Disaster Artist.” Franco plays Tommy Wiseau, a man we know very little about besides his uncanny aspiration to become a famous Hollywood actor. The reality is that he is terrible at it, but he considers himself a “dedicated actor” and will do whatever it takes for LA to know his name.
Tommy teams up with the young and impressionable Greg Sestero, played by Franco’s youngest brother Dave, and the two move from San Fran to the City of Angels to take up acting. The only problem is, as one might predict, that Hollywood is not keen on shooing in either personality. Stiff competition and connections rule the city, and neither Tommy nor Greg is in a position to hit it big on the silver screen.
So Tommy decides that if he can’t land a role in someone else’s movie, he may as well write, produce and direct his own. And that’s exactly how “The Room” comes to be, a real film released in 2003 that a…