Anissa Helou, the writer of quite a few award-winning cookbooks, has been named the winner of the Foodics Icon Award by the Middle East & North Africa’s 50 Best Restaurants organisation. Helou shall be offered with the award on the second version of MENA’s 50 Best Restaurants, sponsored by S.Pellegrino & Acqua Panna, going down in Abu Dhabi on 30 January 2023. In presenting this accolade, the 50 Best organisation honours excellent figures within the meals trade inside the Middle East and North Africa area and celebrates a person who has used their platform to lift consciousness and drive optimistic change.
Born and raised in Beirut, Lebanon, to a Syrian father and a Lebanese mom, Helou is as properly versed in Mediterranean cuisines as solely a local may be. Her first e-book, Lebanese Cuisine, was nominated for the celebrated André Simon Award and was named among the finest cookbooks of 1998 by the Los Angeles Times, following its reprint. Mediterranean Street Food, described by The New York Times as “a marvellous e-book”, gained the Gourmand World Cookbook Award 2002 as the very best Mediterranean delicacies e-book in English.

Helou was one of many first to put in writing about Middle Eastern meals and educate the world about its wealthy culinary tradition and traditions. In Lebanese Cuisine, initially revealed in 1994, she devoted detailed data of Lebanon’s vibrant historical past on each web page and the e-book garnered sufficient essential acclaim to be thought-about some of the authoritative catalogues of the nation’s delicacies ever produced in English on the time, in line with the Los Angeles Times.

A tireless researcher and fixed traveller, she went on to put in writing books about road meals traditions in Morocco and across the Mediterranean, and ultimately she got here to cooking with the attention of a cultural preservationist, putting emphasis on celebrating and preserving meals and traditions that unite communities throughout the area. Helou was listed in 2013 within the Arabian Business journal as one of many “100 Most Powerful Arab Women” and one of many “500 Most Influential Arabs”.

In current instances, Helou labored with the Culinary Arts Commission of Saudi Arabia to standardise conventional and up to date recipes collected from cooks throughout the Kingdom, bringing an skilled cookbook author’s hand to the preservation of foodways to provide Saudi Feast, which was revealed in 2022. She has additionally featured in TV cooking exhibits within the Middle East and Italy, runs culinary excursions in varied nations and teaches cooking lessons, whereas at the moment dividing her time between houses in Sicily and London.

William Drew, Director of Content for 50 Best, feedback: “Anissa Helou’s relentless efforts in documenting historic culinary traditions serve to each educate and spotlight the cultural nuances in addition to the shared connectivity of various customs within the age of meals globalisation. The affect her analysis and work has had on preserving meals communities makes her a most worthy recipient of the Foodics Icon Award.”

Helou says, “It wasn’t till I began researching and writing my first cookbook, some 30 years in the past, that I realised that meals is tradition, and that by way of delicacies and foodways, one can come to higher perceive a rustic or a area and its folks. Food has all the time been a ardour however till it turned a career, it was a hedonistic fairly than a cultural one. I’m honoured to obtain this award and grateful to see my work acknowledged by such an esteemed group of colleagues, specialists and foodies!”

The Middle East & North Africa’s 50 Best Restaurants awards ceremony, sponsored by S.Pellegrino & Acqua Panna, shall be hosted within the UAE capital on Monday, 30 January 2023, in partnership with  Abu Dhabi’s Department of Culture and Tourism (DCT).

The Middle East & North Africa’s 50 Best Restaurants occasion programme, together with the awards ceremony and unveiling of the record, offers a singular alternative for cooks, gourmets, and meals and journey media from everywhere in the area to collect and rejoice delicacies and hospitality, while additionally selling the culinary energy and variety of the area to a worldwide viewers.

The ultimate pre-announced award within the lead as much as the inaugural occasion and reveal of MENA’s 50 Best Restaurants 2023 shall be introduced on 19 January, celebrating up-and-coming expertise with the One To Watch Award.

The Voting Process

The record is compiled by the Middle East & North Africa’s 50 Best Restaurants Academy, an influential group of 250 key leaders within the restaurant trade throughout the area, every chosen for his or her professional opinion of the Middle East and North Africa’s restaurant scenes. The Academy is split into six areas: the Gulf; Saudi Arabia; Levant-plus; Israel, North Africa (East) and North Africa (West). Each area has its personal panel of members together with a chairperson, known as the Academy Chair, to go it up. The panel is made up of meals writers and critics, cooks, restaurateurs and extremely regarded gourmets. For the 2023 record, every MENA Academy member voted for seven eating places, with not less than two of those positioned outdoors the nation the place they’re based mostly. None of the occasion’s sponsors has any affect over the voting course of.



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