January 25, 2014

Food Rules 2014.

This year, it’s all about un-boring your kitchen pantry and keeping your dining experiences interesting.  Below are my new food rules for 2014, followed by random food (and other) pics from the past year.  Enjoy!

One of my favorite dishes of 2013: Braised Beef Cheeks at Viajante Restaurant, London
My Food Rules 2014

• Ethnic enclaves are your new food source.  Head to a Chinatown or a Little Russia near you and teach your grocery list a new language.  Cook a Borscht this winter.  Or challenge yourself with a simple, Chinese-inspired duck recipe. 

• Discover novel ingredients at ethnic food stores.  Talk to the staff for inspiration, and spice up old favorite recipes.  

• Tinker with your repertoire of classic dishes: add sumac to your fried eggs (see my previous post).  Transform bland rice by cooking it with cardamom and other spices.

• Expand your palate’s comfort zone: find an ethnic eatery in your town and discover amazing, well-balanced flavors in cuisines like Eritrean, Burmese, Indonesian, West African.  

• Dive into country-regional cuisines:  Southern India, Baja California Mexican, Ligurian. Experiment with a few recipes then host a themed dinner around these regions.

• Mix and match: make it interesting and international: At a recent dinner party, I served French Smoked Salmon Rillettes for starters, followed by American Chicken Pot Pie, Italian Arugula Salad with Bartlett pears, dressed with a beautifully simple cider vinaigrette, and I finished off the meal with Almond Macarons with hazelnut spread and homemade jams.

• Spread the love: Create a potluck dinner around a theme with a few of your favorite home-cook friends.

• Get to know your favorite wine vendor.  Try buying different wines. A silky-smooth, white Tokai from Slovenia, or an almost effervescent Lebanese Chateau Ksara Rosé?  Both are inexpensive but fabulously satisfying wines, available for purchase online. 

• Rock out to an international music playlist for your dinner party.

• Decorate with flowers and candles everywhere, but don’t overdo it with scents.  The aromas should be coming from the food you’re serving.  Flowers and candles are there for a complementary visual effect.

A fabulous time with a colleague at Galerie Joy at the Fouquet's Barriere, Paris

Europe's youngest 3-Michelin star Chef, Andreas Caminada, of the magical Schloss Schauenstein, Switzerland

Chef Narisawa, Asia's No.1 Chef for 2013 
My dish of roasted Lebanese meatballs, always a hit!
Lebanese Lentil Soup, perfect for Winter!

Chef Nadia Santini (Italy), World's Best Female Chef 2013

Chef Peter Gilmore, Restaurant Quay, Australia

The incredible Eric Ripert, from Le Bernardin, New York

One of my new recipes from 2013: Lentil Chicken
Chef Heston Blumenthal of the Fat Duck in Bray, UK
Shopping for olive oil at Borough Market, London

Breakfast in Lebanon: hummus, savory minty yogurt, pickles, eggs in mutton lard and more!
Perfume with dinner at Malabar, Lima, Peru
A (casual) dinner at Mom's in Beirut!

I love Tuesdays! "Bone Lick BBQ" in Atlanta

The great Chef Justin Wangler from Partake in Healdsburg with Tucker Taylor, Culinary Gardener at Kendall-Jackson

Pot Pie, undressed
Pot Pie, after hair & make-up
Cooking on a heated salt slab at the Winter Fancy Food Show 2014

With the inspirational Jim Stott, co-founder of Stonewall Kitchen at the Winter Fancy Food Show 2014

With Rodolphe Le Meunier, Meilleur Ouvrier de France 2007 at the Winter Fancy Food Show 2014

“A gourmet who thinks of calories is like a tart who looks at her watch.” ~ James Beard


  1. I didn't think it was possible, but your blogs magically keep getting better & better. Inspired writing & the photos are great, too. Keep up the amazing work you do. W x

  2. Thank you kindly for your support! I'm pleased to see you enjoy my blog.

  3. I really need to stop reading the blog before lunch. The Lebanon breakfast will haunt me for days. :)