Beirut, Asharq Al-Awsat—Over thirty delicious dishes with a Lebanese twist have been brought to Monaco by Lebanese chef Maroun Chedid, in collaboration with long-time friend and French celebrity Chef Marcel Ravin.
Clientele flocked from across the microstate to taste Baba Ghanouj, Al-Kabba Al-Naya, and Meajenat as the culinary pair launched Lebanese Nights at the Monte-Carlo Bay Hotel & Resort.
Chedid said he jumped at the invitation to serve up a Lebanese menu in the glamorous setting. The initiative proved to be hugely popular. “Bookings were full up as soon as they were announced,” Chedid told Asharq Al-Awsat.
The Lebanese chef has won numerous international accolades for his gastronomic creations, including the awarding of the Chef de L’Année a L’International by the Toques Blanches du Monde.
“In spite of all my international and local experiences in cooking, this experience has taught me new cooking techniques,” Chedid explains. “Every cuisine must develop in time, and so new techniques must be introduced to improve it.”
Some of the Lebanese dishes were modified to suit the tastes of local customers, blending Levantine flavors with regional favorites. Maron is however keen to point out that the ingredients were all authentic. “I brought in all the spices and ingredients from Lebanon, so the dishes were similar to that which our mothers used to make for us at home.”
Pomegranate molasses, thyme and sumac seasoned the dishes. Lebanese sweets also enjoyed the limelight. Patrons sampled sticky pastries, cheese, rice pudding with orange flower water, likely for the first time.
The Lebanese flavor was not limited to food: Middle Eastern music and the smoke from hookah pipes filled the air.
“The Lebanese cuisine can now rival world-class cuisines, something I could clearly sense in Monte Carlo. Perhaps its natural ingredients, lightness and tasty blends are behind its success.”
Chef Chedid recently opened a Lebanese restaurant in Delhi. It has become a favorite with the Arab community in the Indian capital as well as the native Indian population.