The Contributors

Joumana Accad is a Lebanese-American pastry chef, blogger, and cookbook author. She is the founder of and author of A Taste of Beirut (HCI. Inc).

Paola Skaff Alford recently moved to Bali from Beirut. She is an artist, cook, yogi, and a mother of two. Mixing colors is her passion, from fabrics to painting to ingredients in the kitchen.

Sana Wakeem Awad is a chef, gardener, and food writer. She lives in a farmhouse in Jordan, grows organic herbs and vegetables, and produces homemade jams. She trained at the Glion Institute Switzerland (2006) and studied pastry and bakery with Puratos Company in Belgium (2007).

Reem E. Azoury was owner and chef of Figs Fine Foods in Washington, DC for seven years. She now lives in Beirut, where she creates original menus and new food concepts for Meat the Fish.

Joe Barza is a Lebanese Master Chef with over 22 years of experience in the culinary field. He has earned numerous awards in international culinary forums, where he has represented his country with pride and honor. A popular television personality, Joe co-hosted season one of the television program "Master Chef" in the Middle East. He is Founder and Chef Consultant of Joe Barza Culinary Consultancy, a member of the Academie Culinaire de France, the German Chefs Association, and the organizing committee of the Lebanese Salon Culinaire HORECA.

Mark Bittman is one of America's best-known and most widely respected food writers. He covers food policy, cooking, and eating as an opinion columnist and blogger for the New York Times, where he is also the New York Times Magazine's lead food writer. He produced "The Minimalist" column for 13 years, now a show on the Cooking Channel; he is also a regular on the Today Show and he has authored more than a dozen cookbooks, including How to Cook Everything, How to Cook Everything Vegetarian (both also available as apps), and Food Matters. Learn more at

Chris Borunda was born and raised in Los Angeles, California. After completing a bachelor's degree from Tohoku University in Sendai, Japan, he attended the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York. He apprenticed in Germany and France before returning to New York, where he is Chef de Cuisine at Montmatre restaurant.

Anthony Bourdain is chef, author, and raconteur best known for traveling the globe on his stomach, on his TV show Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown, a travel docu-series for CNN, which won two Emmy Awards in 2013 and a Peabody Award and Emmy Award in 2014. He is the author of the bestselling Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly, the travel journal A Cook's Tour, the memoir Medium Raw, 3 crime novels, a cookbook, a biography of Typhoid Mary, the bestselling graphic novel Get JIRO!, and numerous others.

Jill Boutros is a winery and restaurant owner. She lives in the mountains overlooking Beirut and the Mediterranean Sea. In addition to creating world-class wines from her organic vineyards, she is a cooking and baking enthusiast who has fallen under the spell of Lebanon's incredibly tasty, fresh, and seasonal produce.

Sally Butcher is the fiery-haired proprietress of Persepolis, the notable Persian food store and cafe in London, which she runs with her husband, Jamshid. She is also a prolific cookbook author and blogger. Her first book, Persia in Peckham, was selected Cookery Book of the Year by the Times of London and was short-listed for the 2008 André Simon Award. The New Middle Eastern Vegetarian, New Middle Eastern Street Food, and Salmagundi: A Celebration of Salads from around the World, all published by Interlink, have also received critical acclaim.

Caline Chaya trained at L'Institut Paul Bocuse. She is Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution Ambassador in Beirut, Lebanon.

Laurie Constantino lives between Anchorage, Alaska, and Limnos, a rural Greek island in the Northern Aegean Sea. In both kitchens, the foods of the Mediterranean play a starring role. She is a cooking teacher and the author of Tastes like Home: Mediterranean Cooking in Alaska. She writes about food on

Alexis Couquelet is group executive chef and partner of The Alleyway Group. He has a B.A. in Culinary Arts from the Academy of Culinary Arts in New York, and over 20 years of experience working for prominent restaurants and caterers in Paris, the USA, and Lebanon, alongside some of the most respected names in French gastronomy. He currently lives in Beirut, where he is owner and executive chef of two branches of Couqley restaurants.

Marie Carmen Fallaha is a Mexican-born interior and fashion designer based in Lebanon. She is founder and designer of the brand Emme, whose flagship store is in downtown Beirut.

Cristina Ghafari is event planner for Slow Food Beirut. Raised in New York, of Portuguese descent, she now lives with her family in Lebanon. Since December 2013, she has cooked and distributed soup weekly to the homeless and displaced near her home.

Fernando Gomez started cooking for family and friends as a young boy in his native country, Mexico. After attending culinary school, his passion in life became his journey. He is now in Beirut, where he shares his passion for food with his own Mexican twist.

Aziz Hallaj is a consultant on urban planning, development, and local governance. He is a visiting assistant professor at the American University in Beirut. In 2007, he received the Aga Khan Award for Architecture.

Pascale Hares is a graphic designer born, raised, and taught right from wrong in Beirut, Lebanon. She lives in the mountains with her husband, their two boys, and a yellow Labrador, who is fortunately a female. She teaches corporate identity at Alba University and works from home creating logos, identities, illustrations, and recipes for good people. She designed Soup for Syria. Learn more at

Patrick Herbeaux is a medical doctor and the founder and creator of Pailettes et Confitures, a line of gourmet jams and fruit preserves. His passions are traveling and cooking for friends and family.

Jane Hughes is a food writer, production manager, and publisher. She worked with The Vegetarian Society for over 20 years and was formerly the editor of the Vegetarian magazine. Her writing has appeared in London's the Guardian, BBC Vegetarian Good Food magazine, and Resurgence magazine, among others. She is author of several books, most recently, The Adventurous Vegetarian: Around the World in 30 Meals (The New Internationalist).

Nur Ilkin is a food writer, cooking instructor, and co-author of A Taste of Turkish Cuisine and The Turkish Cookbook (Interlink). She learned the secrets of Turkish cooking from her grandmother, but it was as a Turkish ambassador's wife that she perfected her culinary skills while entertaining diplomats and dignitaries.

Rosina Jerkezian is a passionate cook and blogger. Her blog showcases a variety of traditional Armenian and Lebanese dishes and promotes healthy, slow cooking.

Aline Kamakian gave up a successful career in insurance to pursue her passion for food. In 2003, along with her cousin Serge Maacaron, she opened Mayrig Beirut, a contemporary Armenian restaurant celebrating the often forgotten flavors of ancient Armenia. Since then, Aline has ventured into new concepts, opening The Kitchen, M Catering, Mayrig Jeddah, Batchig by Mayrig, and Mayrig Boulevard Restaurant in Dubai, with a branch soon to open in Riyadh.

Sheilah Kaufman is a food writer, lecturer, cooking instructor, and author of 26 cookbooks, including the bestselling The Turkish Cookbook (co-authored with Nur Ilkin). She is a founding charter member of the International Association of Culinary Professionals and has written for numerous publications, including Vegetarian Times, the Washington Post, the Tampa Tribune, and the Baltimore Sun.

Beatrice Khater was born in Spain in 1967. She is a family physician and the mother of two girls.

Diala Kourie is a Lebanese-Syrian woman living in Belgium since 1987.

Aglaia Kremezi introduced Greek cooking to an American audience with her Julia Child Award-winning book The Foods of Greece and now leads a cook's tour of the entire region with her latest book, Mediterranean Vegetarian Feasts. Her blog, Aglaia's Table, chronicles food and life on the Greek island of Kea where she lives and teaches cooking to lucky travelers.

Carolyn Kumpe worked for more than 20 years in highly acclaimed Northern California restaurant kitchens. She is the chef and owner of Vendage & Company, catering events in the Sierra Nevada Foothills Wine Country. Her recipes have appeared in the Sacramento Bee, as well as magazines such as Southern Living, Country Home, Sunset, Reader's Digest, Taste of Home, Cooking Light, Rachel Ray, Sacramento Magazine, and more. She is a long-term member of the Slow Food Society and the International Association of Women Chefs.

Candice Lorfing is half Bosnian and half Lebanese. She is a mother of two, an avid cook, a food lover, and an adventurous baker.

Greg Malouf, born in Melbourne, Australia to Lebanese parents, is a Michelin-starred chef widely regarded as the modern Middle Eastern master. He is the co-author, with his former wife Lucy Malouf, of the multi-award-winning cookbooks Arabesque, Moorish, Saha, Turquoise, Saraban, Malouf: New Middle Eastern Food, and recently, New Feast: Modern Middle Eastern Vegetarian.

Barbara Abdeni Massaad is a food writer, TV host, cookbook author, and a regular contributor to international cooking magazines. She is author of several cookbooks including Man'oushé: Inside the Lebanese Street Corner Bakery (also published by Interlink) and Mouneh: Preserving Foods for the Lebanese Pantry, which won the the Gourmand Cookbook Award and the International Academy of Gastronomy Award. She is a founding member of Slow Food Beirut and an active participant in the International Slow Food movement. She lives in Beirut with her husband and three children.

Garrett Melkonian is Executive Chef of Mamnoon, a Lebanese restaurant based in Seattle, Washington.

Martyna Monaco was born in Naples, Italy. She has a degree in gastronomic science and currently works for Slow Food Cremonese. Her biggest passion is studying the food heritage of Mediterranean countries.

Oumayma Nadar studied at St. Martin's School of Art and the Byam Shaw School of Painting in London. After a decade in the art world, she opened the House of Chi in 2000, pioneering the provision of traditional meditative and martial arts and healing therapies in Dubai, U.A.E. The Wellness Project is her latest venture.

Yotam Ottolenghi is a cookery writer and chef-patron of the Ottolenghi delis and NOPI restaurant. He writes a weekly column in the Guardian's Weekend magazine and has published four bestselling cookbooks: Plenty (his collection of vegetarian recipes), Plenty More, and, co-authored with Sami Tamimi, Ottolenghi: The Cookbook and Jerusalem. Yotam has made two "Mediterranean Feasts" series' for More 4, along with a BB4 documentary, "Jerusalem on a Plate." Read more at:

Veronica Pecorella grew up working in her family's old osteria in a small village in Northern Italy. Cooking and sharing food has always been her passion. She works in the agricultural, agro food, and restaurants quality certification sector and is a member of the Advisory Council of the Mediterranean Citizen's Assembly (ACM).

Wendy Rahamut is the author of several Caribbean cookbooks including Caribbean Flavours, Modern Caribbean Cuisine (Interlink), and Curry, Callaloo & Calypso. She is a freelance food consultant and food stylist and the weekly food writer for the Trinidad Guardian. She owns the Wendy Rahamut School of Cooking and has been the host and producer of a long-standing weekly cooking show series titled Caribbean Flavours since 1998. She lives in Trinidad.

Claudia Roden was born and brought up in Cairo. Her books include The Book of Jewish Food, which won eight international awards, as well as The New Book of Middle Eastern FoodArabesqueCoffee: A Connoisseur's CompanionThe Food of Italy: Region by RegionEverything Tastes Better Outdoors, and Mediterranean Cookery. In 1989 she won Italy's two most prestigious food prizes, the Premio Orio Vergani and the Premio Maria Luigia, Duchessa di Parma. She has also won six Glenfiddich awards. She now lives in London.

Iman Sabbagh is owner of Tayebat Iman, a small bakery in south Lebanon established in 2000. A pioneer in encouraging and supporting local farmers to grow chemical-free grains, Iman produces healthy, sugar free, conventional confections, whole wheat bread, sweets, and nut butter.

Claude Chahine Shehadi began her career as a filmmaker. She is a self-taught cook and the author of three cookbooks about the Mediterranean kitchen. She is co-founder of The Libaliano Kitchen and teaches workshops on Lebanese cuisine. She lives in Boston, Massachusetts.

Ana Sortun is cited as one of the country's "best creative fusion practitioners." She graduated from La Varenne Ecole de Cuisine in Paris before opening Moncef Medeb's Aigo Bistro in Concord, Massachusetts, in the early 1990s. Following stints at 8 Holyoke and Casablanca in Harvard Square, she opened Oleana in 2001, immediately drawing raves for her Middle Eastern dishes that the New York Times described as "rustic-traditional and deeply inventive." After being awarded the "Best Chef: Northeast" honor by the James Beard Foundation in 2005, her bestselling cookbook, Spice: Flavors of the Eastern Mediterranean, was published in 2006 and nominated for a James Beard Award in 2007. In 2010, Ana appeared on Season 2 of Bravo's Top Chef Masters.

Sami Tamimi is executive head chef across the three Ottolenghi London-based delis. He is in the kitchen every day, creating new dishes and innovative menus as well as developing and nurturing young kitchen talents. Alongside Yotam Ottolenghi, Sami Tamimi is co-author of two bestselling cookbooks: Ottolenghi: The Cookbook and Jerusalem, which won the James Beard "Best International Cookbook" award and the Observer Food Monthly "Best Cookbook" Award, among others.

Sona Tikidjian is a small-scale producer who sells delicious, homemade, traditional Armenian dishes at farmer's markets throughout Beirut, Lebanon.

Linda Toubia was born in the south of Lebanon and has been cooking for as long as she can remember. She is a mother of five, grandmother of ten, and great-grandmother of two.

Alice Waters is a chef, activist, and proprietor of Chez Panisse Restaurant and Café, and has championed local, sustainable farms for more than four decades. She has been awarded the James Beard Best Chef in America, France's Légion d'Honneur, and the Lifetime Achievement award from Restaurant Magazine's World's 50 Best Restaurants. She is the author of many cookbooks, most recently 40 Years of Chez Panisse, In the Green Kitchen, and The Art of Simple Food.

Troth Wells is the acclaimed author of numerous cookbooks including Small Planet, Small Plates: Earth-Friendly Vegetarian Recipes, One World Vegetarian Cookbook, and Global Vegetarian Cooking: Quick and Easy Recipes from around the World, all published by Interlink.

Paula Wolfert is widely acknowledged as one of the premier food writers in America and the "queen of Mediterranean cooking." She writes a regular column in Food & Wine, alternating with Jacques Pepin and Marcella Hazan, and she is author of 11 cookbooks, including The Food of Morocco, The Slow Mediterranean Kitchen, and The Cooking of Southwest France. Wolfert's writings have received numerous awards, including the Julia Child Award, the M.F.K. Fisher Award, the James Beard Award, the Cook's Magazine Platinum Plate Award, and the Perigueux Award for Lifetime Achievement. Her articles have appeared in the New York Times, Saveur, Fine Cooking, and Cook's Illustrated. In 2008, she was inducted into the Cookbook Hall of Fame by the James Beard Association.

Chérine Yazbeck is an independent photojournalist and head of the Levant Desk at Transterra Media, a Beirut-based press agency. She is the author of numerous books including, A Complete Insiders Guide to Lebanon, The Rural Taste of Lebanon, and Le Liban Gourmand.

Contact Us

For more information about Soup for Syria or to place orders contact Interlink Books.

Interlink Publishing Group
46 Crosby Street
Northampton, MA 01060-1804