Tag Archives: Chef

Interview: Chef Fernando Canales Etxanobe

I had to pleasure to meet a while ago at Phoenicia Hotel Beirut the Michelin star chef “Fernando Canales Etxanobe” who was in Lebanon end of January 2015 to add a Spanish touch with refreshing and delicious dishes at Sydney’s Club Bar and Restaurant and Eau De Vie.

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Since 1998, he runs his restaurant Etxanobe, which bears his mother’s maiden name. In addition to its activity in the restaurant, which boasts a Michelin star and two suns in the Repsol guide, he works with various media. For seven years he held the cooking show on Localia, currently airs in the US on the VME chain and in Moscow in the food service channel. He is also a regular contributor to radio. In summer 2009 live from Bilbao, he developed a cooking show for La 1 TVE.

Get to know him more here

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1- When did you know you wanted to be a chef? And Where were you trained?

I was very bad at school, hyperactive child. I come from a family of engineers, and I used to see my father very happy while cooking, so when I was 19 years old I decided to go this way. I went to a cooking school and I loved it. I used to cook for my friends and family and read a lot about cooking. I was very curious and got details from people who are really dedicated to cooking. I studied at the School of Hospitality Leioa, then moved to France and from the hand of Francis Ducasse (Alain Ducasse’s first teacher) I started in the professional kitchen. I learned a lot in France because of the rich culture, and became very discipline in the kitchen “Il faut faire les choses comme il faut” There was a lot of competition too, but it was motivating me to do more and excel. I used to find a way to make things more interesting and keep motivating myself. Then I went back to Spain, worked for two years in Bodegon, then in Bilbao for 10 years. I worked with several chefs for around 20 years and it’s when I decided to have something for my own.

2- How do you get your inspiration?

I get inspired from anything around me, from experiencing new places and cultures. for example I tried the summak in Lebanon and I will implement it in my new cuisine. I am very spiritual, I can detect positive vibes in things, which helps me with my inspiration. I also love to relax by the beach, it calms me, gives me tranquility, spirituality and peace, which helps me clear my mind and find new inspirations.

3- What is your favorite kitchen equipment or gadget?

My Apron.

It gives me a sense of organisation.

4- What characterizes your cuisine?

My cuisine is about sea food. I live between the sea and the mountains and we have a very rich sea in Spain, where you can find different kinds of fish not existing elsewhere. My cuisine is also different from others, because I love attention to details, i’m very picky and I have no fixed rules, I can mix flavors as much as I want.

5- Is there a food that you hate?

I love food, there’s nothing that I hate. In Spain, we eat a lot of pasta and vegetables, similar to the food in Lebanon. But when I was a kid, few things I didn’t like chick peas.

6- What advice can you give for the housewives who are inspired by your style of cookery?

My advice for housewives, is to try the same recipe with different ingredients, to know how to choose the best ingredient.


Bon Appétit!


GodFather event at Cavalli Caffe: Where Crime meets Fashion!

I got really excited after received an intriguing invitation in my inbox about a themed event: “GodFather” event in Cavalli Caffe. Dress code was chic Black & White!

But why was I so so excited? Since ever, Cavalli has always been one of my favorite brands ❤

And the idea of mixing between crime and fashion was enthralling!

I got there, to find surprises waiting for us; black hats, red roses, cigars and toy guns. Just like in the movie!

Cavalli 084_


Fellows fashion bloggers, as well as food bloggers and a lot from the online community attended the event. The ambiance was really nice, the dress code colors were homogeneous with the interior animal print. Red lipstick and sangrias were adding color and life.

The food was appetizing, perfect temperature and taste!


Thank you Cavalli Caffe for this offbeat event, and until next time :*


A Vivid Indian Night With Le Royal Hotels

I was invited last Friday to enjoy a charming and exotic Indian night at Le Royal Hotels and Resorts in Dbayeh. The event was in collaboration with the Embassy of India in Lebanon.


We were welcomed warmly, all the ladies we wearing beautiful sarees and were introduced to our table, that was right by the pool and facing the amazing bollywood performances by Gurukul, who flew in especially for the evening!

Two chefs, Chef Rubal and Chef Arjun came specially from New Delhi to prepare the sumptuous Indian buffet.

I have been attracted to the Indian culture a while ago, when I had the pleasure to meet a dear friend V. She used to narrate to us a lot of details, which captured me and always made me wanna know more about this unique culture.

And this dinner was a step further, where I had the chance to taste their food and enjoy the distinctive folk Indian dances.

It was a wonderful and charming night, thank you Le Royal for making it happen!


What I wore for the Indian night

Black shorts jumpsuit from Vestiti – Jdeideh

Suede Bordeaux Heels from Nine West


Have you ever been to an Indian Night?

Do you like Indian food?

Indulging: La Petite Maison

After London and Dubai, the Nice-born La Petite Maison reached Lebanon at Le Vendôme Hotel, in Ain Mrayseh, in Beirut.

And I had the chance to try this casual chic restaurant about 2 weeks ago 🙂

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This French Mediterranean restaurant, set in a casual chic atmosphere, serves classic Niçoise cuisine with a modern twist, creating light, healthy and deliciously palatable dishes with the very best fresh raw materials. The concept is Mediterranean, especially inspired from Nice. Plates are served in the middle of the table to be shared and enjoyed by the  guests, a great way for people to foster togetherness  over sensational meal. Prepared  à la minute  –  nothing  is cooked  or  even  cut  ahead  of  time  – this  Niçoise Mediterranean cuisine with Ligurian Italy influences from across Nice is presented as of when ready to maximize the culinary experience.

After discovering the space and being seated, the waiter was so kind to take us on a menu tour and indicate to us the signature dishes.

The degustation started with one of the unique bar menus, the Tomatini made with vodka, fresh cherry tomatoes and white balsamic vinegar, with salt and pepper seasoning.

la petite maison (2)

I am not a fan of bloody mary, but this thing is totally different, it’s much lighter and the tomato is so fresh, that you will keep you asking for more…

While our meal was getting prepared, I took a tour to check how things are being done. The salmon and the tuna were being cut on the spot, I went into the kitchen and took a look at the famous oven, where all the yummy dishes are baked… I got so hungry 😉


I joined the table again, the hors d’oeuvre we chose were served: burrata with tomatoes and basil, tuna carpaccio, warm prawns with olive oil, deep fried baby squid, and the famous Caesar Salad.

The Caesar Salad is one of Chef  Patron  Raphael  Duntoye latest signature dishes, and it features Roman lettuce quail eggs, oyster mushroom, baby artichokes cooked in gastrique marinade with sherry vinegar and honey to create the illusion of bacon and chicken.

Then it was time for the main dishes, rigatoni with Ceps mushroom, grilled veal chop, pan-fried Dover sole with a grainy mustard dressing, and of course fries and broccoli as side order.


We had to spare some space for the dessert too, we had the warm chocolate mouse with malt ice cream, passion fruit posset with fresh mango and a selection of sorbet


La Petite Maison philosophy is simple: “Tous célèbres ici”. Heard, it holds two meanings: “Everyone is Famous Here” and “Everyone Celebrates Here”. The restaurant welcomes people who savour exceptionally great, shared, home-style food, cooked with passion, and the best of fresh top quality sourced ingredients, prepared à la minute, there and then.


I enjoyed a lot the ambiance and the food, I highly recommend you to try this place. And what makes it more distinctive is the art.

The art of La Petite Maison represents the eccentric style of the 20th century painters of the South of France, Mediterranean in style and color, often child-like, bright, garish, provocative and clashing.

The trademark saucepans were created and designed by Max Cartier, a Nice based artist, and the saucepans throughout the world feature an image of the male or female part.

Max Cartier also designed the covers of the unique La Petite Maison menus.


lpm_menu cover



Interview: Chef Prabakaran Manickam


Chef Prabakaran Manickam is the Taste New Zealand 2014 winner, if you haven’t read my previous post about the competition, you can check it here.

Prabakaran Manickam - Taste New Zealand 2014 Winner

Get to know him more through the questions I asked him

1- When did you know you wanted to be a chef?

I knew that I wanted to be a chef once I graduated from University with a degree in

Hotel Management. I started my career as a trainee at Centre Point; the four star hotel in

Nagpur, where my culinary talents were first recognized. Food and organization are in

my DNA, when I chose to study Hotel Management and become a chef, my family urged

me to get as much hands-on experience as I could. I realized in college that cooking was

the career I was searching for; a reliable job that was creative and let me do something

that I love.

2- Where were you trained and how difficult was your training?

In the fourth year of my BSc qualification, I was still peeling onions and garlic at 5am

in a hotel kitchen in India. I worked between 16 and 18 hours per day to prep for

banqueting functions and I think it was a test of my patience and attitude. I just put my

head down and did the work required. It is never difficult if you love what you do.

3- How do you get your inspiration?

It is difficult to identify one thing as my inspiration. I feel like I am always surrounded

by inspiration, like my Executive Chef, Roy; he is a great chef, leader, teacher and

disciplinarian. He is very focused on flavour and creativity and his results are always

exceptional. I also get inspired when I read famous chefs’ cook books and when I see the

incredible products we get to work with.


4- What is your favorite kitchen equipment?

Rational CombiMaster and Hamilton Beach Blender

5- What are your favorite foods to cook with?

Fresh vegetables and herbs, especially basil & rosemary.

6- What is the funniest kitchen incident you’ve had?

Too many to recollect!

One of our customers ordered a medium rare strip loin so we cooked the steak medium

rare as requested. When the waiter presented the steak to the customer, he was told by

the customer that he wanted a medium rare steak and not what he had received.

So we made another one, rare to medium rare but once again the waiter brought it back

to the kitchen.

I then went to the customer to find out what he actually wanted and he told me that

“you people don’t know how to cook medium rare, I need a piece of meat with no red

color and no blood”

Some people don’t know a well done steak!!


7- Do you do the cooking at home?

Honestly, I don’t eat much at home due to the long hours in the restaurant, but when I

do cook at home, I like to do a big family style meal for friends. I usually do baked fish,

something big with a bone in it, and serve it with a bunch of easy side dishes of green

leafy veggies.

8- Do you have a cooking tip for those who like to cook at home?

• Organize your work space and get the right equipment.

• Find a good recipe and follow it – the next time you make it, tweak it and make it

your own. Recipe is a guideline. Experiment!!!

• Nothing slows you down more in the kitchen than blunt knives. Invest in good

chef knives.

• Herbs and spices are essential for making great-tasting food that’s healthy too.


I hope that you are getting inspired by my Chef Series, and until the next one 🙂


As the oppressive summer heat engulfs the region once more and the luxuries of an afternoon walk or morning swim at the beach have long been forgotten, a refreshing destination offering breathtaking views at every turn, an endless list of outdoor adventure and palate pleasing cuisine beckons. And what better place than the ‘city of peace’.

View of Geneva

Comfortably nestled between lake and mountain, Geneva lies on the cross-roads of Western Europe. Lovers of the finer things in life can relish in the city’s endless indulgent offerings. Its high-street shopping and reputation for its luxury watches are unrivaled throughout the continent whilst the warmth of the Genevan hospitality ensures travelers feel secure as they enjoy strolling by the jet d’eau, shopping bags in toe.


Epicureans are in safe hands with the city hosting over six Michelin starred restaurants heralding a cosmopolitan mélange of both international and local chefs seeking to thrill the gastronomical elite. Your inner thrill seeker is encouraged to escape its comfort zone to experience the natural beauty and exhilaration from paragliding over the Jura mountain range to hiking the impenetrable Alps and mountain biking amongst some of the most scenic paths in the world.

The five-star Inter Continental Genève is an oasis within this oasis, and summer holidaymakers can relax by one of the most sought after swimming pools in the city soaking up the European sun beside crystal waters while the dedicated team meets your every need. Guests can truly take indulgence to the next level at the Clarins Institut Spa which specializes in blending the art of aromatherapy and phytotherapy using treatments from Europe’s number one body care brand – a much needed reprieve after a day of hard shopping!

Inter Continental Genève guests enjoy the memorable views of the iconic Mont Blanc and Jura Mountain range, and its impressive rooms and suites exude the opulence that has become second nature to those from the Gulf.  For those seeking the epitome of luxury travel, the iconic Residences consisting of Diplomatic Residence, Presidential Residence and The Residence, cater to every guest’s wishes; The Residence, the most stately of the trio includes an East & West Wing, two master bedrooms, and nine additional light filled rooms with floor-to-ceiling windows including a grand salon, two hamams, a treatment room serviced by Clarins, private gym, grand dining room, library, gallery, private lift, a kitchen fully equipped with John Pawson Demeyere cookware, a bar adorned with accessories by Ralph Lauren and a twenty-four hour butler to ensure your every wish is fulfilled.

Summer Promotion
There’s never been a better occasion to experience a 5* City Resort now with Inter Continental Geneve’s Summer Promotion of 20% off all 56 exclusive Suites. Ten minutes away from the international airport and Lake Geneva, it’s the ideal family choice with various connecting rooms and suites, exciting entertainment offerings, Botanic gardens and a Kid’s Club operating from 11am to 8pm. Children under 12 years stay for free. During Ramadan exquisite dishes are prepared by their Lebanese Chef for Sohour and Iftar, while guests can enjoy at Shisha by the poolside. Unrivalled Arabic speaking staff are on hand, and a private butler on request for Residences reservations.

Interview: Chef Palash Gomez


In the series of introducing new chefs, today I’m gonna introduce you the chef who renovated the menu of Olivo‘s restaurant at Radisson Blu Martinez Hotel Beirut.

Olivo's 002


1- How did you decide to be a chef?

A: I was not planning to become a chef, it just happened, it was by accident.

2- Who are your teachers? Who inspired you?

A: I am a self motivated chef, my teenage experience inspired me to become the chef I am today.

When I was a teenager I was living in India and one day I visited a hotel restaurant, got inspired and fascinated with the food and the delicious presentation then decided I want to become an international chef.

3- Were you always cooking the same type of culinary? Or it changed from one country to another?

A: No, I am a multi skilled chef and I like to always explore different types of culinary. And yes, my cooking style definitely changes whenever I change a country. I get inspired by the country traditional food and techniques as well as the special ingredients and secret recipes that each and every region has.

4- What is the kitchen tool that you can’t live without?

A: knife, peeler and hand blender are definitely essential to me.

5- What characterizes your cuisine?

A: It’s a Mediterranean Cuisine with specialty in some dishes and appetizers like the Char grilled

Asparagus and Aubergine rolls that have a unique taste.

6- What’s your favorite dessert?

A: Rasgulla; it’s a cheese-based, syrupy dessert popular in India, the dish is made from ball-shaped dumplings cooked in light syrup made of sugar.

7- What advice can you give for the housewives who are inspired by your style of cookery?

A: Just follow the recipes and cook your dishes with all your heart, by putting a little of your own taste in it.


Did you try Olivo’s new menu?

What is your favorite dish?



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