“I couldn’t fry an egg when I first got married, but with seafood, everything seemed to flow in naturally. I was accustomed to dealing with the raw material” Maguy Mohawess, owner of Chez Maguy
Maguy grew up on the shores of the Mediterranean, and lives in a house which sits directly behind her parents’ home. She has always been a passionate diver, on the lookout for fish and sea crustaceans. She married the love of her life at a young age, but became a widow only a few years later. With a baby daughter, Maguy struggled support herself. She faced the reality of moving back with her parents – luckily a situation welcomed in Middle Eastern cultures.
Maguy moved in with her family for four years while planning the family’s future. The sea became her best prospect, and she began diving for different seafood varieties. Maguy went on to build a market for her produce and has maintained it to this day. The market became an “unofficial” restaurant, and institution in the town. Daily catches are either baked or barbequed and, on some occasions, served raw.
Chez Maguy has become a household name in Lebanon and a stop for any foodie roaming the region. Her humble yet blunt approach has helped propel the establishment onto the international arena where the likes of the New York Times and Le Figaro rave about its authentic taste. Chef, professional diver, food lover, peu importe, Maguy is the real deal. Her warm hospitality and unpretentious manner will charm all visitors.
Maguy is a close friend of the Souk el Tayeb family. She shares a beautiful friendship with the owners and enjoys cooking at Tawlet. Maguy’s presence at Tawlet always yields a full house and with a long wait-list with customers flooding in to enjoy her magnificent delicacies.
Maguy continues to worry about the sustainability availability of Lebanon’s seafood due to the degradation of biodiversity in the ocean. Species once abundant have now dwindled greatly in numbers, rendering it difficult for the restaurant to meet demand on products (particularly sea urchins). Nonetheless Maguy’s extensive knowledge of seafood keeps her on the lookout for new edible varieties that she can bring into the market, an intriguing process to watch for, indeed.