Zeina Ibrahim Hayek

In spite of her origin from Sarba, Zeina seemed to always have a tendency for southern food, especially that of Chouf and Maaser Al Chouf. Perhaps, the dishes she makes aren’t necessarily specific to the Chouf area, however that is where she mostly learned how to cook. While other cooks weightily rely on recipes and accurate measurements, Zeina emphasizes the fact that she never uses any.

‘I rely on my intuitive feeling; to me it’s all about sensation and flavor” Zeina adds. Cooking has never been a chore to her, a living proof would be the weddings of both her daughters where food was tailor-made by herself in order for it to abide by her refined and rich taste. When asked about her specialties, Zeina smiles and and adds her children’s favorite dishes such as Mouloukhiyye, Kebbeh Mechwiyye and the effortful dish of Fawaregh. Cooking started all with the innocent joy of pleasing her children and bringing them delight, however it slowly grew into an inevitable passion for food, with the kitchen as a playground.

Zeina chuckles as tells us this one story about “Kaak El Eid”, when she had recently moved into a neighborhood where Kaak El Eid is a very famous dish for hoidays, she hadn’t had the slightest clue about it’s techniques and ingredients. When asking her neighbors for tips and methods for making it, none of them acceded to help her and so she found herself in a kitchen with all the necessary ingredients and just enough knowledge to get her to start experimenting. The result: Kaak El Eid to die for along with desirous and envious neighbors! Till this day, Zeina swears never sticking to a recipe, perhaps that is the true essence in her food.