In Beirut (Lebanon), a restaurant gives control of its menu to a different chef every day
Kamal Mouzawak has opened the restaurant Tawlet (literally ‘table’ in Arabic) in a trendy quarter of Beirut, with the objective of creating links between all the different Lebanese communities through the culinary arts.
A restaurant without a chef
In the Tawlet restaurant there is no professional chef: every day a different woman from the village comes to present her cuisine, history and traditions. Tawlet also invites women from Palestinian and Syrian refugee camps to come and cook.
These women bring with them the most authentic expression of their history and their identity: their recipes. The amateur chefs who cook for Tawlet come from the different regions surrounding Beirut and share a passion for cooking. On its Facebook page, the restaurant presents the chef of the day, her menu and her story.
From the market to the table
The Tawlet restaurant stocks up exclusively from Beruit’s famous little market ‘Souk El Tayek’ (‘the good market’) and as a result offers simple, fresh, seasonal and local ingredients that come from small producers. These products, once cooked, are served as a buffet in the restaurant.
Cooking for cultural sharing
For Kamal Mouzawak, who is behind this initiative, cooking is one of the best ways to communicate beyond cultural differences: “When we speak about tradition, often we think of a custom or an architectural style – but no one dresses traditionally anymore and we can take architecture anywhere. Of all expressions of tradition, it’s, therefore, the cuisine which travels best through time and distance.”1
12 rue Naher