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{ B e i r u t, L e b a n o n }

Photo Credit: Giacomo Perasti

”Food is the best expression of tradition, yet people have lost the link with the origin of their food,“ laments Kamal Mouzawak, founder of Souk el Tayeb, a Beirut food organization inspired to ”Make Food, Not War.“ The organization brings together farmers’ markets, food festivals, educational projects, and now Tawlet, a farmers’ market kitchen. As the son of farmers and producers, Kamal has first-hand experience about the generosity of the land and the connection between food and people. After travelling around Lebanon and exploring its ethnic and geographic diversity, he concluded that despite being a divided people, ”we are all the same.“ Kamal started Souk el Tayeb (Good Market) in 2004, later joined by social enterprise consultant and managing partner Christine Codsi, to create a common ground from which to showcase the wonderful food and agricultural traditions of his country. What started out as a weekly Saturday morning producer-focused farmers’ market blossomed into other food projects celebrating local specialties and promoting sustainable agriculture. The organization is as much about relinking the urban and rural — the producer and the consumer — as it is about providing an engaging gastronomic experience. Take, for instance, Tawlet, Souk el Tayeb’s newest project that intentionally shifts the role of producers from ”suppliers“ to ”chefs.“ Set in an open kitchen, farmers become culinary ambassadors as they are invited to transform their own produce into regional delicacies for market patrons to try. ”Food is just a commodity product on a supermarket shelf. We have forgotten who planted it, who harvested it, and who cooked it“ says Kamal. With someone this devoted to championing local farming and food tradition, there is no doubt that his organization will continue to have a positive cultural and economic impact on Beirut and beyond.



Countlan Issue 05  
Countlan Issue 05  

Countlan is a quarterly magazine dedicated to exploring how people all over the world entertain at home.