Serving up local customs and cuisine on a Global Table
“We’re from all walks of life, from all religious and political backgrounds, and that’s really important in Lebanon. We don’t discriminate; we’ll travel anywhere, anytime. I’m amazed by the conversations I have with my community, the NGNO family, we discuss cuisine, talk about new places and learn from one another, the feedback is so inspiring. I love knowing that I’ve touched people, that they understand what we’re trying to do and that they enjoy hearing our stories.”
I realized with time that we as Lebanese, especially my generation, have lost touch with ourselves – our diverse culture and what makes this country special. I wanted to get acquainted with my own country, to learn to love its details, its variety of people, culture and so on. I realized I could do all of this through food.
I started travelling around different parts of the country from Tripoli, Sidon, Tyre, to Beirut and beyond. With a video camera in hand I started roaming around the country’s alleys and streets, meeting amazing people making amazing food. I discovered various ways of preparing the same food in different regions, starting with the simplest thing as the thyme mankoushe… I wrote reviews about my tasty discoveries and my videos became a huge success as people travelled around the country with me discovering cities, towns, and delicious bites. NoGarlicNoOnions allows me to bring people together in a divided country.
Lebanon isn’t an easy place to live in, but creating something like NoGarlicNoOnions has brought all sorts of issues to my mind. Prices are high, so people really want value for money, businesses come and go, so we have to support the good ones and, put quite simply, people want to be able to relax and have fun whenever they get the chance. It’s important to help people explore their own country, to tell them the very best it has to offer, in a country as stressful as Lebanon helping people get out and about, helping them to forget their troubles for a while, that’s a service.
Anthony Rahayel, Lebanon