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Meet the Man Behind the Best Breakfast at Paris Fashion Week


Kamal Mouzawak. Courtesy of Kamal Mouzawak

Following Maison Rabih Kayrouz’s Spring 2017 fashion show, restaurateur Kamal Mouzawak hosted an authentic Lebanese breakfast at Kayrouz’s atelier that served as a culinary high point during Paris Fashion Week. Mouzawak, who is the founder of Beirut’s popular farmer’s market, Souk el Tayeb, and farmer’s kitchen, Tawlet, hosted a man’oushe – a quintessential Lebanese breakfast dish that’s made of baked, flat pressed dough discs topped with either za’atar (thyme), cheese, spinach, or minced lamb. In conversation with Vogue Arabia, Mouzawak discusses his favorite dish to prepare, his culinary muse, and shares a quick breakfast recipe to try at home.

How did the idea of hosting a breakfast at Paris Fashion Week come about?

It was Rabih Kayrouz’s idea. It was all about food and real life at Rabih’s atelier. So for a Sunday morning 10 am fashion show, the obvious meal was a man’oushe!

What was on the menu?

Manakish, made from whole wheat organic dough and a yummy za’atar mix from Souk el Tayeb prepared by one of our best cooks at Tawlet, Georgina el Bayeh. She was in Paris for Plats de Resistance, and extended her stay to bake manakish.

Who was there?

Don’t ask me about the fashion world. All I know from this world are friends and family.

What are your favorite restaurants in Paris?

I love Gyoza, the Japanese food at Hokkaido, and Chez Georges for classical French. Du Pain et des Idées for bread, and for good meat I go to Hugo Desnoyer’s butcher shop.

Share with us an early memory surrounding cooking and food.

Picking ripe grapes on the rooftop of our family home in Jeita in the middle of August. Going to the pine forest to pick za’atar, and watching my mother and grandmother busy in the kitchen preparing food.

Do you have a culinary muse?

The land and nature with its utmost generosity and abundance. You plant a small seed, and it sprouts wonders.

What’s next for Souk el Tayeb and Tawlet? 

New projects abroad. A souk in Amman [Jordan] is in the works, and a Tawlet in Paris, where I’ll tell the story of today’s France through cooks and dishes from different communities.

What do you listen to in the kitchen?

Music is not playing in the background while I’m cooking. I’d rather listen to laughter and conversations of friends and family in the kitchen.

Describe your personal style.

In cooking? Simple. No recipes. I look at what’s available in season.

What’s your favorite dish to make?

Definitely tabbouleh, and I can make a good one. Lemony enough with a slight hot note. A tabbouleh should astonish your mouth.

Can you share with Vogue Arabia a breakfast recipe that’s quick to prepare?

I like to eat tabekh (comfort food) for breakfast left over from dinner. I like the traditional way of eating; I’m not a croissant type of guy in the morning. My favorite breakfast recipe is rice cream, made from 1 cup whole organic brown rice that’s cooked in 5 cups of water with a pinch of salt. Cook on a very low fire to get a porridge like rice. Simple and delicious.


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