Chef & Author
I am a whole-foods chef and author of The Food Blog (thefoodblog.com.au). Born in Lebanon during the height of the civil war, and like many others in my generation, I grew up on anti-biotics and a diet dependant on international aid, heavy with highly refined flour, sugar and skim milk powder. I became overweight from an early age, and later on my health deteriorated creating many chronic illnesses that started from when I was 12 years old. I moved to Australia in 2001, switching from a degree in English Literature to a degree in Software Engineering. I have been working in the technology sector for 15 years, though in 2006, I started the world’s first Lebanese food blog as my need for creative expression made itself heard. Drawing on my background in English literature, I wrote essays and thoughts around food and culture, and documented my experiments in cooking. As my journey unfolded, I was asked to join the Sydney Morning Herald’s Good Food Guide reviewing team and travelled around eating and writing for several years. I also wrote articles and essays for many great publications, most notably Saveur magazine. My health however, continued to deteriorate. In 2011, I was introduced to the insulin hypothesis which drove me down the path of eating a low carbohydrate diet. My eating habits were largely clean already, but cutting out grains, legumes and sugar from my diet due to the carbohydrate load meant that I was following a low-carb Paleo diet without even knowing about Paleo. I lost 34 kilos, healed many chronic illnesses and greatly reduced symptoms of lingering ailments. Inspired by my new way of eating, I started a pop-up called Chic Pea, a gluten-free whole-foods restaurant in 2014, followed by Baraka, my second pop-up restaurant in 2015. I continue to eat a Paleo diet to this day, though with a greater variety than what I began with, and with more flexibility. Having been on the journey of healing and discovery for what now feels like a lifetime, I am sharing my experience in the hope that others may also benefit from it.