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Lebanese Chef Tara Khattar: A Powerhouse Of Culinary Energy

The chef known for her aesthetic finesse and progressive Lebanese recipes may have been living abroad for a while now, but as her cookbook attests, she will always remain true to her heritage…

When a highly talented Lebanese-born chef trains in French cuisine, the exquisite results include scrumptious recipes like Mouhammara Goat Cheese Eggplant Rolls and Cranberry Rose Lentil Salad. As well as creating accessible dishes with sophisticated techniques and combining vibrant yet delicate flavours, it is Chef Tara Khattar’s passion for food and attention to pleasure-driven detail that have helped her accelerate her career on a global scale. Of course, her experiences in the kitchens of Michelin starred chefs such as Joël Robuchon and Jacques Chibois have also helped propel Khattar, who has managed to become a self-employed Caterer and Food Consultant by the young age of 28. What’s more, like many Lebanese, she has had an upbringing that has taught her how to be tough and adapt, which she unequivocally attributes to her success.

The New York-based high-spirited culinary whizz has been busy consulting for restaurants and small businesses and creating unique experiences for boutique events, private dinners and wedding receptions in the US and beyond. Khattar, known for her signature bandana and red lipstick, has also come up with her very own cookbook. “Liban,” a tribute to her heritage and a nod to her grandmothers, who taught her how to prepare dishes with love and passion, has over 100 recipes for lovers of traditional Lebanese dishes. Through the book, the uber talented chef, who believes Lebanese cuisine is a reflection of the country’s warm and hospitable people and culture, is also celebrating everyone who has been keeping families united by preparing meals to be enjoyed while sitting around the table.

As a child Khattar, who told “Hospitality News Middle East” she wants to “become the Martha Stewart of this generation” when asked about her ultimate life goal, spent lots of time in the kitchen experimenting with local ingredients. Inspired by watching the likes of Jamie Oliver and Ina Garten, she went on to work at Chez Sophie in Beirut before founding and managing a pop-up gastronomic sandwich shop. Khattar then started her international gastronomic journey after being accepted at Lyon’s renowned Institut Paul Bocuse, where she studied Gastronomy and Restaurant Management. To amp up her work experience, she underwent some training by Jacques Chibois at La Bastide Saint-Antoine, where she perfected her skills in bread making and pastry. After that, Khattar landed an internship, which turned into a full-time position, at Paris’s l’Atelier de Joël Robuchon. Another foodie hotspot, New York, was calling, and Khattar moved to earn her Master’s degree in Food Studies at New York University.

The engaging food Khattar started garnering real attention when she participated in “Top Chef France” in 2018. After becoming the show’s first-ever contestant to represent the Middle East, Khattar went on to win “Chopped,” a culinary competition on Food Network, twice. The culinary creative, who has been a Dewars ambassador, has also taken part in the documentary series “Generation M.E.” on E! Entertainment. 

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