I’ve seen a man on Instagram, a sportsman, smiley from time to time, calm and serious... I’ve heard stories about his past, about his childhood, about Tripoli of north Lebanon. I was impressed by his pride, the respect of his roots, by his love for Lebanon and unbelievable passion. All of this... and I didn’t even meet him yet! His name is Alan Azzam Geaam, a Lebanese chef, award winner of a Michelin star for the second year in a row, a decent and humble person I was excited to meet.
Visiting Paris for two nights, I messaged Alan to welcome me in his kitchen; he pleasantly accepted my request for lunch on the 31st... and what a lunch! Lunch with the chef, a special character, an emotional personage, attached to his roots and to his childhood, a Lebanese with a dream, a big dream and this dream is only at its early beginnings.
Alan Geaam was ready for me at noon. It was the first time we meet, I didn’t know what to expect... “good morning Anthony, I follow what you do, thank you for supporting us Lebanese, let’s start cooking.” He said with a low shy voice. “I feel the need of paying back to my country introducing my kids to their roots”.
Every plate has a touch of Lebanon! Chefs from all over the world added a “twist” to the Lebanese cuisine but no one did what Alan imagined. Turning the positive generous bulkiness of Lebanese cuisine into something French gourmets would appreciate. Tahini, hummus, sumac, Kebbeh... all have been used in a special way.
I still feel the food under my teeth; that crunchy cone of Labneh, the scallops Kebbeh, the halloumi balls and most importantly the tabbouleh water drop.
Food is good, definitely good and that explains the Star. But what caught my attention are the emotions Alan talks about, and the nostalgia for his motherland. Lebanon, the land of my parents, it’s where I was born and to where I want to return one day. The land of authenticity, of magic, of great produce. Lebanon, land of traditions and know-how. For the love of Lebanon, I want to have my second star and be the pride of my fellow compatriots.
A memorable lunch, an amazing video, watch it and enjoy meeting Alan.