10 Middle Eastern Chefs and Food Writers You Need to Know

Updated: Jun. 29, 2022

Middle Eastern chefs and food writers are responsible for many of the flavors and dishes we've come to know and love today. Here are the culinary creators that provide our delicious inspiration!

1 / 10

Edouard Massih

Chef Edouard Massih is passionate about bringing the flavors of his home country of Lebanon into people’s kitchens in the U.S., and in 2020, set out to achieve this by opening Edy’s Grocer. The Brooklyn-based store is stocked with authentic Middle Eastern food and ingredients, and its website features recipes and ingredient info, allowing people to re-create the cuisine with their own twist. It’s the perfect place to pick up your Middle Eastern spices like za’atar, or ingredients like tahini.

2 / 10

Sami Tamimi

Award-winning Palestinian chef Sami Tamimi is the co-founder and head of the Ottolenghi restaurants, creating new dishes and innovative menus, and writing three bestselling cookbooks: Ottolenghi: The Cookbook, Jerusalem: A Cookbook and Falastin: A Cookbook. He describes his most recent cookbook, Falastin (the name honors the Arabic pronunciation—there is no “p” in Arabic) as a love letter to Palestine told through food. If you’re looking for more work like his, check out our favorite Middle Eastern cookbooks.

3 / 10

Abeer Najjar

Abeer Najjar is a self-taught chef, food writer and founder of Huda Supper Club, an underground dining experience bringing together her Palestinian heritage and south-side Chicago upbringing. Knowing how immigrant children are often embarrassed by their families’ cultures, she aims to honor her family’s culinary traditions through cooking and writing to inspire other immigrants.

4 / 10

Ali Elabbady

If you’ve ever thought Parts Unknown combined with Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee (but with tacos) would make a great show, you need to check out Ali Elabbady’s Tacos and Tastemakers on YouTube. When he’s not hosting it, the Minneapolis native writes for Eater Twin Cities and Vox, and moderates discussions on food and cultural appropriation like “Beyond Hummus.”

5 / 10

Le Fooding Chefs Party in Paris
Foc Kan/Getty Images

Kamal Mouzawak

Do you know who started your local farmers market? In Beirut, Lebanon, credit goes to restauranteur and food activist Kamal Mouzawak. He launched Souk el-Tayeb (in Arabic, tayeb means “good” or “tasty”), which aims to preserve traditions and promote sustainable agriculture. It includes a farmers market kitchen that allows different cooks to share stories through their food.

6 / 10

Mennat-Allah El Dorry

An archaeologist whose Instagram bio says, “I dig food…literally” Mennat-Allah El Dorry’s work is focused on bringing Egypt’s rich food and agricultural history to light. She’s basically an expert at exploring and sharing how people in the past sourced, prepared, cultivated, traded and used food. To learn more about Egyptian food history, follow her on Instagram at @eatlikeanegyptian.

7 / 10

Loubna Zouiten

Moroccan chef Loubna Zouiten is a co-owner of Sahara Restaurant in Greenwood Village, Colorado—a family-run Lebanese-Moroccan restaurant that’s been serving the area since 1993. At home, she enjoys learning how to cook dishes from around the world while adding her own twist, and hopes to reach out to the online cooking community through her Instagram. Can’t make it there to try her delicious menu? You can always bake baklava at home.

8 / 10

Shahir Massoud

You might recognize Egyptian-Canadian chef Shahir Massoud from national television—most recently, as the former host of CBC’s The Goods, Man of the Kitchen and Around the World in 8 Meals. Shahir is the author of Eat, Habibi, Eat!, a cookbook exploring modern Egyptian dishes. He aims to share Egyptian recipes in a way that honors the multiple cultures he grew up with.

9 / 10

Abdalrahman Ayyad

Palestinian chef Abdalrahman Ayyad aims to explore “the soul of the Levant” as a private chef in NYC, building bridges between the foods and traditions of places like Jordan, Palestine, Lebanon, Syria and Iraq. His background studying at Les Roches Culinary School in Jordan, where he learned from greats like Nobu Matsuhisa and Jean-Georges Vongerichten, serves as the basis of his culinary exploration.

10 / 10

Omar Hegazis resturant Zooba Food
via zoobaeats.com

Omar Hegazi

Omar Hegazi has had a stellar career, but his crowning achievement is Zooba, his Egyptian street food restaurant in NYC. He deftly combines his American roots, Cairo upbringing and European education to create a stunning cultural blend that still sparkles with authenticity. Until you get the chance to visit, you can make falafel at home.