MISBAH AL AHDAB
Gregarious and blokishly charming, Misbah al Ahdab prepares a Lebanese take on linguini with pesto as he talks frankly about his love of cooking & his secret to rejuvenation
As he sips Hennessy Vsop cognac and Schweppes soda with a splash of orange juice, singing along to a beautiful melody, Misbah pauses to say, «you must fill life with these moments.»
He heats up the kitchen at Centrale restaurant in Gemmayze, with Executive Chef Michael Gantner, for a Lebanese Pesto & Tuna Tartar.
Do you cook, and if so what and how often?
I can cook when I’m hungry, when I’m not, I don’t know how to cook. I see what’s leftover in the fridge and that gives me ideas, or depending on the fresh produce I find in the market.
«To get a creamy pesto sauce without the cream, just add some boiled pasta water»
What is your favorite dish?
My favorite dish is warak enab, stuffed vine leaves, the Tripolitan way.
How do you spend a typical Sunday?
«I wake up as early as I do the rest of the week, to welcome my fellow Tripolitans and listen to their problems and concerns. People who come to visit me stay for lunch – not high society couples, no – ordinary citizens from remote villages come and join me on my table.»
What is the secret of his his youthful glow? We wonder?
Every now and then, it’s important for Misbah to cleanse his body of toxins. “Once or twice a year, I go on fasting trips where I don’t eat for ten days and consume only liquids and vitamins. I started around 20 years ago in Germany; then shifted to Turkey where they also have excellent programs.”