RABIH KAYROUZ & KAMAL MOUZAWAK
Amongst the apple orchards and pine groves, at Beit Douma, meaning ‘calm and rest’ in Phoenician, our hosts Rabih Kayrouz and Kamal Mouzawak did what they do best – charm, entertain and cook
«BEFORE AIRBNB MADE IT POPULAR, THE LEBANESE GUESTHOUSE EXPERIENCE WAS COMMON PRACTICE»
It is the essence of Lebanese hospitality that Rabih and Kamal exude as we walk through the decorated corridors of their 19th-century hillside home, Beit Douma.
During the first Garden Show & Spring Festival, Kamal was in charge of the food section, which led him to create a weekly farmers’ market (Souk el Tayeb), eco-restaurants (Tawlet) and eco-hotels (Beit).
FOOD SHOULD NEVER BE ABOUT WHO MAKES WHAT BEST AND FASTER. IT IS ABOUT TELLING A STORY. NO ONE CAN TEACH COOKING AND NO ONE CAN BE TAUGHT TO COOK.
“Usually, you differentiate between couture and ready-to-wear, but with me, I don’t make that distinction. They both need to evoke an emotion” says Rabih. Other than being the outstanding purveyor of a B&B, Rabih has been described as “an architect in a world of decorators”. Schooled at the Chambre Syndicale de la Couture Parisienne and trained in the ateliers of Chanel and Dior, Rabih Kayrouz established his house of couture and ready-to-wear collections, blurring the lines between the extraordinary and the everyday.
As Rabih was arranging a bouquet of hand-cut flowers for the centerpiece, we began our cooking session with his partner Kamal. “It’s a cuisine that takes time but this is how we work; it’s communal work.”
THE PRODUCTION LINE BEGAN
Kamal kneaded and rolled, Rabih cut and slid across a cheese grater and Jammal (one of Tawlet’s superwomen from the village) fried or cooked.
MAACRON IS A TYPICAL DISH FROM THE LEBANESE MOUNTAINS
“Maakron is usualy a fried sweet, but in Mount Lebanon we eat a savory maacron, which is like the local gnocchi. In Douma they eat it with just garlic, olive oil and salt”.