Lebanese American University

New York Academic Center

Panel Discussion/Tasting: “Food and Identity: Celebrating Lebanese Cuisine in New York”

Jun 9, 2016 6:30 PM
LAU New York

Over generations, food traditions among the Lebanese diaspora in New York have remained a strong marker of their identity, and have provided them with a sense of attachment to their homeland. The website of the Sahadi’s grocery store in Brooklyn mentions a strong link between food and heritage: “With bins of fine grains and exquisite spices, bulk containers of imported olives, nuts, and dried fruits, old fashioned barrels of coffee beans…this feels like an old-world place…”

How do Lebanese Americans construct their identity through preserving the food of their ancestors? How do they keep food traditions alive in the public sphere? How do Americans frequenting Lebanese restaurants and grocery stores view Lebanon through its food? Can a conversation on food followed by a tasting promote cross-cultural understanding and a positive image of immigrants in New York? This event draws an audience that engages the panelists in those questions and then samples food from different restaurants and caterers representing a taste of Lebanon in New York.

Panelists:

Manal Kahi – Co-founder and CEO of Eat Offbeat, an innovative social business that hires refugees as chefs. 

Philippe Massoud – CEO and Executive Chef of the award-winning Ilili Restaurant.

Charlie Sahadi – Owner of Sahadi’s, an iconic Lebanese family grocery store in Brooklyn.

Matthew Jaber Stiffler – Research and Content Manager at the Arab American National Museum.  

Food Tasting Participants: 

Amir’s Grill, Byblos Restaurant, Hayat Caterers Inc., Le Sajj Restaurant, Manousheh, and Semsom Eatery, with special sweets offered by Les Cinq Amandes and Maha Chocolate.

 


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