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Dubai to Host First Edition of the Middle East & North Africa’s 50 Best Restaurants

Dubai to Host First Edition of the Middle East & North Africa’s 50 Best Restaurants

Sunday, 23 January, 2022 - 12:30
Kamal Mouzawak was given with the Foodics Icon Award in honor of his work in gastronomy both inside and outside the country.

Middle East & North Africa’s 50 Best Restaurants 2022 announced that it will hold its first Middle East and North Africa edition in Dubai next month.


Lebanon's Kamal Mouzawak, who founded Souk El Tayeb - the first farmers’ market to open in his country's capital Beirut -, was given with the Foodics Icon Award in honor of his work in gastronomy both inside and outside the country.


Mouzawak, who comes from a family of farmers, is distinguished by his passion for his country and its diverse communities, whose rich cuisine is brimming with healthy and delicious local and regional dishes.


Impelled by his desire to help local farmers and his vision for developing sustainable farming, he founded Souk El Tayeb to preserve and celebrate Lebanon’s culinary heritage and traditions.


He began receiving different cooks from across the country in his first restaurant Tawlet, which opened in Beirut in 2009. Having opened five other branches since, Tawlet has provided crucial working opportunities to women from rural villages, ensuring that they receive a steady income while also celebrating preserving their regions’ unique culinary heritage.


“Kamal Mouzawak’s contribution to elevating the slow food movement in Lebanon, as well as preserving the culture of sustainable agriculture through Souk El Tayeb and his Tawlet concept is truly inspirational. The impact he has had on food communities through his vision of preserving Lebanon’s rich culinary heritage and identity makes him a most worthy recipient of this award,” said William Drew, Director of Content at the 50 Best organization.


Since it was first established 18 years ago, Souk El Tayeb, in turn, has evolved from a biweekly market into a culinary trend in Lebanon, creating culinary curricula for local schools and food festivals aimed at highlighting culinary heritage. Following the Beirut port explosion on August 4, 2020, Mouzawak opened a community kitchen, Matbakh El Kell, serving free meals daily to people in need across the capital.


Mouzawak also succeeded with his farmers’ exchange program, which connects Lebanon’s farmers with international investor networks, and has enabled him to introduce producers’ restaurants to Dubai and farmers’ platforms in Saudi Arabia.


The Foodics Icon Award is voted for by over 200 independent restaurant industry experts and gourmets from across the region. It celebrates someone who has made outstanding contributions to the restaurant industry worthy of international recognition and who has used their platform to raise awareness and drive change.


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