Wednesday, June 06, 2018

Ancient Knowledge, and the art of Islamic cuisine

The Fes Festival of World Sacred Music offers visitors to Fes more than just music. To coincide with this year’s Festival theme - Ancient Knowledge - Palais Amani and the Fez Cooking School will host a public cooking demonstration showcasing recipes from the ancient art of Islamic cuisine in the presence of the award winning chef Anissa Helou

Chef Anissa Helou and Chef Houssam Laasiri at Palais Amani

Born in Lebanon to a Syrian father and Lebanese mother, Anissa Helou has been described as the Claudia Roden of the Islamic culinary world. In 2013, she was named one of the “100 Most Powerful Arab Women” by Arabian Business magazine” and she was also included in their “500 most influential Arabs.”

Her first book Lebanese Cuisine, the first comprehensive collection of this kind in the English language, was published in 1994 followed by Street Café Morocco. Since then she has published over half a dozen other cookbooks concentrating on the richness and diversity of culinary cultures in the Arabic world. 

Her latest book Feast was published at the end of May this year. “Telling a genuine food story that covers a quarter of the world’s population is a mighty task. One person who can wrestle with such a challenge is Anissa Helou," says Yotam Ololenghi in praise of the book.

Anissa Helou has lived and travelled widely from Egypt to Syria, Iran to Indonesia, gathering some of its finest and most flavourful recipes for bread, rice, meats, fish, spices, and sweets, all found in her new book. Feast is an indispensable addition to the culinary canon featuring some of the world’s most inventive cultures and peoples. 

Chef Houssam Laasiri

On Wednesday 27th June, at 2.30 pm, in the gardens of Palais Amani, Anissa Helou will be describing her research into the art of Islamic cuisine, while chefs from the Palais Amani will be demonstrating some of her recipes for you to see and try. 

She will also be officially opening the Fez Cooking School, the well equipped facility on the roof top of the Palais Amani.  Signed copies of Anissa Helou's book Feast will be available for purchase at the event.

Special Festival Menu

In honour of the book, and the Festival’s theme, the Eden restaurant will be running a special menu that explores some of the most celebrated dishes from Moroccan cuisine and a selection of mezze to accompany your pre or post Festival drinks - using the recipes directly from Anissa’s book.

Extended dining opening hours during the festival: 6. 30 pm to 10 pm for dinner, and 6.30 pm to 11 pm for drinks and mezze.

The Fez Cooking School

Fez, spiritual capital of Morocco, is also the birthplace to the most refined and diverse cuisine.
The school offers the opportunity get under the surface of this fascinating country by plunging into the souks with the class chef as a guide and tasting simple delicacies that are on our doorstep. Experience a hands-on cooking workshop at Fez Cooking School at Palais Amani, located in a unique setting with views over the Medina rooftops.

What: Ancient Knowledge, and the Art of Islamic Cuisine. Cooking demonstration and complimentary tasting.
When: 27th June at 2.30 pm.
Where: Gardens of Palais Amani, 12 Derb El Miter, Fez Medina 
More info: Jemima Mann-Baha or Amilia Vergnaud at


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