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Anissa Helou is an experienced broadcaster on radio and television and writes regularly for the Weekend Financial Times. She speaks three languages fluently - Arabic, French and English - and writes about Middle Eastern food on her blog Anissa. Helou attended the Crave Sydney International Food Festival, speaking with Turkish chef Mehmet Gurs at the World Chef Showcase. She talks to SBS about the role food plays in her life.
By
April Smallwood

12 Oct 2010 - 10:08 AM  UPDATED 6 Sep 2013 - 9:31 AM

Anissa Helou is an experienced broadcaster on
radio and television and writes regularly for the Weekend Financial
Times. She speaks three languages fluently - Arabic, French and English - and writes about Middle Eastern food on her blog Anissa.

Helou attended the Crave Sydney International Food Festival, speaking with Turkish chef Mehmet Gurs at the World Chef Showcase. She talks to SBS about the role food plays in her life.

What is your secret food shame?


Not sure how secret it is, but I love to eat popcorn in the cinema, and outside too.


What ingredient can't you live without?


Herbs, lemons, extra virgin olive oil, spices, tomatoes, lettuce and salt.


What inspires you and your food?



The foodways of the Middle East, the Mediterranean and north Africa, also Japan.


What can you learn about a person from the way they prepare their food?


If they are neat, refned and sophisticated; and if they have a good palate


What is the recipe you most like to cook?



I have one every few years; this period it is white tabbuleh. No cooking involved but a lot of chopping.


What is your favourite recipe:


To impress?



Kibbeh bil-saniyeh (lamb and burghul 'pie’).

To comfort?


New potatoes cooked in a Moroccan way - braised with saffron and chopped herbs.


For an easy weeknight dinner?



Roast poussin finished with a squeeze of lemon or a little sherry.


What chef has been your inspiration?



The freres Troisgros and Michel Guerard.


Tell us about your favourite food event in Australia
.


It is my first time in Australia and I am really looking forward to participating in the World Chef Showcase, both doing my own demo and assisting at the other chefs demos as well as the talks. I would also like to go to Taste Melbourne one year.

What is your favourite cook book and cooking utensil?


I love my knives and I have both steel and ceramic ones, I have more than one favourite cookbook but if I had to choose, it would be Zette Guinaudea Franc’s Lese Secrets des Cuisines en Terres Marocaines. Great book on Moroccan food.

What is your favourite restaurant in your area?


St John’s Bread and Wine which is five minutes walk from my house and where I go often for breakfast, lunch or dinner

What would you like to tell your fellow foodies?


Go and eat at Sean’s Panaroma, it is the St John’s of Sydney, simple but perfect, with fabulous ingredients and great cooking.