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MENA’s 50 Best Restaurants announces the Foodics Icon Award winner

Kamal Mouzawak has been recognised for his contribution to Lebanon’s culinary scene

The first edition of MENA’s 50 Best Restaurants has honoured Kamal Mouzawak for his contributions to culinary developments in Lebanon.

Regarded as Lebanon’s most prominent food activist, the founder of Beirut’s first farmers’ market, Souk El Tayeb, has been named the winner of the Foodics Icon Award by the Middle East & North Africa’s 50 Best Restaurants organisation.

Mouzawak will be presented with the award at the inaugural edition of MENA’s 50 Best Restaurants, taking place in Abu Dhabi on 7 February 2022

In presenting this accolade, the 50 Best organisation honours outstanding figures in the food sector in the Middle East and North Africa region.

Born into a family of farmers, Mouzawak is passionate about his country and its diverse regions that produce a variety of local cuisine. As part of his vision to promote small-scale farmers and sustainable agriculture, he founded Beirut’s first farmers’ market, Souk El Tayeb, celebrating the food and traditions that unite communities in Lebanon.

The souk spawned Mouzawak’s first restaurant, Tawlet meaning ‘table’, where each day one female cook sets the menu with dishes from her respective region, paying homage to her region’s cuisine, and introducing patrons to the diversity of Lebanese food traditions through home cooking.

Since Tawlet opened in 2009 in Beirut, Mouzawak has launched five more restaurants, providing employment opportunities for women across the country

Mouzawak is also recognised as a culinary activist for his advocacy of sustainable and humane food production.

Commenting on Mouzawak’s win, 50 Best director of content William Drew said: “Kamal Mouzawak’s contribution to elevating the slow food movement in Lebanon, while 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.”

The success of one of Souk El Tayeb’s concepts, the farmers’ exchange programme, which connects Lebanon’s farmers with international investor networks, is now enabling Mouzawak to introduce producers’ restaurants to Dubai and farmers’ platforms in Saudi Arabia.

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On being notified of his win, Mouzawak said: “I feel honoured to be selected as the recipient of the Foodics Icon Award this year. At Souk El Tayeb, we have empowered the lives of many, and I’m delighted that the hard work of the team has been recognised. We aim to use this opportunity to amplify our voice and the need for strong communities in elevating nations and improving the food industry.”

Foodics UAE’s Tjalling van den Burger added: “As the Restaurant Management Technology Partner for the inaugural edition of MENA’s 50 Best Restaurants, we are delighted to be celebrating our regional icons on a global stage with the exclusive Foodics Icon Award. We convey our most heartfelt congratulations to Kamal Mouzawak as the first winner of the Foodics Icon Award. Kamal is a true inspiration for us all. From his passion and dedication as a social entrepreneur to his vision of celebrating food and traditions in order to unite communities, he is truly redefining performance in our sector through inclusion and hope.”

The inaugural Middle East & North Africa’s 50 Best Restaurants awards ceremony will be hosted in the UAE Capital on Monday 7 February 2022, supported by Abu Dhabi’s Department of Culture and Tourism (DCT)

The first edition of Middle East & North Africa’s 50 Best Restaurants event programme, including the awards ceremony and unveiling of the list, provides an opportunity for chefs, and food and travel media from all over the region to celebrate food, hospitality and culinary diversity in the region.

The final pre-announced award in the lead up to the inaugural event and reveal of MENA’s 50 Best Restaurants 2022 will be announced on 25 January, celebrating up-and-coming talent with the One To Watch Award.

For more information, visit www.theworlds50best.com/mena/en

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