AALIA’s exclusive collaboration with Michelin-Starred chef Alan Geaam

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Experience Middle Eastern food like never before at AALIA’s Chef Series grand finale for 2023. AALIA is thrilled to welcome renowned French-Lebanese Michelin-starred chef, Alan Geaam, as the final guest of their esteemed series. Partnering with AALIA’s Executive Chef, Paul Farag, the culinary duo invite guests to savour Middle Eastern cuisine in a refreshingly new and exhilarating way.

Alan Geaam is the only Lebanese chef to secure a Michelin star in Paris, celebrated for blending his Lebanese roots with sophisticated French cuisine. His commitment to culinary innovation and his passion for pushing boundaries will grace Sydney, promising a spectacular dining experience.

This exclusive event, marking the closure of AALIA’s 2023 Chef Series, will take place on Tuesday 24th and Wednesday 25th of October. The menu showcases a cornucopia of dishes, including hummus cornet with trout roe and nuts, and lobster with freekeh and arak. Desserts include a sweet brik pastry baklava with cashew ice cream and preserved quince, along with a Mouhalabia lollipop.

“I am beyond excited to give Australian diners the best possible experience,” says Michelin-starred Chef, Alan Geaam. “This will be the first time we embark on emulating the ‘Alan Geaam dining experience’ anywhere else in the world. I am so excited to delve into Sydney’s fresh and local ingredients to bring a creative, beautiful, and delicious menu to life with Chef Paul and his team.”

AALIA’s Executive Chef, Paul Farag, shares the excitement, saying, “At AALIA, we’re dedicated to pushing boundaries, that’s why our chef series has been some of our most successful and much-loved evenings for our guests. I’m so excited to be collaborating with Alan, and create an exceptional menu that introduces a new perspective on Middle Eastern cuisine.”

The Head Sommelier, Eleonore Wulf, has curated two wine pairings and one non-alcoholic pairing to accompany the menu, featuring a selection of Lebanese varietals, adding an extra layer of sophistication to the dining experience.

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We spoke to the chef about some of his experiences and influences. Here’s more:

A Symphony of Flavours: As a Lebanese chef, could you describe how you craft a perfect medley of flavours that takes diners on a culinary journey through the vibrant streets of Beirut?

Taking people on a journey when they taste my cuisine is one of the great missions I set myself on a daily basis. It’s all about the balance of flavours: I combine the central elements of Lebanese cuisine, such as pomegranate molasses and sujuk spices, with products more traditionally found in French cuisine. This creates a unique fusion cuisine, perfectly combining Lebanese and French cultures, for a journey full of flavours, just like the lively streets of Beirut.

The Art of Traditional Cooking: How do you preserve the authenticity of traditional Lebanese recipes while adding your personal touch to make them sing with modern relevance?

I never forget the teachings of my first chef, my mother, who taught me everything there is to know about traditional Lebanese recipes! She passed on to me the generosity and love of others that are the real heart of Lebanese cuisine. When you keep these key elements in mind, the authenticity is always there.

Spice It Up: Lebanese cuisine is known for its rich and diverse set of spices. Can you share your secret for balancing these spices to create dishes that are both exciting and comforting?

The secret is actually quite simple: you have to taste, enjoy tasting and analyse the flavours created by the combinations, until you find the perfect balance! You mustn’t be afraid to try things out several times until you’re completely satisfied with what you’re creating. You also have to be daring, know your products well and dare to make unexpected combinations to surprise your guests.

From Farm to Table: Lebanon’s fertile lands yield an impressive array of fresh produce. How do you incorporate these seasonal ingredients into your dishes to ensure your menu is always bursting with freshness?

It’s very important for me to respect the seasonal nature of the ingredients. My menu changes throughout the year, so that the meals I serve are always made with the freshest, highest-quality products possible: asparagus in spring, squash in autumn… And that’s just one way of showcasing the whole variety of products available to us!

Invitation to savour: For someone new to Lebanese cuisine, which dish would you recommend as a must-try, a dish that encapsulates the spirit of Lebanon and will leave them craving for more?

Lebanese cuisine is so rich, it would be so difficult to sum it up in just one dish! I think the best way to represent it would probably be to share a nice table of mezzes with all your loved ones, because Lebanese cuisine is not only a huge variety of dishes, but also and above all an experience of sharing and conviviality that is not to be missed.