Conflict Café: Meet the chefs

Find out more about the chefs behind Conflict Cafe 2016 – and book your tickets here! 

Imad GhossainImad_LebanonDinners

Imad’s love for food was first stirred by his mother, who he watched cooking delicious family meals as he grew up in the town of Broummana in the mountain region of Lebanon. Once or twice a week she would bring everyone together for a grand feast.

Imad first came to the UK in 1977, leaving behind the conflict in Lebanon. He began working in the food industry, including with the owner of Maroush restaurant, and settled here permanently in 2003. Over the years he has worked in many well-known Lebanese restaurants across London including Layalina in Knightsbridge, where he is currently based. He is passionate about sharing authentic Lebanese cuisine and believes strongly that food can bring people from all backgrounds, faiths and cultures, together.

Imad is taking over our kitchen for three nights of Lebanese feasting from Thursday 22 – Saturday 24 September.

Lazeez Lebanese Tapas, Mayfair, chef Michael SallaumLazeez Lebanese Tapas Conflict Cafe Lebanon

Lazeez tapas is a central London restaurant committed to tasty Lebanese food made with authentic ingredients. The restaurant, launched two years ago, aims to bring the food of Lebanon and Beirut to Londoners. From dairy, to bread, CEO Emilio Malik is passionate about supporting Lebanese producers and allowing the delicious flavours of the region to shine. Chef Michael Sallaum, from Beirut, is head of all food and menu development at Lazeez tapas, and will lead the kitchen for the Conflict Café Lebanon brunch special.

Michael will be serving up a special Lebanese brunch on Sunday 25 September.


Chef Mini, ZG Events

Chef Mini is an expert at showcasing the authentic and legendary flavours of Sri Lanka. She is passionate about many cuisines having spent part of her childhood travelling the world with her father, an ambassador. Mini’s mother was said to be the best cook in all of Galle, the capital region in Sri Lanka; Mini learnt many of her techniques and recipes from her. She settled in the UK in the 1990s and worked as a cook in many establishments. Mini is now head chef for ZG Events, a family business established by her son, Gaz, and his wife Zahira. The team produce and cater at creative and inspiring events across the UK.

Join Mini for a culinary tour of Sri Lanka from Thursday 29 September – Saturday 1 October.  


Ruby Kughanathan, Papi’s PicklesRuby_SriLankaBrunch

Ruby’s passion for cooking began at a young age when she would help her mother in the kitchen, first with breakfast before school and then moving on to assist with family dinners. She had to leave her hometown due to the conflict in Sri Lanka, with her family moving several times to avoid the war. In 2004 Ruby got married and came to the UK where she has settled and had a family of her own. Today Ruby works with Papi’s Pickles, the family-run and community-driven social enterprise that employs migrant women, catering for a wide variety of events around the capital. She credits Papi’s Pickles as life-changing, helping her not only find work, but build confidence and explore her interest in cooking.

Ruby is laying on a one-off Sri Lankan brunch on Sunday 2 October.