Her white hair and her burgundy shawl portray her distinctive artistic outlook… that was my first impression of Ms. Anissa Helou, the internationally known food writer,
art collector, journalist, broadcaster and chef specializing in the cuisines of the Mediterranean, Middle East and North Africa. It wasn’t the World Food Day that is celebrated every year around the world on 16 of October; it was Food Day for some LAU communication arts students that were taken into the food world with Helou who visited LAU media, culture, and technology class on Thursday, the 25th of February.
The instructor of the class Ayman Itani introduced Helou briefly and talked about her accomplishments referring to her use of the new social media. In this regard, Helou said that she resisted social media for a while because she believed that it is time-consuming, but then she found it worth using for the sake of her work. She told us about how she started her blog. It was a mundane incident that prompted her to start a blog where she had to coach her students to prepare maamools in Easter and she couldn’t find the molds so she kept on searching for them, but she didn’t find them, so she decided to prepare the maamools without them. When she finished preparing them, she found the molds. She talked also about the importance of one’s presence online. As an artist who used to run an antique shop in Paris, she considers cooking as an art. In fact, in the spring of 1999, she decided to change the course of her life, so she sold her idiosyncratic art collections and bought with the proceeds of the sale a remarkable two-story warehouse loft in Shoreditch. She’s very conscious of food’s appearance, but she’s not active in the art world anymore.
After her succinct word, there was time for raising questions. She was asked about which of the media outlets she thinks is the most effective. She said that T.V is one of the most effective ones because of its capability of reaching a vast array of audience members, but emphasized on the importance of using all media outlets without a specific preference of one on the other. Responding to a question about her objectives in life, she said that she is willing to open her own deli and she is currently building towards creating her own cooking brand (Anissa’s).