A dose of brût with Chef Youssef Akiki

A dose of brût with Chef Youssef Akiki

More than a chef, Youssef Akiki is a changemaker who is dedicated to his role as board member of the Lebanese Syndicate of Owners of Restaurants, Cafes, Night-Clubs & Pastries and his consultancy work with the United Nations Industrial development Organization (UNIDO) in Lebanon. Today, Akiki is the owner and manager of the F&B consultancy firm Kitchen Backstage Company as well as brût, a unique farm-to-table concept that offers experiential Levantine cuisine.

What inspires your menu?
I am influenced by nature, and I tend to plate my dishes in nature-inspired handmade pottery and ceramic plates. I always try to showcase the ingredients without too many additions. Simple yet complicated defines the menu. All the plates were selectively chosen for each dish, making each meal memorable for the eye as well as for the palate.

What is the correlation between nature and food?
What we eat defines the nature around us; that’s why growing our own vegetables, grains and fruits helps the environment, makes us sustainable and definitely adds to the freshness of what we are eating. One cannot properly work without the other.

Why did you choose to locate brût in Hrajel?
Hrajel is my hometown, and brût’s kitchen is installed in a room built by my grandfather, which I’m proud to showcase to the world. Also, I’m lucky that the building is located in an exceptional area that’s surrounded by greenery. There’s even a river close by.

Are there any new projects you can tell us about?
There are always new opportunities. I’m still working with the UN on several projects, and I have some consultancies in KSA, Qatar and the UAE. I also still have a lot of hope and belief in Beirut, so who knows, maybe something is cooking there as well.

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