Table for two with chef Youssef Akiki

Table for two with chef Youssef Akiki

Having begun his career at the tender age of 15, chef Youssef Akiki has earned himself a great reputation for his creative and purist approach to Lebanese cuisine. Here, he tells us all about his latest venture, Butler’s Table.

When did you discover your passion for cooking?
When I was around 11 or 12 years of age, I recall asking my school to send me back home because I disliked the appearance of my sandwich. Even back then, I had a tendency to be particular about both the visual appeal and taste of food, and I suppose that’s when my culinary journey began. I would experiment by adding lemon juice, various spices and creating unique combinations that I believed would result in delicious flavors. My guiding principle was to appreciate the natural ingredients and utilize them effectively.

If you were to summarize your professional career in two sentences, what would you say?
I am a man who works passionately, continuously learns and researches, and someone who places growth as a constant target.

What can you tell us about your latest venture?
Butler’s Table is a concept launched in collaboration with Elie Khoury, owner of Butlers Holding, who is renowned for his expertise in drinks and service. By joining forces, we have combined our strengths in one restaurant. We are lucky to have such a great location in CAPO, an area that’s not too crowded yet in the heart of the city, where one can enjoy the calm seaside.
The cuisine is Mediterranean with colorful plates and fresh ingredients. Thankfully, our guests are really enjoying the dishes and the ambience. We are getting positive feedback. The menu features unusual items, which will keep people interested.

Do you have any interesting projects in the pipeline that you would like to share with our readers?
In addition to Butler’s Table, brût is open for its fourth season until September 16. We have a big surprise planned in September.  I’ll be traveling in October to Naples, Italy, for a “cuisine a 4 mains” and have other travel plans in the winter, so I should have plenty of exciting news to share in the next few months!



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About author

Rita Ghantous

Rita Ghantous is a hospitality aficionado and a passionate writer with over 9 years’ experience in journalism and 5 years experience in the hospitality sector. Her passion for the performance arts and writing, started early. At 10 years old she was praised for her solo performance of the Beatles song “All My Love” accompanied by a guitarist, and was approached by a French talent scout during her school play. However, her love for writing was stronger. Fresh out of school, she became a freelance journalist for Noun Magazine and was awarded the Silver Award Cup for Outstanding Poetry, by The International Library of Poetry (Washington DC). She studied Business Management and earned a Masters degree from Saint Joseph University (USJ), her thesis was published in the Proche-Orient, Études en Management book. She then pursued a career in the hospitality industry but didn’t give up writing, that is why she launched the Four Points by Sheraton Le Verdun Newsletter. Her love for the industry and journalism led her to Hospitality Services - the organizers of the HORECA trade show in Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Jordan, as well as Salon Du Chocolat, Beirut Cooking Festival, Whisky Live and other regional shows. She is currently the Publications Executive of Hospitality News Middle East, Taste & Flavors and Lebanon Traveler. It is with ultimate devotion for her magazines that she demonstrates her hospitality savoir-faire.

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