When I was planning The Jewelled Kitchen Beirut cookbook launch, I knew it had to be extra special, after all, this book launch was taking place in my home country, in one of my favourite cities and I’d be surrounded by family and friends.
A few email exchanges with the wonderful folks at the beautiful Le Gray hotel in downtown Beirut and several meetings later, the JK Beirut launch planning was underway and I couldn’t imagine a better venue for it. Unlike my London launch, I had very little to do this time around, given the JK recipe cooking was carefully taken over by Le Gray’s head chef, Abdallah Walid Khodor, and as I’m told from those in attendance that evening- the food was executed wonderfully.
An event for 100 people quickly turned into 150 with last minute RSVP’s flooding through in true Lebanese style. We had to think on our feet on how to source more food within hours and thankfully the generous folks over at Meat the Fish rushed in to save the day by supplying us with plenty of their signature smoked tuna for the night.
It ain’t no party without wine, and luckily for us, the JK recipes were perfectly matched with a selection of thirst-quenching wines from across Lebanon. A massive thanks to Wines of Lebanon for their continuous support and for making sure we never got thirsty.
I am always grateful to have kind and supportive friends like Iva, who took a basic idea I had of portraying testimonials from industry greats on a “sheet of paper or something” and instead, she gifted me with a wonderful piece of art!
Not only did Iva prepare a gorgeous testimonial display but she was DJ extraordinaire, dropping a few bombs for our hungry ears that night 😉 As ever, Sarka saved the day literally, by capturing many moments with her camera so that I’m able to share them with you here. And, a big thanks to Joslin and Sayed for continuously restocking as the books flew off the shelfs.
Unfortunately or fortunately, I spent the entire event signing books and it was gob-smacking to see people lining up for their signed copy. While I did sell out of every book, I truly wish I’d had more time to socialise with everyone that came out.
And there she is, my beautiful Beirut in the background, consistently fraught with sabotage, persistently rebounding.
Father and friends, joking around… Notice dad’s tie takes inspiration from the JK cover colours, which he surprised me with that morning before he left for work 🙂
With my lovely high school friend Hilda….
And a big thank you to all of you (and Bashar for the wonderful video trailer), for all the support and love- for buying, reading and sharing this book. September 11, 2013 will always be a very memorable night (for more reasons than stated- I may just tell the tale of the second half of the night in another post!)
And next week will see Pomegranates and Pine Nuts (AKA The Jewelled Kitchen) out in America! I can’t believe my book will hit bookstores in another one of my blood countries. Exciting times indeed. xx