Ramzi Choueiri, a celebrated Lebanese chef and pioneer of Middle Eastern cuisine dies at 52

Ramzi Choueiri, a celebrated Lebanese chef and pioneer of Middle Eastern cuisine dies at 52

Chef Choueiri holds 4 Guinness World Records for the largest serving of Lebanese food

Chef Ramzi Choueiri
Chef Ramzi Choueiri Image Credit: Instagram/@cheframzichoueiri

Chef Ramzi Choueiri, a well-known Lebanese chef, died recently due to a heart attack at the age 52. The news was confirmed in a post on his Instagram page on June 19.

"We are sorry to inform you that Chef Ramzi Choueiri passed away today, Sunday, 18 June 2023, in Beirut, Lebanon. We thank you all for keeping him in your prayers and thoughts," the post read.

A prominent figure in the field of Lebanese and Middle Eastern gastronomy, the news of his death was met with great sadness and mourning from fans of his culinary creations and those who knew him personally. Tributes and condolences also poured in on Twitter.

Not only was he a leading chef, he was also the CEO of the Al Kafaat Foundation, a nonprofit organisation based in Beirut, delivering rehabilitation and education to the Lebanese people.

Who was Chef Choueiri?

Born in Beirut in 1971, Chef Choueiri became a culinary force to be reckoned with, captivating the world's most prestigious dining tables with the rich flavours of his country's national cuisine.

He started his cooking profession in 1989, preparing traditional Lebanese dishes and selling frozen dishes in all shops in Lebanon, especially in Beirut.

With a degree in law and economics from the University of Lyon, France, Chef Choueiri went on to study culinary arts at the University of London. He was later honoured as a member of the French Union of Pâtissiers-Boulangers.

He won several awards and distinctions including former Lebanese President Emile Lahoud's Medal of Merit in 2003.

According to Chef's website biography, he launched his inaugural live cooking show in 1994, which attracted a daily viewership of up to 10 million people.

One of the reasons why Chef Choueiri was so popular was because of the recipes he chose to showcase. As a chef who trained in France, he mainly focused on European cuisine during his cooking demonstrations, attracting much attention from Arab cooks.

He also published a book titled ‘The Culinary Heritage of Lebanon’ in 2006, which contains detailed and modified Lebanese recipes. The chef visited all regions of Lebanon to gather recipes for this compilation.

The book includes stunning panoramic photographs of the Lebanese countryside and historical sites. Originally written in Arabic, the book has been translated into French and Portuguese.

In 2003, the Culinary Encyclopedia book, which was published in 1997, received the prestigious Prix Gourmand award.

In 2009, King Abdullah II ibn Al Hussein and Queen Rania Al Abdullah of Jordan appointed Choueiri as the personal Jordanian Army Food Counselor. From 2012 to 2015, he was appointed Arabic Culinary Ambassador of Qatar Airways, internationally representing Lebanese cuisine on all Qatar Airways international flights.

In 2018, Chef Choueiri decided to give up his career behind the stove to devote himself entirely to Al-Kafaat, a foundation founded by his father, Nadim Choueiri. The non-profit organisation provides free care for thousands of children with special needs and from underprivileged backgrounds.

Four Guinness World Records 

He achieved three Guinness World Records for the largest servings of Hummus (10.452 kg), Tabbouleh (3.453 kg), and Falafel (150.000 units), demonstrating that those dishes are solely Lebanese.

A fourth Guinness World Record was gained for the biggest plate of Fatteh, prepared with the special needs children of the Al-Kafaat foundation.

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