An authentic Lebanese cooking experience

Posted on 2 September 2022 By David Henning

Lebanese cuisine is a myriad of spices in a mezze of dishes spread across the table, and I couldn’t wait to dig in. That was until Ghenwa told me; ‘You South Africans know nothing about Lebanese food!’ And so I had to prepare myself for a new myriad of flavours, ones that my newly acquired palate didn’t seem to mind.

Ghenwas culinary club

‘It’s so difficult to find pure tahini over here, some of it has peanuts mixed in with it’ she continues with her hands waving around exuberantly – Forget Italian, Lebanese is my new favourite kind of eccentric – as she takes us through the basics of her homeland’s cuisine.

Ghenwa Steingcaszner is a Lebanese-born and bred maître chef, where she runs Ghenwa’s Culinary Club at Lourensford Wine Estate. Ghenwa and her husband, Geza, bought a house in South Africa just a few days into their first trip in the country. 

She shares her passion and love for the culinary arts conserving food through organic and healthful eating. Outside her culinary club is a small orchard of citrus trees and a few raised vegetable beds so she can fresh ingredients straight from her garden. 

Lebanese cuisine is known for providing healthy diets typical of Mediterranean cuisines, keeping you energised and youthful – and Ghenwa is a testament to that. 

Ghenwa takes us through how to fold a Lamb Sambousek.

Seated across the counter from Ghenwa in the kitchen, she works her magic, taking you through the feast. Ranging from Tabouleh (seasoned parsley and chopped tomatoes salad), Baba Ghanoush (eggplant puree), to Lamb Sambousek (pastry filled with mince and pine nuts), Rooz Maa Dajaj (chicken with rice), and Kinafeh (cheese dessert), you learn all of the easy steps, which you’ll be sure to add to your culinary repertoire. 

But this is not just a workshop where you learn how the food is made, you also get to indulge in it yourself. The mezze is laid out on the table, you have a delectable wine and you enjoy food the way it is supposed to be enjoyed – communally.

Ghenwas culinary club

With Arabian Music playing in the background, it’s a jovial setting of laughing between flippant conversations, and the occasional belly dancing lesson (Ghenwa is also a belly dance instructor).

The menu is never constant, so you don’t know what to expect. The hours pass by without even noticing, and before you know it, you will have a craving for that incredible Baba Ghanoush, and come back for more. 

You think you’ve Baba Ghanoush, but have you really?

Falafel is what many associate with Lebanese cuisine, but it is just one dish alongside countless others.

To book

Ghenwas culinary club

Cost of the workshop is R750.00 per person with a minimum participation of 10 and a maximum of 16.  Bookings are essential online via the Cooking Class Booking Form here.

Private events can be booked for workshops via email: [email protected] or call Ghenwa at 072 9523348.

Pictures: supplied

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