Levant Food Writer

Food Writer and Broadcaster


In 2013, Anissa was named one of the “100 Most Powerful Arab Women” by Arabian Business magazine” and she was also included in their “500 most influential Arabs.”

Anissa is one of the best known food writers about the food of the Levant and the Middle East. She is also is an accomplished broadcaster on radio and television and writes regularly for various publications, both in the UK and US.

Anissa’s passion and career in food writing and broadcasting followed a long and distinguished career as an art consultant and dealer in precious antiques.

The daughter of a Syrian father and a Lebanese mother, Anissa was born in Beirut and educated at a French convent school. Aged 21, she moved to London to escape the rigid social convention of her country and began to study interior design at Inchbald School of Design then at Sotheby’s History of Art training course where she was soon appointed Sotheby’s representative for the Middle East.

After a stint in Paris owning and running a successful antique shop, Anissa moved to Kuwait to advise members of the Kuwaiti ruling family and other notables on their collections of Islamic art and the purchase of Victorian paintings, European silver, jewellery and Arts and Crafts furniture.

During this period she travelled extensively and she also started to build her own very personal collections. On her return to London in 1986, she housed her collections in her Victorian house transforming it into an Aladdin’s cave of beautiful and often bizarre treasures.

In the spring of 1999, she decided to change the course of her life and followed up on her strong interest in the food of the Levant. She has since written several books which have received considerable acclaim including: Lebanese Cuisine(1994); Street Café Morocco (1998), Mediterranean Street Food (2002). The Fifth Quarter, a pioneering book on the uses and delights of offal (2004), Modern Mezze (2007), Savoury Baking (2007) and her latest book Levant, Recipes and Memories from the Middle East (2013).

Today Anissa is a judge/mentor on the Arab version of The Taste TV series currently showing on the Egyptian Al-Nahar TV and OSN.

BASED IN: London, UK

LANGUAGES: English, Arabic and French.

Anissa Helou’s Last Supper, The Guardian May 2014
Anissa Helou’s Kitchen Diaries, The Guardian April 2014