Anissa Helou was born to a Lebanese mother and a Syrian father in Beirut where she was educated in a French convent school.
At the age of 21, she moved to London to escape Lebanon and enrolled at Inchbald School of Design to study interior design. She then studied the History of Art and was later appointed as Sotheby’s representative for the Middle East.
In 1999, Anissa Helou decided to change her life career. She sold many of her prized possessions and invested in the purchase of a two-story warehouse loft in Shoreditch, which she converted into a modern minimalist living and working space.
The entrepreneur of multiple skills decided then that she has another talent to tap into as well and share with the world.
She launched Anissa’s Kitchen and went on releasing cookbooks that earned her awards.
Anissa has a wide and rich portfolio of award-winning cookbooks like Lebanese Cuisine (1994) which was shortlisted for the Andrew Simon Book Award, the Café Morocco (1999), Mediterranean Street Food (2002) earned her the Gourmand Award of the “Best Mediterranean in the English Language”, and The Fifth Quarter: An Offal Cookbook (2005), which won Most Innovative UK Food Book.
And there is more!
In 2013, she released Levant: Recipes and memories from the Middle East. In 2017, she released two cookbooks: the Savory Baking from the Mediterranean, and the Modern Mezze. These were followed in 2017 by her book Feast: Food of the Islamic World.
Her book Levant was selected by Observer Food Monthly’s 20 Food Books of the Year, Gourmet Travelers Best Books of 2013, 14 Best Cookbooks of 2013 by Buzzfeed, and one of Marie-Claire’s Digby’s Top 10 Food Books of the Year.