Barbara Abdeni Massaad was born in Beirut, Lebanon. She moved to Florida at a young age and gained her real culinary experience while helping her father in the family-owned Lebanese restaurant Kebabs & Things. Determined to gain proper experience within the culinary world, Massaad trained with several renowned chefs at Lebanese, Italian and French restaurants.
Growing up with the influence of her father, Massaad combined both culinary and photography to create her first book Man’oushé: Inside the Street Corner Lebanese Bakery, winner of the Gourmand Cookbook Award 2009 and the Lebanese Academy of Gastronomy 2009. Mouneh: Preserving Foods for the Lebanese Pantry, winner of the Gourmand Cookbook Award 2010 and Prix de la Littérature Gastronomique 2010, continues Barbara’s quest to discover and preserve another aspect of Lebanese culinary heritage. Mezze: A Labor of Love, her third book, published in 2014, winner of the Gourmand Cookbook Award, documents her favorite mezze recipes with short stories and anecdotes.
Soup for Syria: Recipes to Celebrate our Shared Humanity (2015) includes recipes from acclaimed chefs and cookbook authors the world over to help food relief efforts to alleviate the suffering of Syrian refugees.
Massaad is a founding member of Slow Food Beirut and currently president of the local chapter and has been nominated International Council for the Middle East of Slow Food International. She lives in Beirut with her husband and three children.