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University of Balamand > News > Archive > ‘Drizzle ‘n’ Sizzle Wiz Ze Expertz​’


‘​Drizzle ‘n’ Sizzle Wiz Ze Expertz​’

If you were lucky enough to get to the phone on time and reserve a table for November 7 at the THM restaurant in Daniel Hall, then this is what you’re having for an amuse bouche: mini crab cakes. They will be garnished with mango salsa and cold curry sauce. In one word: scrumptious.

If you are a normal human being and don’t know what amuse bouche means and decide to look it up in Wikipedia, you will discover, unfortunately, that it means a “single, bite-sized hors d'œuvre.” Yes, one bite.

Well, just hope that the friend, sitting next to you, doesn’t want his.

The amuse bouche will be followed by an appetizer that is a “trio of land and sea,” and that will be spice salmon tartar on cucumber crow, smoked duck breast on lentil salad, and warm prawn skewer with root vegetables. We have not yet discussed the main dish. Nor the dessert, an Austrian “classic” the menu informs us.

This is not everyday fare at the THM restaurant, although that restaurant is known as an oasis of cuisine fine in North Lebanon. On November 7, Balamand faculty and staff will be treated to a menu prepared by the celebrated executive chef of the Eau de Vie restaurant at the Phoenicia Hotel, Thomas Figovc. He will be assisted by the Tourism and Hotel Management students registered in a course on Restaurant Management.

The visit of Chef Figovc is part of the ‘Drizzle ‘n’ Sizzle Wiz Ze Expertz’ program by the School of Tourism and Hotel Management meant to acquaint students with new cooking techniques and recipes, explains Laurent Yaacoub, an instructor in the program. Lebanon’s most renowned chefs, from the country’s most prestigious five-star hotels, have agreed to assist with the project. Last May, Chef Abdallah Khodor of the Le Gray Hotel prepared a mean Thai baked sea bass in banana leaf. Some people are still talking about the experience.

The THM restaurant enjoys a well-deserved fine reputation with the Balamand community, and obtaining a lunch reservation there is no walk in the park. Not only is the food first-class, but the service, graciously provided by the students under the supervision of maitre Maurice Abou Abdou, is friendly and professional.

Here is a typical menu on a normal day: A generous salad bar as an entree, followed by a main course of grilled chicken garnished with cashew nuts and pineapple, and then crème brulee. Ask for a drink and a very fine cup of coffee. The cost? Not worth mentioning.

According to in-charge Chef Elie Massoud, the secret to the very fine quality of the food served at the THM restaurant is the judicious use of sauces. Wild mushrooms and mushroom sauces, as well as finely procured herbs, all add to the quality of the servings.

Yacoub praised Chef Massoud for introducing into the restaurant the finest attention to detail and for the “very nice French recipes he brought back with him from his two weeks training in Ferrandi, l’école française de gastronomie.”

A good restaurant, says Yacoub, also recognizes the importance of good food presentation. The culinary art, he says, is also a visual art.

The lunch experience at the THM restaurant is the by-product of what is essentially a service lab for food production courses for THM students, where they learn the principles of in-house operations, such as overall restaurant management, hosting, pre-, during and post- service procedures, cleaning stations and billing guests, says Yaacoub.

“The restaurant is an opportunity for our students to get acquainted with guest communication which is an integral part of the field of hospitality and will prepare them for successful careers in entry-level management positions in the various hospitality fields.”

The THM restaurant is the brainchild of President Elie Salem. Dr. Salem, says Yaacoub, “wanted a place where staff and faculty members could enjoy a special lunch in a nice ambiance.” They certainly now have that.

As to the main course on November 7, it will be veal roulade, filled with mushroom and asparagus served with sweet potatoes and baked bean bundle.

Bon appétit!​​​​​
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University of Balamand,
Balamand Al Kurah,
Lebanon

Tel:  +961-6-930250
Fax: +961-6-930278