The Phuket News Premier League predictions The Phuket News Kata Rocks The Phuket News
The Phuket News World News
The Phuket News Phuket | Thailand | World | Business | Q&A | Weird World XML, RSS, Feed
The Phuket News The Phuket News
The Phuket News

Former dishwasher gets his star

FRANCE: When Lebanese chef Alan Geaam first arrived in Paris two decades ago he found himself sleeping on the streets, lost and penniless with hardly a word of French.



Sunday 18 February 2018, 01:30PM

Geaam poses in his eponymous restaurant ‘Alan Geaam’. Photo: Stephane de Sakutin
Geaam poses in his eponymous restaurant ‘Alan Geaam’. Photo: Stephane de Sakutin

This week Geaam, who began his career as a dishwasher while he was sleeping rough in a Paris park, received his first Michelin star from the French gastronomic bible for his acclaimed new restaurant within a stone’s throw of the Arc de Triomphe.

“I never thought the Michelin would be interested in someone like me, who was self-taught, who had to sleep in the street at 19 and who began as a dishwasher,” he said.

“I thought the guide was about chefs in big fancy hotels or those trained by the great masters. But it turned out to be the opposite. It’s a wonderful surprise,” said the 43-year-old, who was born to Lebanese parents in Liberia, before they exchanged one war zone for another by returning to Beirut.

By then Geaam’s fascination with food was clear, watching cookery shows on television rather than cartoons after school.

He started cooking while doing his national service in Lebanon, and the colonel of his regiment was so impressed he made him his personal chef.

But Geaam never thought we would be able to cut the mustard in France, and only got his break when the chef of the restaurant where he was washing the dishes was rushed to hospital when he slashed his hand with a knife.

“I worked during the day as a construction worker and at night delivering pizzas and washing dishes. One night the cook cut his hand and had to go to hospital. No one asked me, but I just took over. There were 14 tables and so I just feed the customers and at the end of the night they were delighted.

“The owner said to me, ‘But you can cook!’ and I said, ‘Yes.’

“The reason I cook is to make people happy,” said Geaam. And he has certainly spread joy among restaurant critics with Michelin’s rival Gault Millau guide raving about his langoustines and chard and its dark chocolate-coloured sauce tinged with Vietnamese cardamom.

Alexander Lobrano, author of “Hungry for Paris”, was even more effusive, declaring this “gentle, shrewd, self-taught chef as one of quiet men of Paris gastronomy... who has a brilliant future ahead of him.”


Although Geaam delights in bringing the very best of French produce to his table, Lobrano said he also brings the “tender buds of his very personal cooking that makes references to the lost world of a little boy born to a foreign family living in tropical Africa.”

And the influence of his Lebanese roots is never far away either.

One of Geaam’s favourite dishes at the moment is “an escalope of foie gras lacquered with pomegranate molasses served with a tartlette of beetroot and pomegranate.

“I ate a lot of pomegranates when I was a kid,” he said. “I made juice with them, I made lots of reductions with them, and I loved putting this very Lebanese touch with something so French as foie gras.”

Since Geaam got his Michelin star last week his restaurant’s phone has not stopped ringing.

He said his small, tight team of highly-talented chefs – whose CVs he admits look far more impressive than his own – “really feel that something has happened in our lives.

“You can criticise the Michelin guide but I can tell you the effect, a star massively boosts a restaurant.”

Within hours the restaurant was booked up for three weeks. “It is quite something,” he said.

Geaam, who told how his son boasted to his friends at school that his father got a Michelin star, put his success down to his own parents, who “lost everything” in Liberia only to have to struggle again in Lebanon during the civil war.

He said working with his father in his grocery shop from the age of 10 gave him a taste for business while his mother “taught me how to love people and how to cook”.



The Phuket News
The Phuket News
Comment on this story
* Please login to comment. If you do not have an account please register below by simply entering a username, password and email address. You can still leave your comment below at the same time.
Comments Here:

Comments Left: Characters
E-mail: (No Hotmail, Live, MSN and Outlook accepted at this time)
   => Forget password?

Be the first to comment.

The Phuket News
The Phuket News The Phuket News The Phuket News
The Phuket News
Share this
The Phuket News
Have a news tip-off? Click here
The Phuket News
Related stories
The Phuket News
Phuket community

Recent Comments

NLA member’s son convicted of up-skirting in London

Wow, wow, wow. This conviction the dirty thai boy and his family will carry with them for the rest of their lives He has a criminal record now Just ...(Read More)

Royal Thai Police deputy chief outlines policies to Region 8 Police

Read the last 3 lines of the article 'For example' + all the following nonsense bla bla They repeat is time after time over and over again ...(Read More)

Phuket Governor orders lifeguards on beaches by April 1

This is worse than the usual annual cluster f$&#. The Governor and everyone else should just keep quiet and forget about it. They all look like ...(Read More)

PM tightens bus inspections after crash horror

I was originally hoping for something different with the PM, but he has shown time and again that lip service reigns supreme. The whole huffing and pu...(Read More)

Phuket Governor orders lifeguards on beaches by April 1

“Relevant offices have to quickly find solutions to solve the lifeguard situation in Phuket in order to bring safety confidence for tourists." ...(Read More)

MontAzure marks construction milestone for twinpalms residences MontAzure in Phuket

These developments will continue to destroy the beauty that was Phuket as there is no limit to the greed of the developers and the authorities who all...(Read More)

Phuket Governor orders lifeguards on beaches by April 1

Name me another country were a simple matter as beach lifeguards continuity is such a difficult portfolio as in Thailand on Phuket. Billions of touri...(Read More)

MontAzure marks construction milestone for twinpalms residences MontAzure in Phuket

Thailand continues to serve as example for how detrimental unchecked capitalism is....(Read More)

Driver dead as water truck rolls Patong Hill hillside

A tunnel???? Can you imagine the carnage when these fools crash into each other in a tunnel and a car bursts into flames, the death rate would be horr...(Read More)

Digital centres to screen social media to be set up, Isoc confirms in Phuket

Until Thailland's absurd, social elite protecting defamation laws are amended, you cannot expect the public to act as watchdog on corruption. ...(Read More)

The Phuket News
Weird World
The Phuket News PHUKET LIFE
Phuket Arts
Phuket Community
Phuket Culture
Phuket Dining
Phuket Education
Phuket Entertainment
Phuket Environment
Phuket Health
Phuket People
Phuket Technology
Phuket Travel
World Entertainment
Photo Galleries
The Phuket News PHUKET SPORT
Phuket Buy and Sell
Phuket Jobs
Phuket Property
Phuket Cars and Boats
Phuket Community
Phuket Services
The Phuket News The Phuket News PHUKET EVENTS
Phuket Event listings
Phuket Event calendar
Buy Tickets
Phuket Bars, pubs and clubs
Phuket Hotels and villas
Phuket Restaurants
Phuket Yellow Pages
The Phuket News BARGAINS
The Phuket News ABOUT US
The Company
Distribution points
Advertise with us
Pay for advert
Contact us
Content Google Map
Site map
Australian Visa Services
Currency - The Phuket News   Weather Report - The Phuket News   Surf Report - The Phuket News
LinkedIn - The Phuket News   Twitter - The Phuket News   YouTube - The Phuket News   Facebook - The Phuket News
Copyright © 2018 Class Act Media. All rights reserved. | Website usage terms and conditions | Privacy and Confidentiality Statement.