After years of experience cooking with top chefs including David Scabin and Kasper Kurdahl, Lebanese born Ghina Bazzi, with a heavy heart, took one of her toughest decisions in life. She decided to leave Combal.Zero so that she could focus on starting a family.
“It was one of the hardest choice I ever made even though for years I have enjoyed every moment with my children and husband. But I felt there was still a story to be told so I am back but this time on my terms and in my own way,” Ghina told Food and Wine Gazette.
She was speaking after the first event she organised in Antwerp last month called ‘Beirut Nights’ which sold out very quickly.
“The event came about because I wanted to bring people together in a beautiful setting around table filled with generous servings of non pretentious food and of course music! I wanted to create a concept around sharing, after all the culinary world is all around sharing.”
The Beirut Nights event featured long tables, food sharing and lots of music. “It was just as we do it in Lebanon, my home country. I chose Lebanese food which I never cooked professionally but I felt that there was no better way to share a part of myself then with the food I grew up with. During the preparations of the food the smells truly gave me a feeling of home and this is something I always want to share with my guests, the warmth of home,” she said.
“As my concept develops I will also be refining the menu and playing around with the Lebanese flavours and mixing them up with some of the things I picked up along the way. I have a team of three which I find vital to my concept, The dj and and musician Gea Russel has exquisite taste in music, and the ladies from the front of house Kim Kindermans and Anais Wagner, both decorate with so much love, flair and style, I could not imagine having a better team,” she said.
Ghina is already planning her next two events. The first will be held on 6 and 7 December at the house of Jacob Jordaens, the JJ House in Antwerp. A separate event with friend Gabriele Boffa will centre around Piemontese food and will be held between December and January.
For the event Ghina worked with chef Bram Uyttenhoven. “I personally have not been in the “service” and action for the last eight years and frankly without his help I would not have been able to get a perfect flow going during my event. Team work at its best. I was lucky enough to have selected a team which I value greatly but also a team which understands the high quality and experience we would like to offer all our guests.”
Ghina says her experiences with Davide Scabin and Kasper Kurdahl shaped who she is as a chef. “I would love to translate the experience I gained in my food and this will happen gradually during the events. I worked with Kasper for more than 3 years and as hard as the training was, he got me ready for anything that came my way, he helped build my confidence and never allowed me to give up. To him I owe a lot. I then worked with Davide another kitchen rebel. With him I learnt to take food creation to another level. In his kitchen I created a dish called Steak Tartare BC which was presented at “cook it raw” and featured in some articles and of course was also presented in Rome at the Citta del gusto during a book launch for the top 6 of Italy.