Following years of contentedly and quite happily cooking, what seemed like, almost nightly dinner parties, I wanted to stretch my culinary horizons and open a space to share a simple idea. Cook the food I made for family and friends at my own restaurant.
So, in 1998, TANOREEN was born to showcase the Middle Eastern home cooking I ate growing up, and reveal how it’s evolved since then.
My cookery style, and by extension Tanoreen’s, was born first and foremost as a form of expression and inspiration I shared with my mom. I’m not formally trained, but growing up in my mother’s kitchen I might as well have been.
My mother, a teacher, was an inspired and enthusiastic cook who whipped together three meals a day for the seven of us. Her unique approach was not rigidly “authentic,” but, rather, inspired by the food and ingredients of our region, in the Galilee.
What I truly loved and respected about my mother’s cooking and indeed the woman herself, was that she somehow “colored outside the lines” and enlivened her life and therefore her food with many creative flourishes. I remember her adding basil to a spice heavy, age-old Middle Eastern meat and potato stew that gave it a lovely green burst, or piling shredded coconut into a time-honored, moist semolina Harisa cake recipe that absolutely sent it over the top. It was inspired, expressive cooking.
That is how I learned to experiment with the traditional, to bend the rules with food.
By that token, Tanoreen has varied in its fusions, but never deviated from its roots, a blend of classical Middle Eastern home-style cooking with delicious Mediterranean aromas. My cooking celebrates tradition and embraces change. I cook without rigidly following ossified recipes, but I do respect their essence.
I opened Tanoreen as a ten table, store front eatery in Brooklyn, and have since, proudly expanded to a much larger location a few years ago with my partner and daughter, Jumana.
For there to be a true connection between me and my diners, and what my mother taught me, is something I value most at Tanoreen: the cooking has to be inspired... My commitment to ingredients coupled with my respect for my heritage is the basis of my inspiration.
I live by these elements, at home and at Tanoreen.
With warm care,
Chef/Owner, Rawia Bishara