Name: Mays Elansari
Concept: Dean & Deluca, Bouchon Bakery, 400 Gradi, Pinkberry, Bridgewater Chocolate, Castania Nut Boutique
Title: Head of Marketing, Food Retail Division at M.H. Alshaya
Chef: Chef Thomas Keller.
Cooking show: Chopped.
Cookbook: Cook for Syria.
Q: What experience most defined your decision and desire to get into the food industry?
I didn’t start off in the food industry. In a funny way, though, food has always been part of my life – since my childhood, growing up in London and seeing my mom (Ibtissam Akkad Elansari) in the kitchen cooking delicious traditional Syrian recipes. It was wonderful to see how it brought everyone together, the dining table was always bursting with food. It was also almost serendipitous that I got into food and the rest is history.
Q: What do you love the most about your current job?
The team – everyone from the marketing team and the Chefs, to the store staff, are phenomenal. The dedication and passion is wonderful to see, we all work extremely hard and are constantly learning from each other which is so important. It’s like having a second family. I also love the journey I’ve been on at Alshaya. It’s been an amazing opportunity to develop brands from scratch working with world renowned chefs.
Q: Where is your favorite place to shop for food and ingredients in Kuwait?
Hands down, Dean & Deluca! I love the experience, the team, food quality, and constantly discovering what new ingredients they have. There are also many things that I can only find there.
Q: What food most reminds you of your family’s house, and why?
Kebbeh labaneh. My mom was the best at cooking it. She used to make the kebbeh herself which was so much work, but bless her she would never take the easy way (the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree) and I would have to tirelessly stir the laban.
Q: When you want to go somewhere else to eat, where do you go and why?
Bouchon Bakery – you can genuinely taste the difference because of the great ingredients used across the menu, and I enjoy having light dishes because gives me a good excuse to indulge in their scrumptious desserts! I also enjoy Meat & Co.; I love a good piece of fillet steak.
Q: Who in the world would you most like to cook for?
I’d have to say my children and husband – I never have time and I’m getting rusty!
Q: Name 3 ingredients that start with the first letter of your name.
Mango (I’m addicted to the Alfonso mangos), mint and mozzarella.
Q: What do you think will be the biggest food trend of 2018?
This is more of a lifestyle trend, where people are more health conscious. It’s boring but true – everything in moderation is ok!