Léa Sednaoui's artichoke stew with preserved lemon

After leaving their homeland, Lebanese chefs continue to showcase their culinary talents in successful ventures around the world. Their recipe for success is a combination of reimagined Lebanese cuisine, an adaptable mindset and unwavering optimism.

Léa Sednaoui's artichoke stew with preserved lemon

Chef and culinary consultant Léa Sednaoui.(Credit: Anton Rodriguez)

Léa Sednaoui’s dishes are a perfect blend of beauty and flavor— a combination of poetry, aesthetics, modernity and at the same time, a sense of nostalgia stemming from her mixed origins. Born to Egyptian and Armenian parents, who later moved to Lebanon, Léa Sednaoui grew up between Paris and Beirut while also spending a good part of her childhood on vacation in West Africa. Since the age of 18, she has moved back and forth, with extended stops in London, where she currently lives.

Léa has seamlessly transitioned between various ventures, beginning with her work in the art world— a realm she has never truly departed from. After managing her now-closed Lebanese gallery, Running Horse, Léa later embarked on her first gastronomic project, ChewChoose.

Today Léa Sednaoui is a chef and culinary consultant, pursuing projects in a world increasingly focused on healthy eating and brand identity. Levaraging her master's degree from the London College of Communication, Léa’s business ChewChoose, has risen to success. The company, whose name means “Chew and make your choice,” offers catering services as well as a dining club. Léa has brought her vision to life with a distinctive brand, thoughtful "packaging," and an approach that emphasizes "a love of good food and well-made products."

While remaining deeply attuned to the natural world, a source of inspiration for her menus, Léa strives to offer a sensory and even philosophical experience. She is guided by four key principles: aesthetics, taste, craftsmanship and well-being. "I don't do kebbé," she says playfully, preferring cosmopolitan menus that are well thought-out and tastefully blend different textures and flavors.

Since first stepping into the kitchen professionally several years ago, she has chosen to concentrate on catering, organizing culinary events and doing home deliveries of vacuum-packed, pre-prepared meals under the brand “Brunette Bisket.”

2024 will be a pivotal year for the young chef. She is considering leaving London, or as she calls it, "the airport city," for a destination that enables her to be more in touch with the earth, grow and make a difference for future generations. "Unfortunately," she says, "I'm an idea machine. Or fortunately…”

(See our 8 questions to Léa Sednaoui below).

Léa Sednaoui's artichoke stew with lemon confit

Category: starter or main course

Preparation time: 20 minutes

Cooking time: 35-40 minutes

Total time: 1 hour

Serving: 4 people

Difficulty level: easy


30 ml olive oil

4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

Zest one lemon

400 g shallots, thinly sliced

10 g salt

1 tsp. lime powder

1 tsp. cumin seed powder

1 tsp. coriander seed powder

4 artichoke hearts, frozen or in brine, halved or quartered

1 preserved lemon, cut into thin strips

200 g fresh broad beans, peeled

100 g peas, frozen

20 ml lemon juice

30 g fresh mint, chopped

30 g fresh parsley, chopped

30 g fresh coriander, chopped

A little white pepper


Step 1: Over very low heat, heat oil in a casserole dish and confit the garlic, lemon zest, shallots, spices and salt, for at least 15-20 minutes, until the garlic is soft, the shallots almost caramelized, and the cumin is fragrant.

Step 2: Add artichoke hearts, broad beans and preserved lemon. Mix with a wooden spatula, so that each ingredient is bathed in the garlic-lemon confit.

Step 3: Cover and cook for 10 minutes, until artichokes are tender and pierced with the tip of a knife.

Step 4: Pour in the lemon juice, wait for it to simmer and add the peas for no more than 3 minutes.

Step 5: Serve with vermicelli rice or semolina. A little hot pepper is optional!

* This recipe is also delicious with meat. In this case, a little more preparation time is required. Simply prepare the meat, braised for example, beforehand, and incorporate it in step 2 of the original vegetarian recipe.

Artichoke stew with preserved lemon, an easy, fresh recipe with seasonal vegetables, prepared with meat here.


1. Can you tell us about your company?

ChewChoose is a project that's both dynamic and playful, an invitation to the table that's in keeping with the times. For me, "ChewChoose" today holds the meaning that eating "well" is good for our health, body, heart and mind, as well as for our environment and the preservation of our "local" biodiversity.

ChewChoose is a multi-sensory platform where I practice my cooking through a catering service, a podcast about our connection to our food, and a dining club— a seasonal itinerant table, in London and hopefully elsewhere soon!

2. Can you tell us about your chefs and their cuisine?

See below, because I'm the chef!

3. What inspires your menu? Do you change it regularly?

Season and location dictate the menu. It changes every two weeks or so. Appreciating nature is important to me, to watch it unfold in all its colors, scents and textures. It reminds us every day that we can and that we owe it to ourselves to receive its grace. Japanese culture inspires me deeply because it respects nature.

4. Sweet or savory?

Savory, although I incorporate a lot of fruits into my cooking. I use them like vegetables. For example, in winter, I love to prepare cooked red beet with cardamom and ginger and dress it with a blackberry vinaigrette.

5. What's your favorite recipe and why?

That's a tricky question because it depends on my mood and most importantly, the weather. I'm an earth sign, and I'm very fond of local ingredients, probably because they're so anchored in the soil.

A mixed herb salad, with a mesclun of oak leaves and batavia lettuce, never fails to captivate me and bring me joy. Fresh parsley, the spiciness of oriental arugula, chives, fennel pollen flowers and so many others can bring variety to a citrus vinaigrette with cider vinegar and honey…

Alternatively, I'm passionate about braising meats, because it reminds us that cooking well takes time, "time" that we try to avoid spending at all costs these days. So my favorite recipe is either one that's all about freshness, or a little simmering…

6. What is your relationship with Lebanon and Lebanese cuisine?

My relationship with Lebanon is rather mixed and interwoven, given my Egyptian, Greek and Armenian origins. The cuisine has its own identity, of course, but I experience it with an openness and gratitude for the land and the seasons. For me, as I was taught, I embrace the soil beneath me as home. That's why the season and the geography of the present moment really dictate everything I do.

7. Why did you choose to share this recipe?

In 2020, I discovered a passion for North African cuisine. Its spices, its stews and its earthy, desert flavors capture the heart and bring people together. Additionally, in this recipe, I use artichokes, which are a seasonal vegetable…

8. What's next?

ChewChoose brings terroir to the table. A cuisine of roots, a cuisine of warm horizons, a comfort that's both familiar and modern. It is in this spirit that I run a catering service for private events, as well as a weekly home-delivery meal service. As well as this, there is also a podcast on the impact of our food, to get closer to our producers, and offer both medical and spiritual guidance... And last but not least we have an itinerant, seasonal "Dining Club." In the midst of all this, I'll take a moment of reflection to decide what to do next...

This article was originally published in L'Orient-Le Jour.

Léa Sednaoui’s dishes are a perfect blend of beauty and flavor— a combination of poetry, aesthetics, modernity and at the same time, a sense of nostalgia stemming from her mixed origins. Born to Egyptian and Armenian parents, who later moved to Lebanon, Léa Sednaoui grew up between Paris and Beirut while also spending a good part of her childhood on vacation in West Africa. Since the age of...