GEORGE CHARTOUNI BIOGRAPHY

Born in 1993, George Chartouni is a Lebanese chef who grew up under the kitchen table observing his grandmother Asmaa Gergy (known as Emm Tony) at work. Emm Tony who worked as a chef since the 70s was his first inspiration and is still his daily motivation to achieve more success in his culinary career.

In 2009, he turned this passion into a profession by joining the Faculty of Hospitality

Management at La Sagesse University – Beirut to specialize in Culinary Arts (a major in

collaboration with Ecole Hôtelière de Lausanne) and subsequently went to develop his love of

food with trainings and by working his way up the culinary world ladder.

Today, Chef George is one of the youngest chefs to have reached advanced positions in the

culinary industry in the MENA region and Africa with more than 10 years of experience in

professional cooking and restaurants management.
Since his professional debuts, Chef George’s eagerness to learn the newest techniques through

studies, readings and trainings played a vital role in forging his culinary identity: modern

contemporary cuisine.

His skills were consolidated under the tutelage of world renown chefs besides trainings in

famous restaurants around the globe: Ferran Adrià’s El Bulli Lab - Barcelona, Jun Yukimura’s

Azabu Yukimura – Tokyo, Chef Frédéric Moreau...

This varied and rich background gave him the ability to turn every product he touches into a

piece of art, blending culinary classical basics and modern techniques with audacity and

developing a more contemporary approach to his acquired expertise. Every detail counts in his

dishes: from the concept to the presentation and the taste.

For Chef George, each new project is a challenge to push the boundaries with his curiosity and

talent, in order to introduce new signature dishes that will please the customers’ five senses

and stay engraved in their palate and memory.

That was the main target from his participation in the second season of the highly rated culinary show Top Chef in its Arabic version, in which he reached the Finale.

He is actually working as a culinary consultant and a food creator around the MENA region,

sharing his expertise in French, Italian, Chinese, International and Oriental Fusion cuisines with

the most demanding customers.



GEORGE CHARTOUNI BY GEORGE CHARTOUNI

When I started my culinary career, I was searching for a different style that would become my signature. But I was searching in the wrong cuisines. I wasn’t mature enough to appreciate my homeland cuisine. Instead, I worked on European dishes thinking it was the right path that will lead me to become the chef I always wanted to be.

My grandmother death was a turning point in my personal and professional life. Since I was a kid, I always promised her that she will be proud of me and that she will witness my name shine between the most brilliant chefs in the MENA region. She passed away while I was abroad for Top Chef shooting. It was a terrible and painful incident that led me to question all my assertions. 

That is when I decided to reinvent Lebanese traditional dishes as a celebration to Emm Tony’s heritage and legacy. I started creating dishes combining her own recipes and the techniques I mastered throughout my career. Throughout the process, I learned how to appreciate the authentic Lebanese flavors, spices and combinations with every recipe she wrote down and I turned into a dish. And since then, reinventing Lebanese cuisine became my watchword with one goal: propelling the traditional Lebanese recipes into the future.

And because Emm Tony’s culinary memories and notes resonate in each of those dishes, my friend Angélie Açaf (who always pushed me to dig deeper in my homeland cuisine and to revive the flavors of my childhood) and I, decided to write and share the story behind every dish… stories bringing back Emm Tony to life.
I believe my cooking style should be an ongoing evolution.  I learned and I’m still learning how to deal with every ingredient I touch, to use it in its entity and in every way possible to come out with different flavors and textures.I have this intense focus and attention to detail and I am driven by a desire to constantly raise the bar by thinking out of the box. It is knowledge that leads to creativity.