CONTACT: fitmeinfo@protonmail.com

File Apr 23, 10 38 48 AM

Welcome to Feast in the Middle East! Blanche Shaheen is an Arab American and  network television host and reporter in both entertainment and news. She is currently a correspondent for NBC’s “California Live” where she interviews local chefs, restauranteurs, actors and actresses, and business people that are making an impact, while also covering lively events going on in Northern California.

Before that she was the first Arab American to become an entertainment and lifestyle reporter in the United States. She reported live daily on the ABC entertainment program called “View from the Bay”, where she interviewed hundreds of celebrities, and reported live on fashion shows, food trends, music concerts, art exhibits and much more throughout the San Francisco Bay Area.

From 1998-2008, Blanche also hosted the independent film show “Video I” for PBS for 10 years, covering film festivals, scouting out the latest and greatest in independent films, and interviewing filmmakers and actors.  She also reported live news daily for the Tech TV show called “Tech Live, where she covered massive breaking stories like the Septemeber 11 atacks, which she did continuously from a live satellite truck. On the side, Blanche also hosted and moderated the Peabody award winning program, Mosaic, World News of the Middle East for the international news channel, Link Media.

In 2010 Blanche made the switch to hosting her own cooking show, sharing 100s of years old recipes preserved by her mother and grandmother.  These were heirloom recipes handed word of mouth from one generation to the next, recipes that even culinary schools lacked–however, there were no written measurements. With her journalism background, she decided to document the recipes in an ongoing cookbook, and “Feast in the Middle East” was born. In 2020 she launched her highly rated cookbook, “Feast in the Middle East, a Personal Journey of Family and Cuisine.”

Blanche’s Youtube cooking show has gained international recognition in the press. Her cookbook was recognized as one of the top Middle Eastern culinary books by Vogue Arabia, and has received accolades from BBC Travel, BBC International, and NPR Radio. Her cooking show was part of Virgin American Airlines In Flight Entertainment, and she has taught live cooking classes at Draeger’s Cooking School. Blanche is also a food columnist, having written regular columns for the San Jose Mercury News, and the internationally syndicated magazine, Arab America.  Her blog was voted as the 6th most popular Middle Eastern food blog in the world: https://blog.feedspot.com/middle_eastern_food_blogs/

For her personal story, click on the video below:

The feedback has been tremendous, with thousands of visitors from all over the world comprising her more than 150,000 followers on social media, Check this blog regularly for updated recipes, cooking tips, information about exotic ingredients, family stories, and videos of Blanche’s cooking journey.

Here is the original Feast in the Middle East Trailer:

As for educational background, Blanche  got her Bachelor of Arts in Political Economy of Industrial Societies at U.C. Berkeley, followed by a Master’s Degree  in broadcast journalism. She speaks Spanish and Arabic, is a certified Zumba Fitness and bootcamp instructor, teaching hip hop, salsa, bollywood, and bellydance for 7 years. She is also a fervent abolitionist, supporting Not for Sale and the International Justice Mission against human trafficking and slavery. She is also a Compassion International sponsor for a eighth grade girl in Colombia.

You can contact Feast In the Middle East here: fitmeinfo@protonmail.com

Blanche Shaheen

24 thoughts on “About

  1. Just watched your recipe for Fattoush. Like your other recipes here, it’s exactly like my mom’s! Therefore, you’re now my newest best friend. Question: Beside the color, what’s the difference between zatar and sumack? I have always had both, but never taste a huge difference. BTW: My mom’s kibbe (the kind that’s UFO shaped w/ pine nuts) is absolutely amazing!

    1. I bet your momma is an amazing cook Kell–I learned how to do all the old school stuff from my mother as well 🙂 Love that you described kibbeh as ufo shaped, (too cute) we just call them footballs but I would never throw them cause I would never get em back! 🙂 To answer your question, zatar is a spice primarily made of thyme, with hints of sumac in it sometimes. It has an herbal nutty flavor. Sumac is more lemony in flavor from the sumac berry. As a matter of fact, if you want to add a touch of sourness to food you can add sumac. You can use both to season chicken fish and vegetables. Of course with zatar you can eat plain with bread but with sumac that is not the best idea 😉

      1. Thank you for responding!

        I do put zatar on pita, w/ olive oil and tomatoes, but usually use sumac in my summer salads when purslane is growing.

        Re: Kibbe – My mom also makes the football ones (kabboush?). The ufo shaped ones are perfect for grilling. Our all-time favorite is nayyeh with melted butter & onions on top.

        Now I’m hungry.

  2. Do you ever list your recipes on your site? I do love your vids with all the great instruction (keep em coming) but sometimes just want to refer back to the ingredients and directions. Thanks so much.

  3. Please Blanche,

    Could you do a full You-Tube on how to make real Lebanese Rice with meat, the same kind you see in Lebanese Restaurants as their side dish. Thank you for you’re awesome recipes. Love the videos with your mom. I lost my lovely mom in 2012. She was an amazing cook and my best friend. I have so many memories of her and I cooking together. Your You-Tubes with your mom makes me think of my mom and all the fun times we had together. So I thank you for including your mother. Shalom, Lisa

  4. Habibti Blanche, Love your page and channel. Could you please make a video for Maqlooba. Thank You keep up the good work your making us Palestinians proud.

    1. Thank you so much for your kind words Nidal. I love Maqlooba! The only reason I haven’t done it yet is I am thinking of a less time consuming way to make it for a short video. Once I figure that out I will do a video on it. 🙂 Best regards, Blanche

  5. Hello Blanche, my mother made a stuffed purple carrots stew in pomegranate juice with garlic and lemon sweet and tart; would you happen to have the recipe please?

  6. Hi Blanche, I was taught to make maqlouba by friends in a Negev Bedouin village where I lived in the early 2000’s. You are right that it would be difficult to fit into a short video . . .They also introduced me to the za’atar plant used for tea and medicinal purposes. But you might be able to do sauteed khobezi with rice, if you can ever get some. Khobezi (wild spinach) grows in fields and along the roads in southern Israel and in some places in the north, but I’ve never seen it anywhere else. It’s incredibly nutritious although most people consider it a weed . . .

    1. What a great experience you had, wow maqlouba with bedouins in the Negev! I am wondering if the khobezi you refer to is another name for molokhia. It is like spinach but a bit slimier in texture, served with lots of lemon juice?

  7. Hi Blanche, I think you are so sweet & gorgeous. I enjoy your Palestinian recipes. Just wondering if you know of an Arabic dish like that feels like turkish delight, but it is made of builders lime, & pumpkin, & after days it sets when cooked with sugar syrup. I don’t know what it is called, but I had tried it years ago, & was very nice. Blanche do you know what I am talking about? Can you do a video, how to make it? Thank you habibiti, love Teresa.

    1. I wish I knew, I have never heard of that before! I will ask around and see if I can learn ore. Thank you for your feedback habibtee! Hugs, Blanche

  8. Hello Blanche. Do you make the thick, round loaves of Syrian/Lebanese Bread? My Sito came from Syria and this was the only bread they made in her village. She would only use flour, salt, cake yeast & water. She would do two risings before making balls about the size of a grape fruit and allowing them to rise before flattening them out roughly the size of a pizza shell and allow them to rise. She’d place the loaves directly on the low oven racks in a 500 oven. Within a minute or so the loaf would rise about 10 inches. She would then transfer it to the high oven racks to brown.

    Also, do you know how to make the Holy Bread that is used in the Orthodox Churches in Syria, Lebanon, etc. I believe the Slavic Churches call the bread Prosphora. I don’t know what it is called in Arabic.

    Thank You 🙏

  9. Hi there Blanche, I have a Turkish background. Saw your 2 books and had to order them. I paid for both the hard cover and soft cover and received the hard cover only. It came along with instructions to download (?????) something. I’m 75, high maintenance & low tech. Have no idea what download is and no one to help me either. Would you please send me the soft cover book, which I paid the $9.95 along with the & $34.95 + shipping and handling? Thank You, Shukran, AnnaMarie Karsant
    My invoice # 234873, purchase order # MBO-1150919, order date 7/20/2022

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