Barbara Abdeni Massaad was born in Beirut, Lebanon. She moved to Florida, U.S.A. at a young age and gained her real culinary experience while helping her father in the family owned Lebanese restaurant Kebabs & Things. After moving back to Lebanon in 1988, she entered university and gained a degree in Advertising-Marketing. She worked for an array of respected institutions then decided to pursue her passion for cooking. Determined to gain proper experience within the culinary world, Barbara trained with several renowned chefs at Lebanese, Italian, and French restaurants.Growing up with the influence of her father, a professional photographer who became famous in Lebanon in the 70's for his artistic portraitures, Barbara inherited his passion and decides to combine both culinary and photography to create her first book Man'oushé: Inside the Street Corner Lebanese Bakery, winner of the Gourmand Cookbook Award 2009 and The Lebanese Academy of Gastronomy 2009.
Mouneh: Preserving Foods for the Lebanese Pantry, winner of the Gourmand Cookbook Award 2010 and Prix de la literature Gastronomique 2010, continues Barbara's quest to discover and preserve another aspect of Lebanese culinary heritage. Mezze: A Labor of Love is her third book, published in 2014, winner of the Gourmand Cookbook Award documents her favorite mezze recipes with short stories and anecdotes. The book is beautifully illustrated by Pascale Hares.
Soup for Syria: Recipes to Celebrate our Shared Humanity is her attempt to aid Syrian refugees. Acclaimed chefs and cookbook authors the world over have come together to help food relief efforts to alleviate the suffering of Syrian refugees. Each has contributed a recipe to this beautifully illustrated cookbook of delicious soups from around the world. All profits from the sales of the cookbook will be donated to help fund food relief efforts through various nonprofit organizations. The book has been published in the US, UK, Italy, the Netherlands, Germany, and continues to gain worldwide interest.
She is currently working on a book dealing with local dairy products while simultaneously developing her blog My Culinary Journey through Lebanon. She shares her experience working as a food consultant and menu developer in different projects and countries promoting Lebanese food culture.
She is a founding member of Slow Food Beirut and currently president of the local chapter and is a delegate of the International Terra Madre Community and Slow Food Italy. She is also member of Les Ambassadeurs du Pain. Barbara has hosted a TV segment introducing viewers to culinary tours around Lebanon focusing on local foods and producers. She is a contributing editor to local and international publications. She lives in Beirut with her husband and three children.