Cooking for Beirut: how the UAE’s food community is stepping up to help Lebanon

From special charity dinners to donating proceeds, restaurants are launching initiatives in response to the devastating explosion

Bait Maryam founder and chef Salam Dakkak. The restaurant is donating all profits it took on Thursday, August 6, to victims of the explosion in Beirut. 
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As the dust settles after the Beirut port explosion, various communities within the UAE are doing their part to help. From screening films to raise funds to supporting Lebanese artists, there have been numerous initiatives designed to raise money for relief.

The UAE’s food community is no exception, with restaurants stepping up with a number of campaigns, from monthly donations to special sit-down dinners.

Below, we've rounded up some of the initiatives unveiled so far.

Gates Hospitality

Publique in Souk Madinat Jumeirah is hosting a special four-course dinner with all proceeds going to the Lebanese Red Cross. Supplied
Publique in Souk Madinat Jumeirah is hosting a special four-course dinner with all proceeds going to the Lebanese Red Cross. Supplied

Gates Hospitality is bringing together a team of local chefs for two special charity dinners this month.

Chefs Rita Soueidan, Bethany Kehdy, Ruby Chaer, Mohamad Orfali and Greg Malouf will be cooking up a storm at Reform Social & Grill on Tuesday, August 18, and at Publique on Wednesday, August 19. The Cook for Beirut four-course dinners will feature delicacies inspired by Lebanon's traditional cuisine. All proceeds from the evenings will be donated to the Lebanese Red Cross.

Both dinners are priced at Dh385 per person and start at 7pm. Although the one at Reform Social & Grill is already sold out, you can still book the meal at Publique. For details, call 04 430 8550 or email

Food Sheikh All Stars

Online food-delivery platform Food Sheikh All Stars, which was launched by anonymous food blogger Food Sheikh earlier this year, has announced it is committing to a monthly donation to Unicef for the next six months.

The platform, which offers to deliver dishes created by some of Dubai's leading chefs, emphasised that this donation is not linked to sales, proceeds or turnover, but will be a fixed amount.

“Lebanon needs its youth more than ever now. They are the future and need protecting … If you’re able, please support where you can,” it said.

Bait Maryam

The popular Jumeirah Lakes Towers restaurant was among the first to react to the tragic news of the explosion, announcing that 100 per cent of all its orders and sales from Wednesday, August 5, would be donated to help those affected by the crisis.

“Today is not like any day. Today, we are all one hand in honour of Lebanon ... I hope you can contribute even with a small gesture and, inshallah, it is a crisis that will pass. Lebanon is strong and can endure,” founder and chef Salam Dakkak said in an emotional Instagram post.


The modern Lebanese concept donated 100 per cent of its proceeds on Saturday, August 8, to Impact Lebanon.

“The last few days have been heartbreaking, seeing our beautiful city of Beirut in such a tragic state. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Lebanese people who are tasked with overcoming this,” it said.

The Broth Lab

The online platform which specialises in broth-based drinks also contributed to the cause, with all sales made on Thursday and Friday, August 6 and 7, donated to the Lebanese Red Cross.

Founder Hadil Alkhatib, who comes from Palestine, said that she could empathise with the people of Lebanon.

“As a Palestinian, born and raised in the UAE, I feel for every Lebanese outside Lebanon. Yes, we have escaped death, but we feel it every single minute in our hearts,” read the post on social media.