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Welcome to Feast in the Middle East! Blanche Shaheen is a long time journalist and TV reporter residing in the San Francisco Bay Area. She has produced, written, and reported for ABC, CNN, PBS, TECH TV (Now G4 TV) and Link TV. Throughout her career she has always been a passionate foodie and home cook, keeping 100s of years old recipes alive handed down to her from 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 writing background, she decided to document the recipes in an ongoing cookbook, and Feast in the Middle East was born. Now you can see this series on YouTube, on, and on Virgin America Airlines, where it has an estimated audience of 1 million people per month!.

The more she experimented with recipes, the more she realized she could combine eastern and western influences to make old recipes modernized. For instance, she got a massive response from viewers when she posted her Machos (Middle Eastern Nachos) Ma’Moul Cake, Arabic Coffee Ice Cream, Baklava Granola, and Labneh Cheesecake recipes. Taking classic Arabic ingredients like labneh cheese, Arabic coffee, and baklava to transform them into Americanized dishes is one of her specialties. She discovered that people were less afraid to try her recipes when they had a familiar American ring to them, even if they had exotic ingredients. Given her background in television, and the realization that no shows based on Middle Eastern food were on any networks, she decided to bring the recipes to life through video on YouTube. She made her first cooking series in 2011 based on a unique regional dish called Mussakhan. When Oprah Winfrey’s OWN network was scouting talent for their new reality show based on cooking and other lifestyle genres, Blanche entered her online program. Within two days she got a call from Mark Burnett Productions, expressing interest in her personality and show. She ranked in the top 35 out of 10,000 entries.  That gave her the impetus to keep going with the project. Today you can see her cooking videos on any Virgin America flight as part of the in-flight entertainment!

Other than Virgin America, Feast in the Middle East is now in partnership with several networks, including Tastemade and Curious. Her show has also been featured on Roku boxes under the program title World Eats, and she also has a popular ongoing Feast in the Middle East newspaper column. The feedback has been tremendous, with thousands of visitors every day from around the world visiting and commenting on her blog, YouTube page, articles, and Facebook pages. Check this blog regularly for updated recipes, cooking tips, information about exotic ingredients, family stories, and videos of Blanche’s cooking journey. These are rustic, easy to make recipes that use whole fresh ingredients, with a few shortcuts developed for the modern cook. With these tools, we hope you enjoy your Feast in the Middle East in your own home.

Here is the Feast in the Middle East Trailer:

Blanche is available for recipe development, travel/press events, product reviews, brand promotion, and sponsored posts and videos. If you are interested in having your product featured in any of her videos or wish to do collaborative work with Blanche,  please send an e-mail to

Blanche is a journalist/food blogger based in the San Francisco Bay Area. She got her Bachelor of Arts in Political Economy of Industrial Societies at U.C. Berkeley, followed by a broadcast journalism Master’s Degree (Magna Cum Laude) She speaks Spanish and Arabic, is a certified Zumba Fitness instructor, and a fervent abolitionist, supporting Not for Sale and the International Justice Movements against human trafficking and slavery. She is also a Compassion Project sponsor for a kindergartner in Colombia.

Blanche’s Partner Sites:

Tastemade Networks

Blanche in the Press–Newspaper article samples:

St. Patrick’s Day Twist on Cabbage

Smells, Tastes of Traditional Holiday Meal Transports Family Back to Homeland

Machos, Middle Eastern Nachos Ideal for Super Bowl

DIY Shawarma Wraps Up Streetside Classic

All recipes here are trademarked and copywritten under the Writers Guild of America and are a part of the Feast in the Middle East trademark. So while they are for your enjoyment in the kitchen, you may not copy, transmit, use, modify, duplicate, reproduce, distribute, or republish written material or photos without crediting this site.  If you wish to share recipes, all content on is licensed and is the original creation and property of Feast in the Middle East (unless otherwise noted).

You may use photos from as long as their usage adheres to the following license criteria: (a) the photo is to be credited to, and such credit is to be placed directly under the photo with the text “photo provided courtesy of,” the photo and the text “” must be linked back to (b) you may not use any photos for commercial purposes. (c) You may not alter, transform, or build upon any photos.

you may use recipes from as long as their usage adheres to the following license criteria: (a) the recipe is to be credited to; such credit is to be linked back to the original recipe at (b) you may not use any recipes for commercial purposes. Please contact Feast in the Middle East, give a link back to this site, and mention the name of this blog within the credit.

Thanks in advance for your support!

Blanche Shaheen

14 Comments leave one →
  1. Kell permalink
    June 7, 2013 11:38 am

    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!

    • June 7, 2013 9:54 pm

      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 😉

      • Kell permalink
        July 22, 2013 7:55 pm

        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.

      • July 23, 2013 5:11 pm

        Now you are making me hungry too lol!!

  2. September 4, 2014 6:20 pm

    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. Lori Jojo permalink
    February 27, 2015 3:37 pm

    I love your recipes. I love your Mom she is the bomb! Please do the Kanafe video.
    God bless and hugs!
    Lori Jo

    • March 11, 2015 10:48 pm

      Aw thanks Lori! Will pass the message on to her–God bless and thanks for your feedback! 😉

  4. Lisa Sandoval permalink
    January 31, 2016 6:23 pm

    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

  5. Nidal permalink
    March 21, 2016 1:28 pm

    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.

    • March 23, 2016 1:36 pm

      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

  6. August 10, 2015 3:07 pm

    You are such a sweetie, thank you so much! xoxo


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