Judges

Samaan Hilal

Managing Partner
Brainsteam
Kuwait

Samaan’s first and most distinct memories were formed in the flurry of smells, sights and flavours of his mother’s kitchen. The impact of these tangible memories launched Samaan’s lifetime affair with culinary arts and a successful career over the next 35 years.
His journey began in his native Lebanon, where he studied and mastered the Mediterranean cuisine. This ignited a deep desire to broaden his knowledge, which led him to pursue his studies at L’école LeNotre in Paris. It was there that he was hand selected for an apprenticeship with the most celebrated pastry chef, Gaston LeNôtre. Despite arduous training and LeNôtre’s unparalleled high standards, Samaan made exceptional strides during his formation; enough to be named LeNôtre’s brand Ambassador for the Middle East.
For almost 20 years, Samaan was the Culinary Director of MMC in Kuwait, a company that operates LeNôtre Kuwait along with six other concepts in the region. Samaan’s visionary qualities soon prompted him to seize an opportunity to create a modern, 6000 sq. meter food production facility that accommodated over 80 food and beverage outlets and provided business to business catering service for any type of occasion, whether an intimate gathering among friends to banquets for royal weddings.
With a portfolio of international expertise, Samaan’s passions have led him to operate kitchens in London, Paris and New York, Beirut, Jeddah, Riyadh, Manama and Kuwait City. He has catered for global leaders at Arab summits and conferences, headed the Food Menu Development across Sheraton Hotels in the Middle East and is an organizing and permanent judge of HORECA in Kuwait & Beirut, respectively.