About Mona Usher

Mona Usher is the founder, owner and Managing Director of Samara Cuisine Ltd.

I was born in Beirut, Lebanon. My family is registered as number 9 of those that settled in Beirut.

I come from the centre of town overlooking the Mediterranean squeezed between the haunted husk of the Holiday Inn on one side and the abundant palms and cedars of the American University of Beirut on the other.

The war started when I was still a small child and followed me up to the day I left.

My father is a printer and his works are in the basement of our apartment block so when the bombs started falling around us and the lights went out, that’s where we and all our neighbours would gather until the danger was past.

I left Beirut just as the war ended and came to England.

That’s a long story and quite an adventure, involving an elopement to Cyprus with the young English writer and journalist who became my husband.

In London, I found that one of the most immediate ways I could communicate with the new people I met and leave a good impression was through the Lebanese food I cooked.

I had always had a natural talent for this and learnt many recipes from my family, especially my grandmother in the Bekaa valley.

As time went by, I became known for my cooking.

Food is still a passion for me first and foremost.

Samara Cuisine — named after my younger daughter — has grown out of and is fueled by that passion.

Follow my blog Never Mind the Hummus – From Beirut to London in 100 Dishes to learn more about my story and to learn my Lebanese and Moroccan recipes.

A short promo about Mona’s life in the kitchen teaching Mico how to cook Salmon with Honey and Dill.