William Dobson

William Dobson

William Dobson’s fascination with the Middle East was first ignited during the many months it took him to finally complete Prince of Persia on the Apple Macintosh LC475, which he had somehow managed to misappropriate from his father’s office. A trip to Marrakesh and the Atlas Mountains aged 13 further fuelled his interest. After reading Naguib Mahfouz’s ‘The Cairo Trilogy’, he was so impressed that he decided to study Arabic at Durham University with the aim of one day being able to read it in its original language.

While the unfortunate scheduling of his course meant he hasn’t yet managed to achieve such lofty ambition (his lectures seemed to coincide either with his morning lie in or his afternoon nap), a few months living in Yemen, followed by a year studying at the University of Damascus in Syria taught him to be able to order any assortment of flavoured tobacco for his shisha pipe and direct taxis at will to his favourite karaoke bar in nearby Beirut.

Perhaps more importantly it also instilled in him a love for Levantine culture, in particular the food, and he considers himself the world expert on sha’af, a Damascene speciality of marinated grilled lamb. The highlight of his time there, a trip to the Baptism Site in Jordan, was simultaneously the lowlight as even his impassioned shouts of ‘but f**king Jesus was here’ couldn’t instil the same level of enthusiasm in his friends for what was, after all, just a hole in the ground.

Since leaving university he has spent time working as a food and art journalist in Cape Town, a tour guide in Cambridge, a research analyst in Dubai. He currently works as a freelance journalist and editor and writes regularly for Eat Me magazine.

Latest Articles:

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What's On: 25th Mar – 31st Mar 2013 - What's On, 25th Mar 2013


Istanbul Eats - Travel, 15th Jan 2013


Why I Love Jesus: An Agnostic’s Christmas Sermon - Blog Post, 25th Dec 2012


A Walking Tour of Beirut - Travel, 18th Dec 2012

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What's On: 10th Dec – 16th Dec 2012 - What's On, 10th Dec 2012

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What's On: 3rd Dec – 9th Dec 2012 - What's On, 3rd Dec 2012

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What's On: 26th Nov – 2nd Dec 2012 - What's On, 26th Nov 2012

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What's On: 19th Nov – 23rd Nov 2012 - What's On, 19th Nov 2012

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What's On: 12th Nov – 18th Nov 2012 - What's On, 14th Nov 2012


Hessa’s Shorbat ‘Adas - recipe, 12th Nov 2012

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What's On: 29th Oct – 4th Nov - What's On, 29th Oct 2012


Yasmin El Derby: London’s Meanest Film Fest - Interview, 25th Oct 2012

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What's On: 22nd – 28th Oct 2012 - What's On, 22nd Oct 2012


Food Trekking in Lebanon - Travel, 18th Oct 2012

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What's On: 15th – 21st Oct 2012 - What's On, 17th Oct 2012


An Ode to Aleppo - Blog Post, 10th Oct 2012

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What's On: 8th – 14th Oct 2012 - What's On, 8th Oct 2012

free speech

What's On: 1st Oct – 7th Oct 2012 - What's On, 1st Oct 2012


What's On: 24th Sep – 30th Sep 2012 - What's On, 24th Sep 2012


Sarah Al-Hamad: Bridging the Gulf - Interview, 18th Sep 2012


What's On: 17th Sep – 23rd Sep 2012 - What's On, 17th Sep 2012

Iraqi Cookbook PB Cover

The Mosaic Rooms’ Supper Club: Autumn Programme - Culture, 15th Sep 2012

addicted in afghan

What's On: 10th September – 16th September 2012 - What's On, 10th Sep 2012


Kristiane Backer: From MTV to Mecca - Interview, 3rd Sep 2012


What's On: 3rd September – 9th September 2012 - What's On, 3rd Sep 2012


Homeland – Converted to the Dark Side? - Blog Post, 28th Aug 2012

horse 2

What's On: August 27th – Sept 2nd 2012 - What's On, 27th Aug 2012

Eid in London

What's On: August 20st – August 26th 2012 - What's On, 20th Aug 2012

Changing Room

What's On: August 13th – August 20th 2012 - What's On, 13th Aug 2012

beirut at night

Beirut Bar Guide - Travel, 7th Aug 2012


What's On: August 6th – August 12th 2012 - What's On, 6th Aug 2012

Nermine Hammam

What's On: July 30th – August 5th 2012 - What's On, 30th Jul 2012


Mansaf - recipe, 18th Jul 2012


What's On: July 9th – July 15th 2012 - What's On, 9th Jul 2012

Morocco fine

Top Five Middle Eastern Contemporary Art Websites - Top Five, 9th Jun 2012


Leila Khaled by Sarah Irving - Non-Fiction, 7th Jun 2012


Le Comptoir Libanais - restaurant, 2nd Jun 2012


Michael Leventhal: Founder of Gefiltefest - Interview, 31st May 2012

Majeed Beenteha

art clvb: Promoter of Contemporary Middle Eastern Artists - Behind the Scenes with, 29th May 2012

Women's Domination - Painting

The Forgotten Writers: Women’s Domination - Culture, 24th May 2012


Bamia bil Laham - recipe, 11th May 2012

Moro & Morito 1 JH 2011

Morito - restaurant, 10th May 2012


Kamal Mouzawak: A Culinary Activist - Interview, 1st May 2012


Beirut – What to Do - Travel, 26th Apr 2012


Beirut – Where to Stay - Travel, 18th Apr 2012


Loubyeh b’zeit - recipe, 15th Apr 2012

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Bethany Kehdy: Miss Lebanese Food - Interview, 13th Apr 2012

Zena Pink

Zena El Khalil: An Artist in Love with Beirut (Part Two) - Interview, 11th Apr 2012

Zena el Khalil-holiday inn

Zena El Khalil: An Artist in Love with Beirut (Part One) - Interview, 10th Apr 2012


Beirut – Where to Eat - Travel, 6th Apr 2012


Sabrina’s Persian Kitchen - restaurant, 5th Apr 2012


Kazan - restaurant, 3rd Apr 2012


Lebanon Revisited - Blog Post, 29th Mar 2012

Saffron Rice Pudding pic

Sholleh Zard - recipe, 14th Mar 2012


New Persian Cooking by Jila Dana-Haeri with Shahrzad Ghorashian - Non-Fiction, 9th Mar 2012

spices spoons

Top Five Middle Eastern Food Blogs - Top Five, 5th Mar 2012


Dear Vegetarians - Blog Post, 29th Feb 2012

Cherry Kebab

Kebab bil Karaz - recipe, 27th Feb 2012


Food Revolution…What Revolution? - Blog Post, 20th Feb 2012

Arabian Set up

Mona Usher: A Taste of Lebanon in Suburban Surrey - Behind the Scenes with, 16th Feb 2012


Moro - restaurant, 9th Feb 2012

Lamb Stew

Damascene Lamb Stew - recipe, 8th Feb 2012

Simurgh picture

Simurgh - restaurant, 7th Feb 2012

Kebab time

Ranoush Juice - restaurant, 3rd Feb 2012

stein spain

When Does an Obsession Become Dangerous? - Blog Post, 1st Feb 2012

Aleppan Roasted Duck Breast

Aleppan Duck, Panj Puran Potatoes & Baba Ghanouj Puree - recipe, 28th Jan 2012

Slow roasted lamb

Slow-Roasted Shoulder of Lamb - recipe, 26th Jan 2012

Abu Zaad

Abu Zaad - restaurant, 24th Jan 2012

Anatomy of a Disappearance, by Hisham Matar

Anatomy of a Disappearance by Hisham Matar - Fiction, 20th Jan 2012

Eastern Spiced Risotto with Pan-Fried Sea Bass

Eastern Spiced Risotto with Pan-Fried Sea Bass - recipe, 20th Jan 2012

byblos lebanon

Our One Weekiversary - Blog Post, 19th Jan 2012

Spice Display

A to Z of Middle Eastern Food & Drink - Blog Post, 14th Jan 2012

Crac des Chevaliers

Crac des Chevaliers Chicken - recipe, 13th Jan 2012

Queen of Sheba Paddington

The Queen of Sheba - restaurant, 12th Jan 2012


Kaslik - restaurant, 12th Jan 2012

Very Buttery Butter Chicken

Very Buttery Butter Chicken - recipe, 12th Jan 2012

Rick Stein's Cornish Christmas

Dear Rick Stein - Blog Post, 12th Jan 2012

One day in April by Jad El Hage

One Day in April by Jad El Hage - Fiction, 12th Jan 2012

Homeless Rats by Ahmed Fagih

Homeless Rats by Ahmed Fagih - Fiction, 12th Jan 2012