Saturday April 20th, 2024
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Babbo’s Ties the Knot Between Healthy Eating and Egyptian Cuisine

This Zamalek health house is an ode to nights at ‘el nady’ and family breakfasts.

Layla Raik

Babbo’s Ties the Knot Between Healthy Eating and Egyptian Cuisine

The number of times we’ve promised ourselves that we’d treat our bodies better has gotten, well, a little embarrassing. How many optimistic Tuesday nights has it been where, in a hopeful venture, we’ve decided that it was time we took our healing journey inwards? The impulsive gluten-free dairy-free veggie-heavy grocery restocks, otherwise known as attempts to turn our houses into self-sufficient health houses, continue to stack on.

Because there’s one thing we keep forgetting about: the compulsive urge to eat out. Even the most skilled of home chefs have days where it seems as though the only thing that can pick them out of a slump is a nice walk and a lunch prepared by someone else. Can that, somehow, still be healthy?

The answer is, thankfully, yes. Although we must say it’s not always fun. Babbo’s Eats, a health house of its own with branches in Zamalek’s Gezira Sporting Club and Sidi Heneish, fosters an environment of healthy eating. Curiosity sufficiently piqued by aromatic baked falafel and colourful hummus veggie bowls, we went straight to Babbo for answers, and he told us the story of Babbo:

“I am Babbo, that’s my nickname. My real name is Aboubakr, and I’m the founder and owner of both Babbo’s Eats Cairo and Babbo’s Taverna in Sidi Heneish.

Born into the owning family of Andrea El Mariouteya; I’m convinced the F&B industry pretty much runs in my DNA. My cousins and I spent our childhood and youth living, breathing and learning the food and restaurant business. Our Uncle Omar Ratib, one of the industry’s most prominent and creative figures, has always been an inspiration to us while growing up. He taught us the ropes of running a timeless business in an ever-evolving market by staying true to one’s traditions.

True to the family’s values, and with an upbringing on the family’s farm-like property; I learnt early on to appreciate the importance of organic food and raising one’s livestock. My mother’s farm-to-table and clean-eating approach is the root of Babbo’s Egyptian cooking with a healthy twist.

Being a professional basketballer was also a turning point in my understanding of the importance of supporting players’ nutritional well-being. My athletic career gave me the chance to experience first-hand how vital proper nutrition is beneficial to athletes’ performance and development. My dream of making Egyptians, and specifically, Egyptian athletes, aware of the importance of healthy eating was born here.

Later on, I got involved in founding several Egyptian fitness brands. Here stemmed the idea of providing athletes with the nutrients needed to support and complement their intense workouts.

The concept of Babbo’s Eats was born in an attempt to combine my family traditions, my athletic career, my passion for healthy nutritious food, and my love for Egypt. I take pride in revamping beloved Egyptian recipes steeped in tradition into vibrant calorie-conscious eating and a holistic lifestyle.

The first branch of Babbo’s Eats was recently opened at the Olympic Pool of the renowned Gezira Sporting Club in Zamalek. The choice of location pays tribute to my basketball days and gives back to a club that provided generations of athletes with lush green training grounds and childhood memories. It is my dream to give young athletes and their family members - old and young - the chance to indulge in our delicious, freshly prepared and nutritionally balanced food in a happy homey atmosphere.

I look forward to bringing back Egyptian food in a healthy, vibrant, creative form and redirecting our youth to recognize and value the rich culture and unique cuisine characteristic of our Egypt.”