Halophytic Kitchen Lab Team


Dr. Dionysia Angeliki Lyra

Dr. Dionysia Angeliki Lyra joined ICBA as Post-Doctoral Researcher in 2013. Prior to that, she had been on a post-doctoral fellowship at the Laboratory of Agronomy at the Agricultural University of Athens where she was involved in the evaluation of barley genotypes for drought resistance and crop yield.

She holds a Ph.D. degree in Plant Science from the Agricultural University of Athens, Greece and she has received scholarships and grants from the Hellenic Ministry of Educational Affairs, E.U., European Weed Research Society, Arab-American Frontiers, USAID and private sector.

Currently she is working on the evaluation of Salicornia bigelovii germplasm and its cultivation potential in coastal desert areas and on Integrated Agri- Aquaculture Systems (IAAS) using reject brine from inland desalination units. She has authored and co-authored over 50 publications, including a technical manual on principles of sustainable agriculture and water management, articles in peer-reviewed journals, conference papers and research reports.

Ms. Yasmine Haddad

Ms. Yasmine Haddad is a nutrition consultant and a licensed clinical dietitian. She helps to raise awareness about the nutritional benefits of halophytic plants cultivated in a desert environment.

She is a clinical dietitian licensed by the Dubai and Abu Dhabi Health Authorities with over 10 years of diverse experience in clinical dietetics, community nutrition, food catering and operations.

She is based in Dubai and enjoys spreading nutrition and health awareness through social media, TV broadcasting, educational workshops and events.

She holds a B.Sc. in Nutrition & Dietetics and an M.Sc. in Food Technology from the American University of Beirut.

Mr. Bilal Saleh

Chef Bilal Saleh was lured into the culinary world when his passion for this industry and for food was recognized at an early age. Bilal went on to study the culinary arts at the Lebanese Culinary Institute, where he learned to develop his own unique style and flair. He continued with his career at exclusive restaurants and hotels worldwide.

Over the years, Bilal has worked under influential leaders of the Lebanese culinary profession who helped shape his style and depth of knowledge. After moving to Dubai, Bilal was appointed in top Dubai restaurants. Bilal balances his culinary career with enjoying every spare moment with his children.

Bilal's culinary philosophy and passion reflects the growing trend towards a healthier and down-to-earth lifestyle. Working with neighboring farmers to seek out the finest in regional and local organic produce is the essence of his Lebanese cuisine. His preference is to allow the natural flavors of food to express themselves.

In addition to cooking, Bilal's passion is to help younger chefs to discover their own talents in the same way that he was encouraged. Bilal believes whole-heartedly in staying active, continuously learning and always having fun.

Mr. Showkat Nabi Rather

Mr. Showkat Nabi Rather joined ICBA in November 2016 as Journalism and Media Outreach Specialist. His responsibilities include media relations, writing news updates, feature stories, project briefs, success stories, video scripts and other corporate and project content.

Prior to this role, he worked as Senior Media and Communications Officer for the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics – ICRISAT (a member of the CGIAR); and as Assistant Media Advisor for the US Department of State posted at the US Consulate General in Hyderabad, India. He also worked as a journalist in India.

He holds a master's degree in Electronic Media (Broadcast Media) from Bangalore University and a bachelor’s degree with Mass Communication and Video Production from the University of Kashmir.

He also holds certificates in Leadership and Communication from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, USA; and American Studies/Advanced Writing from the National Foreign Affairs Training Center, Foreign Service Institute (FSI), US State Department, USA.

He has authored many articles and blogs particularly focused on agricultural development and produced several documentaries.