Expert: Mira Naaman Iskandar

Clean food chef

Mira Naaman Iskandar is co-owner of Nectar, the innovative juice and healthy snack bar at Abu Dhabi’s bustling wellness centre, Bodytree studios. She grew up in Abu Dhabi and Canada after her family left Lebanon in 1982 during the civil war. After earning a degree in international relations she moved to Washington, DC, only to realize that rather than work in the field, what she really wanted to do was go to culinary school. It was there that she found her passion, training as a pastry chef.

Developing her expertise working in London and Paris, she later returned to Abu Dhabi, where she ran the food and catering operation for the 2010 Fifa Club World Cup, and also worked at Emirates Palace and for Flash Entertainment. When her friend, Bodytree co-owner Nadia Sehweil, asked her about opening a juice bar, this was Mira’s response: “I don’t know anything about juicing, I don’t know anything about juice bars.” Undaunted, she proceeded to throw herself into learning everything she could.

Since Nectar opened in 2014, Mira has had three children (a son and a pair of boy and girl twins), yet continued to experiment, innovate and grow in offering her customers new ways to eat clean, delicious plant-based foods. In addition to juices and smoothies, wheatgrass, ginger and turmeric shots, Bulletproof coffee, superfood lattes and paleo hot chocolate, she makes her own nut milk and a range of healthy snacks, too. They include kale chips, spicy veggie crackers that keep all her juice pulp out of local landfill and activated paleo granola chock-full of nutty goodness.