Food brings people together. This idea, in its simplest form, was imbedded into Michael Mansour’s subconscious since he was a little boy. Growing up the son of Egyptian immigrants in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, Michael witnessed his mother, bring together a community through the Egyptian food festivals she arranged for her church. And her hospitality for hosting dozens of hungry students over holiday meals of stuffed grape leaves, roasted eggplant, and grilled meats through Michael’s college years, solidified his love and passion for sharing meals with others.
After college, Michael moved to New York City to take a job on Wall Street. The city’s sophisticated dining scene took hold of Michael, and exploring everything from local ethnic eats to fine-dining restaurants became de rigueur. It was during a trip to the Big Apple BBQ where Michael discovered a real appreciation for slow cooking and pit barbeque. This appreciation quickly turned to passion and rather than wait for barbeque to come to Manhattan, Michael traveled to seek out the best.
Michael’s curiosity for discovering new and better barbeque took him to five continents in a year. From private chalets in the Alps to roadside barbeque in remote islands of Indonesia, flavors varied, but the unifying ingredient was always conviviality.
Michael returned to America with a newfound appreciation for the complex balance of smoke, fat, spice, and sweetness. He discovered that barbeque, in its simplest form, is a balance of quality meat, controlled temperature, patience, and love. He has spent over ten thousand hours behind a pit perfecting his skills. As Michael fed more friends and family, he began to blend custom combinations of herbs, spices, salts, and natural sweeteners into unmatchable kitchen staples. As those people came back for more and more seasonings, demand increased, and word spread, an online business was not far behind and Convivial was born.
Michael continues his pursuit of locally-sourced and organically-grown ingredients for all of his custom Convivial blends, and his products are sold online and in retailers in San Francisco and Los Angeles. Making the rest of the country a more Convivial place, is not far behind.