The daughter of a Syrian father and a Lebanese mother, Anissa left her native Lebanon at the age of 21 to study interior design in London.
Following completion of the Sotheby's Works of Art course, she started working for the auction house, becoming their representative for the Middle East. In the 1970s she divided her time between an antiques shop she owned in Paris, and an art and antiques consultancy based in London. Between 1978 and 1986, she lived in Kuwait acting as an advisor to members of the ruling family, returning to London in 1986.
Encouraged by a friend in the publishing world, and inspired by the Lebanese civil war, Anissa wrote her first cookbook, Lebanese Cuisine. In 1994, Lebanese Cuisine was published. It was short-listed for the prestigious Andre Simon Book Awards.
In 1999, Anissa changed her life by selling a number of collections at Christie's. She also sold her Victorian house and bought a two-storey warehouse loft in Shoreditch, which she converted into a modern minimalist living and working space. It is here that she teaches in her state-of-the-art kitchen.