Food Delivery Service Hires Refugees as Chefs

Chef Nida Al Janabi and chef Mitslal Tedla work with Chief Culinary Officer, Juan Suarez de Lezo (Photo by Eva Cruz via Brooklyn Ink)

Chef Nida Al Janabi and chef Mitslal Tedla work with Chief Culinary Officer, Juan Suarez de Lezo (Photo by Eva Cruz via Brooklyn Ink)

A food delivery service set to begin next month will offer dishes made by resettled refugees hired as chefs by the venture, reports Krutika Pathi for Brooklyn Ink. The project, Eat Offbeat, is the brainchild of Manal Kahi, her brother, Wissam, and Chef Juan Suarez de Lezo, and aims to provide refugees with good jobs and benefits.

Formerly an environmental consultant in Beirut, Manal Kahi now lives in downtown Brooklyn and has high hopes for the borough.

… While they plan to deliver to all neighborhoods in New York City Kahi and her team have their eye on Brooklyn. “I think Eat Offbeat will be a hit in Brooklyn. There’s this impression or assumption that people in Brooklyn are very open-minded and they always want to try something new- new restaurants, new trends, new experiences,” she says. Wissam Kahi, who is in charge of the business strategy for the venture, adds that they are “currently looking for a kitchen in the area.” Brooklyn, he says, is a neighborhood “that’s well-suited and culturally adaptive to what we are trying to offer.”

While the social impact aspect of helping refugees find employment is important to Kahi, she understands that it may not necessarily be crucial to their customers. “What we’re selling is also a discovery, an opportunity to taste food from a country you’ve never been to, or a cuisine you’ve never tried,” she says, “That’s where the name comes from, it’s off beat. It’s off the beaten path.”

Go to Brooklyn Ink to read how Eat Offbeat started, in part, because of some “bad hummus.” And also hear from Nepalese and Iraqi chefs working for the initiative, who share their favorite foods from their homeland: momos and dolma, respectively.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*