I was born in Baghdad, Iraq in 1974 and grew up in a large house with four sisters and four brothers. I graduated from the Baghdad Institute of Tourism and Hospitality as a chef and from the University of Mustansiriya in Baghdad with a degree in Hotel and Restaurant Management.
Before coming to America, I worked as a chef with U.S and multinational forces and various companies in Baghdad's Green Zone. For me, the Green Zone was a small world where different nationalities lived together, governed by a single law of respect and love without distinction.
I remember one day there was an American soldier stationed in the Green Zone checkpoint. He was telling me how much he missed his country and his family and his favorite food, beef Wellington. To cheer him up, I decided to make his favorite food. When I came back hours later with his food, I was very happy to see the smile on his face. At that time, I felt how hard it must be to live far from his country, family and friends, and his favorite food. After that, he made me his best friend. Now, living in Spokane, I know that feeling of missing home better than ever.
I am married and have three children, one boy and two girls. I like Spokane because it's very quiet and the people are kind. My favorite food from my country, in case you're wondering, is samak masgouf (barbecued fish), but my favorite world cuisine is Italian.
Thanks for giving me this opportunity to spread the culture of love and peace through food. It is my hope that everyone can help each other to feel that we are not alone and can help each other smile.