Brittani from Karam Kitchen here! You've probably seen photos from our incredible collaboration with the Pop Up Hamilton team. Leading up to Pop Up Shuraka', our team spent time with Dave Hanley, the man behind Pop Up Hamilton, and Chef Dan Megna, the culinary genius behind Hamilton's Lake Road Restaurant. Out of that meeting came not only a wonderful one-night-only dining event, but this excellent article in Hamilton Magazine by Dave. Enjoy!
AFTER A LONG JOURNEY FROM WAR-TORN SYRIA, KARAM KITCHEN HAS ARRIVED AND BRINGS WITH THEM A HOST OF MIDDLE EASTERN FLAVOURS, AN APPETITE FOR COLLABORATION, AND A REFRESHINGLY POSITIVE PERSPECTIVE ON WHAT MAKES OUR CITY GREAT.
Photo by Nicole Longstaff
Ask any culinary entrepreneur about their foray into business ownership and you're unlikely to hear anything like, " I just opened the doors and in came the customers! Cheers to success!" Starting your own enterprise is challenging under even the best of conditions, but imagine launching a catering company in a country far from your own - one where you can't comfortably communicate in the local language - and compound it with having to do so after the horrors of war and violence forced you to abandon your home and take your entire family (including young children) on a dangerous journey to resettle on the other side of the world. Now, imagine opening that business with a warm smile on your face.
The newly opened Karam Kitchen (Karam means generosity in Arabic) has received a great deal of positive international attention and it's not hard to understand why. The story of three Syrian women overcoming unfathomable adversity and introducing the cuisine of their homeland to Hamilton is a compelling one and all the more remarkable because of the irrepressible charm of the forces behind it, newcomers Dalal Al Zoubi, Rawa'a Aloliwi, and Manahel Al Shareef. After a very successful crowdfunding campaign (where they surpassed their fundraising targets) and with support from co-founders Brittani Farrington and Kimberly Kralt, Karam Kitchen is ready to bring Hamilton the authentic Syrian culinary experience.
When talent arrives on Hamilton's culinary scene, there is always a good amount of excitement and hype as ours is a city that takes its cuisine seriously. New entrants will often speak of the ease to which they were integrated and accepted in our community by our local chefs and restauranteurs. Chef Dan Megna - owner of Lake Road restaurant on James Street North and Twisted Lemon in Cayuga - was eager to act as an ambassador, welcoming them at Lake Road to discuss cooking techniques, hospitality and to get to know the women behind the enterprise personally. "I don't know anyone who wouldn't be excited to learn and work with people that know their food that well," Megna says enthusiastically. "Karam Kitchen is bringing their flavours to Hamilton and that is something everyone should be excited about."
Be sure to read the rest of Dave's story about our collaboration with Chef Dan in the Fall 2016 edition of Hamilton Magazine. Read it online here!