Originally from the city of Daraa, a city just south of the capital, Damascus, Majed just moved to Washington, D.C. recently with his wife and two little girls, Rama and Lara. He met his wife, Walaa, when he was working in Damascus as a chef. She was a college student studying computer programming at the time. Five tumultuous years passed before they were finally able to get married in Jordan.
Majed comes from a big family—he is the third youngest of four girls and two boys. The war utterly disrupted life in Syria, destroying his home and forcing his mother to move to a different state with three of his sisters. Feeling that there was nothing left for him in Syria, Majed left his home country for Jordan in search of opportunity. He has not seen his family in five years. After three years in Jordan, Majed and his new family moved to the U.S. permanently to start a new, and hopefully better, life.
Throughout all of these transitions, Majed possessed a unique skill that he brought with him to every new place. That is, his love for cooking. Making sure to credit his mother and mother-in-law for their extraordinary cooking, Majed says he’s loved to eat and make food since he was a boy. He attended five years of culinary school in the cities of Daraa and Homs in Syria. Then, he worked as a professional chef at a fine dining 4-star restaurant serving Arabic, Syrian and French cuisines. In Jordan, Majed continued to work as Sous Chef for a casual dining restaurant.
Unsatisfied with the conditions of Syrian refugees in Jordan, Majed and his family came to the U.S. about 8 months ago in hopes of starting a brand new life. At first, he lived in Arizona and worked at a Mexican American restaurant there. Now, Majed is excited to showcase his talents and home cuisine to his new community here in D.C. He dreams of opening up his own restaurant one day, but until then, we count ourselves lucky to be able to offer you some of his most prized Syrian dishes!
A mother to three beautiful children and the wife to a loving husband, Ghosoun never imagined she would need to leave her home country of Syria, and relocate her entire family to the United States. Syria’s civil war started six years ago and Ghosoun and her husband, Bashir, stayed as long as they could until they could no longer survive there. The war has destroyed everything and Ghosoun’s health was in danger being a diabetic.
They made the decision to leave their country and move to Jordan three years ago with no money and only the things they could carry. For almost three years, Ghosoun and her family lived in a Jordanian refugee housing, unsure of what would happen in their future. Her three children ranged in age from 12-16, two boys and one girl. Finally, their request to relocate to the United States was approved and they moved to the Hyattsville area just a little over nine months ago.
Since arriving in America, their daily challenges compound with language barriers, finding work, learning a new culture, and trying to hold on to their home country. It’s been over six years since Ghosoun has seen her mother, while at the same time their family is scattered throughout the Middle East and America, with some family being lost in the war.
Given all of these challenges, Ghosoun possesses a skill that stretches across all boundaries, cultures, and languages. She’s an incredible chef! Her dishes come from her heart, and she’s mastered her craft over many years by preparing meals for community and family gatherings. She looks to brighter days and making a new life for herself and her family. One way she holds on to her home country is through her food, and she hopes you’re excited to share in that experience with her.
Mem learned Lao cooking from her mother in law by watching her in the kitchen and preparing meals for the family. As Mem recounted her memories in learning to cook she said, “As a daughter in law, I wanted to learn to cook Lao cuisine because I wanted to cook for my family.” She learned to love cooking as it allowed her to share a part of herself with the people most important to her.
Since then, she has mastered her culinary skills by cooking at home for her family and has also become quite popular in the DC Lao community by catering for family and community gatherings. She didn't start cooking until later in life, but she’s excited at the chance to cook from the heart and share it with everyone. Foodhini is so excited to share her incredible food with you, and we hope you are as well