NATIONAL | FOREIGN
If you live in New York and you’re tired of the offerings on Seamless, now there’s another option for lunch delivery: food you’ve probably never heard of before, prepared by a refugee chef.
A mother from Nepal will make you dumplings called momos; an Iraqi mom will make you oroog, a tender, spicy beef patty. Eat Offbeat, a new meal delivery startup, finds the most talented cooks among new arrivals, hires them to work in a commercial kitchen, and then puts the most interesting food on the menu.
The only hiring requirements for the chefs were that they liked cooking and that they had some experience cooking in the past, even if just for their families.
(…) Kahi said they don’t just want to change the lives of these refugees — they want to change American attitudes as well. “We want New Yorkers to see that refugees have a lot to offer.” he said. “We want them to see that they are bringing in something great. And we can show that through their food.”
Eat Offbeat, a food delivery service that employs refugees as chefs, puts the spotlight on the role business has to play in the global refugee crisis
(…) “I want people in the US to know that refugees have few opportunities here, but we bring our skills with us,” she said. “We come in difficult circumstances.” (…) “Ultimately we want to change the narrative around refugees, for New Yorkers and the rest of world to see that refugees don’t have to be a burden, they have economic value.”
“My favorite dish to cook is momos. In Nepal, everyone likes to eat them because it’s a cold country and this is a hot dish that you can sell off the street,” Rachana Rimal says, as she starts to chop up onions with all the flair of a professional chef. Except Rimal isn’t a professional chef; she’s a resettled refugee from Kathmandu, Nepal, who came to New York in 2006.
“I was on cloud nine for several days after I heard the Tamer fund awarded us the grant. This was the best thing that could happen to our company at that stage,” said Wissam Kahi BUS’04 of Eat Offbeat. “Beyond the much needed funds, the Tamer Fund board’s trust gave the whole team a huge boost of confidence and motivation, and the process itself including the audit by the students was extremely helpful in refining our position and strategy.”