Over the past 5 years, we have heard throughout the media inspirational stories of how Syrian refugees rebuild their lives in other countries, some that welcome them with open arms and some that treat them poorly. With determination and perseverance, many of these refugees have managed to get by and even succeed in a very short time. Well-educated with a lot of talent and skills to offer, these driven and hopeful Syrian refugees are effectively contributing to the countries they enter.
Meet Emad Shoshara! Emad is a Syrian chef and a victim of the Syrian civil war who ended up in France. He never thought of leaving his country before his city was bombed. He worked in logistics and owned a successful small cafe in Damascus. But when his business was destroyed along with everything in the city, he decided to leave and settle down in Egypt. Noticing the limited opportunities for Syrian refugees there, it didn’t take Emad long before he decided to pursue his dream of starting his own restaurant in Paris.
Like many Syrian refugees, Emad had went through a lot before he reached Paris. As soon as he arrived, he participated in the Refugee Food Festival to impress the city with the most delicious Syrian meals. The week long festival stretched throughout Paris from the 17th to the 21st of June. During the festival, Parisian restaurants entrusted their kitchens to refugees from Syria, Ivory Coast, Sri lanka and Iran to offer a diverse menu. Emad’s food left quite an impression on the attendants who gathered curiously and left with an appreciation for Syria, its people and its culture.
Emad isn’t only skilled in cooking, but can also speak three languages. In addition to speaking his native language Arabic, Emad can speak English and French. This has helped him break down communication barriers, giving him the advantage to easily blend within the French community. Emad realizes that the festival gave him a chance to share the Syrian cuisine and get to know the French cuisine as well.
Emad Shoshara is now planning on having his own food truck in Paris. And he expresses his desire to mix the Syrian cuisine with a bit of a french flavor to come up with something new.
At the end of the event, the French who enjoyed the food bowed to the Syrian chef who also bowed back, creating an image of cultural exchange and cooperation.
To watch Al-Jazeera’s report on Shoshara’s participation in the Refugee Food Festival you can click here. And to check out Emad’s yummy food you can visit his Facebook page here.
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