Hosts of the Flavours of Somalia

Hosts embody the hospitality of Somali culture

Jamila Osman, Mulki Ali, Nadifa Omar and Maryam Hussein reflect the experiences of many of the Somali people who have made Edmonton their home over the past 35 years. When they heard that EdmontonEats was being created as a way to share cultures, food and assist to provide an economic opportunity, they wanted to help each other and be a part of it. They believe it is important that people learn about each other’s culture and that this knowledge makes a difference in our communities.  

When it comes to sharing food and stories, the Somali people are most generous.  Jamila, Mulki, Nadifa and Maryam say that Somalia is a country where welcoming people to their homes is a way of life, and they wish to share this hospitality through Flavours of Edmonton.

Maryam Hussein wanted to become involved with EdmontonEats as it has a very local connection to her community of Bannerman.  Her four sons and daughter have attended the local elementary school. She works fulltime in a local daycare. Maryam was born and raised in Somalia.

She moved to Canada as a refugee.  She sees a future where her children will succeed in school, go to college or university, take care of their family and embrace their culture. Maryam feels taking part in EdmontonEats is important in celebrating and showing pride in her culture while building strong community connections. 

Mulki Ali volunteered to pull the ladies together for this event as she knew they would love to share their culture and food as well as benefit from the shared income. She has been a proud Edmontonian for more than 25 years. Born and raised in Somalia, Mulki was entering her adult life when civil war broke out in 1991. Fearing for her safety, Mulki moved to Italy to attend post-secondary school. She met her future husband there, and they moved to Edmonton for his work. When Mulki arrived here she did not speak English and her education did not transfer. However, her community values and desire to start a family gave her determination. Mulki attended Alberta College, learned English and upgraded at MacEwan University. Her family moved to the Edmonton neighbourhood of Dickensfield, where she became active in the community and built valuable relationships. Today, Mulki and her husband have four children. Mulki now works as a Cultural Broker with Multicultural Health Brokers Co-op, where she works with immigrant families, helping them overcome cultural barriers and contribute to society. 

Nadifa Omar is described by her friend Mulki as having an amazing spirit and zest for life.  Nadifa loves cooking for people and you are always welcome at her home with food and generosity.  Nadifa has a deep knowledge of spices and oils which she uses to help her community with cooking and treating ailments. She is a natural mentor and gave gentle and supportive assistance to the NAIT Culinary Students as they implemented the recipes chosen for the Flavours of Somalia.  

Jamila Osman is a proud grandmother and mother who come to Canada in the 1990s. She raised her children in Edmonton.  They are now adults working and living in Edmonton with their families. Jamila herself speaks and reads multiple languages including Italian, English, Somalian and Arabic.  She has been a leader and connector within the Edmonton Somali community.

What the heck is a social enterprise?

Byline: By Calan Hobbs

EdmontonEats is piloting a social enterprise rather than a charitable society model. So what’s the difference?

Well, a social enterprise blends the best of the charitable and private enterprise business models by using market-oriented approaches to solve social problems, according to Brooks Hanewich, EdmontonEats board member and co-founder of MatchWork, who has extensive experience working with social enterprises in Vancouver and Edmonton.

“A social enterprise can provide a way for people to share their talents and expertise, and creates avenues to address the systemic barriers they face when trying to participate in the economy,” Hanewich explained.

EdmontonEats creates sustainable economic opportunities for new Canadians who have valuable skills to share. It provides them with work experience, payment and networking opportunities, while also building community connections between the hosts and attendees.  

The private sector provides a business model of successful, long-term wealth accumulation. But, as Hanewich pointed out, wealth is distributed in a top-heavy way which doesn’t address wealth inequalities nor overall socio-economic problems.

EdmontonEats founder, Maureen Murphy-Black, chose the social enterprise model with a goal of making EdmontonEats self-sufficient.

“The revenue sharing model allows participants to earn an income, while creating a sustainable organization for the future,” Murphy-Black said.

A recent Statistics Canada survey showed nearly 50% of immigrants say finding an adequate job is their biggest struggle, ahead of learning the language at 26% and adapting to the culture at 13%. Rates of low income and unemployment continue to be high among immigrants, relative to the general population. 

Each EdmontonEats event is tailored to the strengths and interests of the host families. The first step is understanding where they come from, what they want to do and what their talents are. They are empowered to apply their skills and cultural background, and take ownership of creating the event, working with partners in the business sector and receiving income for their work.

EdmontonEats provides a dignified means of wealth transfer. Diners pay for a meal, as they do in restaurants.The revenue generated cycles back into the social enterprise, to the families and to the local community.

And the advantage of a dining event goes beyond creating employment and wealth to fighting social isolation and building a sense of community. People gather for an experience. Everyone involved — from the diners, partners and the families themselves — connects with one another. Communities unite. People are exposed to different cultures and, ultimately, new relationships are built.EdmontonEats salutes some other social enterprises that are helping to make our community a better place: Food4Good, Leftovers Food Rescue, and Hallway Cafe.

Rave reviews from past attendees

Rave reviews from past attendees:

EdmontonEats event-goers get to travel with their taste buds! Some comments from attendees at A Taste of Libya last fall:

“Almost like taking a mini-vacation!”

“A lovely evening out to enjoy culture, community and fine food.”

“Not only did I get to sample many new tasty dishes, I also learned a lot about Libyan culture and traditions.”

“I loved being able to meet new people while sharing food together.”

 93 per cent of attendees said they would recommend EdmontonEats events to friends.Please join us on our next adventure—Flavours of Somalia—at NAIT’s Ernest’s Dining Room on March 21. Tickets $75 on CanadaHelps and Eventbrite.

The Elabri Family Story – From Libya to Canada

The Elabri Family Story – From Libya to Canada

When Afaf and Jehad Elabri decided to host EdmontonEats’ first event “A Taste of Libya”, it wasn’t just because of their passion for food. They saw it as an opportunity to share their culture with others and build connections within their community, through an authentic culinary experience. Having recently immigrated to Canada, “A Taste of Libya” was an opportunity to give back to their new home and say “thank you” to those who welcomed them.

Jehad had a background in the oil and gas industry. Afaf was the leader at home, raising their children and maintaining the household. Jehad was fluent in English, while Afaf was not. Their children learned English through school.

The Elabri family’s journey was not always the smoothest. Jehad, Afaf and their four children moved to Canada in 2014. They faced challenges finding adequate housing. Many options were in dilapidated homes in neighbourhoods where they did not feel safe. Jehad faced challenges finding employment in his field.

The Elabri family’s journey was not always the smoothest. Jehad, Afaf and their four children moved to Canada in 2014. They faced challenges finding adequate housing. Many options were in dilapidated homes in neighbourhoods where they did not feel safe. Jehad faced challenges finding employment in his field. They moved to a few cities until they found themselves in Edmonton. After several difficult months, the Elabris were met with acts of kindness and a community that welcomed them with open arms.

Their new life in Edmonton began at a motel. Initially the room rate was too high and they didn’t know how long they would be able to afford it. Jehad reached out to the hotel manager. The manager shared a similar immigration journey and he empathized with the Elabris. Their room rate was reduced so they could afford to stay while Jehad looked for work. This small act of kindness was a turning point for the family.

The next act of kindness came from a helpful consultant with a local property management company. She listened to their challenges and worked tirelessly to find the family of six the perfect home in the perfect community.

This community was Bannerman in northeast Edmonton. Almost immediately after moving in, they met a neighbour named Mary. Mary was welcoming, helpful and curious. Other neighbours were friendly to the Elabris, saying hello when they walked by and offering assistance as they were getting settled. As their children started school, the school staff built a close relationship with the family.

While Jehad settled into a new job in retail and the kids attended school, Afaf began to learn English. She built strong friendships with Mary and her other neighbours, where she shared her passion for cooking. Afaf believes food is a universal language and cooking can bring people together. Her new friends loved her snacks. Afaf quickly became known for her talent as a cook. 

Afaf learned about EdmontonEats through Mary. Her decision to participate was based on her experiences and beliefs. As many people didn’t know much about Libya, Afaf viewed EdmontonEats as an opportunity to share her culture with others. 

In Libya, making a thoughtful, elaborate meal for guests of honour is an act of great respect. It was important for Jehad and Afaf to honour the people who would come to “A Taste of Libya”. This inspired Afaf to create an authentic menu, something one wouldn’t find in North American cooking.

Jehad provided diners with a presentation on Libyan culture and their inspiration for the food they offered. He called it his “little picture of home.” Together, the Elabris put together an experience that was truly “A Taste of Libya.” 

Jehad and Afaf’s most valuable takeaway from the event was the social aspect. They were able to mingle with other diners and meet new friends. They found common ground over the food. Many people commented on how their traditions were similar or different. Others asked questions about Libya, which Jehad and Afaf were thrilled to answer. The comments on the food were overwhelmingly positive. To the Elabris, “A Taste of Libya” was a resounding success.

Although their journey to Canada was not the smoothest, the Elabris found a home in Edmonton where their family can thrive and they can share their passion. “A Taste of Libya” was Afaf and Jehad’s way to tell their story and give back to the community they now call home.

EdmontonEats presents Flavours of Somalia

The Flavours of Somalia meal will be delivered to your home on Saturday August 1st. Given we cannot meet in person we thought a lovely dinner during Heritage Weekend would be a way to celebrate food and culture with our community.  

·         The food will be prepared by the hosts from Somalia according to their traditional recipes and the wisdom of generations of family cooks.

·         You will receive access to a short video from the hosts sharing info on their culture.

·         Food will be prepared in a commercial kitchen that meets all the safety requirements required during this time of COVID.

·         The well-known and respected Chef Cindy Lazarenko will provide all planning, oversight and direction to the layout of the kitchen and the food preparation.

·         Chef Cindy Lazarenko has been an owner/chef/manager of both an independent restaurant and catering businesses for over 15 years, including the award winning Culina Highlands Restaurant and Culina Restaurants and Catering.

Your Food Box

A food box will arrive at your home in the late afternoon August 1st around 4:00 pm-5:00 pm

o    The food will be fully prepared and you will be able to heat it up for dinner.

o    Vegetarian options are available upon request.

o    Each food box will have a few surprise ingredients that you can use for future meals as well as a few recipes for you to try out.

o    Our sponsors will also contribute a few items to the box as a little extra.

Menu

Sambuus (Vegetable)

Digaag Duban (Spicy Chicken Dish)

Maraq Qudaar (Vegetable Stew for the vegetarian substitution)

Bariss (Rice)

Salad

Somali speciality hot sauce and salad dressing

Coconut Dessert

Cardamom Cake

Tickets can be purchased until July 27, 2020 by emailing edmontoneatsassociation@gmail.com

We look forward to providing you with a lovely dinner. Thank you for your support of EdmontonEats goals and values as we change over our business model.  

Follow along on Facebook and Instagram for updates leading up to the event!

EdmontonEats: A taste of Libya

October 19th, 2019 @ Ernest’s Dining Room – NAIT

Message from Hostess Afaf:

Hello, my name is Afaf Bayoud. I was born in Libya. My husband, myself and our four young children came to Canada in 2014. What a journey it was…. both hard and exciting. My family and I proudly accepted our Canadian Citizenship in September.

I have worked very hard to learn English so I can communicate with my fellow Canadians.

Food is a passion of mine, I got my first lessons from my mother, she was so patient lol. I love food to be very tasty and to have a beautiful presentation. I hope someday I’ll be able to fuse together the Libyan and Canadian cuisines.

I became involved with EdmontonEats so that I could be more connected with my neighbourhood and get involved in the community. I am pleased to have this opportunity to share the culture and foods of my native country with other Canadians, so we can all become more enriched.

Mark you calendar for the first event of EdmontonEats. The evening will be Hosted by a family from Libya.
• Come and experience the food, smells, sounds and customs of Libya.
• Hear about one family’s journey to Edmonton as home.
• The recipes chosen by your Libyan Host are tried and true passed down through families from generation to generation.
• NAIT School of Culinary Arts will be preparing these traditional Libyan foods.

You will get to experience 7 of the traditional foods of Libya and develop an understanding of some of the cultural traditions of the country.

If you are interested in recreating the dishes from this event, please check out our recipes page!