clearn.png
Monday October 21st, 2019 1:04AM

A taste of home: Syrian TV-chef opens restaurant in Berlin

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

BERLIN (AP) — Tucked away in a former fast-food kiosk in the German capital lies a new restaurant whose owner hopes will provide a taste of home for the thousands of new arrivals who have fled Syria's brutal civil war.

After fleeing her homeland, Malakeh Jazmati reinvented herself in Jordan as a TV chef and became known as the "queen of cooking" to fellow Syrian refugees. Now in Berlin, she's starting over again, opening a restaurant she hopes can serve as "medicine against homesickness" for fellow Syrians, as well as an introduction to her country's cuisine for others.

During her three years in Berlin, she has already cooked for movie stars at the Berlinale film festival and for Chancellor Angela Merkel at a government event, but the restaurant is her attempt to provide a reminder of Syria for the recent arrivals.

"I'm trying to make this restaurant not just a part of Syria but part of my home," she said standing in the serving room of the restaurant after a long shift in the kitchen. "The food helps them remember their mothers and the dining tables in their homes, and the photos on the walls remind them of life back in the home country."

Jazmati's own culinary story is closely intertwined with the war in Syria and the mass of people seeking asylum in Germany in 2015.

The 31-year-old Damascus native fled her home soon after the war started. Her first stop was the Jordanian capital Amman, where she started hosting her Syrian cooking show on Orient TV, a Dubai-based regional broadcaster.

Its name, Maliket al-Tabkh, or "Queen of Cooking" was a play on her own first name Malakeh, meaning queen.

She had never worked professionally as a chef before, but her natural way of presenting the food and chatting with the presenters made the show popular among fellow Syrian refugees and others.

While she worked, her husband made his way to Germany through Turkey and Greece and she was allowed to join him in 2015 through a family reunification scheme. She was one of hundreds of thousands of Syrians that migrated to Germany that year.

Her small restaurant, housed in what was previously a kebab kiosk in Berlin's Schoeneberg district, opened its doors October 27 serving traditional Syrian fare.

There is hummus of course, but Jazmati is quick to point out that hummus and falafel and are only a small part of Syrian food. On one Friday, Jazmati was cooking up meatballs in a milk and tarragon sauce, stuffed grape leaves and green beans with garlic and coriander in a tomato sauce.

"I try to cook the food like our mothers in Syria," she said with a large smile.

Jazmati hopes her restaurant will become a hotspot for newly arrived Syrians, as well as any other people curious to taste traditional Syrian dishes. On the weekends, Syrian musicians play small concerts in a corner of the restaurant while guests tuck in to the dishes that are priced at around 12 euros. The walls are covered with pictures of famous Syrians, such as the late poet Nizar Qabbani and Moustapha Akkad, best known for producing Halloween horror films.

Ahmad Mahayni, who migrated to Germany from Syria in 2014, is already a regular with his wife and young children and loves the concept.

"It is the same for German people," he says in fluent German. "When they move to another country, like Hong Kong, for example, they crave the food from home."

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP World News, AP Entertainment, AP Online TV News
© Copyright 2019 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
A taste of home: Syrian TV-chef opens restaurant in Berlin
Syrian TV chef known as the 'queen of cooking' opens restaurant in Berlin hoping to provide a taste of home for the thousands of new arrivals who have fled the country's brutal civil war
6:07AM ( 33 minutes ago )
Christmas festivities begin in West Bank town of Bethlehem
Palestinians are preparing to host pilgrims from around the world in celebrating Christmas in the West Bank city of Bethlehem
6:05AM ( 35 minutes ago )
Sudan soccer fans clash with police, call on Bashir to leave
Sudanese soccer fans call on Bashir to step down, clash with police
5:56AM ( 44 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Turkey-backed Syrian fighters prepare to replace US forces
A spokesman for Turkish-backed Syrian forces says they are preparing to deploy in eastern Syria alongside Turkish troops once American forces withdraw
5:24AM ( 1 hour ago )
Pakistan's former PM sentenced to 7 years for corruption
A court in Pakistan has sentenced former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to seven years in prison for corruption and acquitted him in a second case
5:22AM ( 1 hour ago )
Indonesia tsunami survivors sought as families mourn dead
Indonesian government workers and volunteers searched debris-strewn beaches for survivors and bodies, while families tried to identify their loved ones and grieved for the dead from a nighttime tsunami that struck beaches along an Indonesian strait
5:20AM ( 1 hour ago )
AP World News
Turkey opens probe of actors' alleged TV insults of Erdogan
Turkey's official news agency says prosecutors have launched an investigation into two prominent actors for comments on a television program.
12:17PM ( 18 hours ago )
'Aquaman' outswims 'Poppins,' 'Bumblebee' with $67.4M debut
In a flood of new releases, "Aquaman" swam ahead of "Mary Poppins Returns" and "Bumblebee" to lead the busy pre-Christmas weekend with an estimated $67.4 million over the weekend
11:55AM ( 18 hours ago )
Debby Ryan, Twenty One Pilots drummer Josh Dun are engaged
Actress Debby Ryan and Twenty One Pilots drummer Josh Dun have tied the knot, announcing their engagement on social media
10:33AM ( 20 hours ago )
AP Entertainment
'Watch What Happens Live' host Andy Cohen to become dad
It was "Watch What Happens Live" host Andy Cohen instead of one of his reality show guests who dished up a surprise for his audience.
8:56AM ( 2 days ago )
Longtime Clippers fan Crystal will be analyst for 1 game
Billy Crystal, who has been the team's most well-known fan through the good times and bad, will be the analyst for the Jan. 31 game against the Lakers
10:46PM ( 3 days ago )
Dushku says CBS agreed to monitor 'Bull' star's behavior
Actress Eliza Dushku says CBS agreed to designate an expert to monitor "Bull" star's behavior as part of $9.5 million settlement
5:30PM ( 3 days ago )
AP Online TV News
Pakistan's former PM sentenced to 7 years for corruption
A court in Pakistan has sentenced former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to seven years in prison for corruption and acquitted him in a second case
6:24AM ( 17 minutes ago )
Christmas festivities begin in West Bank town of Bethlehem
Palestinians are preparing to host pilgrims from around the world in celebrating Christmas in the West Bank city of Bethlehem
6:05AM ( 35 minutes ago )
Sudan soccer fans clash with police, call on Bashir to leave
Sudanese soccer fans call on Bashir to step down, clash with police
5:56AM ( 45 minutes ago )
Bangladesh deploys soldiers ahead of next Sunday's elections
Thousands of army soldiers are being deployed across Bangladesh to provide security and help conduct the national elections this coming Sunday that the opposition has alleged could be rigged
5:49AM ( 52 minutes ago )
Police say investigation into drones over Gatwick ongoing
Sussex Police insist investigations into drone sightings around London's Gatwick Airport are ongoing despite a comment from a senior detective that there may not have any drones over the airport after all
5:45AM ( 56 minutes ago )