Foodhini, a online meal delivery service, has opened its first micro-kitchen food stall at Whole Foods Market in Foggy Bottom, featuring traditional food prepared by Syrian Chef Majed.
Chef Majed is originally from Daraa, Syria, a city just south of the capital, Damascus. Majed moved to Washington, D.C. only recently with his wife and two little girls. He met his wife when he was working in Damascus as a chef. “I learned to love cooking as a little boy, watching my mother cook. I still see her as the best chef I know,” said Majed.
Foodhini founder and CEO, Noobtsaa Philip Vang, says that his own immigrant experience and local refugee stories gave him the inspiration for Foodhini. “I’m from the Hmong community. I grew up eating Southeast Asian for my entire life, made by mom, and when I moved out here, I was missing some of her home cooking. My first thought was to find an auntie or someone in the neighborhood to buy their food. But really what kicked off Foodhini was when my parents came here, not speaking English, with not much education. It was very tough for them to find work, but what they could do is make their home food,” said Vang.
Foodhini was founded on the idea that food can be used to create new opportunities for local immigrant and refugee communities.
“These individuals possess talents that have been developed for years in their homes, and now we are bringing those talents and dishes directly to you,” said Vang. “We believe their talents deserve real compensation and our goal is to provide livable wages to all of our chefs.”
“We are using food to create sustainable jobs for immigrant and refugee communities, while at the same time we provide epic tastes from around the world for everyone to enjoy. We partner with budding home-taught chefs from our diverse immigrant communities and celebrate their stories, heritage, and cultures through their delicious foods.”
Foodhini covers all the upfront costs, enabling home chefs to focus on what they do best in cooking. Chefs prepare their meals out of Foodhini’s certified kitchen space in the District.
The current plan is to have Chef Majed at Whole Food’s in Foggy Bottom for at least three months, then rotate him out and replace him with another Foodhini chef specializing in cuisine from a different region.