This cookbook will be the first of its kind—written by refugees telling their own story and sharing their recipes.
It will feature 80 recipes and stories representing at least 20 chefs hailing from 15 different countries.
10% of proceeds will go to the International Rescue Committee, and all remaining profits from this campaign will be invested in hiring and training more refugees.
A little over a year ago, we were craving our grandmother's Hummus so we launched Eat Offbeat.
We had three goals in mind. Introduce New Yorkers to new and off-the-beaten-path cuisines, create opportunities for talented home cooks who happened to be refugees by status, and, most importantly, showcase the value refugees bring this country.
Since then, we’ve trained and hired 16 chefs from 11 different countries. We’ve fed 15,000 New Yorkers and introduced them to over 30 of our chefs' unique family dishes. Our story was featured in 50+ articles and video pieces in at least 10 languages, and viewed by millions worldwide. We’ve even been dubbed "New York’s most groundbreaking catering,” wow!
Our dream is to hire more chefs, feature more cuisines, and bring all their amazing stories to you. We have plans to expand our kitchen to many cities beyond New York, but in the meantime, we are creating a cookbook!
We want to bring our chefs' food into your kitchens, wherever you are.
We want you to learn directly from our chefs how to cook their dishes: to learn to cook Chef Rachana’s Nepali Momos or Chef Dhuha’s Iraqi Biryani.
We want you to learn about our chefs who are sharing the treasured recipes of their very own families with their personal creative touch; and about the culture that bore their cuisine.
We want you to sit to dinner with family and friends with built-in conversation about appreciating other cultures through food.
Our chefs are eager to share their most treasured recipes and stories with you… and they're counting on your help to make it happen!
This will be more than just a cookbook, it will be your travel guide to an amazing offbeat culinary tour around the world. It will be a guide to discovering hidden gems of authentic world cuisines, ranging from East Asia (Nepal, Tibet, China...) to the Middle East (Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan...); East, West and North Africa (Eritrea, Ivory Coast, Algeria…) and Latin America (Venezuela…).
They'll share their insider tips on how to best use an ingredient, and ancient tricks and wisdom passed on to them from generations of home cooks before them.
Eat Offbeat’s own Head Chef, Juan (who has worked for Michelin star restaurants amassing 13 stars in total) will work with our chefs to get their recipes out of their minds and into our cookbook!
New York is a melting pot where so many innovations are born. Our New York success story is no exception. Creativity is born out of diversity, and we have seen it in action in our micro melting pot —our kitchen.
Our chefs, who in many instances didn’t even speak the same language, formed lasting friendships as they cooked together. They learned each others’ techniques and borrowed each others’ spices. And when you combine diverse talent, friendship and curiosity, magic happens : Our chefs created new fusion recipes from their collaboration! Our cookbook will share not only these recipes, but the stories of how they came to be.
And that’s what makes our cookbook unprecedented and truly unique!
Our cookbook will be a feast for the eyes as much as they are a pleasure for the palate. To bring this to life we are partnering with the incredible photographer, Signe Birck! She is extraordinarily talented and with her help we will do our chef’s masterpieces justice. We're sure you know her, but if you don't, check out her Instagram here. (warning: not for the hungry!).
10% of proceeds will go to the International Rescue Committee, and all remaining profits will be invested in hiring and training more chefs.
Make this a year of growth for a business driven by the values refugees bring to our country.
- Writer/Director/Producer/VO: Lena Rudnick
- Cinematographer: Dan Witrock (danwitrock.com)
- Editor: Orlando Torres
- Music Composer: Izzy Gliksberg (lateseamusic.com)
- Additional footage courtesy of the Thomson Reuters Foundation; original video available here (and more videos here: http://news.trust.org/videos/)
Special thanks to Raj Maheshwari and Sarita Singh for opening up their home to our team for the shoot!
Risks and challenges
We are very fortunate with the team that we build around this project.
All our recipes have been tested by generations of home-cooks, and perfected by Chef Juan, Eat Offbeat's own Chief Culinary Officer, who has worked in restaurants with over 13 Michelin stars combined. The recipes have also been approved by thousands of New Yorkers (15,000, to be precise), who now rave about them.
We have not finalized the number of recipes and stories included: The more we raise in the campaign, the more chefs we will be able to hire and feature in the cookbook.
While this will be our first book at Eat Offbeat, everyone working on delivering has a ton of experience and we have surrounded ourselves with talented professionals such as Leanne Brown, Signe Birck, and Hanane Kahi.
That being said, there is a possibility of delays with printing and distribution of the cookbook but we will do our best to deliver all books on time.
- (32 days)