Refugee Benefit Dinner with a Syrian Chef on April 8th

by Sarah Mausert, with a wee bit from Johanna

All of us have heard about the Syrian refugee crisis taking place.  To briefly sum up events, anti-government protests began in March 2011 during the Arab Spring.  The government responded violently to peaceful protests and armed opposition groups began fighting back.  Things continued to escalate to a full civil war and an estimated 470,000 Syrians have died. Eleven million Syrians are on the run-more than six million have been internally displaced and almost five million have sought safety in neighboring countries.

Abdulmouin, his wife, and their four children came to the U.S. six months ago, as refugees.  He had his own restaurant in Syria before they were forced to leave.  Below is a picture of Homs, the city where Abdulmouin and his family once lived.


Ok, wow, what does all this have to do with food?  Well, Abdulmouin works for Melina’s Fresh Pasta and Carmella Alvaro, the owner, is hosting a series of dinners to help raise money for Abdulmouin and his family. Even better, he will be the chef for the dinner-what a great chance to sample some authentic Syrian cuisine!  The first (sold out) dinner took place last month and here are some photos from that evening.

The next dinner takes place on April 8th at 6:30. Tickets can be purchased HERE (scroll down if the page looks blank).  There is also a Facebook page, Dinners to Support a Refugee Family and Twitter @MelinasPasta, where you can check for updates on the dinners.  This is a great opportunity to support a family that needs help as well as enjoy food and community.

A donation of $50 will include dinner & dessert. You are welcome to bring wine or beer to enjoy with the dinner.

Chef Abdulmouin’s Dinner Menu
Chicken soup with lemon
Shakriya (Meat in Yogurt Sauce)
Rice with vermicelli
Makdous (Pickled Stuffed Eggplant)
Rice and chicken

“If you haven’t had Melina’s Pasta before, you can order it online or purchase it at several Farmers’ Markets and specialty stores in the Triangle. Our family is addicted to Carmella’s various Ravioli topped with her marinara sauce. Her ingredients are sourced locally, so I always know my family is eating and supporting local,” says Johanna, owner of this blog. She goes on to further say that “Carmella is a hard working and compassionate person, it is no surprise that she would help coordinate this event and continue to build our community for the better.”

Using traditional recipes and methods learned in Italy, Melina’s Pasta produces fresh pasta, ravioli, gnocchi and sauces using fresh and local ingredients.

Author: Sarah was born a yankee, but has been a Durhamite for ten years now. She enjoys red wine, bourbon, her dogs, Captain and Morgan, and her cats, Johnny and Walker.


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