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Third-Annual Refugee Restaurant Week Kicks Off In Boise


Refugee Restaurant Week is a young initiative, but it's no less brilliant for its age. Following a successful run in 2017, the weeklong event that teams local refugee chefs with their counterparts in restaurants across Boise and Eagle is back for another year. Each team has worked to create dishes inspired by the refugee chefs' home cuisines. Taking the idea a step farther, produce for the dishes will be sourced from the refugee farmer empowerment program Global Gardens when possible, and the finished products will appear on restaurant menus—this year at spots including Grit American Cuisine in Eagle; and Locavore, The STIL and Petite 4 in Boise—for part or all of Refugee Restaurant Week, which stretches Monday-Sunday, Oct. 8-14.

The food runs the gamut from savory to sweet, and one chef returning with a dessert is Syrian refugee Najlaa Omar, who joined forces with Jenna Kieta of The STIL to create a Syrian-inspired ice cream. The ice cream stars apricots, raisins and almonds, offering a fruit-forward flavor and a creamy-meets-crunchy texture. Omar said the flavor combination is a traditional one for Syrian smoothies, which are made with apricot juice and almonds, and are often drunk during Ramadan after fasting. The treat will be available at The STIL for the duration of Refugee Restaurant Week.

Check out a complete list of chef teams and their dishes below.

Chef Najlaa Omar poses with her Syrian-inspired ice cream at The STIL. - LEX NELSON
  • Lex Nelson
  • Chef Najlaa Omar poses with her Syrian-inspired ice cream at The STIL.
Grit American Cuisine: Syrian Cuisine
Thursday-Saturday, Oct. 11-13
Menu: Chicken kepsa, kofta siniyah, and
fattoush salad
Chef Team: Saddam Alkadro and Paul Faucher

Locavore: Somali Cuisine
Monday-Sunday, Oct. 8-14
Menu: Baasto suugo pasta with tuna, bariis Somali-style rice, and maraq goat and vegetable soup
Chef Team: Rahma Abdi Ali and Christine Reid

The STIL: Syrian Cuisine
Monday-Sunday, Oct. 8-14
Menu: Ice cream made with apricots, raisins and almonds
Chef Team: Najlaa Omar and Jenna Kieta

Petite 4: Nepalese Cuisine
Thursday-Saturday, Oct. 11-13
Menu: Pork and beef momos with signature sauce
Chef Team: Ratna Subba and Sarah Kelly