Our chef instructors hail from all corners of the globe but they share a common trait: they are passionate about their food and culture and they want to share it with others. Most of our chef instructors are either accomplished or aspiring food-related business owners. Even though most are not professional chefs, they are dedicated to sharing the time-tested techniques, traditions, and recipes that have been passed down to them with you. If you’re interested in being one of our chef instructors, please contact us!
Veda Sukhu is the proud owner of Veda’s Cakes & Catering, where she creates beautiful cakes, food, and pastries from her home country of Guyana, a former British colony in South America. Veda is dedicated to preserving her cultural heritage through traditional Guyanese recipes which represent a variety of cultural influences including East Indian, African, Portuguese, Chinese, Amerindian Indians, and British. Her desire to encourage her family and others to make these traditional foods has been the primary motivation to start her business. She hopes to hand down her skills, recipes, and traditions to her grandchildren, the same way her grandparents did for her. She believes that you can bring joy to many by enjoying a culture of togetherness and sharing great food with family and friends. Veda says the most precious thing in life is to give, and one way we can do that is through the art of food, which will always bring us together.
Rashwan was born in a village in southern Egypt on the Nile River. He grew up intimately connected with the food he ate, planting, tending and harvesting more than a dozen crops on his family farm. He appreciated the full, complex flavors of homegrown delicacies so much that he earned a reputation for mischief, sneaking into his uncles’ gardens to swipe prize watermelon or cucumber.
As a young man, Rashwan traveled to Cairo, a city of millions. After working in restaurants, bakeries, and five star hotels, he eventually set up his own coffee shop downtown. Missing connection to food and communal eating in this vast metropolis, Rashwan began cooking large meals on a burner in his coffee shop and sharing them with the other shopkeepers on the block, especially on Fridays and holidays. He recreated many simple but authentic flavors learned from his mother and aunts that were nowhere to be found in Cairo.
After moving to the U.S. in 2010, Rashwan’s dream to run a food establishment led him to create the Falafel Factory food truck last year. At Newark-based Falafel Factory, he grinds the falafel batter daily using copious amounts of fresh green herbs and spices, just as he would if he was still in his village in Egypt. Rashwan hopes to one day acquire a bricks and mortar restaurant and expand the menu even more.
Nafissa eventually came to America to exhibit her art with other African artists, selected by the American Cultural Center in Dakar. She also created a start up business, Nafi’s Hot Pepper Condiments, selling her homemade spicy Senegalese condiments, as well as her own version of a traditional West African peanut sauce, and other milder sauces. Nafissa is a proud member of the Hot Bread Kitchen small food business incubator, in Harlem.