OAKLAND, Calif. – Reem Assil could be the award-winning chef of Reem’s California in San Francisco’s Mission District and the bakery in Oakland’s Fruitvale neighborhood. However her most important objective is to supply at the very least a glimpse into her Arab-American tradition by means of good meals.
She seeks to, “break down boundaries of understanding. Reem’s is de facto an academic area,” says Assil.
Assil, who is a component Palestinian and half Syrian, obtained the concept to introduce Arab meals to the overall Bay Space greater than 10 years in the past after a visit to Syria together with her father.
“The factor that actually actually struck me was how Arabs confirmed their hospitality by means of meals. By bread. The bread is form of the lifeline of Arab tradition and historical past. I simply fell in love with the bakeries there,” she mentioned.
Assil spent years perfecting her culinary craft and in 2017 opened the bakery and restaurant in Oakland. It turned a success.
“It was all the things I might have requested for.”
However some issues she did not ask for.
“Individuals calling and saying we hope your bakery blows up. Return to wherever you terrorist,” she mentioned.
However such calls died down, the bakery thrived and Assil opened a second spot in San Francisco in 2019.
Then the pandemic struck. Gross sales dropped by 80%.
“Fruitvale turned a ghost city. No one was driving BART. We had been on a transit line. The majority of our clients had been employees within the workplace buildings of non-profits. All that simply disappeared.”
Assil now makes use of the Oakland location as a commissary kitchen making meals to promote at farmers markets and pop-up meals stands and catering. She can also be feeding the hungry, serving to contribute some 80,000 meals throughout the pandemic.
Assil feels she has fulfilled her mission of tearing down racial and ethnic stereotypes about Arabs and bringing a greater understanding of her heritage.
“We should be acknowledged. We have to have a voice. And I feel persons are beginning to try this. And rejoice it,” she mentioned.