FAR FROM HER HOME, CHEF AHEDA CONTINUES THE HERITAGE AND CULTURE OF BEAUTIFUL PALESTINE THROUGH HER COOKING. SHE HOPES THAT SOMEDAY SHE CAN SPREAD THE JOY OF AUTHENTIC PALESTINIAN RECIPES BY OPENING HER OWN FOOD TRUCK.
Can you tell us a bit about your background?
My name is Aheda. I was born in Halhul, Palestine. I’ve been cooking my whole life. I was a chef in Palestine and ran my own catering business. My favourite recipes came from my grandmother and my mother.
I have two secrets when it comes to cooking. The first one, it’s not exactly my secret but my country’s: cook with your hands. The second one is to cook with love. You must always put some love in your cooking!
How did you get the initial idea to start your business?
When I first arrived in Australia 5 years ago, I couldn’t find any Palestinian restaurant. And so this gave me an idea to start my own business. I learned English as I did this, teaching myself how to speak and learning the names of the fruits and vegetables. I enrolled in Certificate IV in Commercial Cooking to gain my accreditation as a chef, before I started cooking full-time in Australia in 2019.
Who is involved in running your business? Who is your business partner (if any), or who works together with you?
There was no one to partner up with to set up my own business, so I did it myself. I started volunteering with ASRC too after gaining my certificate to get the local experience and grow my business.
What’s the best part about running your own business?
I have the luxury to do things at my own pace. I can wake up in the mornings to ease into my day. I make my coffee, then chat with my plants. I ask them how they are feeling. Do they need something, maybe food or some water? It’s simple pleasures but they make for happy mornings for me.
This ritual is a way to preserve my culture, my heritage. I plant the vegetables during their rightful seasons, so I can cook according to the season. It’s my culture, and I need to hold on to them and share them.
Any exciting future plans you can share about your business?
My dream is to open up a food truck called Aheda’s Kitchen. I want to travel around Australia and be able to share with many people the joy of Palestinian food. I want to spread the word so I ensure my heritage will never go away because everyday, I miss my home, I miss my country and I miss my family. I can never go back but I will always be Palestinian, and I hope someday there will be a free Palestine.