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April 24, 2014 2:49 PM

Local chefs support student learning

Chefs Asem Ghabra, Baraat Khudeir and Jawad Ghabra of Shawerma Plus in Waterloo joined students in Conestoga’s International Cuisine class to help them learn the delights and intricacies of Syrian cooking.

Culinary students assisted the chefs in preparing various menu items and learned how to put together a flavourful Syrian meal.

In less than 2 hours, the students helped prepare a variety of dishes including muttabal, baba ghanouj, Arabic salad, fattoush salad, huraq isba’oo, maqloobeh and an Arabic dessert called umali.

Rated the number one restaurant in Waterloo Region by Tripadvisor.ca, Shawerma Plus also ranks highly among restaurants on Urbanspoon and other social media sites.

According to faculty member Evelyn McManus, the chefs were very knowledgeable and patient in answering all of the student’s questions and students gained a lot from the experience.

McManus said the emphasis in Syrian cooking is on locally sourced and fresh ingredients. She added that the ‘secret ingredient’ in both Syrian and Canadian cuisine is love and a passion for the food.

“The dishes certainly reflected their heritage and were very unique,” said McManus. “The attention to the smallest detail made their cuisine stand out.”

McManus said the students were truly delighted and honoured to have the chefs share their skills and their cuisine.

Conestoga offers diplomas and certificates in a variety of culinary programs including culinary management, hospitality operations as well chef apprenticeships. For a full listing of culinary programs, visit the website.

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