Join me for Tea and Conversation: Persian Culinary Traditions for Nowruz

Date: Wednesday, March 17, 2021, 6 – 7 pm EST, 3 -4 pm Pacific Time

Nowruz, the Persian New Year, marks the arrival of spring across large parts of the Middle East and Central Asia. Feasts that accompany Nowruz are central to the celebration.

Join Omid Roustaei, a Seattle-based Persian chef, to learn about special dishes associated with the holiday as well as the richness, subtleness, and playfulness of Persian cuisine and to hear stories from his childhood in Tehran. The conversation is moderated by Freer and Sackler curator Simon Rettig.

Omid Roustaei is an Iranian American psychotherapist and culinary instructor who is passionate about sharing Persian culture and traditions through food and storytelling. He attended the School of Natural Cookery in Boulder, Colorado, where he studied the art of intuitive cooking. His current mission is to spread awareness of Persian culture and cuisine, which he does by writing his blog, The Caspian Chef (; by teaching online cooking classes; and through his work with the nonprofit organization Seattle-Isfahan Sister City Advocacy.

Simon Rettig is assistant curator of Islamic art at the Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Asian Art. He previously worked at the French Research Institute in Istanbul and the Freie Üniversität in Berlin. He joined the Freer and Sackler in 2012. Since then, he has curated and cocurated the exhibitions The Prince and the Shah: Royal Portraits from Qajar Iran (2018), The Art of the Qur’an: Treasures from the Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts (2016–17), and Nasta‘liq: The Genius of Persian Calligraphy (2014–15). His current projects include a monograph on the Freer’s celebrated Khusraw u Shirin.

This program is part of the event series Nowruz: A Persian New Year Celebration and is made possible by the Jahangir and Eleanor Amuzegar Persian Cultural Celebrations Fund.

Register and join the event HERE

Event Location: Online
Cost: Free


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Persian Flavors

Online Cooking Class to Benefit Food-Insecure Families and Children in the U.S. and Iran
Taught by SISCA Board Member
Omid Roustaei, The Caspian Chef
Presented by Seattle-Isfahan Sister City Advocacy

Continue reading “Persian Flavors”

Chefs Without Borders

Each year, Seattle-Isfahan Sister City Advocacy (SISCA) organizes Chefs Without Borders: Tasting Isfahan and Tasting Seattle. This bilateral event features two dinners on opposite sides of the world that share and celebrate the emblematic cuisine of each other’s city. The goal is to create better awareness of, appreciation for, and connection between cultures through the common language of food.

This year’s dinner in Iran was held on August 28 at the Cheraghan Restaurant in Tehran, and featured Pacific Northwest recipes created by The Carlile Room Executive Chef Dezi Bonow. A “homegrown” Seattle chef, Chef Dezi was born and raised one block away from the Fremont Bridge, and began working in the culinary world while still in high school. Persian cuisine holds a special place in his home and his heart because his wife, Leyla, is Iranian-American.

Continue reading “Chefs Without Borders”

Catch me on “Your Last Meal” podcast

Keeping company with Samin Nosrat (“Salt Fat Acid Heat” on Netflix) and Andy Baraghani (Senior Food Editor, Bon Appetit) on Rachel Belle’s podcast! Rachel Belle has an awesome podcast called “Your Last Meal” in which she interviews people from all walks of life about their favorite food.

On February of 2019, I was honored to be interviewed about Persian rice and the delectable tahdig in an episode that also featured the lovable and brilliant Samin Nosrat and Andy Baraghani.

Your last Meal

Cultural and culinary events highlight sister city bond between Seattle and Isfahan, Iran

Cathia Geller, board president of the Seattle-Isfahan Sister City Association, and Chef Omid Roustaei spotlighted some of Iran’s cultural and culinary history.