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.

The Persian recipes for the Seattle dinner On November 15 were curated by Chef Najmieh Batmanglij, Iranian-American cookbook author, and Chef Abbas Moradi of the Cheraghan Restaurant in Tehran. In my role as SISCA Board Member, I was honored to help with translation and conversion of the recipes, and to introduce the principles of Persian food at the dinner itself. The Seattle menu was:

Beef Kebab Wrapped in Eggplant
Butternut Squash and Kashk Spread
Green Herb Platter
Spicy Sweet and Sour Salmon Rice Bowl
Split Pea Stew Over Rice
Gem Lettuce With Herbs
Paradise Custard
Isfahani Nougat
Najmieh’s Tea

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.