Salma Serry—Sufra Kitchen: Boston, MA

Salma grew up in Dubai where it is mundanely normal to have tangy Palestinian zaatar on Afghani naan for breakfast, hearty Persian Ash-e-jow soup for lunch, and smokey Yemeni Mandi for dinner after snacking on street-cafeteria Punjabi Samosa that is washed down with the quintessential British Vimto drink. And so naturally, she was drawn to exploring the interconnectedness of food in the Middle East with all its complicated yet rich histories and flavors.

She is an online cook, recipe developer, and the founder of the brand-new platform Sufra Kitchen, the world’s first social space dedicated to everything Middle Eastern Food, beyond just recipes.  It extends an open invitation to reimagine and rethink food and foodways of the Middle East with all its abundance beyond hummus, tah-dig and sumac. There, she documents stories it tells, histories it boasts, recipes it creates, businesses it nurtures, and people it brings together.

Through Sufra Kitchen, Salma aims to bridge the gap between the various cultures and under-represented minorities in the region, such as Kurdish, Nubian, and black communities. Through research and collaboration, she is also among the first to open up a channel of communication about Arab and Israeli food connections, challenging narratives of radicalization and advocating for peaceful dialogues.

Salma is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in Food Studies at Boston University, where she writes, studies and researches the history, anthropology and sociology of food. She is in the process of co-authoring a cookbook and producing a documentary series about Middle Eastern food history.

To her, sharing her knowledge and expertise with global and local chefs, restaurants and businesses is just what Middle Eastern food is all about: generosity, diversity and warmth.