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Catering business shares a taste of Syria at local refugee-run café

Post Series: SSI Stories

With the support of Ignite® Small Business Start-ups, Ed Yousef established a catering service — Syriana Traditional Cuisine — that takes Sydneysiders on an authentic journey through the tastes of traditional Syrian food.

Captured is Ed Yousef at the refugee-run café the Four Brave Women in Summer Hill.

“Ignite was the initial step which helped me to move forward and establish the business,” he said.

Mr Yousef grew up in a family passionate about cooking delicious, authentic food and he wanted to share that passion with the people around him.

He has always hoped to share his mother’s traditional recipes by starting his own restaurant but, due to the ongoing conflict in Syria, he was unfortunately unable to pursue this dream.

When he discovered Ignite®, he jumped at the opportunity to get involved.

Ignite® supported him in developing social media platforms and other promotional materials such as flyers and business cards.

“They also helped me navigate all the paperwork involved in starting a business, like referring me to an insurance company and helping with an accountant,” he said.

“They pretty much supported me through everything.”

Mr Yousef said that he was highly satisfied with his experience and would recommend the program to anyone who was passionate about pursuing business aspirations or personal interests.

One of the most rewarding parts of the program is the opportunity to get to know others and participate in the wider Sydney community.

“It is important for communities to have the opportunity to engage, make contact and thrive so that we can improve our society together,” he said.

“Food brings people together; it unites us.”

Thanks to Mr Yousef’s hard work and support from Ignite®, Syriana Traditional Cuisine held its inaugural pop-up restaurant at a refugee-run eatery — The Four Brave Women — in the heart of Summer Hill.

Mr Yousef and his team serve eager customers with mouth-watering lunches and dinners, including ricotta cheese Baklava and his famous tahini cauliflower.

According to Mr Yousef, the tahini cauliflower has been such a hit they go through 70 to 100 kilograms of the vegetable each weekend.

Mr Yousef is grateful for the opportunity to be a part of the program as it has given him the support he needed to start his business and share his love of traditional Syrian food with Sydney.

“My mum has very good recipes and I love to share them with people,” he said.

“I also think it is important to present Syrian food with others, as I believe it isn’t well represented in Australia.”

To taste Syriana Traditional Cuisine, visit the Four Brave Women in Summer Hill.

To follow Ed’s journey, follow Syriana Traditional Cuisine on Facebook.

For more information about SSI, click here.



Settlement Services International (SSI) is the principal sponsor for Refugee Week 2019. This series of stories are stories of resilience and engagement from across their network.