New arrivals have always shaped Canadian food identity, and the recent wave of Syrian refugees is no exception. Diala Aleid is one of them. She is the co-owner of Zezafoun, a restaurant in Midtown Toronto serving freshly made Syrian cuisine.
In this rare workshop, Diala will show you how to prepare authentic Syrian vegan dishes that remind their customers of their mom's cooking, taking guests back to that little place they miss. Diala will also take you on a traditional Syrian Gathering Journey, pairing songs with stories. A communal meal follows where guests will eat their creations paired with Live Syrian Music!
You’ll start the Authentic Syrian Gathering with fresh hummus and Muhamara with Saj and pita bread while browsing through printed recipes to take home. After a short introduction, guests will gather around the kitchen island and learn tips and tricks on how to prepare TWO traditional Syrian dishes from start to finish.
Mujadara (Vegan, Kosher) - One of Zezafoun's signature dishes rich in protein, Mujadara is made from cooked lentils and Bulgar, an ancient Syrian grain. Topped with fried onions adding to its amazing flavor, it's no surprise people wonder how could something so simple taste so amazing.
To add the cherry on top of the icing, Zezafoun add a secret ingredient that take Mujadara to another level which guests will learn how to make!
Jarjeer Salad (Vegan, Kosher & Gluten Free) - Also known as Rocca Salad, it compliments Mujadara flavor Big Time! Crispy, tangy and refreshing in flavour, Jarjeer is made of arugula, tomatoes, cucumbers and red onions, topped with lemon juice, olive oil and sumac, a middle eastern spice, with pomegranate molasses.
Diala will also teach the names of ingredients in Arabic, preparing flashcards as keepsakes.
As an added TWIST on our workshops, guests will learn funny traditional verses sung at weddings and happy events where Mujaddara is the main topic. A very simple but VERY Syrian tradition depicting how cultures have no boundaries and how food and music can cross the oceans to make everybody happy!
A communal meal follows where guests will savour their creations in class. And for dessert, Diala will serve traditional homemade Baraze', a sesame and pistachio wafer, addictive after the first bite! Along with Ghraybeh, a Middle Eastern shortbread cookie that melts in the mouth giving an endless feeling of home.
While guests sit back after their hard work, a LIVE performance by Majd Sukar on clarinet and Edwar Tarzi on guitar will take center stage, with Diala singing a song or two, topping the night off with a memory to truly last forever.
Traditional Syrian music with classic Syrian food made by you , now WHAT could be better than this?
ABOUT DIALA ALEID
A Syrian entrepreneur born in Damascus, Diala grew up in an artistic family where her father was a painter and a calligraphy artist and her mother was a music teacher and a great cook. She started her professional life at the age of 19 at the American Embassy in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, in the Consular Section, moving to HR and Federal Aviation. She discovered her passion for film and event planning and moved into the Film Festival & Production sector in 2008. Shortly after receiving her diploma in Media Makeup and Prosthetics in London, UK, she started working on local and international sets such as Mission Impossible and X-Men. Moving to Toronto in 2015, just like many newcomers, Diala went through a self discovery phase where cooking became a hobby that she decided to add to her career and started working in catering to learn more about the local food market where she sensed a need for new exotic, healthy and delicious options of dishes, especially for vegan/vegetarian and children. From there on, Toronto seemed like the perfect spot for an authentic Syrian home for their restaurant Zezafoun Syrian Cuisine (http://zezafoun.ca/). Located in the heart of Midtown Toronto, it was the beginning of an exciting adventure with her mother and sister. Diala strongly believes that the combination of Food, Art and Music is the best way to deliver culture and feelings, and the fastest train home.
Founded in 2018 by a mother and her two daughters, Zezafoun serves authentic Syrian Cuisine in Midtown Toronto. Bringing to your plate the taste of Syria, they introduce a variety of vegan, vegetarian and meat dishes. Whether you are visiting for a delicious Syrian Breakfast, or for a filling homemade lunch and dinner, they are sure to have the best options for you! They also host several Authentic Arabic Music Nights paired with their delicious food, making this a place you'll definitely return to. http://zezafoun.ca/, 4 Manor Road East, 416-322-7707
ABOUT MAJD SUKAR
A Syrian clarinetist, Majd is a member of the Canadian Arabic Orchestra and a clarinet and Arabic music theory teacher at the Canadian Arabic Conservatory. He has performed with famous Arabic Singers at many stages in Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and Algeria, moving to Canada in 2016 to perform on stage in different Canadian cities with renowned international and Arabic singers and composers. He has conducted Master Classes in Arabic Music Theory at the University of Toronto as well as York University.
Currently Majd is studying Jazz Performance at Humber College and continues to collaborate with different local bands.
ABOUT EDWAR TARZI
Born in Aleppo, Syria, Edwar studied at the Arab Institute of Music in the same city. In 2006 he graduated with a diploma in guitar, becoming a member of the Syrian Artists Syndicate in 2007. He has taught at most of Aleppo's musical conservatories and performed with many bands and Arabic singers covering a broad range of musical styles to include Classical, Spanish, Jazz, Blues, and Oriental music. He has continued his career as a guitar teacher and player after moving to Lebanon in 2014, teaching with many musical institutes and playing with the most important Middle Eastern singers. He moved to Canada at the end of 2017 and is currently a guitar teacher at the Canadian Arabic Conservatory and guitar player at the Canadian Arabic Orchestra.