Belal Elsad and Fouza Al Shabani
Syria (left Syria and moved to Libya for 8 years, arrived in Canada April 2019)
Belal, his wife, his mother Fouza and his three boys all share a love for food. Belal and his mother share the joy of cooking and serving food. Back in Libya Belal was a chef who owned his own restaurant. He loves cooking for people, making connections with them, and seeing the joy that his food brought to strangers, friends and family. On their journey to Canada he brought with him a couscous pot. Not exactly the easiest thing to pack. The couscous pot is a pot and strainer used to cook couscous, and bazeen a popular meal for wedding guests. There was a time Belal used to borrow it from neighbours, until he saved up and bought his own. There was no way he was going to leave it behind.
“I knew it would not be available in Canada, I need it to make delicious food, cooking is art and the couscous pot is one of my many tools. Every time we see the pot we get nostalgia. It reminds us of Libya, our home, our friends and the people. I can’t imagine cooking without it, I’m attached to it, and so is my family. It’s our pot and we use it to make family meals. Now that we are in Canada, we just want to live like everyone else. We want our kids to have a good education. In Libya our family didn’t have I.D or documents so there wasn’t much you can do without documentation. In Canada we hope to get our documents soon. I want to be a chef again and sometime in the future open my own restaurant so I can make all the delicious meals and share them with Canadians, share them with everyone! One of my popular meals I used to make back in Libya was shawarmas, it would take 2-3 hours but I loved it, and the guests loved it too”. – Belal