Arrived a refugee in the UK, he now runs a successful restaurant in London

Chef Imad Alarnab ran three restaurants, alongside several juice bars and cafes in Syria. But the war left his businesses going under and forced him to leave his home country.

After a trek across Europe, Alarnab arrived in the UK in 2015 searching for any job that could help support his family, leaving his passion for food as a pastime, as was reported by CNN.

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By 2017, the Syrian partnered with charities including the UNICEF Next Generation Project and UK refugee charity Choose Love to launch wildly-popular pop-up restaurants, supper clubs and falafel bars.

Before long, Alarnab was happily spending weekends cooking for weddings and birthday parties. Nonetheless, his ultimate dream was to open a restaurant in central London, he said to CNN. But the high London rents were a hard-to-overcome obstacle.

Against all odds, Imad’s Syrian Kitchen opened in May 2021 with an expansive menu of some of his best dishes, from falafels to Kababs.

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In Alarnabs’ opinion, food is universal, so he always knew a life career in food would be achievable. “I can talk to people through my food, which is amazing,” he tells CNN Travel.

Warm and Cozy

The interior of Imad’s Syrian Kitchen allows for light and air to waft into the blue-walled building. Alarnab did not want to replicate the mosaic-oriented eastern restaurant designs, instead he opted to imitate the Damascus home. Lining the walls are photographs of Alarnab’s various memories.

In the fall of 2020, Alarnab crowdfunded £50,000 to help secure the lease. The restaurateur plans to donate this money back to Choose Love — £1 from each bill goes to the UK refugee charity, according to the CNN.

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He told CNN travel that working with charities “just adds to the business. It doesn’t take anything from it.” And he lives by that every day.

Opening a restaurant in this past year was a financial risk due to the covid pandemic and restaurants closing because of it. Still, the Syrian believed he must seize the opportunity despite it all, hoping the situation will improve soon.

Source: CNN

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