Part of the Food Policy Community Spotlight Series
Name: Eat Offbeat
What they do: Eat Offbeat is a collective of talented home cooks who have put the skills learned in their home countries to work in New York City. The idea was born in 2015, at the height of the crisis in Syria, by two Lebanese siblings who decided to launch a food delivery company and hire refugees as chefs. Currently, they cater parties of anywhere from 10 to 1,000 people but are hoping to be able to handle orders for individual customers soon.
How they do it: Chefs were recruited through the International Rescue Committee. The only experience required for employment was a love of cooking and basic skills preparing dishes from their native country. The current chefs come from Nepal, Iran, Iraq, Eritrea, Algeria, Central African Republic, Guinea, Senegal, and China. A Michelin-rated chef oversees the food preparation and instructs the chefs on issues such as food safety and preparation methods intended to make the food more appropriate for American palates. The owners hope their efforts will make it plain that refugees don’t threaten Americans’ jobs and actually have much to offer their new home country.
Mission: “Our mission is to change the narrative around refugees and show them they’re bringing a lot of value into the country.”
Latest project/campaign: The company’s next goal is to expand to other cities. They recently completed a crowdfunding campaign for a cookbook and are currently working on producing it.
Major Funding: N/A
Profit/nonprofit: For profit
Annual budget: N/A
Interesting fact about how they are working to positively affect the food system: Since the business opened in November 2015, they have served more than 30,000 meals and hired 20 refugee women. Forty percent of their orders are repeat business.
69 Charlton Street
New York, NY 10014
Core programs: They deliver food to parties of 10 or more people and ultimately hope they will soon be able to take individual orders for delivery.
Number of staff: 20
Number of volunteers: N/A
Areas served: Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens
Year Started: 2015
Director: Manal Kahi & Wissam Kahi