Syrian refugee starts catering business in Calgary
Rita Khenchet hopes startup business will soon help other refugees
In her basement kitchen, Rita Khenchet whips up a batch of kibbeh — a Syrian staple of minced meat mixed with cracked wheat, onions and spices.
She and her husband arrived in Canada with their five-year-old son in December.
They had $5,000 and little else. The family receives no government support.
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Khenchet is a broadcast engineer and her husband is a lawyer. They've had a hard time finding work.
"And we began to think about something different ... to depend on ourselves, because we have to depend on ourselves."
Made with love
They decided to start a catering business called 'Syrian Cuisine Made with Love'.
"I already like cooking. It's a hobby for me. And we have to find something to survive," says the Aleppo native who has spent the last few years in refugee camps in Syria and Lebanon.
"We make a Facebook page. We put some pictures of dishes. And the idea start like that," she added.
The business is only two weeks old, but Khenchet already has plans to expand.
"I want to have a place for the women who don't have places. Like Syrian women, they come here with no skills, no education, nothing, because they spent the last five years in the camps or moving from one place to another escaping the dangers."
As she works on her English and upgrades her education, Khenchet hopes to bring a taste of Syria to Calgary.
"It's a good experience, because I want the Canadian people to taste the Mediterranean food, because it's a little bit different."
With files from the Julien Lecacheur and Alison Dempster