"Chef Zina" headlines new "Recipes with Refugees" series

Zina Alkubaisy, a refugee from Iraq, has been in the United States only since May, but she already is getting to be known as "Chef Zina."

Zina Alkubaisy
Recipe(s) with Refugees: Zina Alkubaisy shows how to make the Iraqi traditional dish biryani (rice with vegetables and chicken).
Photo: CWS/Lancaster, Pennsylvania
Zina Alkubaisy, a refugee from Iraq, has been in the United States only since May, but she already is getting to be known as "Chef Zina."  She is the premiere chef in the new "Recipes with Refugees" cooking class series launched by her sponsor, the Church World Service Refugee Resettlement Program in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

CWS employee Catherine Haynes developed the “Recipes with Refugees” idea after visiting several refugee clients’ kitchens awash with wonderful fragrances from diverse countries’ cuisines.

Kreutz Creek Presbyterian Church in York, Pennsylvania, hosted the first class, on July 22.  "We had slots for 25 but ended up with 38 people and a waiting list!" said CWS Lancaster Director Sheila McGeehan. 

The second class will be held from 6 to 7:30 p.m. September 16 at the Pennsylvania Church Center in Harrisburg and is being hosted by the CWS Pennsylvania Regional Office.  Space is limited to 35 participants.  Attendees must preregister by phoning 717-909-9038.  A $15 donation is requested to cover the cost of the food, and includes a small contribution to CWS. 

“Chef Zina” will show how to make biryani (rice with vegetables and chicken), a traditional Iraqi dish.  She also will prepare and bring other Iraqi dishes for everyone to sample.  Attendees receive recipes and a shopping list for the ingredients. 

Attendees also learn about Church World Service and about Iraqi culture, and hear Alkubaisy’s story of escape from Iraq with her husband and their two young children after her husband was kidnapped.  He got away from his captors after a day, but was warned to leave Iraq with his family. 

They fled the country, spending time in Jordan and in an African refugee camp before being accepted for U.S. resettlement by the U.S. refugee program.  Zina and her husband worked for U.S. contractors rebuilding post-invasion Iraq. 

Media Contact:
Lesley Crosson, 212-870-2676, lcrosson@churchworldservice.org
Jan Dragin, 781-925-1526, jdragin@gis.net


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