Saturday, May 24, 2014

Palestinian Chef Joseph Asfour

Pope Francis makes a three-day visit to the Middle East. But this pope is doing more than going through the motions of the usual papal visit. I will leave the symbolic analysis to others but this Tweet and story caught my eye just now. The chef is identified as Palestinian. That is important, especially because a large number of people argue that there is no such country as Palestine and no people with such an identity. This is what I found with a quick search:

A December issue of This Week in Palestine featured sketches of eleven Palestinian chefs, of which Chef Joseph Asfour was one.
Chef Joseph Asfour 
 Chef Asfour spoons out dollops of humus.
Born, raised, and educated in the Golden City, Jerusalem, Chef Joseph comes with a packed bag, just like Saint Nicholas on Christmas Eve, yet Chef Joseph’s bag is packed with expertise in the theory and practice of food, beverage, and condiments processes. His education and knowledge, which started back in 1983, come from countless training courses in quality management for hotels and restaurants, marketing management, and human resources development, in addition to courses in food and beverages, where he developed a unique style among other chefs. His presentations are fashionable and eloquent. It is as if he communicates his love of food from his heart to yours. His outstanding knowledge of French, Italian, Irish, Palestinian, and other cuisines makes Chef Joseph a highly qualified artist. 
He is the founder of one of the most elaborate settings in Ramallah, Darna Restaurant. His work at Angelo’s Restaurant, the Red Crescent in Ramallah, and other localities, here and overseas, has provided Chef Joseph with the knowledge he needs to present food of exquisite quality. Chef Joseph believes in quality rather than quantity on the plate.

Chef Joseph has had the opportunity to serve his delicious creations to many presidents and dignitaries, such as the late President Yasser Arafat of the PLO, Mr. Mahmoud Abbas, the current head of the PNA, Russian President, Mr. Putin, US Secretary of State, Ms. Rice, former British prime minister, Mr. Tony Blair, the late Pope John Paul II, the former UN general secretary, Mr. Kofi Anan, Mr. Javier Solana, the famous American actor Mr. Richard Gere, and many others.

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