Creating delicious meals with resilient refugee chefs

Manal Kahi

Eat Offbeat


While studying for her Masters in Public Administration, Syrian-born Manal Kahi was disappointed with the hummus she found in New York grocery stores so she starting making her own. The hummus she made using her grandmother’s authentic Syrian recipe became so popular with her friends that her brother suggested they start selling it. That was an “aha moment” for Manal who

thought: who better to make delicious, traditional Syrian hummus than refugees from Aleppo who were being resettled in New York? The idea for Eat Offbeat was born!

Starting with hummus, as her catering clientele grew, she quickly expanded, adding delicious authentic dishes prepared by recently resettled cooks from other countries as well, with menu items including Sri Lankan eggplant curry and simmered Venezuelan black beans.

Unfortunately, the pandemic took a huge toll on her business when catered events shut down overnight.

With her team, and with help from Accompany Capital, she was able to pivot and build a new business from scratch: marketing packages of her most popular offerings for home delivery, rather than offices and catered events. Today she has integrated what worked best from both her initial catering business and the home delivery model, expanding to offer private events at their Chelsea Market kitchen as well as holiday gift sets and spice bundles sold online. Eat Offbeat continues to grow and create jobs while creating delicious, authentic food prepared by resettled refugee cooks.