Immigrants and resettled refugees in Western Washington are learning crucial job skills and making new friends while sharing a love of food. Project Feast takes on apprentices and teaches them how to work in a restaurant kitchen while inviting them to share favorite dishes from their own cultures and families. They test their skills and share their culinary talents at Project Feast's restaurant, Ubuntu Street Cafe.

Executive Chef, Lisa Nakamura, shared more about the Project Feast's program and mission, while new apprentice Yaseen Al Nasser, a cook from Syria who relocated with his family to Seattle, prepared his recipe for Bathenjan Mahshi (Syrian stuffed eggplant) and shared what he hopes to accomplish through his apprenticeship.

Join Project Feast for its upcoming Feast for Change, on Thursday, November 16th at Machine House Brewery in Seattle (5840 Airport Way South, #121 / Seattle 98108). The event gets underway at 6:00 pm. Find more information here.

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Here's Yaseen's Bathenjan Mahshi recipe:

Syrian Stuffed Eggplant
For four guests

12-16 small Indian eggplants (available at DK Market in Renton or Uwajimaya)
2 quarts cooking oil
2 T olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 lbs ground beef or lamb
2 large tomatoes, grated
2 T minced garlic
1/4 c pine nuts
1 T Seven Spice blend
Salt and black pepper to taste
Cilantro for garnishing

  • Set aside or make the day before and refrigerate.
  • Wipe the pan clean, and add the remaining tablespoon of olive oil. Add the grated tomatoes and remaining minced garlic. Season with salt and pepper. Cook for about ten minutes, until most of the tomato juice is cooked off.
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To serve, cut an opening in the eggplant. Fill with the cooked meat mixture. Place the filled eggplant on a baking sheet. When the eggplant are all filled, warm them in an oven at 350 degrees.

Serve the eggplant on some of the warm tomato sauce. Garnish with cilantro. Serve immediately.