Tag Archives: Egypt

Meet Irene!

6 Dec


Irene, a native Egyptian, has been inspired by the love of people in her life and genuinely finds joy in cooking Egyptian cuisine. Her passion for cooking began when she was 15 years old, when she started helping her grandmother in the kitchen. Now, the mother of two amazing children, Irene has lived in the U.S. for 8 years and sees herself as a happier and confident woman. Her dream is to one day be able to provide bread for as many unfortunate people as she can through her restaurant/catering business and she will be donating 10% of her sales to organizations who are committed to serve those who are in need.” She wants to use her business to help raise funds for the poor not only in the U.S., but also in her home country, Egypt.  For every bag of bread that Irene sells, she pledges to donate another bag to those who are in need. When she first started the program, she had so many ideas for her business but had no clue on how and where to start. According to Irene, EWI came in the right time; it taught her to stay focused and determined to reach her goal.”

Sandwiches, kabobs, and doughy bread are a few of her favorite dishes to make. Irene is in the process of planning her own restaurant, called Taste of the Nile, which is inspired by the river that flows throughout Egypt; her homeland and the place where all of her recipes come from. The food will be traditional, authentic and very similar to food that is locally produced in the Egyptian market. Irene prides her food on their healthy components. Her passion is to see satisfaction on her customer’s faces, and she strives to make an affordable, healthy, delicious meal that is the perfect portion serving size for a healthy diet. Her food will be available for anybody from the ages of 1-100 years, or as she says, “whoever likes to enjoy and try good food.” Her food will also be catered to all kinds of needs, including vegetarian, vegan and diabetic. Irene plans to open her family-oriented and affordable business hopefully in Northern Arlington or the downtown D.C. area. With her culinary talent and heartwarming demeanor, we cannot wait to see Irene’s business prosper and delight the residents of the D.C. metro area.

A very special and heartfelt thank you goes to Irene for all the wonderful help at the 10 Year Anniversary Benefit with Aida Mady’s Egyptian cuisine! Thank you, Irene!

– Mina Alemzadeh
Alexandria ETS Intern


Cooking and Beyond: Featured Artist Aida Mady

3 Jun

Born and raised in Egypt, Aida’s life has been enriched by international travel and cross-cultural experience, and she incorporates her passion for cultural exchange into everything she does, from her volunteer work to her professional services. She immigrated to the U.S. in 1981; three children were born here, and in 1991 Aida, a certified interior designer, began importing furniture and goods from Egypt. She has over 30 years’ experience in education, business, and interior decorating — including designing the interior of the Egyptian Ministry of Defense building.


Recently, she found herself launching a new, two-fold mission: to help women entrepreneurs in Egypt market their goods, while at the same time informing people in her own American community about her rich cultural background. Cooking and Beyond will promote a new line of imported Egyptian cooking accessories, and a cookbook that, alongside its collection of recipes, will delve into the history, religion, family heritage and other cultural influences in Egyptian cooking.


When she first came to EWI, “I had too many ideas,” she says, but here, “I found clarity. They made me focus on my strengths.” She thinks of herself and the other artists at EWI “like a stone — I feel we are like diamonds and need someone to polish us — they made jewelry out of me. I am a foreigner but they made me fit.” EWI has helped her focus her energy, create a solid business plan, and practice and perfect “the pitch.” In particular, the ETS classes have given her “a deep learning experience and good exposure to other aspects needed in order to transform a vision into a reality.”

Written by Nina Sichel