It’s not surprising that Sharon Salloum would pursue a career in food – her dad has a thing for DIY cooking devices and even pioneered a shopping-trolley/fridge shelf/lawnmower barbecue. Her mother and grandmother taught her the power of food around the family table, and their recipes inspired her Almond Bar cookbook – which landed her two international Gourmand Cookbook awards. Just hearing Sharon talk about Syrian dishes is the very opposite of a hunger suppressant; it will make you want to order her food immediately.
But Sharon actually decided to work in healthcare before teaming up with her sister Carol to open Almond Bar in Darlinghurst and their newish cafe 3 Tomatoes in Ashbury. Her ingredients are grounded in local postcodes – vine leaves cut from her parents’ yard, fresh za’atar from an uncle’s home, or visits to a Western Sydney grocer who sells home-made shanklish from neighbours or excess produce from their suburban gardens.
And given that Sharon has has strong memories of riding donkeys in her father’s Syrian homeland (and eating some extraordinary breakfasts in the country), it’s obvious why she has gone out of her way to find hospitality work and opportunities for refugees from the region. She’s also taking part in the big #CookForSyria fundraising dinner happening on June 18 at Three Blue Ducks in Rosebery, in aid of UNICEF Australia’s Syria Crisis Appeal for Children, and you can find her sfouf recipe in the upcoming Bake For Syria cookbook. To more about Cook For Syria and how you can participate, visit cookforsyria.com.
You can listen to this episode on iTunes or download it via RSS or directly. You can even find it on Stitcher nowadays. And thanks to everyone who has scribbled a kind review in the iTunes Store (aka Apple Podcasts) or has spread the word about this podcast – especially Loretta, who kindly included me in her Podcaster Portraits zine
Photography courtesy of Almond Bar.