How a Korean-Jewish entrepreneur uses food to empower immigrants

NEW YORK (JTA) — Several times a month Jeanette Chawki welcomes a handful of strangers into her Brooklyn home. There, the visitors learn about life in her native Lebanon, talk about their own backgrounds, and eat food — lots of it. Among the dishes visitors tried on a recent Saturday include freshly baked cheese-stuffed bread, tangy labneh with zaatar, chopped fattoush salad topped with fried pita bread and smoky babaganoush.

Chawki, a mother of three who moved to the United States in 2006, is one of nine instructors employed by the League of Kitchens, a New York-based business that offers cooking workshops taught by immigrant cooks.

She hopes that people come away from her class both with the ability to cook at least one new dish — and a greater awareness of Lebanese culture.

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