For fifteen years, Khodor Jarous worked as a chef in the family restaurant. Their business and home were destroyed in bombing attacks and the family was forced to flee their once beautiful city of Homs. Khodor and his wife, Nour, escaped to Lebanon with their young children, Amjad and Jessica, where they stayed for three years.
In January 2016, the Jarous family arrived in Canada and was welcomed into the small town of Almonte. It was not long before their culinary talents became well known. Khodor is an expert in the subtle use of spices to enhance foods. During the summer, the family runs a successful stall at the Almonte Farmer’s Market. The demand for their flavourful dishes became the driving force behind their catering business; serving Almonte, Kanata and Ottawa.
Beef dishes include shish kebab skewers, fried kibbe (ground beef, tomato, onion, Arabic spices); kousa which is zucchini stuffed with rice and ground beef, cabbage rolls stuffed with beef, and meat pies ( ground beef, tomato, onion, parsley, and Arabic spices.)
Vegetarian dishes include cheese boats, homemade humus and falafel. A real favourite is grape leaves stuffed with rice, tomato, onion, parsley and spices. They also sell unique sweets mostly made with honey imported from Lebanon rather than refined sugars.
Chicken dishes include BBQ chicken on skewers, and spiced chicken legs.
“The people of Almonte have been very supportive to us and we are happy to share our food, which is part of our culture and story, with those who have been so helpful.”
The Jarous family has hopes for a bright future. Their catering success has been featured on CBC radio and in the Ottawa citizen. However, business is not their only focus. Nour and Khodor attend daily English classes offered by community volunteers. Nour is now able to read, write and speak in English. Amjad and Jessica attend a local school where they have been welcomed by teachers and classmates. The family’s first year has been a whirlwind of activity and they are proud of their accomplishments. “We have a new life together in Canada.”