Chef Malakeh Jazmati on fleeing Syria and finding her way in Berlin, to getting her big break and catering at the Berlinale

 

Chef Malakeh Jazmati enjoys what many would consider an enviable career in Berlin gastronomy. She’s authored a bestselling cookbook, has cooked for Angela Merkel, and recently won a catering contract for the upcoming Berlinale Gala. But when she first arrived to Berlin from Damascus in 2015, Jazmati felt at a loss, facing a “hard language, new area, new culture.” 

She pulled herself out of this difficult phase by cooking, seeing food as a “common language” and a way to bridge barriers. Having previously studied Arabic Literature and Political & Diplomatic Science, it’s fitting that Jazmati sees her food as a way of passing on a message to the German people: refugees in Germany want to to live a “safe life,” and want to “give you something back.”

Photo by Marlene Melchior.