Amanda Saab is a Detroit-based social worker and blogger who is using food to help people understand her faith.
Saab, the first Muslim woman to compete on Fox’s “MasterChef” in a headscarf, has been inviting guests over to her home for over a year to have open conversations about what it’s like to be Muslim in America today ― while serving visitors a fresh, home-cooked meal.
The idea came to the chef while she watched the news after work one day. On her blog, Saab wrote about how she became frustrated by how Islam was being being depicted in a negative light. She decided she wanted to be “more available, open and welcoming” to people in her life who may have questions about Islam.
Saab and her husband, Hussein Saab, decided to try inviting a small group of colleagues, friends, and some strangers over to their house for an interfaith dinner. Since the first meal in January, 2016, they’ve had several dinners both in their old home in Seattle, Washington, and after they moved to Detroit, Michigan. Saab has also taken the event to universities.
“For us, culturally and religiously, it’s so important to be hospitable and treat others with respect and kindness,” Saab said on an NBC News video. “So lets start at a basic fundamental need that we all need, which is nourishment and let’s not only nourish our stomachs, but let’s nourish our minds.”
At a dinner this week, Saab and a few guests gathered at her home in Detroit for an intimate meal. On the menu, according to a Facebook post by Saab, was salmon with garlic herb butter, pesto chicken with Alfredo pasta, roasted rosemary potatoes, asparagus, fig and goat cheese crostini and a citrus salad.
On Facebook, Saab thanked her guests for their compassion and willingness to engage in an important conversation.
“I enjoyed hearing your perspectives and experiences and hope we can continue to work together to make our world the place we want it to be,” she wrote.