Sanaa Abourezk wears many (delicious) hats: she’s a gourmet chef, restaurateur, author, nutritionist, and blogger. But one thing is for sure: She’s passionate about the art of cooking.
You can see it all in person at her popular brick and mortar at 8th & Railroad in downtown Sioux Falls—Sanaa’s Gourmet Mediterranean. The chef and her business have gained national attention (i.e. appearing on Beat Bobby Flay on Food Network and a feature in The New York Times) and are known for a wide variety of items, including gluten free, vegetarian, and vegan.
605 caught up with Abourezk to on music playlists, seeing the world, and where she likes to grab a bite outside of her creative realm.
Addicted to Agriculture
I love gardening. My undergraduate degree is in agricultural engineering, so nine years ago I removed all the grass in our backyard and started to plant native plants that are loved by butterflies, bees, and birds. It’s still a work in progress, and it takes every free hour I have.
Playlists Are Music To Her Ears
Music is my comfort companion. I have a list that I play when I’m cooking, another list of music for when I’m reading, a list for when I’m cleaning, and a list for when I’m writing. I also love to dance, so when I’m cooking or cleaning I play the music very loud and start to move. I found dancing to be very relaxing and it elevates the mood.
Fighting (Hunger) For a Cause
Sanaa’s is having our annual fundraising dinner on November 16 to benefit Feeding South Dakota. We donate 100 percent of the proceeds to the nonprofit.
The restaurant is also going to hold its second Christmas party to raise money for our local Hungry Hearts. We also donate 100 percent of the proceeds to the charity. Keep up with Sanaa’s on social media for updates.
I make a point to do SculptureWalk every year and check every sculpture out.
Once a month I go to ethnic stores in Sioux Falls and just go through the aisles to check for new ingredients.
I worked as a nutrition adviser for the South Dakota Department of Health, where I advised on nutrition, cooking, and healthy eating.
I’m actually humming the whole time I’m cooking.
In the summertime, I love to sit under the sun, play music, and read. I love mystery and a good biography. I still do the same in the winter but wrapped in a blanket (indoors, of course).
Traveling is my special treat to myself and my family. Whenever I have time off, we travel somewhere. One year my daughter picks the destination and I pick the alternate year.
I found this way we go to destinations that are not on our horizon, but we end up falling in love with a new place. For example, two summers ago my daughter picked Alaska and I thought it would be way too cold for me. It was one of the best places I have been to.
When I travel, my favorite activity is to go to the local farmers market and local shops and eat at restaurants that are enjoyed by the locals and offer no menu in English. I usually stay in the old part of any city and walk everywhere.
My favorite country to visit is Italy. My favorite cities are Damascus, Syria (where I was born and grew up), Florence, Italy, and Kyoto, Japan.
Foods For a Foodie
I enjoy having dinner at Sushi Masa and RedRossa [Napoli Pizza].
When my daughter is home from college, we go for a walk downtown, check the shops, enjoy dinner at one of the local restaurants, and have ice cream at Parlour Ice Cream House.
FOR MORE INFORMATION, VISIT SANAACOOKS.COM.