A letter from Khaled
Growing up the youngest in a large family, my mother, sisters, and aunts always fed me and saved the best of their cooking for me. I remember running every afternoon to meet my mother coming home from work; for many years she harvested citrus fruits and vegetables in the Jordan valley. She would bring home a full basket of the best that she harvested that day for us. Growing up I just loved eating fresh, organic and wholesome foods that were prepared with much labor and love.
When I moved to New York City in 1989 to study computer engineering, all I could think of is wanting to eat a hamburger because, until that point, I had never had one. It didn’t take long before I started missing my Mom’s food and with her help over the phone, started making some simple dishes like hummus and Tabbouleh that I shared with friends and classmates. To support myself, I started cooking in restaurants and found out that I very much liked the rush, joy, and creativity that came with working in a busy New York restaurant.
Much like New York City itself, my circle of friends was diverse and no matter how heated our discussions sometimes got we always became calmer and nicer when food was served. Food brought people together and that’s when I started dreaming of opening a restaurant where people enjoyed simple, delicious, and healthy foods.
Upon graduating in 2000 I started working and the more my life settled in America the more I felt I had to do something that would keep me connected to my roots. Opening Baladi, I thought, is a great way for me to do what I love, share part of my culture with people, and serve dishes that are as delicious as they are healthy.