Hi! My name is Raneem Abbara; I am a food blogger, wife, and mother of 2.
I was born and raised in Dubai, UAE, to a Syrian father and an Egyptian mother. Due to the metropolitan nature of Dubai, I spent all my childhood exposed to different types of cuisines, Middle Eastern, Asian, American, and Italian. Growing up, I watched my parents, especially my mom, enjoy cooking and sharing different recipes that she taught me, which set me on a path to becoming a cook myself.
Fast forward to my college years. I moved to Cairo, Egypt, with my older brother to study pharmacy and Biotechnology at the German University in Cairo, and that’s where I met my husband, Ahmed!
I had to start cooking because we were so tired from eating outside, and it was so much fun to experience different cuisines and flavors.
By the time I got married, I was already an excellent cook to the extent that my husband had gained almost 40 pounds in a little over a year (Yeah, we are big foodies😋). We were the couple known for their amazing food. My husband then decided to lose weight and lead a healthier lifestyle, but he still wanted to enjoy tasty food, which led me to develop creative ways to cook lighter, healthier, but still delicious food. And it worked with exercise and my cooking he was able to lose a lot of weight.
Then in 2016, we moved to Morgantown, WV, USA, and started an Egyptian restaurant (Cairo 2 Go) based on our passion for Egyptian culture, my cooking skills, his management skills, and it was an instant hit!
Cooking in a restaurant, running a kitchen, and leading a team was a whole new world, yet the toughest challenge I faced was teaching my authentic Egyptian recipes to my cooks. People who have never tried Egyptian food before, let alone cook it. I had to write my recipes in a clear step by step how-to guide for anybody from any nationality to follow and understand (During our four years of operation, we had more than eight different nationalities from 4 different continents work in our kitchen, and they were all following my recipes to the letter)
Then COVID hit, and we had to cope with the onslaught of continuous problems that came with it. We created our first ghost kitchen (Tre Pasta) to increase our declining sales during the pandemic. It’s a pasta concept with three sauces and three kinds of pasta where the customer can build their pasta (A ghost kitchen is a restaurant that only exists on delivery apps with no storefront). Again, it was an instant hit! We were cooking a ton of pasta every day from the same kitchen that served Egyptian food. Sounds fun, right? It was! But it was also a lot of work and effort. We had two restaurants running out of the same kitchen!
After a few months, we decided to capitalize on the success of both brands and build a third one, and this time, it was a Nashville-style hot fried chicken concept. We started 2020 with one restaurant, and by the beginning of 2021, we had three restaurants coming out of the same kitchen!
We were popular and successful, but this success came with a hefty price between the shortage of staff, the lack of supplies, and other problems that we had to face due to the pandemic. Ahmed and I had to put in 80-hours every week for over a year to keep the business up and running. We were not in touch with our kids; we rarely had time to do anything for our kids or ourselves! At that point, we realized that we didn’t know why we were doing this anymore? We were successful, but we were also tired and unhappy with no end in sight, so we made the tough decision to close our restaurant and save our family!
After a much-needed break, I still wanted to share my passion for food with the world, and we figured out that starting a food blog would be the best way to do so.
And that is when Eat and Enjoy by Raneem was born!
Now, I get to work out, lead a healthier, more balanced life, spend more time with my family, and still share my passion for cooking with everyone worldwide!