GAZA: Thanks to a new restaurant where she is the manager of an all-female crew and serves an all-female customer, a Palestinian woman has realised her dream of becoming a chef in the male-dominated Gaza Strip.
“Sabaia VIP” has been doing brisk business in a conservative and congested neighbourhood where some women complain of a shortage of private and safe leisure places since it opened last month and serves light meals like chicken sandwiches and pizza.
Amena Al-Hayek, the chef, received her training while performing unpaid labour at a hotel restaurant. She was never given a chance even though there were openings for new chefs there.Hayek claimed, “The administration rejected (me), saying they needed a man chef, not a female.
Sabaia, which is Arabic for “Lasses,” is a funny name for a customer that is exclusively made up of women.Owner Reham Hamouda stated, “The concept came from our need to have something private, where we can enjoy our independence and our solitude, a space solely for women.
Eight ladies work for Hamouda directly and more women prepare food in their houses. That gives Gaza, where unemployment is currently at approximately 50%, much-needed income.
Without a man’s oversight, Hayek remarked, “we proved to the world that we were able to operate a restaurant and succeed.”