Have You Eaten Yet?

Chef Reem Assil: A Conversation From Reem's California

March 01, 2023 Kassata Bollman / Chef Reem Assil Episode 35
Chef Reem Assil: A Conversation From Reem's California
Have You Eaten Yet?
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Have You Eaten Yet?
Chef Reem Assil: A Conversation From Reem's California
Mar 01, 2023 Episode 35
Kassata Bollman / Chef Reem Assil

Chef Reem Assil Joins Us From Oakland Where Currently She’s The Owner Of The Bakery,  Reem’s California.

Chef Assil Is Also An Author, An Activist, A Mother And Most Recently An Actor.

We Discuss:

Her Role In The Scripted Digital Series “Normal Ain’t Normal”.
The Series Explores Neighbors In Oakland Navigating Life Post Pandemic.

And We Explore What Chef Assil’s Life Looks Like Since Her Book Was Published.

Plus We Talk About How She Navigates Life With Energy Moving In Multiple Directions.

https://www.reemscalifornia.com/




https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCsxzx6an6DeVHLcIfN05MUg


https://www.tiktok.com/@haveyoueatenyetpodcast


https://www.instagram.com/haveyoueatenyetpodcast/?hl=en

Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Chef Reem Assil Joins Us From Oakland Where Currently She’s The Owner Of The Bakery,  Reem’s California.

Chef Assil Is Also An Author, An Activist, A Mother And Most Recently An Actor.

We Discuss:

Her Role In The Scripted Digital Series “Normal Ain’t Normal”.
The Series Explores Neighbors In Oakland Navigating Life Post Pandemic.

And We Explore What Chef Assil’s Life Looks Like Since Her Book Was Published.

Plus We Talk About How She Navigates Life With Energy Moving In Multiple Directions.

https://www.reemscalifornia.com/




https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCsxzx6an6DeVHLcIfN05MUg


https://www.tiktok.com/@haveyoueatenyetpodcast


https://www.instagram.com/haveyoueatenyetpodcast/?hl=en

[[MUSIC]]


I’M KASSATA BOLLMAN. 

TODAY MY GUEST IS CHEF REEM ASSIL. 


SHE JOINS US FROM OAKLAND…..


WHERE CURRENTLY SHE’S THE OWNER OF THE BAKERY,  REEM’S CALIFORNIA.


CHEF ASSIL IS ALSO AN AUTHOR, AN ACTIVIST, A MOTHER…AND MOST RECENTLY AN ACTOR.



WE’LL BE DISCUSSING…. 


HER ROLE IN THE SCRIPTED DIGITAL SERIES “NORMAL AIN’T NORMAL”....

THE SERIES EXPLORES NEIGHBORS IN OAKLAND NAVIGATING LIFE.. POST PANDEMIC…



AND……WE EXPLORE WHAT CHEF ASSIL’S LIFE LOOKS LIKE… SINCE HER BOOK WAS PUBLISHED….



PLUS….WE TALK ABOUT HOW SHE NAVIGATES LIFE… WITH ENERGY MOVING IN MULTIPLE DIRECTIONS….



SO I’LL START BY ASKING…..AS WE ALWAYS DO…..“HAVE YOU EATEN YET ?”......


THIS COULD BE A MEAL FROM TODAY  …...OR….. IT COULD BE A MEAL FROM ANYTIME IN YOUR LIFE…. THAT YOU HAVE A REALLY GREAT MEMORY ABOUT…..





[[CHEF REEM ASSIL DISCUSSES]]





ENERGY

ON YOUR WEBSITE THE WORDS DESCRIBING YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL…

QUOTE: 

“A PALESTINIAN-SYRIAN SPEAKER & CHEF BASED IN OAKLAND, WORKING AT THE INTERSECTION OF FOOD, COMMUNITY, AND SOCIAL JUSTICE. 

WITH FOOD AS A TOOL, REEM USES ARAB HOSPITALITY TO BUILD STRONG, RESILIENT COMMUNITY.”

THAT DESCRIPTION ENCOMPASES A LOT…HOW DO YOU NAVIGATE LIFE WITH ENERGY MOVING IN MULTIPLE DIRECTIONS ? 

[[CHEF REEM ASSIL DISCUSSES]]


THOUGHTS

IF I SAY……”YOUR THOUGHTS CREATE………. YOUR WORDS SHAPE”….WHAT’S THE FIRST THING THAT COMES TO YOUR MIND ?……IT COULD BE A TIME IN YOUR LIFE… A FAVORITE QUOTE ....ANYTHING….

[[CHEF REEM ASSIL DISCUSSES]]


ORGANIZER

BEFORE ENTERING THE CULINARY WORLD  YOU WORKED AS A LABOR AND COMMUNITY ORGANIZER….IS THERE ONE MOMENT THAT STANDS OUT TO YOU FROM THAT TIME IN YOUR LIFE ?

[[CHEF REEM ASSIL DISCUSSES]]


TRUE

HOW DO YOU STAY TRUE TO YOURSELF WHILE NAVIGATING THE UPS AND DOWNS OF BEING A CHEF?

[[CHEF REEM ASSIL DISCUSSES]]




OPENING


I’D LIKE YOU…. TO TAKE ME BACK IN TIME…. TO THE DAY THAT YOU OPENED YOUR FIRST RESTAURANT.

PLEASE DESCRIBE WHAT OPENING DAY WAS LIKE …..AND WHAT THE TRANSITION INTO THE FIRST TWO YEARS WAS LIKE ?……..WHAT HURDLES….AND HIGHLIGHTS….STAND OUT TO YOU ?


[[CHEF REEM ASSIL DISCUSSES]]


20

WHAT WOULD YOU TELL YOUR 20 YEAR OLD SELF ?….MAYBE IT’S ADVICE, A THOUGHT….OR A FEELING….….


[[CHEF REEM ASSIL DISCUSSES]]






BOOK

YOU RELEASED A BOOK LAST YEAR….IT’S BEEN DESCRIBED AS A COMBINATION OF A COOKBOOK AND MEMOIR….I’D LOVE FOR YOU TO TAKE ME THROUGH THE PROCESS….TO GET AN OVERALL FEEL FOR THIS TIME IN YOUR LIFE.

YOU WROTE THIS BOOK DURING THE PANDEMIC….IT WAS RELEASED LAST YEAR….ONCE IT’S OUT IN THE WORLD…. WHAT DOES THAT FEEL LIKE ? 

[[CHEF REEM ASSIL DISCUSSES]]

WHAT HAS YOUR LIFE LOOKED LIKE SINCE YOUR BOOK WAS PUBLISHED ? 

WAS THERE A BOOK TOUR ?…DID LIFE FEEL LIKE IT CHANGED OVERNIGHT FOR 

YOU ?

[[CHEF REEM ASSIL DISCUSSES]]


TRIP

IN THE PAST YEAR WHAT’S ONE TRIP THAT YOU’VE BEEN ON THAT HAS POSITIVELY IMPACTED YOUR LIFE…THIS COULD BE AN ACTUAL TRIP….. OVERSEAS…..OR HERE IN THIS COUNTRY….IT COULD BE A TRIP CLOSE TO HOME….. OR….MAYBE IT’S A GOOD MEMORY….LIKE A TRIP DOWN MEMORY LANE…….OR…..IT COULD BE A PSYCHEDELIC TRIP…..  

[[CHEF REEM ASSIL DISCUSSES]]





NEXT

WHAT’S NEXT FOR YOU ?.... WHAT ARE YOU WORKING ON RIGHT NOW ? ….WHAT ARE YOU EXCITED FOR IN THE MONTHS TO COME ?

[[CHEF REEM ASSIL DISCUSSES]]


ACTOR / WRITER

YOU WROTE AND STARRED IN AN EPISODE OF THE SCRIPTED DIGITAL SERIES “NORMAL AIN’T NORMAL”....

THE SERIES EXPLORES NEIGHBORS IN OAKLAND WHO ARE NAVIGATING LIFE AS THEY COME OUT OF THE PANDEMIC….ALL THE UPS AND DOWNS….

I WATCHED IT AND AND WAS BLOWN AWAY. 

IT WAS BRILLANT HOW MANY ISSUES YOU COVERED.. IN UNDER 6 MINUTES. 

HOW DID YOU BECOME INVOLVED IN THIS PROJECT? 

[[CHEF REEM ASSIL DISCUSSES]]






I’M GOING TO TAKE YOUR SCRIPT FROM THE SHOW AND QUOTE LINES THAT STOOD OUT TO ME…AND HAVE YOU EXPAND ON THE ISSUES….SINCE WE HAVE MORE THAN 6 MINUTES TO EXPLORE THESE TOPICS……

YOU  SAID QUOTE: 

“I DON'T’ LIKE BEING CALLED CHEF. CHEFS ARE BOSSES. THEY JUST WANT YOU TO FEAR THEM.”

PLEASE SPEAK TO THE FEAR SURROUNDING THAT JOB TITLE…


[[CHEF REEM ASSIL DISCUSSES]]



NEXT QUOTE:

“THE ONLY THING I’VE DONE TO SCARE MY WORKERS IS TO BREASTFEED IN THE KITCHEN.”

YOU’RE A MOM…IN THE KITCHEN…WORKING FULL TIME….WHENEVER I’M INTERVIEWING A WOMAN IN THIS INDUSTRY… WHO HAPPENS TO ALSO BE A MOM… WE TALK ABOUT WHAT IT’S LIKE FOR HER…BECAUSE I DON’T FEEL THAT IT’S TALKED ABOUT ENOUGH…

WHAT HAS YOUR JOURNEY TO MOTHERHOOD LOOKED LIKE ?

[[CHEF REEM ASSIL DISCUSSES]]



 NEXT QUOTE:

“SHIT WOULD BE EASY IF I WAS A TRUST FUND BABY LIKE THOSE FAMOUS WHITE CHEFS ON NETFLIX.

MUST BE NICE NOT HAVING TO BE A BREADMAKER AND A BREADWINNER…. ALL AT THE SAME TIME…

NOT HAVING TO DEAL WITH VIOLENT THREATS FOR BEING WHO YOU ARE…A PALESTINIAN WOMAN WHO DARES TO SPEAK THE TRUTH.”

WHAT DO YOU THINK YOUR LIFE WOULD BE LIKE IF YOU WERE THOSE CHEFS ?


[[CHEF REEM ASSIL DISCUSSES]]


NEXT QUOTE:

“I MUST HAVE TRICKED THESE FANCY FOODIE WRITERS…NOW THEY’VE GOT ME IN THIS WEIRD ASS WORLD OF VIP CHEFS…AND ALL THIS HYPE…. OVER WHO?”

WHAT DOES THAT WORLD OF VIP CHEFS LOOK LIKE ?


[[CHEF REEM ASSIL DISCUSSES]]





NEXT QUOTE:

“HOW COME WE’RE AROUND FOOD ALL DAY LONG BUT RESTAURANT WORKERS ARE SOME OF THE HUNGRIEST PEOPLE I KNOW? 

HOW WAS TOMAS SUPPOSED TO FEED HIS KIDS OFF OF 8 BUCKS AN HOUR AT HIS LAST JOB? HE BARELY HAD ENOUGH TO FEED HIMSELF.”

YOUR RESTAURANT IS IN ONE OF THE MOST EXPENSIVE AREAS IN THIS COUNTRY…HOW DO YOU TACKLE LIVING WAGE VS. COST OF GOODS…. VS. COST OF DOING BUSINESS ?




[[CHEF REEM ASSIL DISCUSSES]]




NEXT QUOTE:

“AND KENDRA, SHE WORKED 10 YEARS WITHOUT A SINGLE SICK DAY BECAUSE HER FAMOUS MICHELIN CHEF DIDN'T KNOW HOW TO RUN HIS KITCHEN WITHOUT HER…I TRY TO MAKE SURE THAT NEVER HAPPENS HERE.”

DO YOU THINK THAT COVID POSITIVELY CONTRIBUTED TO A GENERAL AWARENESS IN OUR INDUSTRY… WHEN IT COMES TO SICK DAYS…AND THE IMPORTANCE OF GIVING PEOPLE A DAY OFF…. WHEN THEY FEEL THEY NEED ONE ?


[[CHEF REEM ASSIL DISCUSSES]]



NEXT QUOTE:

“HOW DO YOU PAY EVERYONE WELL WITHOUT PRICING OUT YOUR OWN PEOPLE? 

ESPECIALLY WHEN YOUR LANDLORD KEEPS RAISING THE RENT ON YOU LIKE YOU’RE SOME MILLIONAIRE TECHIE…”

HAVE YOU FIGURED THIS ONE OUT YET?

[[CHEF REEM ASSIL DISCUSSES]]


NEXT QUOTE:

“FROM THE OUTSIDE PEOPLE THINK THAT WE’RE ALL GOOD….THAT I’M ALL GOOD….WHAT ARE WE SUPPOSED TO SAY ? THAT I’M MISERABLE. THAT I FEEL ALONE. WORKING 16 HOUR DAYS…. GETTING OVEN BURNS UP AND DOWN MY BODY ….WHILE MY BABY BOY HARDLY KNOWS ME.”

HOW DO YOU FEEL TODAY ?

[[CHEF REEM ASSIL DISCUSSES]]


NEXT QUOTE:

“EVERYONE KEEPS CALLING ME A SUCCESS…. BUT I FEEL LIKE A FAILURE.”

WHY ARE THOSE FEELINGS IN YOUR MIND?


[[CHEF REEM ASSIL DISCUSSES]]




NEXT QUOTE:

“WE’RE GOING TO BE A WORKER OWNED COOP. NO MORE ALMIGHTY CHEFS.”

HOW DOES YOUR WORKER OWNED COOP OPERATE ?



[[CHEF REEM ASSIL DISCUSSES]]


BOOK

IN THE LAST YEAR, WHAT BOOK STANDS OUT IN YOUR MIND….. THAT POSITIVELY IMPACTED YOUR LIFE THE MOST… ?


[[CHEF REEM ASSIL DISCUSSES]]



FINDING INSPIRATION

HOW DO YOU CONTINUE TO FIND INSPIRATION EACH YEAR ? ......


[[CHEF REEM ASSIL DISCUSSES]]





FUTURE

WHAT DOES YOUR IDEAL FUTURE LOOK LIKE ?......

[[CHEF REEM ASSIL DISCUSSES]]





SYNCHRONICITIES



HAVE THERE EVER BEEN ANY SIGNS OR SYNCHRONICITIES IN YOUR LIFE…. THAT LED TO NEW OPPORTUNITIES FOR YOU….. IN THIS INDUSTRY? ……. 


IF SO, PLEASE DESCRIBE THE MOMENT….




[[CHEF REEM ASSIL DISCUSSES]]






















FLOW STATE:



A FLOW STATE, ALSO KNOWN AS BEING IN THE ZONE…. IS THE MENTAL STATE WHEN A PERSON IS PERFORMING AN ACTIVITY….. AND IS FULLY IMMERSED…. IN A FEELING OF ENERGIZED FOCUS, CLARITY  AND ENJOYMENT…. IN THE ENTIRE PROCESS…..


IT DOESN’T FEEL LIKE WORK….IT’S EFFORTLESS ATTENTION….. THAT YOU’RE GIVING THE ACTIVITY…..IT’S A EUPHORIC FEELING… 


IT’S DURING THIS ALTERED STATE OF CONSCIOUSNESS…. THAT YOUR MIND FUNCTIONS… AT ITS PEAK….AND A SENSE OF HAPPINESS… FLOWS THROUGH YOUR BODY.



FOR YOU IT COULD BE AS YOU’RE COOKING PERHAPS….…..



I’M WONDERING …..IF YOU’VE YOU EVER REACHED THIS STATE ?.....


IF YOU HAVE….PLEASE DESCRIBE YOUR SURROUNDINGS…. LEADING IT UP TO IT….



AND WHAT IT FELT LIKE…. BEING IN THAT STATE?




[[CHEF REEM ASSIL DISCUSSES]]




REMEMBERED

HOW DO YOU WANT TO BE REMEMBERED?


[[CHEF REEM ASSIL DISCUSSES]]




TAKEAWAY:


THANK YOU FOR SHARING YOUR WISDOM WITH US …


I BELIEVE THAT THE JOURNEY…. IS ALWAYS GREATER THAN THE DESTINATION. 


IT’S ON THE PATH THAT WE LEARN….EVOLVE AND….. ENCOUNTER LESSONS…. THAT SHAPE US…. INTO OUR BEST SELVES.


I ALWAYS LIKE ENDING THE PODCAST…. BY ASKING…. IF THERE’S ANY TAKEAWAY THAT YOU’D LIKE TO LEAVE WITH LISTENERS…... THAT CAN POSITIVELY INFLUENCE THEIR LIVES.


IT COULD BE SOMETHING THAT WE JUST DISCUSSED…. A LESSON YOU’VE LEARNED ON YOUR JOURNEY…. OR GENERAL LIFE ADVICE THAT YOU LIVE BY ….…


[[CHEF REEM ASSIL DISCUSSES]]



AND WHERE OR HOW …..IS THE BEST WAY FOR PEOPLE TO CONNECT…. OR GET IN TOUCH WITH YOU  ?


[[CHEF REEM ASSIL DISCUSSES]]



OUTRO:


THANKS FOR LISTENING….AND IF YOU HAVEN’T ALREADY….... FOLLOW  “HAVE YOU EATEN YET?” ….WHEREVER YOU GET YOUR PODCASTS….




[[MUSIC]]



ENERGY
THOUGHTS
ORGANIZER
TRUE
OPENING
BOOK
TRIP
NEXT
ACTOR / WRITER
FINDING INSPIRATION
FUTURE
SYNCHRONICITIES
FLOW STATE
REMEMBERED
TAKEAWAY