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Samira Cholagh

Samira Cholagh

Samira Cholagh’s childhood was spent in Baghdad, learning to cook from the women of her family, growing her fascination and love of the culinary arts with each passing day. Drawn to cooking as young as age 10, she has been giving the gift of her extraordinary food to her family for years. She has also shared these talents with her community, and has begun building upon the establishment of a culinary empire – as an author, TV and radio cooking host and beloved member of her community – built on traditional, delicious recipes and foods crafted with an open heart.

Far removed from her time experimenting with her mother’s cooking utensils as a child, Cholagh’s degree in engineering – more specifically in soil testing – may sound like a far cry from the typical background of a chef, but the basics of both jobs mirror each other more than you’d think. Recipes require an attention to detail – much like engineering – and after penning three cookbooks, her talents and culinary abilities are more than proven. “Accuracy in following recipes from cookbooks can make a huge difference in cooking and baking,” says Cholagh.“When following a recipe – spending all that money to buy the ingredients, the time that is spent in the kitchen – you want to end up having a delicious dish.”

If it sounds to you like Cholagh brings a specific, premeditated and scientific approach to the kitchen – you couldn’t be more wrong. She has taken the tried-and-true, traditional recipes of her Iraqi upbringing and put them to paper, so that anyone can enjoy the foods that have brought her joy all throughout her life. Treasured Middle Eastern Cookbook, Cholagh’s gift to those of us who are not blessed to have come from a country with such a fantastic culinary past, provides such fantastic and ages-old recipes to the masses. “The book has not only Iraqi recipes, but over 400 recipes from all the fascinating countries of the Middle East,” she says,“to make this book a valuable addition to your kitchen collection, and to use in your kitchen – a great gift from our culture.”

In addition to her wonderful cooking skills, Cholagh finds different passion within baking – another endeavor that this culinary genius excels at. “Because I have to cook everyday, sometimes it feels like cooking is a chore but baking is pleasure,” she explains.“Baking can be more than a hobby. I love the smell of fresh baked goods. I love the feel of dough – to me it is therapy. My husband often teases me when I am bored, that I should make some dough and my feeling of boredom will disappear in the kneading.”

Cholagh’s passion for cooking, baking and – more importantly – sharing these loves of her life are what has built her legacy among friends, family and her community. And now, the world is ready to devour her recipes, anecdotes and love of cooking. “My new book, A Baking Journey,was a luxury for me to compile – a labor of love – for you to renew your energy and passion for making things with your hands and feeding your family with your hard work. It took 10 years to write this cookbook, hours grabbed between my work as a substitute teacher and my family duties. From beginner to expert, every home cook will find recipes that speak to them.”

In her further pursuit of sharing her talents and passions with anyone and everyone who would appreciate them, she appears twice weekly on her radio and television cooking show on MEA TV & Radio. “Making all these recipes on my cooking show complete my passion,” Cholagh explains.“I was invited to be a host for this TV show for many years, and July of 2010 was the right time for me to start my own show. It is a very popular show – it is very entertaining, people of all ages love it!”

As a mother and exemplary leader in the Chaldean community and generous donator of her time and renowned culinary abilities, she has always given to and taught others, and now is focused on spreading these wondrous things to a wider audience. “It is been my dream to have my own TV show on the Food Network, Cooking Channel, Travel Channel or any other popular channel – I would love to take it to the next level.” Well, with such a giving heart, fantastic capabilities and desire to build on these things, it’s only a matter of time.