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For Manal Kahi ’15SIPA, It All Began with Hummus

Stay Local, Eat Local

For Manal Kahi ’15SIPA, it all began with hummus. Or, rather, the lack thereof.

Kahi, a Lebanese environmental consultant and the cofounder of Eat Offbeat, a catering company that employs refugees as cooks, says that three years ago, when she moved to New York to start a master’s program at Columbia, she couldn’t find good hummus — at least none as authentic as the stuff her Syrian grandmother used to make.

Eat Offbeat sibling cofounders Manal Kahi (center) and Wissam Kahi (right), with tech adviser Christian Chemaly. / Photograph by Manal Kahi

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Eat Offbeat sibling cofounders Manal Kahi (center) and Wissam Kahi (right), with tech adviser Christian Chemaly. / Photograph by Manal Kahi

So Kahi borrowed the family recipe and started to make big batches, sharing it with family and friends. It was such a hit that her entrepreneurial brother Wissam Kahi ’04BUS quickly decided that it was good enough to sell.

“At first it was just going to be a hummus company,” Manal Kahi says. “But this was 2013, the beginning of the Syrian refugee crisis in Lebanon. We wanted to figure out a way to help from New York. ”  REST OF STORY

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