Hi there! I am Charles Dabah, a personal chef and caterer with a passion for good food, healthy eating, and all around culinary adventure.
You = Out of dinner ideas. Eat too much takeout. Want to destress and chill.
Me = Reads cookbooks for fun. Will feed you too many vegetables. Want to marinate and grill.
Let’s face it, the choices we make about food—from shopping to cooking to how to prepare wholesome meals—can seem limitless. And it can be hard to prioritize preparing healthy, home-cooked meals. One week you are a health nut and the kitchen is a source of relaxation and joy. The next week the kitchen is your worst enemy and you are Grubhub’s best customer.
Let me do what I love, so you can do what you love.
The Levantine Kitchen celebrates the foods and flavors that have emerged after generations of food sharing across Middle Eastern, Asian, and European cultures. (Why Levantine? I am glad you asked.) More personally, it is a culmination of years of joy, history, and food that came out of my family’s kitchen, tracing all the way back to when I was a kid and would watch my mom and grandma prepare my favorite Syrian dishes or bake my favorite desserts. They taught me how to find joy in cooking, to be proud of my culinary traditions, and how food could be used as a tool to bring people together.
After working as an urban planner for the last 5 years, I decided to leave my 9 to 5 schedule and office cubicle behind to pursue my passion for cooking. It’s been a humbling and exciting journey! I recently worked as a culinary instructor for some amazing Chicago teens at a local YMCA. In addition to whipping up tasty food for The Levantine Kitchen, I work as a sous chef at BSH Experience and Design Center with kitchen appliances that would make any serious home chef drool. I am also on the Associate Board of Growing Home, one of my favorite food justice organizations in Chicago.
I believe that:
There is no “right” way to eat. We all deal with health challenges and food sensitivities, and what worked last year may not work today. Eating well is all about balance and checking in on the connection between food and our bodies. I am happy to accommodate special diets and food sensitivities and will work with you to plan menus that help you meet your health goals.
Most choices we make about food are political. It is important for me to question where food comes from, how it got here, and to integrate this knowledge into the food choices I make. This approach has pushed me to menu plan and cook with the seasons in mind, buy food from sources that pay their workers well, and get creative about ways that I can reduce food waste. I look forward to working together to determine how my services can reflect shared values around food.