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Our story

Chef Lamees Dahbour is of Palestinian origin and was born and raised in Kuwait, where her love and interest of cooking started at the age of ten in her mother's kitchen. Lamees inherited her mother's "fingerprint" -- an Arabic expression used to praise the best cooks' mark on their food. Dahbour worked for the Qatari Embassy, allowing her to live in various Middle Eastern countries where she absorbed knowledge and culinary skills about different cuisines.

Lamees Dahbour and her children 

In her late twenties, Lamees experienced an arranged marriage that turned into a household plagued with domestic violence. A year after her move to the U.S. with her husband and children, Lamees was brave enough to stand up for herself and divorce her abusive husband. Although Lamees was finally free, as a devout Muslim woman, she struggled with her status as a divorcée and single mother. Through this hardship, Lames looked to cooking as solace– no matter how lonely she felt, she could always go to the kitchen and pour her heart and soul into cooking; and people in her community felt and tasted it. Lamees cooked so much that she often shared leftovers with her neighbors or volunteered to cook for her kids' school activities. Eventually, she was referred to La Cocina by a neighbor who saw her potential as a food business owner. In 2015, Lamees joined La Cocina and started formalizing her home cooking into a catering business. Since then, Lamees has popped up in the Emeryville Public Marketplace, has been recognized for her cooking and story on BBC, and more importantly, has created a pathway to economic freedom for her and her children.
As a single mother, and survivor of domestic violence, Chef Dahbour teaches her children to never give up. As her success shows, no matter how difficult the circumstances, if you persist, you can persevere. She hopes to pass this business on to her children in the future.

With the support of her community and her family, Chef Lamees continues expanding her business and making a living doing what she loves to do. As a single mother, survivor of domestic violence, and business owner, Chef Dahbour teaches her children to never give up. She hopes to pass this business on to her children in the future.

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