Interview of the week: Seeham

Today’s success story comes from Seeham Kchel, a Jaffa woman with 5 children. At the age of 15, Seeham started learning how to cook by helping her mother in the kitchen. She was then married at 17 and did not get her high school degree. Two years ago, Seeham came to Arous ElBahar to get on advice on finding a job. Through counseling, Seeham realized that her passion is working in the kitchen and that she wanted to pursue this dream professionally.

Seeham gained a reputation by cooking for family, friends, and neighbors. Through word of mouth, people heard about her business venture and started paying for her cooking. Seeham’s first big debut was at the annual Arous ElBahar Bazaar in May. This event brings together women entrepreneurs with connections to Arous ElBahar who sell all kinds of goods: food, art, henna tattoos, crafts, cosmetics, jewelry, and more. Seeham planned to sell single portions, but her food was such a hit that people requested to buy entire platters.

Now, Seeham works a few days a week in a kitchen that feeds people with disabilities. Through her involvement with Arous ElBahar, she was connected with Illyll Sne-Or, another entrepreneur. Illyll operates a tour company, Bissonim, focused on providing multifaceted cultural perspectives of Tel Aviv-Yafo. Illyll brings tour groups to Seeham’s garden and kitchen and Seeham cooks authentic Palestinian meals. As Seeham puts it, “I make food with love, and I want other people to enjoy that.”

If you are interested in participating in an upcoming tour, the next opportunity to learn about Tel Aviv-Yafo and taste Seeham’s cooking is 17 December.

Here is some more information about Illyll and Bissonim:

Born and raised in Israel and the USA, Ilyll Sne-Or describes herself as a passionate urban adventurer. Living and working in Tel Aviv-Yafo, she works to reveal new places, cultures and stories. Her company, Bissonim-Intercultural Urban Tours, is a social entrepreneurship project that tailors unique intercultural tours. “Bissonim” is a Hebrew word meaning little mouthfuls. The city of Tel Aviv-Yafo is dense in multiple layers of narratives, histories and cultures, and every tour is a bite. Tours are tailor made and always interactive. Each tour presents an urban area via intercultural perspectives. During the tours, participants acquire tools that deepen their understanding of the city. Tours examine cultures: culinary, architectural, street art etc. as reflections of societies in Israel. Tours are held in French, English and Hebrew. Bissonim tours are inspiring, fun, and adapted to all audiences: business people, private sector, government and public sector and third sector. To learn more, visit Illyll’s site, or read Tripadvisor reviews here. Feel free to contact her at [email protected] or 0547-699717.

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