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30 Women from the Middle East

April 17, 2019

Darrell was invited to judge a very unique cooking competition by Christine Cordaro,
the sister of our Corti Brothers Chef, Andrew Cordaro.

After Christine retired, she decided to learn Arabic. She was very quickly captivated
by the Arabic language and culture, which soon saw her volunteering time helping
immigrants from Yemen and other Arabic speaking countries including Egypt, Tunisia,
Morocco, and Algeria in San Fransisco. Today, she teaches English and acts as a
counselor for a group of women from Yemen and the middle east living in a
community owned apartment building in the Tenderloin district.

The cooking competition began as a way to support these women in building English
skills and to offer growth opportunities in personal and business development.

30 women competed in three separate categories.  Appetizers, Entrees, and desserts.
Here are two videos from the competition

YouTube Video

YouTube Video

It was wonderful to see the pride and excitement of the contestants. These women have been
very disadvantaged since arriving into the U.S.  Christine explained that men from Yemen
typically arrive first, find work, save money, then bring their wives later when they can afford
to. The work Christine is doing is not short of heroic. Many of the wives stay at home taking
care of their families and raising their children for a long period of time. Christine is one of a
number of individuals who help them.

Christine told us that there are over 1000 children living in the city block where the apartment
is located. Day care had to be established for the residents and programs created to keep the
children safe and assure them of an education. Below are some pictures of the building's
courtyard and preschool. Being in the heart of the concrete jungle of the city sees no outlet for
them other then this courtyard.




Thank you Christine Cordaro and the 30 women from Yemen for this delicious and eye
opening experience!