Ban Ki-moon

Meet the culinary zealot fighting to preserve Syrian cuisine despite years of war

Meet the culinary zealot fighting to preserve Syrian cuisine despite years of war

Each time Saameh Kajaan talks about food in the Syrian city of Aleppo, a true culinary zealot emerges.

The restaurateur is so serious about local dishes that along with his black, slicked-back hair, confident charisma and 40-year-old bulky frame, he could pass for a Hollywood-type mobster.

“Our homes are all schools for learning how to cook,” he said recently in a tone that belied his good nature. “It comes from Aleppo’s air, its environment … the four seasons we have here.”

Kajaan’s devotion to traditional food has remained intense despite Aleppo’s transition in recent years from a booming metropolis to a...

60°