Cultural Meals Program
To better serve our diverse community of clients, Open Arms started a Cultural Meals Program to develop accessible, culturally appropriate, and authentically medically tailored meals to serve Hmong, Latinx, and East African clients who are disproportionately impacted by severe illnesses.
We are excited to welcome three cuisine consultants to assist in the development of these menus. They will provide culturally appropriate recipes that reflect their communities, educate staff about cultural meals and preparation, and conduct surveys, focus groups, and tasting events.
Meet our team of Cultural Meal Program Consultants!
Jamal Hashi, East African Culinary Consultant
Chef Jamal Hashi leads diverse teams and drives creative menus, recipes, products, and merchandising services from conception to fruition, with a keen eye for strategy, research, and design. He has spent 22 years in the restaurant industry and has created concepts for 13 different restaurants. His work has been recognized by the international community. Chef Jamal has most recently participated as a guest chef at several New York City restaurants to introduce and fuse contemporary East African flavors into mainstream menus.
Maiah Thao, Hmong Culinary Consultant
Maiah has worked in the social services field for more than 30 years. Her passion for cooking started in her family’s kitchen when she was 10 years old where she developed a passion for cooking home cooked meals through family gatherings and community events. She previously owned a grocery store that included Hmong deli food. This experience gave Maiah insight about catering to all ethnicities. With a love for creating extraordinary flavorful and traditional Hmong food, it’s all about simplicity and approachable delicious food that she is proud to serve, “I truly believe food brings everyone together.”
Soleil Ramirez, Latinx Culinary Consultant
Soleil Ramirez is the chef and owner of Arepa Bar in Minneapolis, the only 100% traditional restaurant I the Twin Cities. She has been around the kitchen for over 15 years. Her experience and knowledge about food and fine dining in different countries around the world became the framework for opening her own restaurant.