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avatar for Reem Assil

Reem Assil

Reem's California
Founder
Reem Assil is a Palestinian-Syrian chef based in Oakland, CA and owner of Reem’s California, a nationally acclaimed restaurant in Oakland and Reem’s California Mission in San Francisco, inspired by Arab street corner bakeries and the vibrant communities that surround them.  Reem has garnered an array of top accolades in the culinary world, including back to back James Beard Semifinalist nods for Best Chef: West (2018-19) and Finalist for Outstanding Chef (2022).  She is a graduate of the competitive food business incubator program, La Cocina, business leadership program Centro Community Partners, and Oakland-based business accelerator program ICA: Fund Good Jobs.  

Before dedicating herself to a culinary career, Reem spent over a decade as a community and labor organizer, building leadership in workers and residents to fight for living wages, affordable housing, and a voice in their jobs and their neighborhoods.  Reem was a 2021 Emerson Collective Fellow in the Recover & Renew Cohort to incubate Sumoud, a replicable worker-ownership apprenticeship program equipping food-service workers with the tools they need to make meaningful, systemic change in the restaurant industry and beyond.  


Reem is also the author of, Arabiyya: Recipes from the Life of an Arab in Diaspora (released April 18th, 2022 by Penguin Random House), a collection of 100+ bright, bold recipes influenced by the vibrant flavors and convivial culture of the Arab world, filled with moving personal essays on food, family, and identity and mixed with a pinch of California cool. 


Reem made her acting and screenwriting debut in Normal Ain’t Normal produced by Offside Productions and Rosario Dawson,  a digital series that explores the struggles, absurdities, and surprising possibilities for working-class people as we slowly (eventually!) come out of the pandemic. 


Reem sits at the intersection of her three passions: food, community, and social justice. She uses food to invoke the central virtue of her Arab culture ⁠— hospitality ⁠— to build strong, resilient, and connected community.

  

Instagram: @reem.assil

Twitter: @assil_reem

Photo Credit  Andria Lo