Meet the Chefs

Meet our Halal Food Fest TO chefs as well as some special celebrity chefs!

Nasreen Kassam : Halal Food Fest TO Chef

Nasreen Kassam

Halal Food Fest TO Chef

Ever since she was teenager, Nasreen has loved the art of cake decorating. Most of the treats she made were devoured by her siblings, and now it's her family and friends. "Cake Art has always been my passion - and it's always satisfying to see the excitement in your loved ones! Not sharing my knowledge is a great injustice to the art and I would love to pass on what I know", says Nasreen.

With a background in Fashion Design, Nasreen has put her couture and art in her cakes, taking numerous cake decorating courses at local institutes. Her passion and hard-work earned her respect among her peers and she became the Wilton® Method Instructor within a short duration. Nasreen has since trained hundreds of students worldwide and has been a judge at local and international shows.

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Fereshteh Keshavarz : Halal Food Fest TO Chef

Fereshteh Keshavarz

Halal Food Fest TO Chef

Fereshteh's interest in baking and pastry started when she was a teenager. Her interest in art was not limited to pastry and cakes as she loved painting and other types of art.
Later in her life, when she migrated to Canada, she decided to turn her hobby in to her profession by studying in the famous "George Brown" college in Toronto. After getting her degrees in "Baking and Pastry" and "Professional Cake Decorating", she worked as a freelancer.
A few years ago, she got a chance to live in Switzerland where she learned and practised European pastry methods and techniques. She studied French pastry in Ecole National de la Patisserie in France with famous and talented chefs. Then she learned modelling techniques from a world-known sugar artist, Maisie Parrish, in England. One of the main lessons she learned in Europe was that quality and taste are as important as decoration. A pretty cake can be made with good ingredients and can taste good too!
She also published two books about French Macarons & Tarts in Farsi. After coming back to Canada, she worked as a cake designer in a pastry shop and soon after she started her own business, Sugar Miracles, while believing in miracle of the sugar in her heart. Recently, she has mostly focused on teaching Cake Decorating and Pastry Arts in her private school under the same name.

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Russell Auckbaraullee : Halal Food Fest TO Chef

Russell Auckbaraullee

Halal Food Fest TO Chef

Chef Russell Auckbaraullee, owner of Penthouse Catering. Chef Russell seeks the challenge of diversity and desire for his guests is “to have a new experience with food that will open them to the cultural inspirations behind each dish,” is something that comes directly from his Mauritian heritage, that compliments the rich multicultural food found in Toronto. His menus are not limited to a specific cuisine, but mostly a variety of international foods. Italian trained, but will always will always be a student of the trade. Earlier in his career he had managed and was The Head Chef of restaurants around Toronto, but now focuses on teaching and catering.

Most recently did Chopped Canada. Recent co-winner at The Toronto Sushi Fest, and now teaches private sushi classes for groups of two. Has appeared on multiple media outlets, tv demos and has published recipes in print. His team provides fine dining catering needs, public events to weddings around the GTA. Find them at www.penthousecatering.ca

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Amanda Saab :

Amanda Saab

Amanda Saab is a social worker, passionate home cook and food blogger at amandasplate.com. She was most recently seen on MasterChef 6 on Fox, competing with the best home cooks in the country! Amanda's recipes have been featured on the Huffington Post, Seattle Magazine, The Feed Feed, James Beard Foundation and The Detroit News. Amanda loves combining traditional Mediterranean flavours with American classics. She especially loves pastry! Amanda Saab completed her Masters Degree in Social Work at Wayne State University before moving to Seattle with her husband, Hussein.

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William El Dbaissy :

William El Dbaissy

Chef William – a Lebanese chef - started his career in 1997 with a unique culinary style and has helped to spread healthy and elegant cuisine throughout the Middle East, Paris, Barcelona (leading the winner team of European Catering Cup 2011), and recently Canada. He’s committed to nutritious food and created more than 1200 healthy recipes, elegant cuisine. As well he used to be the personal Chef of Saudi H.R.H Walid Bin Talal, and had a live show on Channel #1 on Saudi Arabia TV, and many appearances on the Canadian channels. Also he’s an active member in the “Canadian culinary Federation” as well as “American Chef Federation “. Recently he’s the Executive Chef for “Paramount Fine Foods Group “and opened more than 30 locations within 3 years.

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Ahmed Baig : Halal Food Fest TO Chef

Ahmed Baig

Halal Food Fest TO Chef

“Food runs in my blood”, says Ahmed Baig who dropped out of Business school to enroll into a Culinary School. Born in India and raised in Canada among a family full of connoisseurs and talented people with culinary skills. Chef Ahmed Baig has been cooking since the age of 14, assisting his mother in her catering business, and recently was showcased on channel ABC. Needless to say, he loves to eat, and has a passion for grilling, and has made over 100 types of kebabs. His experience varies from working in restaurants, experimenting and improving different cuisines, developing recipes, and consulting work for restaurants. The chef currently runs his own business, catering events all over North America. In addition to eating and cooking, Ahmed believes in always learning and teaching anyone who has passion for food.

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Haifa Zeitoun : Halal Food Fest TO Chef

Haifa Zeitoun

Halal Food Fest TO Chef

Originally from Jordan and Palestine Chef Haifa started early in her career as an interior designer. As her love for food flourished, she quickly changed paths and decided to pursue her passion with cooking. With training in various cuisine styles from South Asian to delicate French pastries, she has a well-rounded background in all things culinary. This training combined with her original degree in design has given Chef Haifa a creative edge to make beautiful, flavourful and healthy meals for her guests.

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