Who is Ramez Eedo? Business owner of Erbil Cafe and Kebab Erbil. I am a 22-year-old from Iraq and part of the Yazidi community in Wagga. Back home in Iraq my family owned coffee shops, bars, and restaurants and we have always worked in the food industry. I will be opening the restaurant soon. The restaurant will be something new for Wagga – we will be putting shish kebabs on charcoal and fire.
Best recent dining experience: Downtown Pizzeria in Albury.
Favourite cuisine: Kurdish food.
Most embarrassing pantry item: I don’t have one.
What ingredient can I not live without? Salt.
Best coffee spot in Wagga: Erbil Cafe.
What’s your favourite coffee blend: Arabic coffee, for sure.
Next big thing in the Wagga food scene: More big dine-in restaurants. We have more takeaways.
A must-try on our menu: At the cafe for breakfast, a must-try is mackhlama and qali – traditional Iraqi food. And at the restaurant, the kebab, chicken and the shish kebabs.
My biggest culinary influence: My uncle. He was one of the best chefs in the city back home. He had been working for over 25 years and the whole city knew him. People used to come from other places to try his special food. He taught me everything in the kitchen.
Favourite cookbook: No cookbook, just my uncle.
Who I admire in the Wagga food and wine scene? Jokhan from Starvin Pizza Bar.
What are this week’s specials at Erbil Cafe and Kebab Erbil? We will be doing specials but we haven’t figured out what we’re going to do.
Death row meal: Sheikh el mahshi (stuffed eggplant infused and filled with spiced ground beef and onion mixture, topped with toasted pine nuts and then eggplants, are baked in a rich tomato sauce until meltingly tender). I love it when my mum makes it.
My least favourite food: Noodles.
My COVID-19 response: It affected me a lot.
My top three cooking tips: Don’t put hot cooked food in the fridge straight away. Wait until it cools down. Taste the food when cooking and make sure your kitchen is clean.