Search form


Meet the refugee chefs of “A Taste of the IRC”

Last updated 

A Taste of the IRC, the International Rescue Committee (IRC) in San Diego’s annual fundraising dinner, is a night of celebration, storytelling and community, featuring a delight of flavors from around the world. Please join us on Thursday, September 5, in support of refugees in our community and the life-changing services provided by the IRC in San Diego. Each week leading up to the event, we will be introducing you to the cuisine, country of origin, and chef behind each featured refugee-owned restaurant. We invite you to join us at this year's 12th annual A Taste of the IRC and stay tuned every week for updates.

Please visit our ticketing page to register for the event!


Our first featured refugee-owned business, BaytiBites, is an El Cajon-based online business started by an Iraqi refugee family. They specialize in making Middle Eastern baked goods and pastries ("bayti" means "my home" in Arabic) that are bite-sized and homemade. 

Red Sambusas by Mohamed

Originally from Ogaden, a region in East Africa between Somalia and Ethiopia, Mohamed fled to Kenya when a civil war broke out in his hometown when he was 11 years old. He eventually came to the U.S. with his family as a refugee and had the opportunity to start a new life in San Diego. Mohamed will be serving his famous sambusas, which are the namesake of his catering business. Mohamed was able to start his business after securing a small business loan from the IRC and is a staple vendor at many San Diego farmer's markets.

Farida's Somalian Cuisine 

One of our featured in-kind sponsors, Farida's, is the heart and soul of the Somali community in City Heights. Farida, who founded the restaurant in 2008, was resettled by the IRC over 20 years ago. Her daughter, Hanna, has since taken over their family-owned business on a mission to promote Somalian culture through food and establish more restaurants in San Diego. 

Sahara: A Taste of the Middle East 

Sahara will be providing traditional Arabic dishes influenced by Lebanese and Iraqi cuisine. From Iraq to San Diego, Sahara restauranteurs are famous for their hummus, lemon pepper pita chips and zataar cheese pies.

Shakira Pastry 

Middle Eastern sweets will be provided by Shakira Pastry. The bakery, located on Main Street in El Cajon, serves up fresh and authentic Middle Eastern pastries daily. Rand and her husband were resettled by the IRC and shortly after opened up the bakery, which also employs newly resettled refugees and other immigrants.