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Flavours from Lebanon and Morocco arrive in Squamish

Saha Eatery opened in downtown this month
Saha Eatery’s Jeremy Duckworth at his restaurant in downtown Squamish.

I had the pleasure of meeting Jeramy Duckworth a few weeks ago as he bellied up to our bar in the Business Park. His passion and excitement were palpable. 

From years in the food industry, I know a good cook by the way he talks about food. I had a pretty strong sense that this guy was the real deal.

I met up with him in Saha Eatery. It’s in the old Bisla Sweets location right across from 1914 Coffee. 

Walking in, I felt that I had entered into another world. The hanging lamps cast ornate shadows against the long and inviting golden couch and the tiling brought me back to a visit to Morocco many moons ago. 

I could almost smell the spices roasting in the kitchen and moody upbeat music with a joyful uplifting bassline emitting from the speakers. 

Alas, that’s coming later when they open (fingers crossed) later this week.

I couldn’t help but ask Duckworth, where the love for this style of food comes from. 

“I don’t remember many firsts,” he said. “But I remember my first falafel.”

Lucky for us, this experience spurred a great adventure for him in the world of Lebanese/north African cuisine.

Recently, as luck would have it, he was sitting around in Ontario thinking about how he would like to open a restaurant in Squamish, when his buddy (also named Jeremy) reached out and asked him if he wanted to open a restaurant in Squamish. This little town is pretty magical that way isn’t it?

In the way of this magic and through a friend of a friend of a friend, a local hailing from Syria will be joining the team in the way of pastry. 

“My baklava is whack and his is killer,” says Duckworth. 

With limited English, Mohammed was able to communicate with the chef through pictures of classic traditional desserts. Baklava, maamoul (shortbread with dates) and mango tart for the local sweet tooths among us.

We spoke of saffron and preserved lemons. We tasted barberries and sumac. We talked pickling and twists on classic tabbouleh with kale and quinoa.

With Squamish’s population of active, healthy people what’s not to enjoy about the nutrient dense tradition of Middle Eastern cuisine? 

The room is intimate enough that breaking down barriers, breaking bread with others and being introduced to other cultures through food will fill the space with laughter and the sound of people communing and enjoying.

With Persian notes being the undercurrent of the spectrum of flavours, we can look forward to a flavour profile highly underrepresented in our town of a million sushi joints.

Grandparents will dine with children on aromatic dishes. There are foods and tastes that the young will love and the older will appreciate.

When I asked why he was so excited about opening, his reply was from his heart: “I am so looking forward to seeing the happiness on people’s faces.”

As-Salaam-Alaikum. Welcome to Squamish.

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