Maha is from Baghdad in Iraq, and although she has friends and family from all over the country, she spent most of her life in the capital. When she was young, Maha was a top worldwide equestrian competitor and would regularly compete in international riding events. She also attended college in Baghdad, where she majored in mathematics and physics. After getting married and having five sons, raising them (and feeding them!) became a full-time job.
In 2007, Maha and her family were forced to flee Iraq because of the violence there and moved to Jordan, where they lived for the next seven years. Then, in 2014, through the support of the United Nations, Maha and her family were able to move the New York City.
Amongst Maha’s many talents are her deep understanding of and certification in traditional Arabic medicine, teaching the Qur’an and Arabic lessons, and volunteering at her local Islamic center. Though Maha was not raised in a particularly religious household, Islam has become a very important part of her adult life and she now integrates her faith into all she does; even cooking! Maha recites Quranic verses while cooking as a way of putting her love into the food and making it even more delicious.
One of the things Maha has loved about moving to New York City and joining the League of Kitchens community is learning to cook various types of cuisine. She loved learning to cook both Greek and Chinese dishes, but to this day Iraqi cuisine is her favorite to both prepare and eat. She is particularly fond of dolma (stuffed grape leaves) and lamb biryani.
Maha is a delight, and she made us feel welcome. She has a way of getting you involved in the whole process, and you could sense her pride as we embraced her culture. What an incredible experience.”