Omid Roustaei is a Persian chef / recipe developer with a well-attended blog called Caspian Chef – Omid Roustaei. Omid’s love of Persian cooking started when Omid was determined to keep his nostalgic connection with his homeland Iran, and his home-city Babol.
A former-private chef, Omid combines his passion for cooking, expert knowledge, and life experience to take his audience on a culinary expedition. In his cooking classes, Omid transports his audience to Iran with tales of his childhood stories by sharing his knowledge about plant-based, intuitive cooking and his love of Persian culture.
Omid Roustaei is a psychotherapist by profession, and a chef by passion.
In his conversation with Sara Jamshidi, they talk about Persian cuisine, Thanksgiving, and his mission to bring people together with food.
The beautiful emerald city of Seattle, Washington, has been my home for the past 30 years. I am a psychotherapist, trained chef, and culinary instructor with a passion for healthy living, wellbeing, and global cuisine, and particularly for the food of Iran, where I have roots. Today I take great pleasure in teaching Persian cuisine at PCC Community Markets, The Pantry and The Book Larder in the greater Seattle area, where I introduce and explore this great cuisine while exploring culinary techniques and telling stories about Persian history and culture. I am also a regular contributor at the @thekitchn.com
Persian cuisine uses the careful blending of herbs and spices to create rich and subtle flavors and a playful balance of salt, sweet, sour, and bitter. I often compare Persian food with the complexity and richness of a Persian carpet. They have many things in common: color, texture, balance, design, complexity, patience, and love! Persian cooking has had a great influence on Middle Eastern, Moroccan, Northern Indian, and Turkish cuisines, yet has itself remained somewhat below the radar. I hope to change that!
I was born and raised in Tehran in a family where home-cooked food was the norm, and my mother lovingly and patiently prepared all our meals. She prepared all of our meals using high-quality and fresh ingredients that created balanced and complex flavors and did so with tremendous care and love. Each meal was prepared and presented meticulously as if it were to be served to guests.
Both my parents were born and raised near the shores of the Caspian Sea, in the northern part of Iran, in a beautiful city called Babol. We spent every long weekend, holiday, and summer by the sea in a small community called Daryakenar. I spent my early childhood building sandcastles, flying kites, and riding my banana-seat high-handlebar-bike. As I travel the world now and appreciate many beautiful corners of this planet, I still long for the day that I can once again be by the Caspian Sea, reliving the nostalgic, sweet and innocent memories of my childhood.
In 1983, at the age of 17, I left Iran on my own and briefly attended high school in the Netherlands before migrating to the US. I completed high school in Sedona, Arizona, and performed my undergraduate studies at Northern Arizona University, where I earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Microbiology and Chemistry. In 1993, I relocated to the Pacific Northwest and worked in the biotechnology field for several years before I began searching for more meaning and new directions in my personal and professional life. The pursuit of overall health and wellness led me to the art of natural foods, the practice of yoga, and counseling.
In 1998, I decided to pursue my passion for food and cooking and to make a career of it. I attended the School of Natural Cookery in Boulder, Colorado, where I studied the art of intuitive cooking and learned to be creative and improvisational in the kitchen. Thus began my lifelong journey and love affair with food and cooking. Sharing this passion, I worked as a private chef for 15 years and taught thousands of hours of cooking classes.
In addition to cooking, I enjoy hiking and climbing the beautiful Cascade Mountains in Washington, and returning to Colorado frequently to climb the mighty 14ers (to date, I’ve ascended 42 of them)!
I am also a self-professed champion in the game of backgammon, a game I learned to play as a child! Backgammon is an ancient board game with a history that can be traced back to 5000 years ago in Iran.
YouTube raw footage of the conversation with Omid Roustaei
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