People in SEKEM: Chef Amir Abdel Aziz

To those who grew up in Gelfina, SEKEM is an inevitable part of their lives. Hence, it was no surprise that when Amir Abdel Aziz started to look for a career, he looked no further than SEKEM.

As it is common on the countryside in Egypt, Amir Abdel Aziz grew up in a family of eight people. Having three brothers and two sisters, Amir had to leave his education to earn a living after his father’s passing. At the age of 14, Amir started working to support his family and became a freelance laborer.  Married at the age of 21, Amir became responsible for a new family which required more security and financial stability and that’s why he searched within himself for a passion which he could gladly pursue to enable him to meet his family’s needs as well as satisfy his ambition.

Recognizing the passion and seizing the opportunity to grow

Although cooking is not a familiar job to men in Gelfina, Amir discovered his interest in food and catering. Sami his brother, who had been working at Atos, one of SEKEM’s subsidiary companies, encouraged him to apply to work in the kitchen at SEKEM Farm. Sami told him how SEKEM supports and educates its co-workers helping them to find their individual potential. At the latest, when Amir had his interview with SEKEM founder Ibrahim Abouleish, he became convinced of that. “Dr. Ibrahim was like the father of Gelfina,” states Chef Amir.

Hence, Amir Abdel Aziz became a member of the SEKEM family 18 years ago starting with cleaning the dishes. Amir took every chance to learn from his seniors. “I’m very thankful to Chef Fahim, who taught me everything I know and who gave me the opportunity to grow,” tells Amir Abdel Aziz. Only two years later Amir became responsible for the cafeteria at the SEKEM farm El-Adleya which is only a few kilometers away from SEKEM Main Farm.  And finally, 12 years ago, SEKEM chef reached Heliopolis University in Cairo. After he started to cook for a few hundred co-workers of SEKEM Head Office, he feeds now over 2000 students, employees and guests; and besides this hard work he even takes the time to teach his kitchen mates from his long standing experience. 

Family enrooted in SEKEM

After almost two decades Amir is a SEKEM member to the core. This can be seen among others by considering the efforts he takes to get to work as he needs to travel for over two hours every day. Although this takes precious family time, on the other hand it enables him to provide the best education to his children. Ranya, his eldest daughter is now married, Norhan has graduated from SEKEM School and is now attending the Vocational Training Center, and Mohamed, his youngest is still in primary school. “My life partner Hanan is the backbone of our family, and the reason why I can grow at work. Besides her duties as a housewife, she has the most important and difficult job of all: raising healthy, strong and kind humans. I’m very proud and thankful to have her as my partner,” adds Amir.

The 42 years old chef and father still carries the same passion to his career as he did on the first day at SEKEM, and still seizes every learning opportunity. “What SEKEM has taught me is that learning, giving and development never end. I look forward to learning and giving more to the community I work in,” says SEKEM’ Chef.

Nadine Greiss

Organic Gastronomy at SEKEM
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