Hello again everyone and welcome to what I hope will be an interesting and exciting new phase for Chef Sally Jane and all my readers. In short, I’ve moved to Amman, Jordan. Hence the long silence. As many of you know, my husband is Jordanian and I’ve written at length (here and here and here and here) about our lovely trips to visit his family over the past several years. The culture, customs, and lifestyle of the Middle East have always inspired me in the kitchen and I’m looking forward to sharing our journey as we discover farmers, artisinal food makers, and eventually open our own little food business here. In my head Jordan reminds me of California. The landscape, agricultural possibilities, and climate are all reminiscent of the West Coast. My dream is to bring a little bit of the California foodie culture and taste to Amman.
It was during our last trip back in December that we decided the time was right for us to take a leap and establish our own culinary business in Amman – bring fresh, seasonal, healthy, modern food to the growing community of foodies here. A variety of forces seemed to align and made it the right time for us to leave London, so we did! Everyone I’ve spoken to agrees that there is a gap in the market that my kind of food could help fill, so after three months of sad goodbyes, packing up, and lots of paperwork, we arrived in Amman mid-February.
In the six weeks since we arrived I admit to cooking almost nothing. We were staying with my in-laws and my mother-in-law’s kitchen is most certainly her domain. Instead we spent our days meeting with a variety of people who might help with our project, looked into sourcing hard-to-find ingredients (like limes, if you can believe it), visited a friend’s herb farm in the Jordan Valley, sized up the competition, and had a run-in with some peacocks. This past week we moved into our own airy apartment in Rabia and are taking steps to outfit our enormous kitchen with equipment that will make it possible for me to start catering on a larger scale from home and create some snacks and treats that will be sold at locations around the city. All of this while I build a name here and figure out what local tastes prefer before we open our own upscale deli/cafe.
Throughout it all I kept waiting for the right time to relaunch my blog, rebrand, rename, redesign. In short, that will all happen, but it’s taking longer than I anticipated (a common theme here). So while that all happens behind the scenes, I’ll be sharing the many quirks, frustrations, and joys that will undoubtedly take place over the course of our adventure. Look for a new menus page to go up on my site along with more on the products I plan on offering and how to get in touch! I’m looking forward to working with the many local producers we’ve already encountered: Mistaka, a sheep’s milk artisan cheese maker; Marmalade, home-made delicious desserts; Jabbok Farms, organic vegetable growers; The Jordan River Foundation, where I will be consulting in their kitchen. Much more on it all to come quickly now. I can’t wait to tell you all about it!