Mohamed (M.G.) Ghobashi
Kebab House, Des Moines
M.G. loves people and food, and he loves to introduce new people to the foods from his native Middle East. Born in Cairo, Egypt, he left his homeland in January of 1976 and attended the University of Perugia in Italy. From there he came to the United States in 1979 and spent 17 years in Minnesota, where he attended university and worked for a travel agency.
M.G.’s passion is travel and exploring traditional, local foods—or, as he calls them, mom and daddy foods. He wanted to bring those tastes back to Iowa, to expose his clientele and new people to foods from different places.
Not surprisingly, the Kebab House features kebabs. But these aren’t your typical hunks of meat on a metal skewer. Kebabs are featured all over the Middle East, Pakistan, Northern India, Turkey, and into Bosnia, Croatia, and Serbia. Kebabs are street food and the food of white tablecloth restaurants—they are the flavor of the region. M.G. marinates beef, lamb, and chicken overnight in a special garlic and ginger marinade and then grills them slowly and carefully. As he notes, you can’t get this flavor from the outside—slow marinating with spices and herbs is the secret.
Besides regional foods, the Kebab House also features some foods specific to Egypt. In particular, M.G. speaks fondly of maluchea, a leafy spinach-like green cooked in a variety of ways and served with different meats or vegetables. His shop within the restaurant carries frozen packets of maluchea, which he cooks in three to four cups of water along with ginger, garlic, carrots, and onions. He cautions not to boil the maluchea or it will separate. Eat the savory greens and vegetables with bread or crackers and rice.
When asked why he does all this work (he also runs a catering business), M.G. declared, “It makes feel joy and love to explore food.”
Contact: Mohamed (M.G.) Ghobashi, University Travel & Kebab House, 6737 University Ave., Windsor Heights, IA, 515-284-0000, email@example.com