Meet Miss Terez Pambukian, a unique individual who successfully turned cooking and serving food and beverage into a complete art. The number of the students who attend her courses is constantly growing, as she is obliging, friendly, and willful.
We met her in Aleppo and had the following conversation:
You have been conducting food preparation techniques and serving etiquette courses for over a decade in Aleppo. How did the idea come to life?
Well, it all started with my mother who knew how to prepare food and serve it. Most importantly, she knew how to make her guests happy. My father too was a man of great taste, he always encouraged us to try something new, all this had its positive impact on me, and it hooked me at an early age.
Along the years, I improved myself and the love and fascination I had toward the cooking turned into art.
I have been teaching courses since 1999. In ten years time I had around 350 students who finished the 3 months course and received their diplomas.
Is it relatively difficult to conduct such courses in Aleppo, where most of the Armenian housewives are already experts in this domain?
In fact, besides the Armenian cuisine, my students have shown great interest to learn international dishes. This gives endless choices for teaching. The Armenian national foods and desserts, particularly during holiday times, are the base, but I am always seeking opportunities to combine the local and ethnic food with the international choices, in a relatively harmonious setting. I have noticed that our young generations and housewives are always open to new ideas, but not at the expense of our traditions.
Do you get invitations to lecture or to display your work at events?
My courses have usually been accomplished with the help of the Armenian Catholic Youth Union. There are many other Armenian unions that ask me to participate in food exhibitions and related events. I can mention particularly the Armenian Relief Society (Known in Syria as ?The Cross Society for the Relief of the Armenians?), where I am a member too. In addition, I have demonstrated table etiquette, decorating and cooking art in events held by the Armenian General Benevolent Union and by patriotic unions such as those of Garmuj, Vasburagan, Berejig, etc.
Can you tell us about other hobbies that you are good at?
I also do ethnic fashion designing. In this context, I should mention that during the years 2000-2002, I tailored sixty Armenian national uniforms, representing traditional places like Marash, Kilis, Urfa, Zeitun, Arapgir, Gars, Garin (Erzurum), Kharpert, Sasoun, Vasbouragan, etc, all with their original handwork details. The outcome was displayed in a show in San Francisco, USA.
What about your future plans?
I would like to publish a book about Armenian traditional foods, desserts and foreign cuisines. However, this seems like an unattainable dream, as it is a big financial endeavor to publish a book of such dimension. Maybe one day this could happen with the encouragement and help of a sponsor.
Also it would be a great pleasure to receive invitation from Armenians in the USA, Australia, Europe and Arab countries, to conduct courses in my specialty.
Terez Pambukian?s contact details:
Home phone: +963 21 46 50 704
Mobile: +963 932 78 49 33
The above article is sponsored by Mark and Shakeh Grogan (UAE) as part of Sponsor an Article project.