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Vegan Chef Challenge launches Middle Eastern food startup into the spotlight

VENTURA, Calif.—Ventura’s month long Vegan Chef Challenge encourages culinary creatives like Vicky Rabbat to create special vegan menu items and customers to broaden their palette. 
“The chickpeas are a great source of protein, and then they're super flavorful with the parsley and the tomato. The pomegranate molasses adds like a great lemony zing to them. So it's just a delicious dish. You get everything all in one and it's. It's awesome,” said Man’oushe Sisters Chef and Co-OwnerVicky Rabbat.

Vicky Rabbat joined forces with her sister Rita to create Man’oushe Sisters back in October of 2023.
The eatery is the only restaurant taking part in the Vegan Food Challenge that doesn’t have a storefront.
“Little bit less of a risk starting from home rather than going right into a restaurant. But we started out slowly and luckily with the venture, a vegan chef challenge, we're actually gaining a ton of traction. It's brought a lot of exposure to us,” said Rabbat.
The Lebanese and Syrian inspired eatery features a wide variety of menu items that are bursting with flavor. 
The bestseller last time that we had was the vegan taco, the falafel taco, which was made out of garbanzo beans, fava beans and some sesame paste, tahini and pickles and homemade pita bread,” said Man’oushe Sisters Co-Owner Rita Almalab.

Baba ghanoush, grape leaves, and man’ousha are just a few of the dishes customers can try. The man’ousha, the business’ namesake, is where it all started.

 “We grew up on menu share, which is a flatbread with time olive oil very simple, but yet delicious and I thought that our community here in Ventura would should try something this good and fall in love with it the way that we are. And we eat it every day,” said Almalab.
Fourteen other restaurants are participating in Ventura’s Vegan Chef Challenge— from coffee and gelato eateries to Asian and Indian restaurants. 
For a list of participating restaurants visit

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Mina Wahab

Arab-American producer & reporter with a mission to dig deep in interviews, share authentically, shed light on the issues that matter, and provoke deep thought.


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