TORONTO — Paramount Fine Foods’ has appointed Nabil Maati as head chef at the chain’s Mississauga, Ont. location. Maati is the first-ever refugee to be placed in Toronto as part of Talent Beyond Boundaries — a pilot project that connects skilled refugees with global employers.
The chef and his family, who are Syrian refugees, arrived in Canada on July 9.
“We are so excited to welcome Nabil to the Paramount family,” says Mohamed Fakih, CEO of Paramount Fine Foods and chairman of the Fakih Foundation. “Being able to provide talented individuals like Nabil with the opportunity to move beyond circumstances that are out of their control is something that is very important to us here. Hiring refugees is a good for business and good for Canada.”
Maati previously owned and operated a fast-food restaurant in Damascus called Snack Nobel Takeaway. Due the success of his restaurant, he was asked to assist with the opening of multiple restaurants, while he continued to operate his own remotely. Escalating conflict forced Maati to close the restaurant in 2013 and eventually forced the family to flee to Lebanon.
Through the efforts of Talent Beyond Boundaries, Maati was able to find a position where he is able to use his restaurant expertise.
“We’re very grateful for Mr. Fakih’s support of our organization,” says Dana Wagner, from Talent Beyond Boundaries. “Mr. Fakih was one of the first business leaders to show a desire to work with us through the pilot-project period.”
Fakih is a strong advocate for hiring refugees and recently shared his views on the business case for hiring refugees on our blog.