Why I started Fil-Fil: I had moved to the U.S. with my husband and 2 daughters. After a few months of living here, I decided to return home to visit my ill father, and spend time with my family.

As I walked into the house, even before placing the suitcase down, my mother looked at me with wide eyes and exclaimed: "Oh my, what have you been eating?!!"

Mortified at gaining over 20 pounds during my short stay in California, I asked myself how this could have happened. I had always been careful to maintain a healthy diet. Now I can attribute my weight gain to "Culinary Shock". The convenience of eating out in restaurants and living life in America had taken its toll on me.

I also sorely missed eating the delicious homemade meals made lovingly at my mom's or at Nana's house in the country. Growing up in my grandmother's big country kitchen, where everything was made from scratch, shaped my culinary identity. It was there I learned firsthand that quality always comes first.

Each Sunday, all my relatives would gather at Nana's house to share in an elaborate feast. I loved to help Nana prepare stuffed zucchini, grape leaves, babaganouj, orange blossom pudding, and various exotic deserts. I loved the smells wafting through her brightly decorated house during these memorable times and I admired her great strength and positive outlook which belied her tiny stature. Her secret was cooking with LOVE.

So, on that day when my mother pointed out my shocking weight gain, I knew what I needed to do. I wanted to do something that would make a difference for me and for others who were interested in eating simple, healthy cuisine. I returned home to California and I created Fil-Fil.

I specialized in Mediterranean Cuisine at Sur La table, and taught cooking classes using my new creation, Fil-Fil.

Fil-Fil is created to have three key characteristics: rich, fresh and wholesome. All of our products certainly live up to these standards, they're healthful and made with the highest quality ingredients.

NO: preservatives, artificial coloring or flavors, trans-fats, or added sugar. Now, my customers can create many new exciting recipes with Fil-Fil.

Chef Ryda Nofal
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Fil-Fil East Mediterranean Cuisine