your chef: zubair mohajir

We all journey with food – from childhood summer vacations in my grandmother’s home to an exciting first date in Chicago to a family wedding with three generations in Chennai, India. For my family, food is the language of love and memory. My Indian parents were expats living in the Middle Eastern country of Qatar, where I spent my childhood before moving to the United States. Breakfast on Sunday mornings shows union of my family’s Indian heritage with their adopted Arab palates: Bombay Omlettes, Humus, Ful, Halomi cheese, and warmed Pita. 

A series of unique events gave birth to my culinary journey, starting with the financial crash of 2008. After studying Finance in college and working in the banking industry for 6 years, I joined the ranks of the unemployed. I recall feeling defeated and doubting any accomplishments I had in my life up until then. . However, being the son of immigrants, I pushed forward and found myself immersed in the up and coming world of Social Media Marketing. I've always had this magnetic relationship with food, so it wasn't surprising that I found myself working with clients in Chicago's Restaurant Industry.

Following a passion that fell outside the prescribed norms was never really an option growing up, so having one that pulled so strongly at my soul was really something that was unfamiliar to me. But after years of neglect, in 2014 I dedicated myself full time to the culinary arts. After starting at the bottom, I worked my way up the ranks at the Pumproom by Jean George to Sous Chef. This experience introduced me to techniques that served as a foundation for my career going forward. This past year, I had the opportunity to work at Thomas Keller’s 1 Michelin Star Restaurant Bouchon in Yountville, CA. The culture I was surrounded by along with the talented Chefs I got to work with everyday really helped mold what I one day look forward to achieving in my own kitchen.   Cooking at that level is difficult, but it is truly a blessing and a privilege-- it will be a year I will never forget.

We are all cooks at the end of the day, and the beauty of our profession is that we have the opportunity to learn something new everyday.  With months of research and development finally coming to fruition, I will be launching Wazwan, A Supper Club.  At Wazwan we will be introducing a multi-course exploration of global cuisine with a focus on specific geographical areas in the coming months in Chicago.  We are thankful we have found a home with our friends at Contemporary Concepts where we will be hosting our supper clubs. Lastly and most importantly, we will be allocating a portion of the proceeds from every dinner toward a community dinner executed by our Wazwan team working closely with our partnerships throughout the City of Chicago.

I invite you to join me in this next phase of my culinary journey, share my passion for diverse flavors, and help me contribute to our community.