At The Table With: Abrar Alshantir, Resident Chef at Sur La Table in Bethesda, Maryland

Apr 4, 2024

Name: Abrar Alshantir

Preferred Name: Abrar

Pronouns: She/Her

Instagram: @chef.abrar.a

Favorite Sur La Table Appliance: Breville Sous Chef Food Processor


Chef Abrar Alshantir may have been born and raised in Northern Virginia—with its rich history and mix of Coastal and Southern fare—but it’s the warmly spiced, richly flavored dishes of her Palestinian heritage that she draws on for inspiration.

“If I could, I would love to host a dinner party with 5 of my ancestors to learn about their recipes, cooking techniques, the vessels they used to cook as well as the top ingredients they used in their meals.

All Palestinian dishes hold a special place in my heart because they are my comfort and what I grew up enjoying.”

As a Palestinian Muslim American, Abrar has seen firsthand how food played into her sense of community, whether it’s sharing a meal with her loved ones at home or with her neighbors—food was always front and center.

“Food plays a huge role in my life as my day-to-day revolves around food and cooking for others. As the eldest of 6 siblings, I was pushed into cooking from a very young age, and that’s how I discovered my love and passion for the kitchen and everything it had to offer.

Being a Palestinian Muslim American, my mom would cook extra for our neighbors, and they would reciprocate and share their dishes (Ethiopian, Asian, Irish, etc.) That’s how I discovered my love for all cuisines and my love for trying new dishes and ingredients.”

And it’s that love for all things food that she carries with her today.

As the Resident Chef at our Bethesda, Maryland store, Abrar spends her days sharing her passion for cooking with all who walk through the doors (that is, of course, when she isn’t managing and running her own catering company!).

From classic French cuisine to handmade pasta and globally inspired eats, Abrar does it all! And she passes on that expertise to her students. Her favorite kitchen tip?

“When cooking with a stainless steel pan, always get your pan super-hot before adding any oil in order to make it ‘nonstick.’”

And while ‘love’ may be the secret ingredient in each one of Abrar’s recipes, she’ll admit that that’s not always what she gets in return.

“I have faced prejudices for being a Palestinian and a Muslim my whole life, and it has honestly shaped me and helped me filter out certain clients.”


But, in spite of those prejudices, Abrar remains true to herself, and her faith—something that, she says, is a defining pillar of who she is.

“Ramadan holds a huge significance in my life as it is one of the pillars of my faith in which I follow strongly.”

Her love for cooking even comes through in her faith, inspiring her to try new recipes for her iftar (fast-breaking) meals: “I am keeping it simple this year and having lots of soups. My go-to is always lentil soup. However, I have been experimenting with many different ingredients and trying to create new soup recipes. Here are just a few: Broccoli and Feta Soup, White Bean and Fresh Herb Soup and Roasted Cauliflower and Dill Soup.”

And, she tells us, as long as those eating her dishes enjoy them, that’s all that matters.

“Watching people enjoy the food I made brings me the most joy because I cook with love and love to feed people.”

Hungry for more? If you’re in the Bethesda, MD area, you can cook along with Abrar in one of our In-Store Cooking Classes! Or head over to her Instagram @chef.abrar.a to learn more about her catering business and all the yummy dishes she’s whipping up!

Explore Our In-Store Cooking Classes

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I love this so much!!! it’s so inspiring and I’m a north African Arab and it makes me want to learn more about ancestors and history, so that I can appreciate their culture and cooking

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