This Syrian chef in London is saving lives in Aleppo 🌯 🏥 ❤️

Walk into Imad Alarnab's London restaurant and you'll find family-style tables decked with plates of tabbouleh, hummus, falafel, baklava and spicy chicken kabsa:


All of Imad's recipes come from his mother, and all profits from the restaurant go to this children's hospital in Aleppo:


The idea is simple: "Eat a falafel, save a life!"

Hope Hospital was set to close in April before Imad's restaurant stepped in. The hospital serves over 5,000 children each month, providing incubators for newborns, 24-hour emergency care, treatments for pregnant and postnatal women, and surgical operations.

Imad had arrived in London in October 2015 after leaving Syria to search for a safer life for him and his family.

"One day, Damascus was not the city we know from before. You have now a very sad city, as if she's crying."

Imad's journey took him through Turkey, Greece, the Balkans, Austria, Germany and France. In Calais, France, Imad and his fellow travelers cooked on the street for 64 days using just a picnic stool, one bowl and one knife — to cook for up to 50 people per day!

His best friend from Damascus accompanied him from the street to the London kitchen:

A year after Imad arrived in the UK, he was finally reunified with his family in London.

"I didn't see my family for...364 days exactly."


In the process of leaving everything he knew in Damascus, Imad also left behind three restaurants and two juice bars.

He was able to pick up his passion again when several charities helped him open a pop-up restaurant in London. Just 24 hours after opening, all 800 tickets sold out.

"The first time I saw the sign, 'Imad's Syrian Kitchen,' ...I don’t think I have the right words to explain how wonderful that moment was. You feel in London like you have hope for the future."

Imad even cooked an iftar meal this year for a special guest: London Mayor Sadiq Khan!

Due to popular demand, Imad's restaurant continues to extend its opening.

And eventually, he wants to make his meals available to everyone, including those who don't have money to spend.

"For years I have had this dream. From the day I left Syria until today, I wanted to use my cooking to bring people together to experience the true taste of Syria. This restaurant is about giving something back; to the people of Britain who have welcomed me; and to the people of Syria who really need our help right now."

All photos are from Imad's Instagram. Follow him here 👉 @Imadssyriankitchen

For more stories, follow us on Instagram 👉

See Imad in action 👇