5/18/2007 | By Olivia Barker, USA TODAY
Until five months ago, al-Khazaali, 24, was Iraq’s answer to celebrity chef Emeril Lagasse, a J&W alum. He hosted a 25-minute, six-day-a-week cooking segment on Good Morning Iraq, which still airs (albeit with a new host) on the state-run Iraqiya network.
J&W invited al-Khazaali to demonstrate his prowess with a micrograter — and his telegenic style — to nearly 200 culinary students, faculty and staff as part of his first trip to the USA.
“Food is a medium for fun and pleasure,” says Karl Guggenmos, university dean of culinary education. “No matter what culture you come from, you sit around and eat together.”
During his near two-year TV run — he beat out 60 applicants for the job — the single al-Khazaali attracted plenty of admirers: love notes from women, e-mails from Iraqi fans in Sweden. He even persuaded men to pick up a wooden spoon in the female-dominated Iraqi home kitchen (no matter that they probably still don’t pick up a sponge afterward).
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