What Cooking Really Means To Me

Eight years ago, I fell in love and married a man who is Indian and Hindu. Back home, this choice for a Muslim woman was considered not only a religious suicide, but also a social one.

During those difficult times, Amit and I took a trip to Europe. Strolling out of an alleyway in the historic city of Bruges, we stumbled upon an establishment that took my breath away: “Ryad — Moroccan & Indian Cuisine”. In a time when not many people supported our marriage, the melding of Moroccan cumin and Indian saffron gave me hope. That was a turning point that deepened my fascination with food — what was once a hobby became what mattered most to me.

My “CookingWithAlia” show started a year before my trip to Bruges. Taking advantage of a visit from my grandmother, I filmed and posted online a video of us making my favorite Moroccan pancakes. I thought that having the step-by-step video would help me reproduce this recipe — and so did hundreds of YouTube viewers. I received dozens of requests from people of all sorts, and I quickly recognized that this was a niche to which no one catered. Through trial and error, I learned how to cook and to film videos with the goal of simplifying the mysteries of Moroccan cuisine.

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Community Events: EBC Fall Mixer & No Shave November

Just a couple of quick examples of events that have happened in the past few weeks, are already tradition here at Haas, and showcase the openness and values of our community.

The European Business Club recently held its Fall mixer in which students and partners from numerous European countries brought typical local food, drinks and trivia to share with all the other students and faculty. I think I have never seen the Wells Fargo room as full as I saw it during this event, which was a great opportunity to show the richness of Europe, in terms of cultures and flavors, to our non-European friends.

The second event I want to quickly mention is the reason why I have a beard in the picture above: No Shave November! During the whole 30 days, students agree to ignore the razor and we fundraise among friends and family to support Challenge for Charity (C4C),  a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization that draws on the talents of MBAs from nine West Coast business schools to support local charities and develop business leaders with a lifelong commitment to community involvement and social responsibility.  On the final day of the month, the rights to be shaved are auctioned and the highest bidder, while donating all the money to C4C, decides how to shave the subject, who commits to stay in whatever facial situation the winner has decided for 24 hours. Yes, that includes going to class the following morning…Pictured below are the auction stage and the shaving area, which was busy until the late hours of the day. The result: 123 MBAs donated the rights to shave their beards/head/chest/legs raising in excess of $12,000!

Time for Thai Noodle

Full time job search is a demanding process that requires commitment, discipline and… makes me hungry!

Nibbling at small bites at the end of a company presentation may not suffice. Especially if you had an intense day, spent doing homework, attending classes, and meeting with classmates for club activities.

So, where can you resort to have a good meal with your friends, no matter how late it is?

Thai Noodle!

Gameday in Berkeley

Ok, I’ll be honest here. In the final decision of where I would attend b-school, the alure of once again being able to buy student season tickets came up as a strong plus for coming to Haas. But as great as discounted football tickets are, it’s not really worth it if you can’t enjoy the game with great company. Fortunately enough, Haas students love gamedays. Now, not everyone loves football (and that’s very much ok!) but you would be hard pressed to find someone that would turn down a good tailgate. Before every home football game, Haas students will host a tailgate with proceeds going to Haas for Students, a fund that encourages students to take jobs in the non-profit and public sector. Alumni often come back to reconnect and meet current students. Overall, its a great way to spend a Saturday just hanging out. One last note, the great photos are courtesy of my classmate Rui. Till next time, go bears!

—Matt S.

2 years on…

My then fiancee (now wife) and I headed out to DC after we both graduated in 2007. A few others from our class came out as well, and since then we’ve met other great Alumni and have remained an active part of the Haas community, both socially and as part of the Berkeley MBA interview/info session process.

After a very long two years, we decided to return and spent a wonderful Memorial Day weekend in Berkeley. We caught up with old friends as well as those that we’ve kept in close contact with since graduating. To complement the social cycle, we hit up some of our favorite eateries and enjoyed some new ones. Most importantly (when it comes to food), we made the obligatory stop at La Burrita.

It’s been two loooooong years since I’ve had a great burrito, and the large super carne asada burrito hit the spot.

In addition to La Burrita, here are some other great eateries that have stood the test of time for those lucky enough to be starting their Haas adventures shortly:

Ici (wonderful ice cream)
Cheeseboard Pizza
Le Cheval (French Vietnamese)
Brazil Cafe (tri-tip sandwich and mango smoothie)
La Note (awesome brunch)
Noodle Theory
Paragon (Mac & cheese at the Claremont)
Great Wall (best Peking Duck in the world, this from native Chinese who have travelled the world)
Trattoria La Siciliana

Now if we can only get back to Berkeley before another 2 years pass….

—Colin C.