What if I told you a chef of Bangladeshi origin has taken the food world by storm. I am talking about Sohla El-Waylly who is a celebrated chef, writer and internet personality. She was trained at the Culinary Institute of America in 2008, has worked in Michelin star restaurants like Atera and Momofuku. Along with her husband Hisham El- Waylly she opened their first restaurant called Hail Mary in 2016. Situated in New York the food of the restaurant is inspired from the traditional American diners and had a modern twist inspired from Sohla and Ham's time working in fine dine restaurants.
From there she turned to food media. Her first stint was with Serious Eats and from there she went on into Bon Appétit. That is where she blew up. The audience loved to see Sohla in the videos. Even though she made small cameos it was pretty evident that she was way more skilled at cooking than most of her colleagues. She stole the show with her nerdy-punk vibe and most importantly she was very entertaining to watch. On her website we can see that her recipes include a wide variety of desserts as well as mains and appetisers. I believe the olive oil blondies with salted caramel stand apart from the rest, these delicious fudgy brownie like texture with the contrast of the crisp olive oil is truly marvellous. Special mentions for the smoked baklava as well as the chocolate and blueberry crumble, amazing desserts which everyone should try out. The recipes for all the above mentioned food can be found on her website.
However, after the inevitable reckoning of Bon Appétit regarding racial uses and accusations of underpaying people of colour, Sohla moved on to better things. She has her own show on YouTube now called "Stump Sohla" where she is a mad scientist cooking up delicious and crazy food. It is a treat to watch her in the new series and my favourite was the scary candy episode. She also makes videos for the History Channel, making historical food using the same tools and ingredients as well. Sohla has stated on her social media accounts that she is currently working on a cook book. She is now a writer for Food52 a website with a huge collection of recipes and food. She is also the star of her own web series "Off Script with Sohla". An open ended food show where you get creative and come up with your own variations of the recipes.
As a recognition of her tireless and devoted work, Sohla's name is included in the 2021 TIME100 Next, an expansion of the flagship TIME100 franchise that recognises 100 emerging leaders who are shaping the future of entertainment, health, politics, business and more. This year's list features 54 women, including Sohla.
As you all can clearly see Sohla is very accomplished in her field, the sad part is though that not many people from Bangladesh actually know her and about her achievements and accomplishments.
Sohla's ancestral route lies on Damudya upazila of Shariatpur District in Bangladesh. Her father Muzibur Rahman worked for Jamuna Oil Company in Bangladesh. He, with his wife Salma Akter Banu and their elder daughter Shehrat Sohla Muzib , migrated to the United States of America (USA) in September 1980. Nusrath Sohla Muzib was born and raised in the San Fernando Valley of Los Angeles, California as the younger daughter of Muzib-Salma couple.
After getting married with Hisham Mohammad El-Waylly, she became Sohla El-Waylly.
The youth of Bangladesh can be really inspired by Sohla once they get to know about her journey. A lot of us living in Bangladesh have different dreams and passions which we want to pursue, some of which aren't very conventional. Dreams which we are too afraid to pursue because of fear of what society or our parents think. Sohla's story highlights her courage to follow her passion and her resolution to stand tall against injustice. During her time at Bon Appetit, she was very vocal in the demeaning and racist practises of the company, people of colour in Bon Appetit were underpaid in regards to their white counterparts. She then proceeded to leave Bon Appetit afterwards when reforms were not made to the company policy and practises. We could all use a little courage to follow our hearts. Maybe that will bring more passionate and talented people into the culinary field.
The writer would like to congratulate Sohla on how far she has come and would like her to know that she is an inspiration. The world could use more Sohla. If you would like to know more about Sohla, please follow the link to her website: "hellosohla".