Moustafa El Refaey
What’s the concept? Co-founder and restaurateur Chris Khalifa opened Zooba with a vision to showcase Egyptian food at its finest. Serving the likes of koshari – pasta, lentils and rice –, tagines and taameya, Zooba offers a true taste of Cairo’s busy streets.
In the kitchen: Chef, co-founder and partner of Zooba, Moustafa El Refaey found his passion for cooking with the help of his grandmother in Tanta, Egypt. Encouraged for his natural talent, El Rafaey attended culinary school in the USA before working in top restaurants around the country. An active member of the slow food movement in Egypt, he is keen to preserve local food cultures and traditions.
Falafel fame: Fried, made to order and stuffed into baladi bread, chef El Refaey’s falafels are lauded as some of the best in the world. Adhering to the traditional Egyptian recipe, Zooba favours the fava bean over chickpea and drizzles the sandwich with roumy cheese, fiery harissa or tangy pickled lemon.
Going global: Founded in Cairo in 2012, the homegrown Egyptian street food restaurant has since opened venues across Egypt, as well as in New York, USA and Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
Eco-conscious: Striving to operate in a sustainable way, the Cairo outlets removed all their open display fridges in 2019 and are now plastic-free.