Sarah Khodeir went from taking photos in a small studio as a hobby, to creating a cafe with a philosophy.
It’s funny how life can work out sometimes. One minute, you’re an architecture student, then the next you’re setting up a plate of food to photograph in a small Dokki studio. Then, before you know it, you’re culminating your life passions into opening a café. This is the story of Sarah Khodeir – the cooking conquistador and recipe rouser behind Instagram profile turned café, Granville St.
“I set up an Instagram page more for the art aspect of food design, and to document my recipes," Khodeir told us. "I didn’t realize how much attention it would get. People were reaching out to me as a food stylist and ‘conceptual food thinker’!"
Photo by Sarah Khodeir
Things escalated very quickly for Khodeir and in a short period of time which saw her become one of the most popular figures of food on Instagram in Egypt, she was working with the likes of Crave and TBS, who sought her out not only for the unique visual flair she brings to food photography, but also her deep understanding of recipes and her instinct in only using the best ingredients. In fact, the Granville St. Cafe menu uses only natural, local, organic ingredients. This, in addition to championing local produce, sits deep at the philosophy of the café.
“I always talk about where the food comes from, the source that is," she explains. "It’s important to know what’s going into your body. And we want to breed a culture of awareness in terms of where your food is coming comes from.”
Khodeir sources 80% of her ingredients locally, targeting organic farmers across Egypt. This means the menus, which are dependent on the season’s produce, will be on a seasonal rotation of different dishes.
Photo by Sarah Khodeir
There’s an element of eco-building, too, with recycled materials having been used to build the space itself. Granville St. also boasts its very own greenhouse, where Khodeir and co. are growing edible flowers and herbs.
But this type of commitment doesn't seem to compromise Khodeir's creativity and flair in cooking and she promises to serve up completely unique dishes at Granville St., teasing us with a mention of an Aswani Hibiscus Creme Brulee and a Black Forest Macaroon that she's planning to feature on the menu.
But it's not all new-age experiments going on in the Granville St.; part of Khodeir's deep knowledge of food comes from the fact that she understands the classics, which she will also be drawing on, but delivering them with a fresh edge, fusing her Egyptian roots with her Canadian upbringing. Much of her dietary habits are influenced by her life in Vancouver. Even the name, Granville, is taken from the street she grew up on in the Canadian city. She fondly remembers the street leading downtown, lined with galleries, restaurants and museums – and says that Maadi reminds her slightly of it.
"It shaped everything about who I am today and influences my food style in many ways," says Khodeir of her time in Vancouver.
While she’s coy about revealing when exactly Granville St. Café will open, she promises, almost giddily, that it will be soon. When it does open, it has the potential to be one of the most unique and creative eateries in all of Cairo.