Model Jessica Kahawaty launches new food venture with her mother

Jessica Kahawaty and her mother Rita launched their first food delivery concept this week. File/Instagram
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Updated 14 September 2020

Model Jessica Kahawaty launches new food venture with her mother

DUBAI: Jessica Kahawaty has been teasing her fans for the past few weeks about a major project that she’s been working on and now it’s finally here.

This week, the Dubai-based Lebanese-Australian model and humanitarian launched her first food venture with her mother Rita Kahawaty. Titled Mama Rita, the new service is a food delivery venture that focuses on healthy, home-cooked meals that her mother specializes in, and which she routinely shares on social media. 



I can’t believe the day is finally here! My emotions cannot be put into words. For years, every single person that tasted my mothers’ food told her she should share it with the world. I’m so proud that today, we launch Mama Rita, a food brand that delivers delicious, fresh and homey food in Dubai and soon the world! Everyone... Meet @MamaRita and Order Now on - مش مصدقة أنو أخيراً إجا هيدا النهار. على مدا سنين، كل شخص داق طبخ أمي كان يقول: لازم تتشاركي الأكل مع العالم. انا كتير فخورة اليوم بإطلاق ماما ريتا، أطباق لذيذة وطازجة ومنزلية تتوصل في دبي وقريبًا في العالم. تعرفوا على ماما ريتا وطلبوا على @mamarita

A post shared by Jessica Kahawaty جيسيكا قهواتي (@jessicakahawaty) on

“I just want to bring my mother’s passion to life. Her food is incredible, and I want the world to try it for themselves,” said the 32-year-old in conversation with Vogue Arabia. 

“For years and years, everyone has been pleading with me to do something with my food—a cookbook, a show, a restaurant, anything! I love cooking for my friends and family as well as sharing new recipes,” said the model’s mother Rita, adding to her daughter’s statement. 

“We wanted people to taste the food from my hands and not simply read a recipe. And this is how we started exploring Mama Rita, a food delivery concept with the slogan: From My Kitchen to Your Home,” she added, explaining why the duo decided to launch a food delivery service rather than take the cookbook route.

According to the duo, Mama Rita only uses high quality, fresh ingredients, which are ethically sourced from the local farmers and communities.

A glimpse at the menu reveals a mouth-watering selection of traditional, Middle Eastern-inspired dishes with a contemporary twist such as beetroot hummus, oven-baked fatayer with spinach stuffing, a chicken shawarma platter marinated in spices and sauces overnight and a selection of salads including tabbouleh and fattoush. 



Meet the Original Mloukhiyeh. Rice lovers will rejoice in this taste of happiness and home. #mamarita

A post shared by Mama Rita (@mamarita) on

For Jessica’s part, she handles the logistics of the company, focusing on branding, content, photography, procuring, copywriting and website design. 

As an activist and UNICEF ambassador, Kahawaty’s new venture is launching with a philanthropic element, with 100% of Mama Rita’s profits from the first two weeks going to victims of the Beirut explosion.

It’s been a busy week for Kahawaty, who turned 32 this week. The humanitarian celebrated her special day with a disco-themed birthday dinner alongside her loved ones in Dubai.

UK to return looted Sumerian artifact to Iraq

Updated 28 September 2020

UK to return looted Sumerian artifact to Iraq

  • Temple plaque found in online auction spotted by experts at British Museum
  • Thought to have been stolen from Tello in southern Iraq, site of ancient city of Girsu

LONDON: An ancient artifact that may have been looted before being smuggled to the UK is set to return to Iraq.

The item is a Sumerian temple plaque featuring the seated figure of a high priest or ruler, carved from limestone and dating from around 2400 BC.

It will be sent to Iraq, where it is thought to have originated, after it was spotted for sale and seized by police in 2019 following a tip off by experts at the British Museum in London.

The plaque will be put on display to the public for the next two months at the museum before its repatriation.

Prior to its discovery, no record of the plaque was found in any official record or museum inventory, lending credence to the theory that it may have been looted.

It bears physical resemblances to other Sumerian artifacts discovered at Girsu, one of the world’s oldest known settlements, at modern-day Tello in southern Iraq.

Girsu, originally excavated by French archaeologists from the late 19th century, has also been the focus of researchers from the British Museum in recent years. Even now, only a small part of the site has been successfully excavated.

The trade in stolen and smuggled items of huge value from the Middle East is lucrative, and a constant source of dialogue between the British Museum and international police forces hunting stolen goods.

“We’re used to coming across tablets, pots, metalwork, seals and figurines on the art market or in seizures that have been trafficked. But it’s really exceptional to see something of this quality,” said Dr. St. John Simpson, the museum’s senior curator.

“There are only about 50 examples of these known from ancient Mesopotamia. So that immediately places it on the high-rarity scale,” he added.

“We can be fairly sure that this object comes from the Sumerian heartland. That is the area that got very badly looted between the 1990s and 2003.”

Christopher Wren of TimeLine Auctions, where the plaque was spotted for sale by Simpson’s colleague Sebastien Rey, admitted that it was possible that it had been looted from Iraq. 

“The vendor, who had casually and innocently acquired it from a German arts fair some years ago, was horrified to hear this and immediately volunteered to renounce any claim to ownership and expressed the wish that it be returned to its place of origin,” Wren said.

“The piece is not documented as having been looted and is not listed on any database, so it did not show on the checks undertaken by us.”

Mohammad Jaafar Al-Sadr, Iraq’s ambassador to the UK, said: “We extend our gratitude to the British Museum staff for their efforts and cooperation with us.”