In partnership with 99designs by Vistaprint — By Design is an editorial series, created in collaboration with 99designs by Vistaprint, that celebrates small businesses across the UK and spotlights the power of a strong visual identity. In our latest film, we meet Faraj Alnasser who has brought delicious Syrian cuisine to sleepy Cambridge.

At a young age, Faraj Alnasser was forced to flee his native Syria as conflict swept the country. The subsequent journey was a gruelling one. 

After two years in transience, he finally arrived in Cambridge, aged 19, where a local family took him in. He began learning English and was able to sit his GCSEs, during which time he began regularly cooking for his new hosts, introducing them, and their friends, to Syrian cuisine.

Food was always more than just a pastime for Faraj. The dishes he created were a way in which he could remain connected to his home and, by proxy, his family. As word began to spread locally about his dishes, more people began requesting them. Enthused by the response, he took a place at a London cooking school where he trained under famous chef Yotam Ottolenghi, before securing a job at the highly regarded Honey and Co restaurant in Warren Street. 

When the pandemic hit, Faraj was placed on furlough for six months, before being laid off permanently. However, he wasn’t to be deterred: rather than sit around lamenting what could have been, he took the leap and established his own cooking business – Faraj’s Kitchen – where he sells “delicious vegetarian and vegan Syrian food” to the local Cambridge community from a temporary space in the city. 

Faraj’s Kitchen has been an overwhelming success. Now, with financial support and a design boost from 99designs by Vistaprint, he’s upscaling. It will start with a permanent space from which to prepare his homemade cuisine. There’s no telling where it might end.  

By Design is an editorial series created with 99designs by Vistaprint, in which all participating businesses receive a design makeover, as well as a financial grant to help them embark on their next chapter. Read more stories from the series here.

Take a look at the other 99 small business design makeovers on 99 Days Of Design.

The new Faraj’s Kitchen logo was created by olimpio on 99designs by Vistaprint.

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