Mohaimen Huria is the chef and owner of Huria’s, a wood-fired special event caterer and pop-up based in Sonoma County, specializing in Mediterranean cuisine and New York-inspired pizza Napoletana. (Read about FabCA’s tasting here.) Learn about Mohaimen Huria…
Hometown: Tripoli, Libya
First job: My first job was at a cyber café in my hometown called Link. I was 16 and a café manager, responsible for opening, setting up about 30 computers daily and giving internet access to customers. My office was in the middle of the café, and it was fun being surrounded by people who were excited to connect to the outside world (through the internet!).
Favorite ways to spend your free time in CA: Go to the beach, watch sunset, cinema Tuesday, dine out.
Your biggest accomplishment and why: Moving from New York City to California without knowing much about it, and launching Huria’s brand and business. My wife and I came with a drawing in hand and a vision, and launched our catering business at our own wedding. From there, we just kept going, all while learning about the North Bay Area and all the beautiful nature (and the unexpected fires, floods, etc.!). About four months before the pandemic, we expanded to a brick-and-mortar location which Huria’s has not only survived, but grown from and flourished. It’s always been a dream to run my own business, and I am happy and proud to be able to do so, and share with people quality, good food with a creative approach.
The biggest obstacle you overcame: Boxing beautiful food to-go. My brick-and-mortar (the restaurant), although it was a success during its four-month soft opening, I immediately felt more limited and had less flexibility than when running my mobile catering business, pop-up, etc. — where my business always functioned together with specific clientele who valued my service vs. the general public, which is always an X factor. The opening was then followed by a year of takeout, something that kept us going, however was the least creatively stimulating and inspiring after a while.
Someone who inspires you and why: My dad. He was a man who wore many hats, and each hat he wore he was an expert. From a fisherman and trained professional swimmer (in leagues and competitions for years), to a banker and butcher. Growing up in the Mediterranean, at a very early age I learn from him how to swim and dive in rocky waters, and catch fish, octopus and more. After school, me and my brother would meet him at his office in the bank, where he’d be wearing a suit and tie, shiny shoes and, of course, his signature Hugo Boss cologne, talking to clients and cracking jokes, always professional and like a completely different person from the the day before out in the water! On special occasions, he would butcher a whole lamb like professional chefs and butchers do, for the family, then going down his list of neighbors and other people who wanted his help in doing the same. I carried his tools, helping him with the process, and learning along the way the value in helping others, and always staying professional and humble. From carrying his tools always, I now carry the same values he did before and follow in his footsteps.
Advice to someone pursuing a career path in what you do: Follow your gut. And if your gut is telling you that you can do it, don’t listen to anyone else. Stay optimistic, and stay confident! If your heart is in it, don’t worry about doing things the way other people do, and let it develop naturally. Also, hard work always pays off!
Favorite quote: “If you build it, they will come.”
Something someone would be surprised to learn about you: When I first moved to this country, I put all of my money into school to learn English, which I didn’t speak yet, and rented an empty room with no furniture in Queens, New York for four months in the middle of winter. I had enough spare change for one blanket and a pillow.
What makes someone fabulous: Doing good deeds and not mentioning them. Doing a great job and not bragging about it. Being consistent with your craft, having a standard and making others happy.