Fabulous People: Hisham Abdelfattah

Hisham Abdelfattah is the executive chef and owner of El Halal Amigos in San Jose. “El Halal Amigos is the first Halal-Mexican restaurant in the Bay Area. As a Muslim, it was originally hard for me to find authentic Mexican cuisine that was Halal, so the idea for El Halal Amigos was created.” Learn about Hisham Abdelfattah…

Follow at: @chef__hisham

Hometown: San Jose, CA

First job: My first job was as a dishwasher at a taqueria in San Jose. 

Favorite ways to spend your free time in CA: I am a left-handed Gemini millennial who lives a chaotic yet organized life. In my free time, I love spending time with my family and friends, working out and shopping.

Your biggest accomplishment and why: My biggest accomplishment was starting El Halal Amigos during the peak of COVID-19. I knew that I didn’t want to work for anyone anymore, but starting a business with limited capital was risky in the middle of the pandemic. However, things paid off, and I’m so glad I took that risk! 

The biggest obstacle you overcame: The biggest obstacle I overcame was having a baby three months after opening my restaurant — we were all very sleep-deprived during that time. 

Someone who inspires you and why: Gordon Ramsay and Grant Achatz. Both men are very influential in the cooking world, and their vast experience inspires me. I would love to meet them and apply some of the lessons they could provide to my career. 

Advice to someone pursuing a career path in what you do: My advice would be to persevere and push, push, push. It’s easy to lose passion in this industry, and it’s important to always remember why you started in the first place. 

Favorite quote: “This too shall pass.” —Abraham Lincoln

Something someone would be surprised to learn about you: People may be surprised to know that I can sing.

What makes someone fabulous: Someone who shows good intentions in everything they do. 

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