ATWATER VILLAGE, Calif. - Saffron is an ingredient used in almost every Persian dish.
Bita Milanian is a home chef. She's mixing dates and raisins with her onions to top some rice she made earlier. She has full-time job though and creates recipes as a hobby.
"It just came naturally to me. A lot of the dishes I make tend to be from the region where my grandmother is from. All of my recipes are inspired by original recipes and I kind of give it my own twist," said Milanian.
She even shares her dishes on social media to teach others, but this is her first time cooking and serving in a restaurant.
"This is my bucket list to be in a real kitchen to cook," said Milanian.
She cooks predominantly Persian dishes, with her own flair. She was born in Iran, but didn’t spend much time cooking there with her family. She moved to Germany at 13 as a refugee, before coming to America as an immigrant at 16.
"I came to the U.S. exactly 30 years ago this month, so this is my celebration of my 30th anniversary as well," said Milianian.
This is why she is cooking at Momed. It is part of the"Immigrant Dinners" series that the owner started for the L.A. Times Food Bowl. Owner Alex Sarkissian is also an immigrant who says he wanted a way to celebrate those from different countries in a time of such animosity toward immigrants.
"Celebrate the role of immigrants in the city particularly in the food scene and hopefully spread a little more understanding how immigrants are a big part of our culture and experience," said Sarkissian.
Milanian agrees. She hopes to unite humanity through her food because say says we all eat and love having good meals.
"Uniting us as United States citizens and immigrants because the country has been built on immigrants' efforts. We really can be all one and enjoy life and its beauties and all the different cultures," said Milanian.
As she added the finishing touches to her saffron, turmeric, citrus, chicken, she hopes to bring all cultures and backgrounds together through home dishes at Momed.
Momed hosted two chefs during the "Immigrant Dinners." Marzia Rosetti Polidori, an Italian immigrant, featured her dishes in the beginning of May.
If you missed these nights, there is one more! On May 29, Polidori will join Milanian and both will cook their recipes for the final week of L.A. Times Food Bowl. Momed will also be serving their menu on this night.
Momed (Atwater Village)
3245 Casitas Ave.
Los Angeles, CA