Chef Omar T and his stories are a CELEBRATION OF DIVERSITY, in race, culture, language, sexual orientation and interaction
Omar’s Diverse Family Heritage & Orientation – in Omar and his mother’s words:
“Ask me my ethnic origins and you’ll want to take a seat while I go through my multicultural status. One grandparent was an interesting Asian mix—mostly Chinese and Thai. Her husband, my Grandfather, was an Arab, with roots primarily from Egypt and Lebanon. My other Grandfather was Mexican and very dark skinned, due to some Mayan influence. Last but not least, is my “Cookie Grandma.” Affectionately referred to in this way because she was so sweet, as well as being prone to handing out cookies to her grandkids—even right before dinner. Her father was Italian and her mother French. If you follow her lineage, I think that I have at least a little of virtually every European heritage. My short answer to the dreaded question of what is your ethnic background is either simply, “American” or if I’m feeling a little playful, I refer to myself as an All-American mutt. There are those who do not accept this blend of nationalities as the twenty first century American. All too many seem to be of the opinion that the only true American is white and born in the Midwest. Of course, there is clearly a problem with this scenario—especially among our Native Americans who tend to have a much different perception and skin color. Believe me my Mayan side of the family, which tends to be very dark, has a real problem with this argument. Diversity echoes within our household. You are apt to hear any number of languages spoken. My sister is the exceptional linguist, while I mottle and mix words from a variety of languages—like layers in a lasagna. Though both my parents and I proclaim heterosexuality, my sister, with the help of San Francisco self-proclaimed Bodhisattva, has come to terms with her bisexual orientation while my older workaholic brother happens to by gay, despite having very little in common with others of the same persuasion—in short, beyond his work ethic, he is charming, but otherwise rather boring, at least in the opinion of my sister and yours truly. Join us as we adventure around the world, discovering and sharing the best of humankind and its rich diversity.
My embracing of diversity could be linked even to my name. My mother and father thought Omar an appropriate multicultural name, since they had met an Omar in just about every country that they had visited—and they had traveled much the world before I came into it. My mother added that, “While pregnant, I watched the epic movie, “Dr. Zhivago.” And, well, I was rather taken with the honorable, artistic and romantic character played by Omar Sharif. Even then, I thought you would be a man of the world.”