amanny ahmad is an artist, chef, forager, ikebana enthusiast, writer, food activist and traveler currently living in upstate new york. born in utah to palestinian immigrants, ahmad spent her early life traveling back-and-forth between the southwestern united states and her family’s village in the occupied west bank, where her interest in foraging began, evolving as a way of preserving the culinary traditions of her family. since then, ahmad, who is a self-taught chef, has studied culinary traditions and wild food ways in italy, mexico, palestine, and north america, in an effort to record and help preserve indigenous culinary traditions and methods of survival.
ahmad’s work earned her a month-long residency at dimes in new york city during the summer of 2017, where her menus, musical playlists, and installation details reinterpreted palestinian food and culture. proceeds from this series were donated to the palestinian heirloom seed library (phsl) in battir, an agricultural village near bethlehem. in fall 2017 ahmad hosted the asymmetrical table, along with reem assil, a bay area based palestinian chef & activist. proceeds from that dinner were also donated to the phsl. in the summer of 2017, ahmad was the guest chef at gavin brown and rirkrit tiravanija's restaurant 'unclebrother' in hancock, new york. in addition to numerous other artist & chef residencies, ahmad has also curated a series of free meals in the lower east side, made by other chefs of color who utilize food to tell their own stories.
a graduate of the cooper union in new york city, with a focus on immaterial and conceptual works, ahmad's love and respect for the natural world led her to work with plants, and eventually, plants as food, as vehicles for communicating ideas about how we can relate to each other and the world around us in more conscientious and meaningful ways. to ahmad, food is one of the few universal languages, and is paramount to communicating with all people regardless of class, age, spoken language, and education, et al. while ahmad’s current focus is foraging, seed preservation, and preservation of the survival skills of indigenous cultures, she also brings her aesthetic and unique perspective to her craft, and considers herself an artist above all.
when sourcing ingredients, she relies on local markets, relationships with farmers, and products produced seasonally, organically and ethically. sustainability and consciousness of consumption at every step of the process are a priority for her.