A Valentine’s Dinner that Changes Lives

A Valentine’s Dinner that Changes Lives

On Valentine’s Day 2019, we organised our first ever Five Course Dinner themed “East Meets West”, in collaboration with Chef Mei Ibach from Wine Country, California.

“East Meets West” is an exclusive dinner that highlights the signature dishes from our Syrian, Afghan, Iraqi & Palestinian kitchen, added with western sauces to give the food a different twist.

How we met chef Mei was an interesting story.

Back in December 2018, Mei was flying to Kuala Lumpur from Sabah on an AirAsia flight, and guess what? She read about Picha on the in-flight magazine!

When Mei first read about Picha, she was drawn towards the business because what we do is in line with her life vision – which is to make a change through food, and to connect people through meals. Mei immediately contacted us after she arrived in Kuala Lumpur, and this event was created! 🙂

We worked together closely with Chef Mei, from shopping for ingredients, to teaching Picha families how to make Pesto, to doing food prep in the kitchen. It felt like we just went for a cooking class too preparing for this event!

Well, For those who missed the event,  here’s what you’ve missed out on – a  special Valentine’s Dinner experience, shared personally by one of our guests of the night, Radika!

Feb 15, 2019, 5:36 PM

First and foremost, thank you so much to the Picha Project team for keeping humanity alive. Keep going guys. Me and my husband, Niven were really inspired by the story behind the organisation, behind the food, behind the people of the Picha Project. We are truly honoured to be able to be a part of impacting peoples’ life.

Honestly, I was not quite sure of what I was signing up for. The tag line of having dinner while impacting others’ life just drew me and my husband in. Having said that, we were truly surprised when we arrived at the venue to see the romantic set up that was made.

The food was really delicious. The concept of “East Meets West” was really prevalent through out the five courses making the menu unique.


Syrian Hummus & Beetroot Hummus with Pita Crackers & Bread


Afghan Dumplings with Italian Basil Pesto & Sun-Dried Tomato Sauce


Mixed Green Salad with Persimmon in Tangerine Citrus Vinaigrette


Palestinian Roast Chicken with Mexican Chocolate Mole, Vege Pilaf & Sweet Onion Pickles


Iraqi Chocolate Brownies, served with French Ginger Custard Sauce, Fresh Lavender Whipped Cream & Blueberries

Service wise, the waiter and waitresses were very attentive and they kept walking around and asking if we needed anything which is just me saying the service was five star. (From Picha: YAYYY!)

Furthermore, the little touches like having conversation cards was out of the box. I liked the concept of having their stories on a card accompanying the meals they prepared.

Sharing of the story was really touching. I almost cried there. Perhaps, introducing them in person at the end of the meal or early of the meal similar to the fine dining restaurants who introduce their chefs at the end of the dinner would be a nicer touch. (From Picha: We will definitely do that next round!)

Dalia sharing about her life back in Gaza and the struggles she have gone through being a refugee in Malaysia. Read her full story here

Me and my my husband loved all the courses that was served to us. What we liked the most about the dinner was the personal touch of having members of the Picha Project coming to our tables to ask if everything was okay and having a conversation with us. It takes extreme courage and confidence to be able to come to a table with two strangers and strike a conversation with them.

We also loved how Chef Mei went around pouring extra welcoming drinks for us who needed a top up of that refreshing drink. Not only that, she also gave me an extra portion of those lovely brownies. Not sure if she knew I am pregnant but she said you have to eat till you are satisfied which was just what I needed to hear.

All in all, the humbleness that radiated from everyone who is part of the Picha Project made us feel comfortable, at ease and honoured.

To this I have to say, keep doing what you guys do best. Me and my husband had a very interesting experience having valentines dinner with you guys. We would like to thank the Picha Project for the memorable valentines day from the bottom of our hearts. Keep rocking guys.

Thank you, Radika for this beautifully writing sharing. We are so grateful to have you and 12 more amazing couples who spent their Valentine’s Day impacting lives.

This is not “just a dinner” – it is a dinner that changes lives, a dinner that gives a voice to the voiceless, and a dinner that rebuilds lives.

This is an event where we challenged ourselves to up our game because we have never done a dinner like this, and we have definitely learnt a lot in terms of cooking, plating and also serving our Picha Heroes!


Common Man Coffee Roaster KL for being our Venue Partner – Sarah, Lee Hoon, Kristoff & team who are so helpful and supportive towards Picha;

to Chef Mei Ibach for being our amazing guest chef;

to Joe Kit for being our awesome photographer;

to the amazing serving team – Zhen Xiang, Sangeetha, Samira, Hwee Yun & Army – for providing 5-star services to our guests;

to kitchen crew – Min Chia, Logeetha, Dalia, Alya & Jojo for making the food looks beautiful!


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