“Growing up, I shied away from the things that make me who I am. Since coming out, my family has taught me the art of acceptance, which allowed me to learn that being different isn’t all that bad, and learning to embrace my roots and traditions is important. That’s why I love Pride. Pride has so many meanings to different people, but to me it’s about bringing everyone together and celebrating our stories.”

What is your favourite thing about Pride?

I think it's acknowledging those who have paved the way for today's generation and celebrating everyone's stories.

What is a special memory you have from Prides of the past?

One of the most special memories I have from past Prides, is the year I wasn’t able to attend, I was stuck at work. And I remember getting a text from my mom and brother, it was a photo of them at the parade showing their support not just to me, but the community. I think that’s probably my best memory to date.

What is your personal mission? Or what do you want your impact on the world to be?

I think my whole life mantra has just been that we are all beautiful. We all have our own personal stories and, as different as we may be to one another, I think at the end of the day, we’re all walking down the same yellow brick road. 

What spices, herbs or recipes remind you of home?

Oh that’s an easy one: saffron, mint, turmeric, and basil. 

What have you prepared today? What are the roots of this food? How did it come into your life?

I prepared zereshk polo. It’s saffron rice steamed and layered with a mixture of barberries and golden fried onions, then garnished with almonds and/or pistachios. 

What does it mean to you? Describe how it tastes.

Honestly, it’s just food that was always at the dinner table since I was child when we had guests. It’s such a nice blend between sweet and sour and the saffron really just brings all the flavours together. If you haven’t tried it, try it and you’ll thank me.

What makes a Place Ours?

Truthfully a place that welcomes good energy, a place that extends an invitation to all kinds of people.

Ashkan’s Zereshk Polo



3 cups basmati rice 
2 tsp. salt
4 tbsp. olive oil 
1/2 cup hot water 
1 tsp. saffron

        TO DO

        1. In your Perfect Pot, bring water, 2 teaspoons of salt, and 3 cups of rinsed basmati rice to a boil and boil continuously for 15 minutes.
        2. Drain the rice in a colander and rinse with cold water.
        3. Back your pot, add 4 tbsp. olive oil, the drained rice, hot water, and saffron. Cover the pot with a tea towel (being careful to not let the towel hang on the flame), and place the lid on the pot.
        4. Steam the rice in this manner for 45 mins at low heat.

        YOU NEED

        2 cups dried zereshk (barberry)
        4 tbsp. butter
        2 tsp. sugar
        1 tsp. saffron

              TO DO

              1. Wash and drain the dried zereshk.
              2. In your Always Pan, melt 4 tbsp. of butter. Add the rinsed zereshk along with the sugar (adjust amount to your liking), and the saffron.
              3. Saute the zereshk until they are slightly fried — hot and bright red in colour (do not let them go brown as this will give a burnt flavour in the final dish).

                YOU NEED

                4-6 chicken thighs, bone in 
                Salt and pepper, to taste 
                2 tbsp. olive oil
                3 red onions, sliced 
                4 tbsp. butter
                1 tsp. saffron

                TO DO

                1. Preheat your oven to 325°F. Season the chicken with salt and pepper.
                2. In your Perfect Pot, caramelize the onion in the olive oil. 
                3. Add the chicken to your pot and cook about 3/4 the way through. 
                4. While the chicken is frying, melt the butter and saffron together until it comes to a simmer. Pour it over the chicken. 
                5. Pop the chicken in the oven for 20-30 minutes, or until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165°F.

                  Serve everything together on a Main Plate, garnishing with almonds and pistachios if you like. Noosh-e-Joon!

                  Zereshk uses the Always Pan in Blue Salt

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