US judge upholds program that lets in 30,000 migrants from 4 countries per month

Three generations of women serve up ‘homemade goodness’ with food delivery service in Islamabad

ISLAMABAD: Sabika Qureshi had been teaching at various schools and colleges in the Pakistani capital of Islamabad for around six years before her son was born in 2019, making it difficult for her to manage employment outside the home while also looking after her family.

After more than a year of commuting to work while leaving her infant son with her mother who lived at the other end of town, Qureshi realized that this was not working out. The 34-year-old economics graduate and now a mother of two teamed up with her mother Shabnam Qureshi and grandmother Shireen Gul to launch the Three Cooks food delivery service in 2020, as COVID-19 lockdowns ravaged the restaurant industry globally.

The idea not only worked for Sabika, helping her to start her own business, but also financially empowered her mother and became a means to preserve the legacy of her grandmother’s cooking.

“I came up with this idea with my mom and my Nani [grandmother], that let’s move to a house together, and let’s live together, and maybe we can just do something,” Sabika told Arab News at the cooking facility for Three Cooks.

The food business was not new for the family.

In the early 2000s, Shabnam had launched a home catering venture due to financial troubles but discontinued the service once the family’s finances improved. Now, with the encouragement of her children and husband, she is back in the business.

“The real thing is that other than a need, passion is very important, in this profession, you can only cook [good] food if you have a passion,” Shabnam, 55, said. “If you don’t have an interest [in cooking], then you can’t do anything at all.”

Three Cooks is now mainly run by Shabnam and her husband and son, and employs five full-time staff as well as riders to deliver food. Sabika remains involved in customer care.

“When we started this [Three Cooks], I had interest and still do, but in reaching this far, my children have played an important role,” the mother said. “The confidence, it came from my children.”

Meanwhile, Sabika has branched into opening a bakery in Islamabad called Dough Jo, which she manages with her husband and in-laws, employing 20 people.

Shireen Gul, Qureshi’s grandmother, said seeing her daughter and granddaughter work was her reason for “happiness.”

“This is life. Sitting idly, that doesn’t bring joy. The real joy is when a person works,” the grandmother told Arab News.

“And one more thing. A woman who cooks food from her heart, the flavor in that, that flavor cannot be found in anything else.”

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