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Business Observer Wednesday, May 4, 2022 4 months ago

Naples chef who beat Bobby Flay embraces White House visit

Asif Syed calls the White House visit "an extraordinary privilege."

Naples chef Asif Syed, the owner of contemporary Indian cuisine restaurant 21 Spices, had the day of a lifetime May 2 — marking the end of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, Eid al-Fitr, at the White House.

The White House, according to a statement, “invited some of the most influential Muslims from around the country” for the Eid al-Fitr event.

“This was an extraordinary privilege and honor to be part of the Eid al-Fitr reception,” Syed says in the statement. “It fills me with great joy to see our American Muslim community come together at the White House for such special cultural occasion. Meeting and getting to know President Biden and Jill Biden as well as other community leaders was very insightful and inspiring."

Courtesy. Asif Syed's invitation to the White House.

The three-day Eid al-Fitr is one of the most celebrated holidays for the world’s roughly 2 billion Muslims, the release states, though the start of the holiday varies from country to country — with splits even within the same country — because the start of Eid is traditionally based on sightings of the new moon, which sometimes differ from astronomical calculations and vary according to geographic location.

An Indian American chef, Syed has been living and working in Southwest Florida for more than 20 years, according to the 21 Spices website. He has appeared on several nationally TV shows, including the fifth season of “Guy’s Grocery Games,” “Cutthroat Kitchen with Alton Thomas” in 2016 and “Beat Bobby Flay” in Season 17. On “Beat Bobby Flay” he was celebrated for actually beating Bobby Flay in a culinary showdown, with his signature dish of Tandoori Chicken. On Nov. 16, 2019, he successfully conducted a dinner at the James Beard House called “Innovative Indian Cuisine by Chef Asif,” making him a James Beard featured chef.

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