2018 Foodies of the Year: Joseph Chaeban & Zainab Ali
The pair proved that Winnipeggers will line up in -30C for the right kind of ice cream.
The Dream Team: Joseph Chaeban & Zainab Ali
Owners, Chaeban Ice Cream, Winnipeg
In a saturated artisanal-ice-cream market, it’s no easy feat to inspire a lineup ’round the block—and it’s even more impressive when you can do it on a 30-below Winnipeg winter day. But husband-and-wife duo Joseph Chaeban and Zainab Ali have (repeatedly) done just that since opening Chaeban Ice Cream in the South Osborne neighbourhood this past December. After their community helped 13 of Ali’s family members escape the ongoing Syrian conflict, the duo opened Chaeban Ice Cream as a thank you. As she told Global News, “What better way to show [gratitude] than by serving ice cream and putting smiles on people’s faces?” And their Lebanese-style ice cream (inspired by Chaeban’s own heritage and experience as a second-generation cheesemaker) has created enough of a fan base that the shop has become a permanent fixture.
Though there’s a do-good angle here (they even have a charity tip jar that they donate to a different organization every month), that’s only a fraction of the appeal. Chaeban and Ali have shaped a one-of-a-kind menu of flavours: Baba Beets mixes in sour cream and ricotta cheese with roasted beets, orange zest and poppy seeds; Abir Al Sham combines rose water, orange blossom and toasted pistachios with rare orchid-root powder. Even the most basic of flavours, vanilla, is anything but—the cottage-cheese base is infused with vanilla bean and Winnipeg’s Beeproject honey. Most ingredients are from Manitoba sources, like the strawberries in Prairie Barry, the beans from Dogwood Coffee in the Mustang Sally and the milk from Stonewall, Manitoba. Each offering is a beautiful blend of the local and the global—scoops worth putting on a parka for.