Alkadour Sweets: Syrian refugee and pastry chef is building a sweet life in Ottawa

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When Aeman Alkadour rolls his appetizing pastries by hand, he makes life more delicious for his customers.

“I do them with love,” the 37-year-old said.

“When you love your job, you do your best. I can’t sleep if I don’t make candy. This is my life.”

When customers buy the baker’s Middle Eastern desserts, they’re supporting the dreams of a new Canadian. Alkadour is a Syrian refugee. He and his family fled his war-ravaged country in 2012 and came to Ottawa in 2016.

“In Syria, there is no life. Nobody leaves the house, and if they do, maybe they don’t come back,” Alkadour said.

Alkadour knew nothing of this country when he arrived. He didn’t speak English. He and his family had no relatives here.

However, two caring and welcoming people who extended their love and compassion and embraced them.

“When I came to Canada, I said ‘thank you God. I am here in this safe country, this free country.

Initially, Alkadour, his pregnant wife and three children lived in a hotel in Ottawa. He still remembers his first walk to the grocery store on a freezing January day.

“When I walked, I felt frozen,” he said.

He was wearing a light jacket, when a passing motorist stopped and showed him the friendliness of the Canadians.

“A woman asked me to get into her car. I did not know her. She just sees me on the street and stops. She drives me to the grocery store and takes me home to the hotel,” he said, his eyes smiling above his mask.

Barely two months after their arrival, the Alkadours will make the news in the local media, when their son, Zain, will be the first child born to Syrian refugees in Ottawa.

Alkadour worked hard to support his family. He is a pastry chef by training. He’s been making desserts since he was 16 and now uses family recipes for his two outlets in Ottawa.

“I like to make people happy. When you like my cooking, you make me happy.

In a mall in Ottawa’s east end, in a communal kitchen, Alkadour cooks up his delights for hours, seven nights a week. After baking desserts until 11 p.m., he returns to the bakery the next morning at 6 a.m. to wrap them up.

He delivers them to his Carlingwood Mall location and then to his kiosk at Billing’s Bridge Mall, where he works until closing time. He then returns to the bakery to start creating again.

Aeman Alkadour

“If I want to do something, I have to work hard. The dream does not come easily,” Alkadour said.

The dream is to become a king of cookies, cakes and baklava in the capital.

“Like at Tim Hortons. I want to be in every mall in Ottawa, then Ontario, then all of Canada. Big dream,” he laughs.

For now, he is grateful to have a safe and happy home in Ottawa. For Aeman Alkadour, life doesn’t get much sweeter than this.

“I just want to say thank you Canada for being here. Thank you Canadians for always supporting me, making me happy, protecting me. It’s a big community, a big family here.

Alkadour Sweets: Billing’s Bridge Shopping Center and Carlingwood Shopping Center

Aeman Alkadour sweets

Aeman Alkadour sweets

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