The chef Mohamad Orfali remembers how his grandmother, whom everyone called Fatoum, spent her days in her kitchen in the Syrian city of Aleppo when he was a child there. If she wasn’t preparing feasts, she was preserving the season’s bounty to stock her pantry — everything from tomatoes and eggplants to peppers, pomegranates and grape leaves. Her cooking was so exceptional, her dining table was never without guests hankering for a meal.
“Nanti Fatoum had nafas for food, everyone swore by her cooking. My mother, not so much,” he said, laughing.
Mr. Orfali, 40, who now lives in Dubai,