Chefs Mohammad Islam and Malika Ameen have been married for six years, but six months ago they became business partners, opening Aigre Doux, a restaurant and bakery in Chicago. Nate talks with the couple and parents of two about opening their restaurant and living their dream.
After working in some of the top hotels and restaurants in Chicago, New York and Los Angeles, Mohammad, an executive chef, and Malika, an executive pastry chef, say they decided to pursue their ultimate passion. "I always had a dream to do a bakery and Mohammed always wanted to do a restaurant," Malika says. "As time passed in our marriage, this dream came together of doing something together and opening a restaurant."
They say they chose to open their restaurant in Chicago because Malika has a lot of family in the city and it was where they first met. While selecting a location was easy, the couple says they were worried about finding success. "I remember a week into when we opened the restaurant I walked into the dining room and it was completely full," she says. "I came back crying and Mohammed said 'What is wrong?' and I said 'I cannot believe all these people are here to eat our food."
The couple says they hope Aigre Doux will continue to be a Chicago favorite for years to come. "It's a dream for me to have a family and [do] something that I love and I am really grateful for what I have today," Mohammad says.