Melanie Abu-Nameh is the co-owner of Feedwell Kitchen and Bakery, a casual kitchen and bakery serving pastries, breads, soups, salads and sandwiches in Cedar Rapids. Abu-Nameh is also an associate professor for the Kirkwood Community College-Hospitality Program. Learn about Melanie Abu-Nameh…
Hometown: Born in Miami, Florida, but grew up in Iowa City/Coralville.
First job: Hy-vee
Favorite ways to spend your free time in IA: Enjoying great food and cocktails with friends and family. I especially love going to restaurants that my former students either own or work at.
Your biggest accomplishment and why: Opening Feedwell has been the biggest and most rewarding. Opening something of your own and seeing how the community is so supportive of your dream has been so great.
The biggest obstacle you overcame: So far, probably opening a restaurant during COVID. We are still working through this obstacle, but it is making us stronger and we are realizing that now more than ever you need to be able to adapt in this industry to survive.
Someone who inspires you and why: I have multiple people that have inspired me throughout my life. My husband inspires me. He started a business on his own years ago, and it continues to grow. He is also my biggest supporter and cheerleader and pushes me to be the best that I can be. I look to him for business advice, and he has ways of helping me look at stressful days in a different light. My grandmother always inspired me. She put her family first and always had a way of making you feel at peace. She was the most loyal, selfless person I have ever known. It was also her cooking that inspired me to be a chef.
Advice to someone pursuing a career path in what you do: Get out of your comfort zone. Try new things. Travel, explore the world. Look to new places or experiences to shape you. This industry is tough. You really have to want it. You have to have the passion for it. Most days it isn’t glamorous, but it can be extremely rewarding.
Favorite quote: “Find something you’re passionate about and keep tremendously interested in it.” –Julia Child
Something someone would be surprised to learn about you: I’m a sucker for Entenmann’s Crumb Topped Donuts, or people always seem really shocked when I tell them I don’t like melon–none of them.
What makes someone fabulous: I know many fabulous people, and they are all fabulous for different reasons. I think it’s more about being happy, humble and proud of who you are, how you live your life and how you make people feel.