Dynami Al-Anjeri became the co-owner, general manager and chef of On
the Way Cafe in Mequon, the Santa Monica, Calif., native was a
fashion and jewelry designer, paleo blogger and industrial engineer.
In fact, she was even on the Kuwait television version of “Project
Runway,” called “I Wish,” where she was a finalist. Al-Anjeri sat
down with M: Milwaukee’s Lifestyle Magazine to discuss how her love
of food led to her new career trajectory.
You grew up in
Santa Monica, traveled, and lived around the world. How did you end
up in Milwaukee?
I was ready for a change. I randomly chose Milwaukee.
Then, I applied to work at this cafe on a whim. I was actually
applying to work at law firms in Milwaukee. But food has always been
a constant in my life, ever since I was 4 years old. It’s the one
thing I’ve been able to continuously do without getting tired of it.
I followed a strictly paleo diet (for a while), and I was organic
growing up. My father’s from Kuwait and my mother’s from Barcelona,
and they met at UCLA. I speak Spanish (and) Arabic, and I’m OK at
Farsi. I majored in industrial engineering at Cal State, and I would
like to finish my second degree in international business when I
Initially, because I don’t have any formal culinary
training, I was hired to assist the cafe’s founder, Jill Check, and
then I kept volunteering to do things.
Tell me more
Well, with my industrial engineering background, I
built some of the tables (and) helped with the countertops and the
shelves. I finished other projects (that were) started, and I also
would help out in the kitchen whenever I could.
What do you want
people to know about On the Way Cafe?
When people come here for the first time, I want them
to have never experienced something like this before. We are very
careful with our sourcing of our food. A lot of our greens, herbs
and heirloom tomatoes are grown by our founder. We are very careful
to make sure our ingredients are organic and don’t have any GMOs,
and we are sensitive to people who have allergies or dietary
restrictions. Our meat is grass fed. A lot of thought goes into our
sources of food. Also, while our food here is very nutritional and
healthy, it’s also very delicious. I love making soups. Right now,
we have a shredded soup. It started out as a vegan soup with
shredded cabbage, Brussels sprouts, fennel and wild rice, and then
someone said they had a craving for chicken and wild rice soup so I
added chicken. It’s a beautiful, purple color, and when you squeeze
lemon juice over it, it changes to pink because of the acidity.
What can visitors
look forward to this spring?
We sell quarts
of bone broth, and we also sell vegan green broth. We do catering
and meal preparation, especially for athletes, and we are going to
be doing more grab-and-go cleanses (and smoothies) for local gyms
for pre- and post-workouts. We would love to have more high school
athletes come here too — for before- and after-workout smoothies. We
also might be open earlier hours, as our customers have been asking
us to open earlier. Eventually, we might expand into a second
RECIPE CORNER: Detox
Paleo Breakfast Salad
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
1/2 teaspoon finely chopped garlic
Dash of black pepper
Dash of paprika
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons almond milk
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 cup fresh lettuce and spinach, mixed
1 tablespoon chia seeds
1/4 cup mashed cauliflower
1 small, brown heirloom tomato, sliced
In a small bowl, mix together all ingredients, excluding the greens,
chia seeds, mashed cauliflower and tomato. Turn the stove to medium
high. Pour the mixture into a tagine, nonstick iron skillet or pan
and cover. After one minute, reduce heat to medium and cover again
for three minutes. Afterward, check if it needs more time — if the
mixture is runny, add one more minute to the cooking time, then
two minutes, then turn off heat. Set aside.
On a plate,
arrange the lettuce and spinach. Slice the tomato and place on top.
omelet has cooled down a bit, it will be somewhat firm. Spoon the
cauliflower mash on half of the omelet and sprinkle a dash of salt
and pepper on top. Fold the omelet over with a spatula and use the
tool to place the omelet on top of the salad. Drizzle the lemon
juice over the salad and omelet, then sprinkle the chia seeds over