WASHINGTON — The Daughters of Vartan Dikranouhie Chapter here, composed of 32 sisters, held a special carry-out luncheon event at St. Mary Armenian Apostolic Church on January 30, 2021, to raise funds for 1000Plus, a charitable foundation in Armenia that provides financial assistance to soldiers who died or were disabled while protecting the borders of Armenia and their families.* (See: https://armenianwoundedheroes.com/1000plus/ and https://www.1000plus.am/en).
Guest Chef Aret Sahakyan, the executive chef at Macakizi Hotel in Turkey, who was visiting his family at the time, volunteered to help with cooking and kitchen duties for the event. Sahakyan created the menu with the assistance of his brother, Raffi Sahakyan. This dynamic, duo along with the Daughters of Vartan sisters, friends and supporters, pitched in ahead of a looming snowstorm and produced three exceptional organic entrees: Harissa Salmon with Prune and Dill Rice, Marinated and Spice Rubbed Chicken with Broccoli, Carrots, and Potatoes, and finally, Portobello Lasagna with Lentil-Beet Salad.
The Daughters of Vartan spearheaded the event, and the St. Mary Gift Shop participated by selling jams, wines and dried fruits as part of a fundraiser which went to benefit the church. There were 155 orders sold in one day, and $4,400 was raised to benefit 1000Plus. Homemade Lentil Noodle Soup and three tasty desserts were donated for the luncheon, reports Malvina Brown.
Born in Istanbul, Aret Sahakyan is from an Armenian family where food and cooking was part passion and part profession. When he travelled to the United States to study, he worked in a variety of restaurants to support himself. He quickly found fulfillment and success in the kitchens of Roberto Donna and Yannick Cam, some of the most respected chefs in Washington D.C. He trained with Francesco Ricchi at I Ricchi and Jean Louis Palladin at the Watergate before going to the Cities Restaurant where he created distinctive dishes and menus based on a menu concept that featured the cuisine of different cities every six months. In 2000, Sahir Erozan requested that Aret join him to open Macakizi on the Aegean coast of Turkey near Bodrum. The sumptuous Mediterranean menu at Macakizi, created by Sahakyan, is served in an open-air restaurant beneath 100 year-old olive trees. (See: https://experienceselectnow.com/hotel/a2o0y000005JISpAAO/Macakizi-Hotel-Bodrum).
Sahir and Sahakyan also opened Tuus restaurant in one of the most elite sections of Istanbul in 2006.
The Daughters of Vartan is a charitable Armenian sisterhood dedicated to promoting Armenian heritage and faith. Founded in 1933, it is a non-sectarian, non-political, and non-denominational organization, with 18 chapters nationwide. In the United States, the Knights and Daughters of Vartan collectively raised $250,000 in the month of October for Armenia/Artsakh. For Washington, D.C. Daughters of Vartan membership, contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.