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Enas Gebaly Says Food Helped Her Connect With Family in Egypt During COVID. Now She Serves Their Recipes Daily at Her Bakery

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For Orlando resident Enas Gebaly, the pandemic has meant she can’t visit family back in Egypt. And it forced her husband to close his business.

But now Gebaly, who just graduated from Second Harvest of Central Florida’s Culinary Training Program is looking to the future with her new business, Nosa’s Bakery.

WMFE talked to Gebaly about the pandemic and the unifying power of food.  

Read the full interview below.

Danielle: Enas, how was your family impacted by COVID-19? I know for starters, your husband lost his job. Is that right?

Enas: Yeah, we before COVID, we had like a small business. You know, we, I have three kids. And my husband decided we have to close the, we have to close his business, you know, because it’s too much for us. I don’t have any family here. I am from Egypt. And when I start talking about that situation it makes me emotional. It’s very difficult on me and my husband and my kids.

Danielle: You know, have you gotten to see them yet? Or are you guys still separated after more than a year and a half?

Enas: Yeah, yes. I until now, the situation in Egypt is still very bad. The COVID. I lost five members of my family last month in Egypt.

Danielle: I’m so sorry for your loss. I imagine that during that loss, food was one of the few connections you had to your family. Is that right? How did you use your food and your cooking to kind of connect you back to them?

Enas: When I cook you know, I cook the old-school version. Because that’s what my grandma and my mom taught me. I use the same recipe. I use the same spices. And when I do that, I feel my family with me.

Danielle: I was gonna ask what are some of your favorite dishes to cook that remind you of your childhood that you’ve been making lately?

Enas: It’s the simple dishes. It’s rice, but we use like a ghee and we fry the rice, until the rice gets brownish and that’s simple, like the simple dishes, I can make it everyday.

Danielle: You know during the pandemic I know that you applied to the Second Harvest Culinary Institute and you did very well in fact, you graduated today.

Enas: Oh my God, Daniela. I can talk forever about Second Harvest Food Bank. They are my family now. They changed my life. They encouraged me, ‘Enas, you have to open your business.’ They let me use their kitchen. Because I don’t have a commercial kitchen you know, and I can offer it now. And guess what? Now I have my business. I have my bakery.

Danielle: Amazing. What’s the name of your bakery. What’s the name of your bakery? And how does it feel to be supporting your your whole family which is incredible.

Enas: My bakery on Instagram and Facebook is called Nosa’s Bakery. I started my business to do baklava, and cheesecake and Middle Eastern dessert. And I have a company and I can now, it’s not just my family and me and you know, I can help my family in Egypt.

Danielle: My last question for you is when your family is able to come visit. What would you give them? What would you make for them? If your family in Egypt could come and visit your bakery?

Enas: If they come, I will give them baklava. We love baklava. Who doesn’t? Baklava with tea. Baklava with coffee.

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Danielle Prieur

About Danielle Prieur

Reporter & Fill-in Host

Danielle Prieur is a general assignment reporter at WMFE. You can hear her reporting on a daily basis on the station. She also fills-in as a host during the morning and afternoon drive times. Her reporting has been featured on NPR, Marketplace, Here & Now, and Vox. Danielle is originally from Rochester Hills, ... Read Full Bio »