Family legacies survive when the younger generations embrace and celebrate the traditions. Staying connected to our roots substantiates our identity, providing a secure mooring in the ever-changing world. Lena Ghadanian Artunian understands this concept too well; being a third-generation chef and food content creator based in LA, she has proudly embraced her ancestral lineage by creating HyeFeastLA – a venture through which she shares her culinary skill with others while honoring her family’s recipes.
Growing up with rich culinary influences, Lena developed an affinity for cooking at a very young age. Her grandfather George Ghadanian was a very skillful chef who had learned the craft from his uncles. He had mastered cooking Syrian delicacies, always dedicated to getting the best ingredients and patiently going through the process of preparing a dish. These processes were preserved and passed down to three generations. Lena believes that this dedication to the process rather than the end-product has made her family’s recipes stand out from the crowd.
The family relocated to the USA in 1978, opening a restaurant in North Hollywood, CA. After eight years, they shifted again to Tarzana, CA. Lena’s father opened his restaurant here, named Mihran’s Restaurant, and worked for 31 years as a chef. Lena grew up watching her father and mother cook in the restaurant, keeping George Ghadanian’s recipes alive. She would help in the kitchen or deliver the food to the customers, watching their faces light up as a plate full of delicious kebabs was placed in front of them.
Thus, growing up with such a legacy, Lena learned to cook traditional Syrian, Lebanese and Armenian recipes. After her father’s death, Lena felt responsible for keeping this legacy alive. Being a mother to two little girls, Lena could not dedicate the required amount of energy and time to running a full-time restaurant, but she still wanted to continue the family tradition.
Thankfully, blogging culture preserved her family recipes from fading away into oblivion. Lena started sharing her family recipes on her blog HyeFeastLA, by sharing step-by-step details and short video tutorials of recipes. This blog was created ten years ago with two clear objectives – first, Lena wanted to preserve and share her family recipes. Second, she wanted to help other people, like the younger generation to connect with the traditional side of cooking.
From the very beginning, HyeFeastLA has been providing private cooking sessions – both in-person and virtually through zoom – to help people reconnect with their family recipes. Lena also posts short tutorials as well as step-by-step recipes on her blog and social media platforms so that everyone can master the art of cooking. Her work is not only inspiring but heartwarming too; she often receives messages from grateful followers thanking her for making traditional cuisine accessible to all! Through this initiative, Lena has created an organic community that keeps growing bigger each day!
For future endeavors, Lena has big dreams. Lena wants to open a small restaurant and a cooking school sometime in the future. A cookbook documenting her father’s recipes is also in the pipeline. All of Lena’s ambitions and future plans revolve around ensuring that Ghadanian culinary legacy is kept alive .