Reem Assil

Years of Participation

Reem Assil is a Palestinian-Syrian chef based in Oakland, CA. She is the owner of Reem’s California, a nationally acclaimed restaurant inspired by her passion for Arab street corner bakeries and the vibrant communities that surround them. Reem has garnered an array of top accolades, including being named a James Beard semifinalist for Best Chef: West in 2018 and 2019, Thrillist's "2018 Chef of the Year," San Francisco Magazine’s “2018 Chef of the Year," San Francisco Chronicle's “2017 Rising Star Chef,” and most recently, Star Chefs "Rising Star Chef 2019." Reem’s California was also named one of Food & Wine’s "2018 Top 10 New Restaurants of the Year, ” SF Chronicle’s “2019 Top 100”, and Mercury News’ “Bay Area’s Best 50 Restaurants”.
As a trained baker, Reem worked with Bay Area’s esteemed cooperative bakery Arizmendi Bakery & Pizzeria, Grace Street Catering, and several local chefs before launching Reem’s California. She is a graduate of the competitive food business incubator program, La Cocina, Centro Community Partners, and Oakland-based business accelerator program ICA: Fund Good Jobs.

Before dedicating herself to a culinary career, Reem worked as a labor and community organizer and brings the spirit of social justice to all her restaurants and projects. Reem sits at the intersection of her three passions: food, community, and social justice. Using the tool of food, Reem invokes the central virtue of her Arab culture- hospitality- to build strong, resilient and connected community.