Halal soul food chef Khalipha Kane serves grab-and-go iftar meals for Ramadan

Melody Baetens
The Detroit News

For chef Khalipha Kane, food and cooking were initially not part of her plan for herself, but it was always part of her life. 

The halal food truck owner and caterer said part of the heart of her family growing up was cooking, making meals and having dinner time. 

"My grandmother used food as a way to connect, and really just love on our family," she said. "So I experienced that as a kid, from soul food Sundays to the holidays ... my grandmother used food to bring us together."

Chef Khalipha Kane's food truck Khalipha's Mobile Kitchen will ramp up service for Ramadan, which starts Saturday.

She said that while she watched her grandmother prepare meals growing up, and took what she learned to cook for her siblings, she never imagined it as a career choice, and instead went to school to be a court reporter. Now, she's fully committed to feeding people as her calling. 

"Ultimately, this is what I feel like God has destined for me ... to cook and to spread love and joy, as I received it as a child, with the world," said Kane, who now has five children of her own, some whom help her with the business. "My confirmation of my purpose is to spread love and joy through food. It has been fulfilled." 

She says her passion for the food and service industry has been fortified by the positive reaction she's gotten from her food truck and catering customers. Kane initially wanted to open a brick-and-mortar restaurant, but she soon determined that it would be easier to serve her clientele if she was mobile, so catering and a food truck was the way. 

The calendar is coming up on a few holy days that are centered on having food with family and friends. Passover begins April 15 and Easter Sunday is April 17, but the first is Ramadan starting Saturday at sundown. Kane will offer $15 grab-and-go iftar meals for her fellow Muslims (or anyone) to enjoy after a long day of fasting. She'll be selling them daily at 5 p.m. out of her storefront on Conant in Detroit, just a few blocks outside of Hamtramck. 

The iftar meals will feature her specialty, halal soul food. This includes fried chicken, barbecue chicken, beef ribs, mac and cheese, candied yams and seasoned collard greens cooked without pork products. She'll also have some other food items available a la carte during these evenings. 

She said during this time she has to stick to her recipes exactly. Because she is also fasting all day, she can't taste the food as she seasons. 

Khalipha's Mobile Kitchen's soul bowl with barbecue chicken, greens and mac and cheese.

In addition to offering the iftar meals, the holiday has a significant connection with her business. It was just ahead of Ramadan 2019 when Kane said she was making out her prayer list and she was inspired to ask for guidance and clarity for her ambition to expand her catering company to a food truck. 

She did the research, found a truck and mustered the confidence to start a crowd-funding campaign, which was fulfilled through help from her customers and the community. 

The next step for Kane and her food truck is to get it wrapped with her logo this spring. Look for her bright red truck at events around Metro Detroit. Keep up with the whereabouts of Khalipha's Mobile Kitchen on social media at facebook.com/khaliphasmobilekitchen or Instagram @khaliphasmobilekitchen. Order her food through DoorDash, too, for pick up or delivery. 

For more information on her cooking classes for kids age 5-16 or her catering services, visit the website, khaliphasmobilekitchen.com.

More Ramadan dining at Suhoor Festival

After taking a break the past two years, the Ramadan Suhoor Festival returns next weekend for the Muslim holiday. Find more than 50 food trucks out late in the parking lot of Fairlane Town Center at 18900 Michigan in Dearborn. 

Admission is a $1 donation, and area food trucks will gather 11 p.m.-3 a.m. Friday and Saturday nights April 8-30. The family-friendly event is open to people of all faiths. Learn more about the event and the related scholarship opportunity for high school students at ramadansuhoorfest.com.

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Twitter: @melodybaetens