When Shirin Keykhosrovi was growing up In Yazd, Iran, her parents would often take the family to visit different cities in the country. Her favorite part of those trips was seeing up close the cuisine and hospitality in Iran’s different regions.
“They used to say, ‘We’ll travel around Iran before you travel the world,’” Keykhosrovi says.
After emigrating to the U.S. and becoming an Arizonan 20 years ago, Keykhosrovi began paying forward the early education she received to her own children by cooking traditional foods from various regions of Iran for them. And when her kids left the house, around 2016, she launched a Scottsdale-based catering service, Sunshine Catering, that’s doing the same. Keykhosrovi, who has an art degree, sees the dining table as a blank canvas where she can create lively paintings with her dishes.
“It’s not that much of a stretch, since Iranian dishes are so colorful,” she says. She sees food, whether she cooks it or introduces it on her Instagram, as a source of joy for others.
Because of her travels and through her work with a partner from the south of Iran, Keykhosrovi knows quite a bit about a number of regional Iranian dishes. But, she says, “I only cook the foods I am absolutely confident about.”
Standard offerings include common Persian dishes, such as stews with rice and kabobs. But she can also cater a Northern Iranian-themed party with baghala ghatogh (a fava bean stew with dill, garlic, spices, and eggs, cooked over easy inside the wells you make in the stew), kabob torsh (kabob, marinated in pomegranate and walnut paste), and mirza ghasemi (smoked eggplants, tomatoes, garlic, and eggs). (Northern Iran is the place to be for garlic lovers; the humidity of the region quiets the strong garlic smell.)
Vegetarian and vegan options are available, and Keykhosrovi also makes four desserts: baklava, halva, sholeh zard (saffron rice pudding), and traditional Persian ice cream (saffron and rosewater). Everything is made from scratch, so she requires three days advance notice for each order. The minimum number of orders is 10, maximum is 30.
Until COVID hit, Keykhosrovi was running Sunshine Catering out of a commercial kitchen. She now operates from her home kitchen, with customers having a choice or pick-up or delivery. For bigger parties, she can help with choosing the serving dishes and setting up your food on the table. Order through Instagram or Facebook.