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Yaffa's Savory has been a real education for Yaffa Hanouna

Many people dream about doing something different with their lives. Yaffa Hanouna, chef-owner of Yaffa's Savory, actually did it. After fifteen years as the director of two preschools in Aurora, in February she opened Yaffa's Savory, a Mediterranean cafe and market at 2200 South Monaco Parkway. See also: Photos of Cafe Byblos Mediterranean Grill, now open

The jump was not as sudden as it seems. Even as an educator, she ran baking workshops, worked as a personal chef and caterer, and sold products such as marinades and tapenades at farmers' markets in her free - or not so free -- time. But after years of fielding questions about where her customers could find her food, this Israeli-born chef decided to follow her passion.

At first, Yaffa's was a deli that sold her full line of products, including olive tapenades, preserved lemons and baked goods. But after three months and numerous requests, she added tables and an all-day roster of soups, panini, hummus, platters and a mix of entrees that wander around the Mediterranean: Hanouna, who has more than 4,000 cookbooks in her home collection, calls herself an "explorer," and the menu reflects this spirit.

Find out more about what the transition to full-time restaurateur for this explorer was like when my review of Yaffa's Savory is posted on westword.com tomorrow.

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