by Zeenat Umer
FAUZIA REHMAN of Persian Treats
Link : facebook.com/persian.treats
Your city: Lahore
What drives you?
‘Different’ has always been my thing. Coming from an Afghan background, I realised that there was not much representation of the rich culinary aspects of Afghani food. Since I was now done with the brought up of my children, I thought that was a great opportunity to indulge in the recipes that were passed down by my mother to me and to experiment with new recipes and fusion food.
How did you get here and how long have you been in this profession (or been doing what you do)?
I already had a lot of recipes with me. My problem of introducing it to the local crowd was resolved by the advent of farmers markets called “Khalis” and “Haryali”. I set up stalls in these markets and to my pleasant surprise the food was very well accepted by the people. There were a lot of unfamiliar items that the people of Lahore had never tasted before, like the famous Aash, Gottab, Kulchas and exotic Sherbets etc.I started in 2013 and have not looked back since.
What has been your vision and what do you most love about your work?
My vision is to open an outlet offering not only the usual Persian food items but also non-traditional snacks and quick takeaway items that are not currently available in the country. As it is widely known that a huge range of similar foods originate from Afghanistan, Iran and Turkey. These all have connections to each other as these countries have historically been, at a time, parts of the same Empires.
What do you think is your biggest achievement throughout your professional journey?
I think my biggest achievement is the introduction of Afghan foods and confectionary to an unsuspecting public and seeing them enjoy those items as the first foreign taste that touched their tongues. Listening to the word ‘WOW’ was the most fulfilling thing that I have heard. From then on I knew that I had an unexplored niche market that I could exploit.
What are your current projects and what do you plan on doing in the near future?
Currently I am exploring different recipes of Sherbets to offer to the public. One major constraint is delivering it to customers in Karachi and elsewhere. Courier Companies do not have temperature controlled facilities to carry temperature controlled items which is necessary for my items as these are preservative free and need special care. I also cater to events where Afghan food is well appreciated.
A word of advice you would like to pass on to other women struggling with their start-ups?
Do not let small obstacles make you give up. If an obstacle comes, work on it and take help, never give in to anything. Going all alone may slow you down but it should not stop you. An extra pair of eyes sees things from new perspectives. Good Luck.