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A Concoction of Passion & Culinary Art

Kitchen talk with The Cookery Co. founder Amina Hassaan

Everybody loves a luxury dining experience, and The Cookery Co. brings it to wherever you are, be it city, sea, or sand. Founded in 2016 by Amina Hassaan, Nour El Sadat, and Soraya Aboul Nasr; the catering business is an exploration of food, one that has a lot of heart. From a small apartment kitchen to a full-blown mobile kitchen serving 3,000 guests in the middle of the desert, The Cookery Co. has pioneered and changed the catering game in Egypt.

“We started from an apartment in Giza, where we would serve 10 people at a time. We would host at people’s houses, and we would have two helpers with us to clean” Amina Hassaan tells ELLE “When we were younger, we used to go to a restaurant called Four Corners in Zamalek, it was like a second home. The food was good, and the people knew each other, so we wanted that experience back. We had zero goals, zero plans, but we wanted to start something where people had good food and felt like the place was theirs”

As with any good partnership, the partners must complete each other. And at The Cookery Co. Hassaan and Aboul Nasr have made an intricate dance of their partnership. Hassaan manages the business aspect, making way for Aboul Nasr to create in the kitchen, along with their newest partner, Chef Mohamed Ezzat, who recently joined as their Executive Chef and partner after 15 years at the Four Seasons.

The Cookery Co. then went on to become a full-blown immersive experience where they provide everything from table-setting to decor. To them, the client is a guest, and they consider themselves the host. “Before the event, we do a sight visit to meet the client and see the house. We always cater the experience to them. If the house is classic, then the table setting will be classic, if the paintings are colorful we try to match to that.” Hassaan tells us “And then we think of everything. Is it gonna rain? We bring umbrellas for the guests. Did our guest think of getting bathroom amenities? Did they forget to tell us about their vegan friend? Did they forget to tell us about that guest who’s fasting and can’t eat any meat or dairy”

 “In the beginning, we were very fixated on the idea of a restaurant, we actually wanted the space Four Corners was in. But we couldn’t get that, so we decided to operate from Soraya’s home in Diplo Resort, North Coast. We turned the reception into a kitchen, because the kitchen was tiny, and we had two waiters with us, and we would sleep and cook and serve in the same house.”

Serving breakfast and dinner every day, the women spent that summer testing out their project. “It was going well. When we got back to Cairo, we decided to continue growing the business.”

The Cookery Co. then went on to become a catering savior. With an immense passion that so clearly translated into the food, they became the go-to for their clients. “People come to us for their most important event of the year,” Hassaan tells us “Proving ourselves and making people trust us was the first major challenge. It took us a lot of time to learn. Keeping food warm and consistent haunted us for an entire season in the North Coast, we couldn’t figure it out. ”

In the end, though, they learned that food goes far beyond what went on your plate. It is an immersive experience, from top to bottom. And the women at The Cookery Co. have taken the fact and made an active art show of it, “People who give you their food are people who give you their heart.”

No endeavor passes without its challenges, of course, and The Cookery Co. has seen a surplus of them. With the ever-changing prices of ingredients and fluctuations in currency, the business often finds itself having to replace one ingredient for the other. Here, they are grateful that their menu alternates upon the client, “A key factor of catering is getting out of your comfort zone constantly. It is a challenge around every corner. Every time you’re cooking in a different kitchen, every time there’s a new knot to figure out. So there’s really a lot of problem-solving, and it has changed us as people. And the only constant is our team. We have become telepathic. Every event is different and the variables are countless but our core team of 85 people is the reason we are able to overcome these challenges and make sure our guests and our guests’ guests are happy.”

“It’s a really tough business to be in alone. So many punches I couldn’t have survived without my partners, Soraya and Ezzat” Hassaan expands on the importance of good partnership, especially in an industry as alive as this one. “At the end of the day there is nothing more fulfilling than people leaving with a smile on their face.”

Hassaan grew up around a family that celebrated food on every given occasion, and it was that upbringing that shaped her into the businesswoman she is today “Growing up, food was a huge thing. We always had elaborate table settings with napkins and centerpieces and everything. So really, I got it from my mother and my grandmother. To me, this has always been the norm.” 

The Cookery Co. has made catering into an extravagant, unforgettable experience, and they have done so with passion, faith, and hard work.

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