A CHANGE OF PROFESSION BRINGS MAHSHID TO HER OWN CATERING BUSINESS, OFFERING AUTHENTIC IRANIAN FEAST WHICH HAS SINCE SPAWNED A BOOK (WITH ANOTHER ON THE WAY!) AND POPULAR DINING EVENTS.
Can you tell us a bit about your background?
I was born in Tehran, and went to the US where I obtained a History degree in California. After the revolution in 1979, my whole family decided to come back to Iran and that was the beginning of a very challenging time in my life.
Being a girl in an Eastern society at that time meant you had to accept all the decisions your parents made for you. I studied again in Iran as a translator and worked as a business translator for many years. I also translated books and articles. Then in 2013, I came under fire with the cultural and social security police for one of the books I translated, and so I had to flee to Australia.
How did you get the initial idea to start your business?
Every woman of the Eastern culture learns how to cook well no matter what their social status is, especially in my generation. When I came to Australia, I couldn’t officially follow my main profession as my qualifications were not recognised here. So I decided to do the next thing I knew how to do best, which was cooking. And so, here we are now!
Who is involved in running your business? Who is your business partner (if any), or who works together with you?
I work with a few friends – mainly those who came here as refugees too, as well as those who don’t share the same background and we come together. The people who give me a hand may differ from time to time, depending on how big the event I do. Or if it is a smaller event with smaller number of attendants, then I handle it all myself.
What’s the best part about running your own business?
I think the best part of running your own business is where you can turn your own dreams into reality. We all have some dreams that no one else really understands, except ourselves.
What’s the highlight so far with running your business?
The events are the highlights of running this business! Not only can I share my culture and my food, but I also have chance to bring awareness about women in Iran and what they are going through living under a dictatorship.
Any exciting future plans you can share about your business?
I’m about to publish my second book! The first one, Taste of 1001 Nights, has already been published, which tells the history of my country and recipes. I am also planning to run a series of affordable cooking classes, open to all people with varying skill levels.
Anything else you’d like to tell us about you and/or your team?
I’d just like to add how thankful and appreciative I am of my team. For me, they are more than just a team, as we also spend most of our free time together. I also appreciate the people we’ve met who have been so supportive and made things possible for us.