A FAMILY TALE OF SURVIVAL AND HARDSHIP TURNS INTO THE SWEET RECIPE THAT ARAD NEEDS TO CREATE PERSIA’S PANTRY, A RANGE OF DELICIOUS OFFERINGS FOR THE PANTRY AND READY-TO-EATS.
Can you tell us a bit about your background?
I’m Arad Nik. I’m an Iranian refugee from southwest Iran. I fled my country in 2012. I was an activist for human rights and women’s rights. I was a trained pathologist. I arrived in Australia in 2012, and was released from detention in 2014.
How did you get the initial idea to start your business?
When I was a little boy, after the Iran-Iraq War started in 1980 and we became homeless for 8 years, my Mum started making cheese products and I was going with her to markets to help her sell them. When I came to Australia to seek asylum, and I couldn’t work as a pathologist here, I started Persia’s Pantry using my mum’s recipes and ingredients.
Who is involved in running your business? Who is your business partner (if any), or who works together with you?
I don’t have a business partner but I’ve employed two people to run my website and take orders. There are 2 people who help me at the markets, and another person helps me in the kitchen.
What’s the best part about running your own business?
I like the markets, because I meet people and I can talk to them about refugees, and about food culture. I enjoy having these conversations with people, as we get to share our experiences and histories.
Any exciting future plans you can share about your business?
I’m trying to expand my business and employ some refugees to work with me in Tasmania. I’m working with some groups here to make this happen, like the Tassie Nannas and Hobart MRC.
Anything else you’d like to tell us about you and/or your team?
I believe that conversations about refugees and people seeking asylum are never about charity. It’s about caring and loving our fellow human beings. And I deeply believe 3 things can bring people together: food, dance and music. But the best is always going to be food!