Follow us as we bring you a series of posts on Persian Love Stories.

Hello, let me introduce myself – my name is Natalie and I’m a Persian Foodoholic (is that even a word? If not it should be). I was literally born this way. Being brought up in a family of food lovers I had no choice… not that I’m complaining! My parents (dad being a chef and mum being an excellent cook), my aunties and uncles, my Persian family and grandparents have all been avid cooks, so I guess it was always in my path to be a keen foodie. I’m never happier than with a big bowl of grub accompanied by an Espresso Martini (or G&T).

Although dad left Tehran when he was 13, we have always celebrated his heritage, embracing the culture, events and, arguably most importantly, the food. Although I am most certainly biased, I have to say Persian food is my all time favourite. It's my comfort food. Whether I'm celebrating, entertaining or feeling a little under the weather, there will always be a large mountain of Baghali Polo on my plate.

From as far back as I can remember (around the tender age of 4) I pulled my little sleeves up and got involved in cooking with my parents. Naturally I thought I was being 'helpful’ rolling out dough in our family restaurant or making "hedgehogs" out of bread, but I'm sure dad will tell you otherwise. Nevertheless I was hooked at an early stage, exploring different foods, flavours and being creative with dishes. I do have to confess I'm quite a fussy eater, but I love food as a whole.
Moving into school years I used to bring friends home for family feasts, most of them involving a Persian banquet being devoured with the left-overs being packed up for everyone to take home. My school friends used to request their favourite Persian dishes for their next visit and even their birthday parties!

Once I moved to uni I think my true passion for Persian food kicked in. Not being able to have it 'on tap’ dad bought me an Iranian rice cooker and by creating dishes myself I gained a greater understanding of the culture and taste of Iran. It's safe to say my uni friends were very grateful for my little rice cooker (and stewing pot), falling in love with Persian food and becoming as fond of it as I am… one of them even requested Lubia Polo recently for her wedding day! Mind you, who can blame her?! These fond memories combined with my family background have shaped me into the foodie I am today.

More recently is my life in London. I moved to the big city after uni in 2008 to pursue a career in design, working in many acclaimed advertising companies over the years and now owning my own little slice of the design world with my paper and design studio. In each office my surname has always been a talking point and the topic swiftly moves onto food and culture. I am very proud of my heritage and really enjoy sharing my family experience with others. Over the years I've pushed my obsession for Persian food onto others, taking friends to Iranian restaurants, celebrating Nowruz and hosting supper clubs at home (no matter how small my apartments have been!)… I've even been known to take lunch into the office, especially after we all had a big weekend – Persian rice really is like a hug in a bowl!

And then there's my husband. When I met Tom it took only a gentle nudge in the direction of a local Persian restaurant to create what is now to be our joint love affair with the cuisine. We eat it on a weekly basis and it is requested for every family meal and celebration. It even made it to our wedding day! He (and his family) have truly embraced the heritage and all things surrounding it. That's one of the great things about Persian culture, it's not just about eating, it's about bringing people closer together.

I'm very excited to merge together two of my great passions, food and design, to bring you Modern Persian Kitchen – making Persian cuisine more accessible with a contemporary edge. As a family we hope you can join us to celebrate Persian heritage while enjoying our food and making memories.

Nat x
Favourite dish: Baghali Polo
April 11, 2019