An Entrepreneur's Story: Cooking classes for housekeepers

November 3

A few months ago, my mom came home and told me about a business by a woman she met – which I thought was genius. Lama Jammal realized there was a need for cooking classes that people can send housekeepers to. I loved the idea for a couple of reasons – 1) You can’t expect someone to be a good cook nowadays (I can barely cook!) 2) It’s a great way for someone to learn a new skill, without the heavy pressure at home. 3) There’s always room for improvement. We actually sent our lovely housekeeper, Lynn for the ramadan courses. She had such a great time, and actually came home super confident with trying out new recipes (she’s only 21!). I spoke to the lovely founder, Lama on how she started, what makes her concept unique, and what her future plans are…
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-How did the concept Mamalu Kitchen start?
It came from a personal need and a passion for food. I love cooking but after having 3 boys under the age of 2, time became scarce and I needed a solution to feed my growing family quick, healthy food..everyday!

It all started when I had just delivered my eldest (2 year old) in London and had just gotten back to Dubai when I discovered that I had PEOPLE in my house who I needed to feed! A hungry nanny,  a nurse, a husband and a kid and I had to cook for everyone for several months. Thats when I thought there must be better way to manage my time. Plus I felt bad for the friends I have who don’t know how to cook for their hungry husbands who were always begging for an invite shhh

-What makes Mamalu kitchen unique?
Its the first nanny cooking course in the region and possibly even the world. It’s a practical solution for people who don’t have time to cook or don’t know how to cook. We are also the only cooking course that is taught in Tagalog and that comes with a Follow up kit after each class including video briefs and a grocery list. And lastly, we teach the nannies/houskeepers how to adapt classic recipes into healthy dishes. We use coconut oil, hormone free meats, Himalayan pink salt and organic vegetables (when we can) and teach them about health conscious cookware brands as well. (We have a collaboration with Tavola for example)

-How do you choose your dishes for the sessions?
Depending on what vegetables are in season is a huge determining factor because we like to use fresh, seasonal ingredients. The month and whats going on during that month is also a guideline for choosing the recipes. For example, during Ramadan we have an Iftar cooking course and in September we will have a back to school course including a lunch box pa cking class.

-What kind of experience do you give the housekeepers coming in for the course?
We teach the house keepers in their native language to ensure that they not only understand but also feel comfortable during the course. We not only teach them how to cook but teach them how to love to cook! The Mamalu certificate that they receive upon completion of the course is a huge motivation for them and really gives them the confidence to cook for their employer at home.

-I personally love how fun and accessible the branding is. How important was that?
Thank you. It was very important because I wanted to make it fun and approachable. I was careful not to make it a rigid butler service type brand. I wanted to portray that it was from a mom to moms coming from my personal need. It had to be approachable and honest because I know its such an unusual idea. The logo is an abstract woman chef with lashes and red lipstick with a sun in the background. Its the modern day mama in Dubai. We take care of ourselves, we work and we take care of our family. This service is all about how you can handle it all.

-I’m sure many of us have taken cooking classes, and forgot all about it. How do you ensure the girls have all the tools they need?
We provide the recipes written in Tagalog and we also provide 1 minute video briefs on each recipe after each class. Lastly, this is the reason why we sell it as a course and not seperate classes. We feel that is important for the nannies/housekeepers to do a full course of 4 classes to ensure that they can make the recipes at home. After all most of them are learning about recipes they’ve never heard of or even tasted.

-What future goals do you have for the brand? What are the next steps for Mamalu kitchen?
We are launching a lunch box service for kids birthdays in October providing healthy lunch boxes. We are also collaborating with amazing brands such as Chez Charles and Tavola on new projects. A blog is coming out soon and we are working on many more exciting ideas to support our “feeding families” slogan.

-Lastly, what has been your most popular dish – that your clients have raved about?
The warak enab has been a huge hit as I’ve heard from a few clients that they request it at least once a week from their housekeeper. The Fattet batnjan (eggplant fatte) as well and the asian noodle salad and vietnamese lettuce wraps from the International menu have been very popular too.

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