BY HANANE TABET / PHOTO KARIM TIBARI
The founder and CEO of TANJIA SAL shares with us his passion for Moroccan culinary art and his love for challenges.
AT what time do you wake up?
The perks of your job?
TANJIA SAL is specialized in the food sector with the essential mission to promote Moroccan culinary know-how in Lebanon. As founder and director of this young and unique project in Lebanon, my daily mission in this phase of development is focused on 3 main aspects: to supervise and maintain the quality of our production, to develop our distribution network and to oversee the marketing and commercial. We have just inaugurated our first shop in Beirut, with plans to expand sales outlets.
How did it all start?
After my birth in London, I spent my life between Lebanon and Morocco. My primary, secondary and higher education were shared between these two countries with a two year hook by Antwerp and Nice. After completing my studies at USJ Beirut in 2001, I moved to Casablanca to take over the management of our family business which was mainly focused on real estate and hotel development, as well as industrial business. In 2017, I decided to move to Lebanon to launch my own project TANJIA, and live something other than what I was meant to be doing, whilst combining a certain amount of risk.
Why a Moroccan shop in Beirut?
Morocco is, by definition, the country of conviviality and hospitality for its tasty gastronomy, its tourist and cultural heritage and the generosity of its people. After 30 years of life in Morocco, I could not imagine my return to Lebanon without importing some of the Moroccan experience. I like the idea of playing the role of ambassador for this country, which I consider as mine, especially since I find that the Moroccan culinary know-how can and must take a more important place than that the one it currently occupies the international scene. In addition, my wife is Moroccan, and naturally it motivated me even more.
What does Tanjia offer and when will we have some salty specialties?
TANJIA offers the most famous Moroccan artisanal sweet delicacies, made mainly with almonds, sesame, nuts, honey, with a sugar level lower than the average pastries generally known by the Lebanese consumer. We also offer products from Morocco, such as ranges of organic teas, honey, couscous and spices. Soon, we will launch a range of crackers made from olives, thyme, cheese and other flavors. In March 2019, we will set up our catering service and daily specials in home delivery service. The famous Tagines with prunes, Pastillas with chicken, couscous, and many other dishes of Moroccan gastronomy will be within reach of the Lebanese consumer.
Who trusted you?
My wife, my family and my collaborators.
Obstacles on your road?
I would not say obstacles but rather challenges that help us learn more about ourselves and improve ourselves to face the next trials of life, that is my motto.
Lessons that I have learned and that I am now using 100% in my new professional life as CEO of TANJIA. Having worn the uniform of entrepreneurship at a very young age without going through the employee phase, I had to work alone to improve my managerial performance.
Your next challenge?
Develop the brand and our TANJIA products in the Middle East region.
A Moroccan pastry to eat?
To mention one would be unfair on my part, so I will quote two of my favorites: Gazelle Horn, and Almond Briwate