Get to Know the Full Story Behind The Cookery Co.  

The Cookery Co. was established back in 2016 when Nour El Sadat, Soraya Aboul Nasr, and Amina Hassaan decided to turn their passion for food into something bigger. Amina had just got back from business school, while Soraya and Nour had from culinary schools in London and Paris. Moved by their love and passion for food, they started a small catering company from a Nile-view apartment in Giza that catered to 10 people. Soon after, they were serving meals at a makeshift, four-table restaurant on the North Coast out of Soraya Aboul Nasr’s Garden. Since then and onwards, they have been fully catering weddings, seated dinners, birthdays, brunches, home gatherings, and any other kind of event imaginable for up to 3000 guests, if not more. The Cookery’s Co.’s services expanded, and so did their dreams.

Now, the Cookery Co. stands as one of the leading catering services in Egypt, always going places like hosting The Entrepreneurs Organization’s annual Gala Dinner at The Grand Egyptian Museum and so much more. 

We sat down with Amina Hassan to know the full story of the Cookery’s success! 

How long have you been passionate about food? Tell us from the beginning.

My parents always emphasized the importance of family meals which is something that was passed on to me. I feel that this played a role in my love for food. Besides food, I was always intrigued by table setup and hospitality. It’s mainly because of my grandma who took this stuff very seriously. She was a pro at hosting guests at her house and I used to witness her plan and execute these events. My mother also followed suite and inherited this so-called know-how. So I owe a lot of what I know and do at Cookery to these amazing ladies.

What were the challenges that you faced while trying to bring the Cookery to life alongside your partners? And how did you overcome them? 

I won’t go into the difficulties of being a woman in business because that applies to all women regardless of what they do.

One of the first challenges I remember was producing consistent food. It was incredibly hard. It drove us crazy because we didn’t know why. At one point we were haunted by serving cold food, it took us a very long time to find out why. We investigated this cold food syndrome like it was a murder case and fixed it eventually but it took us a lot of trial and error. 


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by The Cookery Co. (@thecookeryco)

I truly believe that most of our challenges can be solved by bringing on the right people and just staying committed and taking what we do super seriously. We built this company from the ground, with zero experience and no clue about what our goal was, we just wanted to eventually open a restaurant like Four Corners in Zamalek, something that felt like a second home. This is why doing a pop-up in Sahel in Soraya’s garden made sense. 


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by The Cookery Co. (@thecookeryco)

We didn’t hire the right people to start and it took us a couple of years to understand that. It took us time to learn how to hire the right team and what to look for in a person. We all have so many scars to prove it.

How did you decide that you didn’t want to stop at food and transform every venue you’re part of?  

Hospitality was never just about food.

We aim to create memorable experiences that not only stimulate your taste buds but all other senses. Since the beginning, we knew we wanted to cater with a full-service offering, and this is where our motto—hassle-free—came about. 


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by The Cookery Co. (@thecookeryco)

We don’t want our clients to lift a finger, and they shouldn’t. Our goal is always to build trust and create as much of a customizable experience as possible with uniforms, furniture, decorations, ingredients, flowers, and accessories. We take event themes very seriously to ensure an unforgettable experience.

The Cookery Co. prides itself on its different cuisines, how does it achieve that kind of amazing quality while also catering to different tastes and people? 

Quality is never compromised and our team of chefs and service team takes pride in knowing that they do not compromise. We always research and practice new recipes with the team until we “perfect” them. We also kind of reward new ideas and innovation. 

Egyptians by nature, like everyone else, like to cut corners. Cutting corners in the kitchen means you’re compromising. You either compromise quality or technique. 

Taking the long way will almost certainly guarantee that you end up with a better end result. We do our best to instill this philosophy in our team working inside the kitchen and on the service floor. We had to kill their obsession of saving money, which they thought they were doing us a favor with.

What do you believe sets the Cookery co. apart from other catering businesses?

I would say our attention to detail and dedication to operational excellence and food quality. We take kitchen and service very seriously. As founders, we have collectively done every single role that exists in this company ourselves. Remember that we built this from the ground up and we started off very small. We cooked, served, and cleaned ourselves and organically grew from a 4-person operation to a core team of 71.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by The Cookery Co. (@thecookeryco)

Being a women-owned and managed business is something that does differentiate us. I personally don’t like using this but I should.

What has been your proudest moment? The one moment you thought, “Yes, The Cookery Co. made it”? 

It’s probably our first big wedding event in Fayoum. A day I will never forget.

How, in your opinion, can powerful female entrepreneurs support each other?

Word of mouth is a strong tool. I am surrounded by powerful female entrepreneurs who support each other. Another way would be to work together. Collaborations are the way to go these days, so by partnering with other women, we give them the chance to shine.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by The Cookery Co. (@thecookeryco)

Hiring young women is key. I think it’s kind of inspiring to them to see us leading such a huge team of mostly men. These young women also get to learn a lot because they are being challenged daily. We have a flat structure so our team gets exposed to a lot of we as founders are exposed to. Hiring young women is something that gives me a lot of pride. 

What is one piece of advice you would give to young women who want to start their own business but are hesitant?

Believe in yourself, get out of your comfort zone, everything shall pass, and listen to your customers. Don’t take no for an answer. And don’t take no *hit from anyone.

If you want it bad enough and attract the right people around you then you will, at some point, make it work. 

Most Egyptian women have had to answer the question, “Hanefra7 Biki Emta” (when will you get married?) in spite of their accomplishments. What would you say in response to that?

My parents were thankfully not like that. Maybe some relatives. But this is part of our culture and people will always expect you to get married young. Try not to succumb to the pressure, just do what you want to do and say what you have to say to keep the people who ask you that question happy and away. And if you do find someone you love, just make sure that they know that your work is a priority and a passion. But family will always come first.

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

If you take whatever you do seriously then people will eventually take you seriously.

We are always looking to hire young, creative, aspirational women so please reach out to me if you think you have what it takes. 

No Comments Yet

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.