Goals, girls and gelato: Chef Eman Fallatah on opening Nakhati in Riyadh
The new female-run concept store aims to empower women.
When you order your ice cream, you probably don’t give too much thought to where it comes from, but that will all change when you visit the newly opened Nakhati in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
Saudi Eman Fallatah is the driving force behind the premium gelato brand. Born in Jeddah and now living in Riyadh, Eman originally had a secret love for food, but her family initially did not approve. She quit her day job and followed her passion. Today, she is a successful food entrepreneur and is on a mission to support homegrown talent, especially women.
Nakhati concept store serves Saudi-inspired ice cream – think rose, saffron and honey flavours – and was not only developed by women but is run by women. Plus, you can check out art exhibitions or join business workshops. Here’s the scoop.
Where does your passion for food come from?
Frankly speaking, my passion came one day when I woke up, discovered that I love food and want to make food my life.
When you entered the food industry, your family were not pleased with your career choice. Tell us about this.
I am stubborn and resilient. A few people tried to stop me, but I didn’t see it as something negative, instead just as something to keep me moving. I used to have a good salary before I worked in kitchens. Half of my family didn’t know that I was working as a chef, they just thought that I didn’t have a job. At the time, it was seen as shameful that I was working in kitchens, but now it’s completely different.
The food industry is male-dominated. How does it feel to change that stereotype?
For me, luckily, I did not see it like that. When I work with girls, I tell them you are equal to a man. Once you think of yourself as a female, you are going to harm yourself – for example, “I am a female, this is too heavy for me”. When I started thinking I was equal to men, I enjoyed working in kitchens.
What can visitors expect from Nakhati in Riyadh?
A delicious gelato! The concept is to serve people handmade premium gelato, made with passion and love. They can see the culture and feel the authenticity in each scoop. We are working with local builders, artists and have a purpose with our brand. We are trying to create a community centre – we have a business hub, workshops and collaborate with artists. At its core, you’ll find gelato but we have so many ways to support the community.
Where did you get your inspiration from for the gelato flavours?
Well, as we are opening Nakhati in Saudi, our flavours are inspired by Saudi. We have some honey, saffron and rose. When we go to the UAE, the flavours will be inspired by the UAE. The same will be the case if we go to Georgia, Egypt and so on.
Nakhati is run by women. Tell us about the team.
This is at the heart of the store. We have a great team of women. Some of them have Masters degrees and some just love what they do.
Nakhati in Riyadh will showcase local designers. How does this work?
All of them are talented locals. We worked with Saudi artist Noura Bin Saidan and she created a mural in the store. A local designer created our uniforms and we will have an artist in residence.
Do you have any plans to expand Nakhati across the GCC?
We are aiming to franchise and be in supermarkets in the GCC. We hope to open 200 stores, which include kiosks, mobile units and outlets, in the next two years.
Nakhati is a homegrown Saudi brand. What does it feel like to be creating a business in your own country?
Well, it is very exciting. It will hit me once we open the store. The government is supporting businesses, and we are trying to give support to females to start businesses. It’s beyond amazing.
GO: Visit https://nakhati.com for more information.