To kick off our very first woman-owned collab box we wanted to introduce the founder of
Le Bon Magot, Naomi Mobed. As we didn't want to do the general founder interview with her, we looked back to the Proust Questionnaire, brought it forward into this century and edited it especially for her. We hope you enjoy getting to know Naomi as much as we have. While you're at it, go ahead and follow @lebonmagot on Instagram, too!
- What is your current state of mind?
A lot is happening for Le Bon Magot at the moment! The post-COVID lift has translated into more sales and keeping up with demand is always a challenge for a small batch producer like us esp. with disruptions in the supply chain. Of course, this is a challenge we are all facing today – from jars and labels to ingredients. Growing demand is a good problem to have so I am definitely not complaining. We just need to produce more faster and better – always better. I am also very energized and excited for the launch of our new line of preserved citrus in collaboration with Chefs Lior Lev Sercarz of La Boîte and Eric Ripert of Le Bernardin!
- Le Bon Magot means hidden treasure. Do you have any other hidden treasures in your life?
Treasures, yes; but not so hidden! My family and friends are the jewels I have a passion for jewelry, which carries through into the food I make and certainly into Le Bon Magot chutneys, conserves and preserves. Every recipe is developed with a specific texture, color and of course flavor in mind. The most important treasures in my life are my family and friends, who keep me grounded and laughing. Plus, I can count on them to give me honest – actually, VERY HONEST – feedback.
- What is your greatest extravagance?
2. When and where are you happiest?
I love the water – and, am at my most peaceful when swimming in the sea or ocean! I have a lot of favorite cities or locations Beirut, Cairo, Istanbul, Paris, Tel Aviv count among them. Wonderful memories are associated with each. But, I am happiest in London, which is where I have lived the longest, and call it home. There is nothing like London on a rainy evening while you are curled up under a duvet dipping your digestive biscuit into a hot cup of cabmen’s tea!
- What do you consider your greatest achievement so far?
The ability to normalize perpetual change – adaptability!
- What is your favorite food/cuisine?
First and foremost, anything my Mum makes! Would you consider that a cuisine? My Mum is an exceptional home cook with a keen eye for experimentation and a discriminating palate. She is brutally honest about some of my concoctions, which is not always great for the ego, but in the end, it makes me re-think some of my choices and makes me a better cook. Both my Mother and Grandmother have been major culinary influences in my life. I come from a long line of women who have used their culinary prowess to not only feed their families but make a living and preserve their heritage to boot. I am a Parsi, an identity that encompasses Persian ancestry and Indian origins along with the Zoroastrian faith. Food, along with the labor and love devoted it, is central to our cultural vision. We number fewer than 100,000 worldwide, and food serves as an important cultural rite or lingua franca for a small community dispersed around the world separated by borders. Culinary traditions such as family recipes, spice blends and communal feasts served on banana leaves have all formed a private language we speak.
- Which historical figure do you most identify with?
Does Yotam Ottolenghi count as a “historical figure”?
6. What is your most marked characteristic?
I am a club sandwich of persistence, obsession and hard-work. And, a lover of club sandwiches, a room service guilty pleasure.
- What part of running your business do you like the most? The least?
The evolution of a new product from ideation to gestation and recipe development and then to final execution is when I have the most fun! I thoroughly enjoy playing with flavors that are steeped in my heritage and the geographies in which I have lived. Manifesting, creating and producing a physical product is far from where I started in banking so I find the entire process to be exciting – stretching my learning curve in all aspects. I can’t say that I love every part of my job equally, but I recognize that each activity forces me to learn, grow and adapt to a changing reality.
- What part of your background do you think has made it easier for you to start your own business?
Le Bon Magot is my first business. Previously, I was in a variety of roles with two large international banks and a payment processing firm. This experience helped me to learn the business fundamentals and sales discipline that I am applying daily in running my business. Nevertheless, nothing quite prepares you for this ride.
- Where do you see LBM in 5 years?
Thriving! Expanding our offering to other product categories and types with a view to introducing more customers to our flavors influenced by the countries and cultures of Africa, Middle East and South Asia.
- If you could choose a completely new skill to learn, what would it be?
I would love to say something quirky like archery or trapeze! But, mine would have to be learning to cook and manage a 3 Michelin star restaurant!