We’ve often been told that inspiration is all around us, in the nature that surrounds us and the family that embraces us. Luckily for Lebanese dreamers, they just have to reach out and seize it, turn it into an idea and translate it into a product, a service, or a concept that smells of Lebanese history, culture, traditions and lifestyle. Entrepreneurs have been for many years the reps of our joie de vivre and conviviality, their products and ideas becoming a token of Lebanese knowhow all around the world.
Two Brilliant Lebanese Awards finalists have placed our country’s heritage at the core of their brand’s identity. Their families and country have shaped the successful entrepreneurs they are today and so we thought it would be great to assess what great of a role these entities play on both the personal and professional level.
Who do you trust more than family members? To Badr Hassoun, the answer –or lack of answer- was easy to find. He thus decided that his family members would be the people helping him run the eco-village of Badr Hassoun – Khan al Saboun and take it to the next level. “Any professional project needs human resources, technical competencies and moral support. What happens usually is that people work in a given enterprise until they find a better option. As for family members, they are partners for life in both success and failure. For trust can be reached in an enterprise but it lies at the heart of all family bonds. In this context, the father, mother or elder sibling that runs the business is not considered as a mere boss but is also a person that is truly loved”.
Other than being the best people to help you manage your business according to Badr Hassoun, family is also a great source of knowhow and inspiration. As said by Maroun Chedid, Family is everything, it is the basis of my culinary identity as well as my management style as I like to think of Maroun Chedid sal as one big family. My mother has played an important role in shaping my culinary passion by teaching me everything I know about our recipes, traditions and the art of mouneh.
Inspiration, it’s everywhere, but nowhere more so than in one’s childhood memories of bliss. ”All of our products fragrances come from a memory or a story I lived in my village, a scent that I carry with me everywhere I go”, explains Badr. “Winter’s first rain, plants such as wild thyme and orange flowers constitute my pool of reminiscence and the place from which I fish for inspiration.” Want to hear a secret? If you close your eyes real hard when having a bite of Maroun’s food or a lungful of Badr’s products and let yourself go, you might get a glimpse of Lebanese landscape, with its enchanting aromas of orange blossom flowers, the sounds of chirping birds, green valleys, olive trees and rural living.
“It all gives me a heightened sense of respect for nature and its resources”, confesses Maroun. “I also have tremendous respect for our heritage and traditions, and I always try to update these to create contemporary dishes that appeal to the modern palate. In brief, my cooking and all of my work as a chef and an entrepreneur is a tribute to the culinary richness and traditions of Lebanon.”
Ambassadors of taste and fragrances, this is what these two entrepreneurs truly are. They spread the culture that is ours in its most beautiful form thanks to ingredients that are symbols of our heritage.
*The Brilliant Lebanese Awards are an initiative launched by BLC Bank in 2012. As the first banking awards in Lebanon, they aim to recognize Lebanese entrepreneurs through two categories: the Business of the Year and Woman Entrepreneur of the Year and are a token of the bank’s commitment to SMEs.