Features - May 31, 2022

Get to know Latifa Janahi, Founder of Moz


Ever heard of Moz? This homebased banana pudding brand seemed to have taken Bahrain by storm during the last few weeks! We recently caught up with its creator, Latifa Janahi, to know more!

Tell us a bit about yourself. What do you do?

When I was about 10, I would prefer to third wheel to my dad and uncle’s conversation about their next milestone in business, which fascinated me more than building Lego. It made my imagination evolve somewhat maturely yet filled with the innocence of just a 10-year-old.

I always knew growing up I am not someone that’s just going to follow my family’s footsteps and become an architect or a banker. I refused to fall into the trap of “the ultimate choreographed life” where as if you did not have a degree, you’re considered a failure. I was stubborn, I had a deep passion for being in the kitchen, I knew I wanted to build a career out of it.

Fast-forward 15 years, I now develop my own recipes that are critical by the gram. I won’t give you that typical “I grew up in the kitchen with my grandma and mom” which sounds like an ideal chef’s story, but that’s not it for me.

I am not fond of sitting behind a desk from 8am-5pm working for someone I barely even know. I like to explore different fields and gain experience at my own pace. To me, life is about facing challenges on a daily basis or else, to be honest, it gets boring. Bachelor degrees, master degrees, endless diplomas, have long been romanticized as the ultimate expression of success. To me, this is a myth I strongly disagree with. 

When I graduated high school, I did not want to continue studying. I was somewhat forced into it to not disappoint the people around me. During my first semester, I was losing my mind, I dropped out without a second thought. Yes, I did receive endless pep talks and demotivating speeches about how I am going to end up as a failure but I honestly had enough of it. I said to myself this is my life, I am going to do what my gut tells me.

As years have passed, I took on many jobs, some being corporate and some being in the kitchen. I guess you can tell which I enjoyed more. Do not get me wrong, I did gain a handful of experience at corporate jobs but it was not my cup of tea. Whereas the jobs I had in the kitchen, as a pastry chef, a comme, a sous chef and so on, put me over the moon. Even if it meant I had to be on my feet for over 15 hours a day, seven days a week. Trust me, I felt no pain whatsoever. I was genuinely happy.

Six years later, I was still being cornered at the fact that I did not finish my studies. As a people pleaser, I was like “you know what, let me just get these four years out of my way and just have people stop bullying me for being an entrepreneur at a young age”. I signed up and I am currently majoring in marketing. To wrap it all up, once again, full-time student, a cooking career with a side business and a founder of a marketing agency called “Kiddo and Beyond.”

What inspired you to create “Moz”? How did you come up with the name?

I was going about my regular ‘lazy day’ scrolling through TikTok. I came across a video of someone making banana pudding and I was like I NEED THIS. I got into my car at 9pm with my sister in search of all the ingredients.

The next day, I took some over to my friend’s place. When I tell you that they were fighting over it, I am not kidding. I told them, what do you think? Shall I sell it to my followers for like a month? They all pushed me to do it and I am forever grateful for them.

To be honest, we are on a small island, yet flooded with burger restaurants and coffee shops serving milk cakes. We need something different – we need something that has bananas in it to be more specific.

After the longest session of brainstorming name ideas with my friends, my mind went blank.

I got home and got ready for bed, as I was falling asleep, I was listening to the voices inside my head trying to figure out a name. I usually talk to myself in English but this time it was in Arabic. Then it hit me MOZ, which is banana in Arabic. I jumped out of bed, got onto my computer and started creating the logo and voila!

There are a lot of chefs in Bahrain offering their products at the moment, what makes you stand out from the rest?

I have a high amount of respect for every Bahraini chef that is putting their products out there. I feel like we all have something in common; we want to be heard, not with our voices, but through our food.

What makes me unique is that I always have to tweak every recipe I want to create. Bahrain has a big competition when it comes to selling food items, especially home based businesses. Even though we are flooded by the same products, every business has its unique selling point. When I come to selling a product, I make sure it’s a product that falls into the gap of our market. I do not like following trends, it gets crowded and over abused.

Some of the people around me in this field have an advantage over me, which is a culinary degree. At some point I felt like I was behind. As time passed, I was like wait, having a culinary degree does not make you Gordon Ramsay. Cooking should not be competitive or a field with different levels. Being a great chef comes with experience, whether you had a certified professional to guide you, or guide yourself solo.

What differentiates me could be the fact that it is not just a career to me – it’s my actual life, my routine, my child. If there is one person I look up to, it’s the woman I imagine myself to be in five years. The woman I portray in my dreams. The future version of myself.

How can our readers order? 

I decided to create a separate account for Moz, @moz.bh. Orders can be done via direct message for now until I get my website up and running. 

Are there any exciting news you would like to share?

I have gotten attached to MOZ, I do not want it to be a product behind screens. I am planning a pop up in the near future, to have people fully experience a trip down banana lane. Hopefully one day, a shop.

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