Rita and Jessica Kawahaty are celebrating two years of their joint food venture, Mama Rita. To commemorate the milestone, the mother-daughter duo made their way to their homeland, Lebanon. They stopped by Bouyouti, which is set against the idyllic mountains of Maaser Beiteddine, to reminisce on the very memories that inspired the launch of the brand. Its namesake Rita, in particular, recalled growing up surrounded by fresh produce nurtured by her father Simon and writing a cookbook of the recipes and methods she learned from her mother Nahil and now uses to cook for her own family.
Since its launch in September 2020 by humanitarian, lawyer, and model Jessica Kahawaty and former model and health-conscious mother Rita Kahawaty, the Dubai-based brand has come to be loved for its Mediterranean dishes. Made with the aim to bring people together just as home-cooked meals do, the recipes are nutritious, flavor-packed, and aim to evoke childhood memories. “For years and years, everyone has been pleading with me to do something with my food—a cookbook, a show, a restaurant, anything! I love cooking for my friends and family as well as sharing new recipes,” Rita Kahawaty had shared with Vogue Arabia at the time of the brand’s launch. While Jessica Kahawaty said, “I just want to bring my mother’s passion to life. Her food is incredible, and I want the world to try it for themselves.”
In its first month alone, Mama Rita hit 10,000 sales from its Dubai branch, and in 2021, secured a nationwide Starbucks deal that saw its Fresh Fruit Paradise replace the coffeehouse’s own fruit product permanently. This year, Mama Rita expanded to serve customers in Abu Dhabi, marking five kitchens across the UAE capital and Dubai.
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