03 April 2020, 11:09 AM
  • We get to know Shadia Al-Hili, founder of Cuzena
“The industry has created a community of people supporting each other”

WHAT WOULD YOU BE DOING IF YOU WEREN’T IN THE FOOD INDUSTRY?
A DJ – the oldest female David Guetta!

WHAT WAS YOUR FIRST JOB? A Saturday job in a greengrocer/ butchers when I was 14. I really enjoyed the direct interaction, which I think helps with confidence at a young age.

WHAT INSPIRES YOU?
Anyone who goes against the grain of conformity; who challenges the mediocre which most of us may very well accept. I’m inspired by those that believe there is a better, or alternative, way for almost everything.

WHAT’S THE WORST JOB YOU’VE DONE?
A BUPA consultant, selling private health care. It was completely scripted and soul-destroying. I lasted less than six months.

WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE PART OF THE JOB?
Experiencing growth in a really challenging sector. The food category takes no prisoners, so any small win feels like a huge accomplishment.

AND YOUR LEAST FAVOURITE?
How pressured it is with all the hats you have to wear. Realising how vulnerable people in the food sector feel, even those with established brands, which in turn gives you another layer of pressure.

HOW ABOUT THE FOOD INDUSTRY?
The challenges are tough, so I do like that the industry has created a community of people supporting each other, especially big brands doing their bit to help the little guys.

TEA OR COFFEE?
Coffee, but good coffee is wasted on me as I just need a hit to keep me going for three hours at a time.

WHAT WOULD BE YOUR LAST SUPPER?
No doubt the very meal I started our range with: Fiery Chilli Ful Madamous with my favourite Moroccan flat bread ‘M’simin’ and a cheeky brandy and lemonade.

WHAT’S YOUR MOTTO?
You have to be kind and give from your heart for no expected return. I’m a true believer that ‘If you give, you get’ in life.

WHAT’S THE WEIRDEST THING YOU’VE EVER EATEN?
Camel meatball stew. I was a kid on a trip to Morocco – just vile.

WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE BOOK?
Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod – habits that help your daily routine.

SWEET OR SAVOURY?
Sweet all day. A good old custard cream pushes me off the wagon every time.

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