We're big fans of Seattle-based Villa Jerada's line of culinary goods, both for their design aesthetic and amazing flavor profiles. Mehdi Boujrada, owner and founder of Villa Jerada, grew up in Casablanca, Morocco. He started his company because he wanted to share a piece of his culture with his friends and community in the US.
If you take a moment to visit Villa Jerada's website, you (if you're anything like me) will be swept away by the line of beautiful products, insanely gorgeous recipe section, and fantasies of inviting your friends over for a Moroccan inspired dinner party.
I loved this story from Mehdi, about the tuna sandwich he ate constantly, growing up in Casablanca. Here's what he has to say about it:
After soccer and surfing. At the market. As a celebratory meal after scoring a new pair of Jordans. Known as Thon Ohror, it’s tuna mixed with mayo and harissa, then spread on a baguette with hard-boiled eggs, olives, sliced tomatoes, red onion, potatoes, cornichons, and parsley. Those who know it live for it. A bite brings a smile to their face, a reminder of warm, sunny Moroccan days. I love watching people try it for the first time—the textures, the flavors, the history—especially the warm heat of harissa, Morocco’s signature condiment.
Those experiences are exactly what I want to capture with Villa Jerada: a nod to the past with our feet firmly in the present.
Recipe for the famous Harissa Tuna Sandwich
Last but not least, before we get to the interview with Mehdi, I wanted to share this quote. As a fellow foodie, I am going to go out on a limb and say this is a major compliment! And we especially love this quote because we stock the Harissa (and yes - it's GOOD).
Villa Jerada’s Harissa No. 1 is our favorite version of this North African red pepper paste for its bright, complex flavor. While many store-bought varieties have a one-dimensional spicy flavor, this Harissa layers acidity and fruitiness with preserved lemons, a touch
— Christopher Kimball's Milk Street
Now...on to the interview with Mehdi Boujrada!
How did you get started? What were your first steps and how did it evolve from there?
How did you come up with your name?
Tell us about your workspace!
What makes your product special or different?
Do you have a favorite review or comment about your products?
What’s your personal favorite product you sell?
Are there any great local artisans or small businesses that you’re into right now?
Do you have a favorite local restaurant?
You live and work in Seattle: do you have any favorite place to enjoy the beauty of your area?
What's your favorite thing about Washington?
More Behind the Brand
If you enjoyed this blog, check out some of our other artisan profiles!
- Megan of Good & Well Supply (candles and more)
- Brittnee of Wild June (artisan soap & spa products)
- Anne of Retreat Drinks (healthy hot cocoa)