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Fagoon's Story

How We Got Here

I was deeply unhappy, but I didn’t have the space to be able to recognise it. Life was hectic, where I was always on the go! It’s also really hard to accept and admit that you’re unhappy when you think you are living your dream. As Paulo Coelho beautifully explains in ‘The Alchemist’, the universe, and the energy that runs through it, helps to determine your life course. I strongly believe that the universe conspires to build walls when you're pursuing the wrong pathway. These walls were closing in on me. I was oblivious to this as I was working in an industry (International Development) that I was proud of. I had a ‘bright and secure future’, was well paid, had good benefits, pension and a diverse career path where I had the potential to travel and live around the world. Most importantly, I felt like I was helping people.
An outpouring of pain and realisation commenced. I knew that what the job had become, and the onerous daily travel to London, wasn’t sustainable. My amazing husband encouraged me to take the risk and look for a new pathway in life. I didn’t know what this would be, but knew that I needed to work for myself and locally too, meaning I could spend more time in my beautiful local area, with my husband and our friends. I needed to get back in touch with who I was, with the sea, and the effervescent energy surrounding my amazing city. The questions of being financially secure and appearing responsible in front of family, friends, and society were overwhelming. Not everyone works to be happy, so why should I be any different? I felt like my reasons for leaving a great job would be judged. It was guilt embedded in me. Societal pressures of what life should be was overwhelming, even though the people around me were incredibly supportive.
I commenced to deconstruct and reconstruct my life. I asked myself what sort of life do I want and how can my career help me to achieve it. How can I build my life where I can have more engagement with people, more local, connected, give back to my community, and be part of something tangible? How can I stay in Brighton and Hove as part of my working day, a city that inspires me, a city I continue to fall in love with as each day passes? I did not want to retrofit happiness and relaxation into weekends, holidays and my spare time.
The answer to my questions and path in life lay in one of the core needs of humans. This, of course, was food. My love for food is innate from as long as I can remember. From the encouragement of some very satisfied friends who came round one evening for dinner, I started Jaldee Jaldee.
Every moment of the journey has been pure, uncompromising, uncontrived and authentic. I have never been this true to myself. There is a lot of reciprocity, sharing of feelings, thoughts and being a part of people’s special moments, such as birthdays, weddings, etc. I recently told a friend that taking the risk to leave my old job equates to ‘every single day feeling so authentic as Jaldee Jaldee is a genuine projection of me’.
I’ve never worked somewhere like this, where there are no boundaries. I get to conceive and execute my ideas with such passion and excitement. To me, it is like producing art; the taste, the presentation. Jaldee Jaldee allows me to be part of something larger than me, cook from the heart, imbue the food with positive feelings.
The by-product of Jaldee Jaldee is that I have developed an all-female kitchen where I foster a culture of happiness and creativity. It wasn’t planned, but all my ideas about good management are woven into the culture and environment of Jaldee. Work is an open, safe space, deep friendships are formed and everyone that comes into that space feels valued and integral to the success of the business. All of this means 100% more to me than job security and a pension. My happiness levels are through the roof, it's palpable every day. This sense of passion, purpose and fulfilment keeps expanding, and it is the fuel for the business and for my new, fulfilled, life.