The story of Martaban Kitchen goes back for couple of years earlier when Yara Khateeb was still the brand and communication manager at Jordan River Foundation (JRF). During that time, Yara always surprised her co-workers with the breakfast items she used to have during her work at JRF. Her homemade breakfast was a delight for herself and her colleagues as she used to infuse different ingredients, flavors and textures to create unique items. “Breakfast is an essential meal, it gives you energy to start your day and boost your productivity. Eating at the office gets boring; with the repetition of the same items you order on daily basis. So what I tried to do is to add my own touch to those simple breakfast items making them interesting and more appealing by adding a twist,” explains Yara.
Martaban’s workshop was established recently in the suburbs of Amman, near Fuhais area. The step that Yara took recently was the result of the successful participation of her venture in several exhibitions and fairs this year, including the famous Les Createurs Libanais taking place at Intercontinental Hotel Amman. “I was encouraged by my friends and family to participate in those exhibitions to ‘test the waters’ for the products that Martaban will be introducing. The demand was beyond my expectations,” Yara adds with a smile.
The spacious workshop with its white walls and clean surfaces indicates the importance of maintaining high standards of hygiene and cleanliness in the working space of Martaban. “Hygiene is a red line. Most of the ingredients we use are ready to be consumed without any further treatment or cooking.” This adds more pressure at Martaban, as the ingredients used should be of high quality and great taste. “Market research is an important aspect as we had to try and test every ingredient that we are going to use separately. The choice of herbs, dried fruits, nuts, olive oil and the dairy products comes after experimenting the effect of combining ingredients together, which makes the job of creating new combinations and maintaining the quality of the existing ones more challenging,” Yara explains.
Martaban’s humble product line will be soon distributed at several supermarkets around Amman. “Our plan is to have our products accessible to everyone. We are working on finalizing our agreements with supermarkets in Amman and soon enough we hope that Martaban customers will find our products at the shelves of their favorite supermarkets,” Yara adds. Looking to expand Martaban’s market is not Yara’s concern only, but product development and product line expansion is essential. “We are working on introducing a line dedicated to sauces, with three items to be soon introduced: sugar-free applesauce, pesto sauce and muhamara,” adds Yara.
With this simple approach in mind, Yara is hoping that Martaban will be a distinguished brand that will hopefully represent Jordan locally and internationally. A future plan of further growth, introducing new items and working on seasonal products for Ramadan and Christmas is on Martaban’s agenda. “It’s just the beginning, we have plenty of plans. We are taking baby steps that will help positioning Martaban properly in the market where it deserve to be.” Yara wraps up her words with excitement and treats us with two of Martaban’s delicious items: Basil & walnut Labneh and Cranberry & Pistachio Feta cheese, a favorites that we recommend.
*Pictures courtesy of Martaban