Photo: Erwan Floc'h
We had the pleasure of meeting Emma Sawko, the woman behind the ever-popular Wild & The Moon & Comptoir 102.
My mother was really health conscious. It was her teaching me to love food, eat seasonally, as a way to respect Nature, your own body and celebrate life. Meals have also always been a special time for family, friends. To pause, share and laugh. As far as I can remember, sharing food with my family was always something I was looking forward to, the food my mother was preparing was always both healthy and delicious. Coming home from school my first question was: "what's for dinner tonight"?
I worked for many years in advertising (Board Account Director at DDB) in Paris. I left my job to move to New-York, where I started to work on a concept similar to Comptoir102. When I landed in Dubai, I decided to pursue my dream and put everything I was missing in a single concept: fashion, jewelry, home decor and healthy food. That is how Comptoir 102 was born. At the time, in 2012, our cafe was truly the first one in Dubai offering healthy organic food and the feedback has been amazing. A few years later I decided to push the food concept a notch further and opened Wild & the Moon, a juice bar and restaurant offering plant based, local and seasonal organic food.
Mediterranean, with plenty of vegetables and wild herbs.
Avocado toast. It's my grab and go food.
I wanted Comptoir102 to also be a place where people meet, talk, take the time to enjoy food and life. Meals, gatherings, always have been an essential part of my life. It's a part of my culture I wanted to share most. But amongst other things I like the idea of spreading healthy food through concepts where food is good for you, good for the planet and above all delicious. In other words, smarter for you, smarter for the planet. But for me, both concepts are more lifestyle oriented than food only. I don't feel I work in the restaurant industry.
First food memory
My mother used to prepare the "Budwig Cream" for my breakfast. It's a bowl of creamed banana with flaxeed oil, raw almonds, and plenty of berries, nuts and seeds, inspired by a famous Doctor in France. Comforting and healthy… Or is it the yearly family gathering at my grand-parent's farm in the Pays-Basque, where vegetables where coming straight from the kitchen garden, the fruits for the orchard, and where the poultry was happily raised?
Not one but many. I am always in awe of people fighting for good causes, helping others, saving lives or takings risks. I admire audacity and perseverance.
Words of wisdom
Don't doubt. Don't let the others tell you what you do. Follow your dream and work hard for it. Aim for the moon if that is where you want to go!
My first passion was dance. I would be a professional ballet dancer. I still get very emotional watching ballets from choreographers like Pina Bausch au Maurice Béjart.
The Budwig Cream, inspired by my family, is on the menu in both Comptoir 102 and Wild & the Moon, with different interpretations by our chefs. It is one of by best sellers in both concepts! In my family, we don't really have or stick to any particular recipes. We just imagine new recipes each day depending on our inspiration, on the market, on what is in the fridge that day. The only family recipe is a chocolate cake, and I like to think my grand-mother was doing it better than all of us! I love the process of creating new recipes, trying them, finding the right balance of ingredients with our chefs…
After Paris and Dubai, we are opening Wild & the Moon in NYC. My dream would be for Wild and the Moon to become the Starbucks of Healthy.