Growing up in Iran, Setarah “Seti” Shay’s passion for food stems from her mother and grandmothers. Her culinary style is influenced by her Persian roots, European travels, and her time living in San Francisco. In addition to hosting meals, Seti has also worked in the Bay Area start-up tech scene, working on gadgets like augmented reality glasses. She also has worked in advertising while living in the “global melting pot” of Dubai. Currently, her pop-ups are celebrating the Persian New Year, but make sure to check back often for her other diverse and delicious menus.
How did you find your way into the historically male-dominated culinary industry?
My love for cooking started at a young age in my motherland of Iran, when I used to watch my mom cook for our family of six and endless more guests! She taught me to cook with passion and educate myself about the healing power of food and herbs. To this day, healthy eating habits play an important role in my cooking and personal lifestyle. My style of cooking is influenced as much by my Persian roots as my travels in other countries. I’ve had the pleasure of exploring different cuisines during trips across Europe, such as in Paris where I took classes at the Cordon Bleu. I believe travel, people and food open doors to different cultures and I truly feel lucky to be able to experience that endless journey of discovery.
Which ladies serve up culinary inspiration in your life?
My mom, both grandmothers, and Julia Child.
What advice do you have for other women trying to build culinary careers?
Don’t be afraid to try something new, you gotta get uncomfortable in your zone and test the unknown. That’s when the magic starts to happen. When is comes from the heart, passion and hard work, there’s no space for failure.