We had the good fortune of connecting with Laila Salartash and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Laila, maybe we can start at the very start – the idea – how did you come up with the idea for your business?
Years ago while I still lived in Iran I started to travel to different provinces . I became familiar with ceremonies and manners of the tribes and nomads of the regions and the warmth, generosity and Taarof ( Persian art of etiquette) Of welcoming others into their homes which was heartfelt and sincere. At that time I was also involved with the family horse breeding and traveled often. Everywhere which I traveled I noticed the footprint of our warm Iranian culture. What was common was the very hospitable, kind and genuine welcome I received and along with it; the colorful spreads and the offerings of hot cup of tea which is very warm middle eastern custom. Homemade bread and yogurt, local dishes, and hot tea in the corner of their homes was embedded in my memory. After immigrating from Iran, with my upbringing and a degree in Arts ; creativity became a big part of me. Painting, carpentry, design and hand craft of wool felt rugs; all shaped an existence for me, while my home little by little became a place of gatherings for my artist friends and their friends. I became hungry for these gatherings and what gave a rhythm and ballad to my life ; and inspired me to start Teeleet. My 1st pop up Teeleet; a space with my art, tables and chairs, authentic handmade dishes called dizi from the Provence of Hamadan for serving aabgoosht, was my vision of what our Iranian culture can offer guests to feel at home. Teeleet or aabgoosht is literally beef broth; with potatoes; chickpeas; and tomatoes which is considered a soul food eaten by people of all backgrounds and cross- cultures ; a comfort food which all gather around a spread of fresh herbs and bread to noosh e Jaan ( may it nourish your soul). I have tried to create an ambiance brought to life, from my experiences of what the best of our Iranian culture has to offer…hospitality! And I have become that nomad offering a cup of tea .Teeleet has become my new canvas.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
The love and effort that goes into the long hours of cooking aabgoosht and the phone calls and texts that I received the next day from Teeleeters for an “unforgettable night”. By sheer belief in my vision and working hard. Everyone is welcomed to break bread at Teeleet
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
On my daily shopping I pick up my fresh bread from House Of Bread in Westwood. My groceries from Tochal Market in Westwood and when I want Iranian dishes it’s Sadaf Encino. and always Santa Monica Farmer’s Market on Sundays.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I wish to recognize and thank all friends and Teeleeters who have been a part of Teeleet’s story. Could not have done it without them and also cheers to my mom.
photos by Jahanshah Ardalan