Interview with Ayesha Abdullah

A lifelong passion for learning and a commitment to building community has fueled Ayesha Abdullah’s culinary entrepreneurship. Her pop-up series, ‘Round Midnight Dinner, showcases the vibrant settings and ingredients of Northern California while also paying homage to the family meals lovingly remembered from her childhood. On Instagram, her video content is warm and intimate, allowing viewers to gain a mastery of cooking skills amid generous shout-outs to local vendors and suppliers.

Ayesha credits her Leadership & Business course at MAD Academy with giving her a solid grounding in the financials. One major takeaway from her week was the lecture led by seasoned business owners. “They asked us: What are the reasons you want to start a business? For me, there were a lot of emotionally attached reasons—like helping the community and changing practices around food waste—but what stuck with me is that I also needed to have a plan on how to keep my business running and make a profit for myself and my employees. Then they gave us spreadsheets that I now use for my financial statements. That was extremely helpful, because I didn’t know where to start prior to that lecture.”

On building a global network:
“MAD has given me a different type of community that I always have access to—and everyone is really supportive. They’re a completely diverse group of people, and that has given me a larger life perspective.”

On continuing education:
“MAD helped broaden my vision and not keep it in a small box. I’ve been doing more self-study, going to the library and checking out books, and studying food science to understand the chemistry side of food. Now, I’ve decided I’m going to get a degree in food science.”

Find out more about ‘Round Midnight Dinner and follow Ayesha on Instagram.

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