Shirin Tahanan

Co-founder, Persian Food Tours

We all hope to someday make our passion our profession – and Shirin Tahanan is proof that it can happen.

A professional chef and cooking teacher, Shirin was born in Tehran, where she was raised for the first 12 years of her life.

She later moved to London where she studied fine art at both undergraduate and postgraduate level before training as a food photographer.

As she expanded her portfolio of Iranian food photography, Shirin started taking Persian cuisine courses in Iran and discovered her real passion was cooking.

Returning to her roots in Tehran, Shirin opened a culinary school in the city, which is where she met her friend, and now co-founder, Matin Lashkari.

After learning that most tourists visiting Iran had very little experience of traditional Persian cuisine, Shirin and Matin launched Persian Food Tours in 2016.

What was once a two-person project has now blossomed into a team of a dozen passionate Iranian women.

A series of half-day culinary adventures led by gifted storytellers, Persian Food Tours invite visitors on a journey through Persian culture.

Among the experiences offered are hands-on cooking classes, where visitors will learn how to prepare seasonal Persian dishes in the company of experienced chefs.

Culinary walks steer visitors off the tourist trail to guides’ favourite local haunts, taking them through undiscovered neighbourhoods while giving them the chance to sample local specialties en route.

As a new addition to their tours, the team has also been collaborating with local families to create more intimate dining experiences for curious travellers. Visitors will enjoy a home-cooked dinner in the company of an Iranian family, while having the opportunity to witness Iranian life at a deeper level.

Persian Food Tours is listed in Lonely Planet’s best things to do in Tehran guide, alongside Grand Bazaar, Golestan Palace, and The Treasury of National Jewels museum.

Shirin continues to expand the business with Matin, and plans to open a Persian cafe in London this summer.

Images taken from City A.M.

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