Setting the Table WITH HANNA HAJILOU FROM @alatable

Written by Maison Tess. / Écrit par Maison Tess.

We recently met with one of our favorite local foodies: Hanna Hajilou, founder and CEO of À la table. Hanna gave us her take on eating mindfully, how she sets the table with reusable items and how she incorporates her passion for food in her personal life. We discussed her ideas from ethical consumption to her kitchen must-haves. It was a nice opportunity to sit down with a mom “on the go” to find out how she finds time and inspiration around food. Planning a beautiful spread, while being eco-conscious, is what she does best !

With picnic season just around the corner, we are all looking forward to enjoying more meals outside. Our new tableware collection arrives with bright, reusable pieces that are part of the recipe for a successful gathering. With this in mind, we wanted to know what is important for Hanna to have on hand at all times, as well as some of her picnic essentials. She also gave us a simple, fool-proof 5-minute recipe. Perfect for hectic weeknights.

@alatable Grazing box

Hannah, tell us what your take is on sustainable, local houseware and food brands, especially in the current environment ?

There’s nothing more wonderful than filling your home with local products you love and labels that are ethically sourcing their goods. Simply opting for items like fine linen dinnerware, as it’s easy to care for, makes mealtime special. Fresh hues really pop when you put on a fancier spread. As for food brands, we need to feed our bodies with delicious, nutritious foods while also protecting not only our own fragile internal ecosystem, but also that of our planet. It is important for us to live a good and healthy life, but not at the expense of the environment.

We wanted to know if there are some ingredients you consciously avoid for ethical, or personal reasons ?

I mainly avoid anything with palm oil ! Especially nut butters. Palm is one of the biggest causes of the present global deforestation. Secondly, bagged salads! I wish this was illegal. Most of it goes to waste because people buy it and forget about it. It literally goes bad almost immediately. Not to mention the packaging…

We’re curious what kitchen staples you always have on hand to make a quick and easy recipe ? And what are the steps to make that recipe ?

I always have gluten-free pasta, tomato sauce, peppers, mushrooms and onions. Always! I usually sauté my veggies, then add my sauce, let them cook for a few minutes and then mix them in with my brown rice pasta. It’s simple, delicious and the kids love it !

So, is this your “go-to” recipe for your family as a working mom ? Or something else ?

I actually have a lot of those ! An easy and fun dish when we don’t have much time is our easy sautéed veggies in tomato sauce with brown rice pasta as I just described. But the kids also love black bean tortillas with sautéed onions, peppers and mushrooms. No matter what though, we still like to elevate the experience by using a tablecloth, or placemats. It’s super easy to clean up at the end !

As a busy mom, what items you consider are most important to bring along for a successful picnic ?

I love reusable water bottles, linen napkins instead of wipes, a nice tablecloth as a picnic blanket. I make fun food that doesn’t take much time to prep and is as waste-free as possible. Things like colourful veggies and fruits, delicious almond flour crackers… Most importantly, however, I always make sure to carry a little garbage bag, to make sure we take everything with us that must be thrown away or recycled.

Hanna is known for routinely creating beautiful grazing boxes and tables for her customers.

If you have been inspired like Hanna and us to adapt your lifestyle to be more intentional and environmentally friendly, we highly recommend reusable tableware pieces for your dining pleasure. Serving up a dish for your family, or your guests, should always be a genuinely memorable experience, no matter the occasion.

We would love to see how you incorporate your items ! Share your pictures with us on Instagram with the hashtag #tessatyourtable