Khaled Almakki has an impressive photography portfolio. It was his love of photography that led to the creation of MF Food, a leading brand driven by its mission to produce high quality food retail products. Once a self confessed junk food addict, Khaled thanks his wife for his reformed eating habits and admits he is better because of their healthier lifestyle.
Fatima Alsaffar is driven by her desire to make healthy meals, something she practices both personally and professionally. She believes MF Food inspired her to cook better, healthier food and that it’s never too late to learn.
Please tell us about your academic backgrounds:
Khaled: I studied accounting but my heart was in photography and video production. My hobby turned into my passion and I learned skills from workshops and programs around the world (Germany, Dubai, Kuwait).
Fatima: I am still studying science and technology, majoring in IT. Meanwhile my hobby is to cook, anything and everything! I love trying new things.
As a professional, what are the qualities you admire in your spouse?
Khaled: I admire being with someone who values creativity and timeliness.
Where do you concur and where do you differ from each other?
Khaled: We’re alike because we both love food and the craft of cooking. We go to supermarkets together for fun, to discover new ingredients. We also like to eat out together and elevate our palette. However, we do disagree on one thing. She loves healthy vegan power bowls but I love greasier food!
Fatima: We both love to work together and we love to eat together. I try to push him to be healthier because I had health issues previously.
Do you think being friends with your spouse is an important part of marriage?
Khaled: Of course. I believe that friendship comes first and marriage follows.
Fatima: We would never agree on anything if we weren’t best friends to begin with.
How do you handle a work-life balance and challenges in a dynamic work environment?
Khaled: Thankfully, we are both freelance so we can control our time and schedule. All week is like work for us. We have a planned schedule for every move we make. We take two days off a week to always make sure that we’re still having fun.
Fatima: We share our weekly schedules with each other and then fit them into one.
When do you spend time with each other? How do you unwind?
Khaled: We usually break routines by taking short weekend trips to neighboring countries. While we’re in Kuwait, as mentioned previously, we go out to eat.
Fatima: We take short trips aboard or spend weekends with family. Sometimes we BBQ at home. Always we spend time together.
What is the best gift you received from each other?
Khaled: The best gift I received from Fatima was a creative meal. It was stuffed cabbage with all my favourite things.
Fatima: His ethics. He made it possible for my business idea to come alive. He’s always pushing me to be more creative.
Any memorable holidays?
Khaled: Our most memorable holiday was our honeymoon in Germany and Austria.
Fatima: Every trip is memorable in its own way, I remember most of them.
One would imagine that both of you probably discuss business issues a lot at home too. Does that happen?
Khaled: Naturally. When we encounter a problem, especially a large project with little time, we often find solutions together. It actually acts as a challenge because we are pressured.
Fatima: Since most of our work is made at home, some issues are inevitably brought up.
How are household responsibilities divided? Who is the boss at home?
Khaled: We both equally participate in all of our household needs. There is no one boss.
Fatima: This may seem cliché, but we both need each other equally. No one does more or less.
Has there been any significant event that has changed your marriage? What was the event? How did it change your relationship?
Khaled: Yes. MF Brand changed our routine. We had an idea and we executed it. There was no company at the time doing this. The feedback was so positive that it pushed both of us to work harder and trust each other even more.
Fatima: I think we owe our biggest progression to MF, both for Khaled’s photography and for my cooking.
What are the challenges of being two powerful people at the top of your professional game?
Khaled: Time and creativity. Sometimes, as humans, we face a creative block or don’t have enough time to innovate. It can be challenging. However, taking those little breaks always help.
Fatima: Time. Mostly because we have a son and need to make sure he gets enough care while we’re doing enough work. This kind of stress causes creative blocks and we work hard to get out of that.
What have been your most challenging moments in life?
Khaled: The hardest thing I ever had to face was learning. Not only were their little opportunities to learn high quality production in Kuwait, anywhere else that offered it was out of my budget. Thankfully, continuously working brought these things closer.
Fatima: The most challenging moments of my life were struggling to get an education. I regret not starting much earlier. However, it’s never too late!
How do you motivate each other during tough times at work?
Khaled: If I’m ever down, I don’t like to burden my wife with work issues. I often keep it in and she eventually realizes and provides emotional support. Otherwise, I like to keep work problems out of our marriage.
Fatima: By giving each other our true and full opinions. We’re always showing each other better things, in order to push.
Who’s your inspiration professionally?
Khaled: My idol is my mother. Her work ethic is like that of a ruler. I will always try to be as magnificent as her.
Fatima: Khaled. I easily fall into housewife mode and he constantly pushes me out.
What have you learnt from each other?
Khaled: So many things. I used to eat junk food and didn’t even know what was going into my body. She taught me how to eat better. She still gives me food education and I am better because of it.
Fatima: The most valuable lesson taken from Khaled is organization, professionalism and creative composition.
Some marriages are “passionate,” some are “companionate”: which fits you?
Khaled: I’ll choose companionate. Passion follows.
Fatima: Being companionate and passionate come together. Both fit us.
What are the keys to a successful relationship?
Khaled: Being able to raise children on the same wavelength and learning together what qualities we wish to instill in them.
Fatima: Understanding and commitment.
Do you have any common interests or hobbies?
Khaled: Food, food, food!
Fatima: Exercise and making healthy meals.
Tell us about your children. How have they changed your life?
Khaled: Our son, Ali, has made our relationship stronger. He began to pick ingredients with us and join us in our kitchen festivities.
Fatima: Our little Ali is three years old. He teaches me responsibility and unconditional love.
Advice for other couples:
Khaled: To each his own.
Fatima: Find something in common, tie it together and let it grow.
How do you feel being selected one of the CP Magazine’s Power Couples for this year?
Khaled: I feel humbled and grateful that our craft is appreciated and that people may look up to us. I hope to continue to inspire those who need it.
Fatima: It’s a huge thing that we were able to inspire people. It feels wonderful to be of help.
Khaled: Blue & Grey – Fatima: Black
Khaled: Indian, all the way. – Fatima: Pasta!
Tea or Coffee?
Khaled: Tea, for sure. – Fatima: Coffee.
Khaled: Mercedes Benz – Fatima: None.
Khaled: The Quran. – Fatima: All my cooking books.
Khaled: I don’t listen to much music. – Fatima: I’m not so musical.
Khaled: The Green Mile. – Fatima: I can’t list one.
Khaled: Heights. – Fatima: Sky Diving.
Favourite app on your phone:
Khaled: YouTube. – Fatima: Pinterest.
What’s the one thing you can’t live without?
Khaled: My camera. – Fatima: My kitchen.