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Leading Ladies of the Food World: Farah Mauludynna

Leading Ladies of the Food World: Farah Mauludynna

Auli Cinantya
12 March 2023

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Farah Mauludynna, the founder of Joongla, shares her journey into the culinary industry, how her relationship with food helped her discover herself, and her mission to empower women and promote diversity in the culinary world through Joongla.

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“For me, my relationship with food is very personal and spiritual. I believe that the best way to show gratitude for God’s blessings is to finish the food on our plate and appreciate the greatness of God in our bodies. Therefore, I try to explain this in a playful, imaginative, and enjoyable way through storytelling and sharing with others through Joongla,” said Farah Mauludynna, the Founder of Mun Clab agency and Joongla – a pop dining experience in Cihapit Market. 

Dynna never imagined that aimlessly scrolling through IG Stories would lead her to become a restaurant owner. Her curiosity about clean eating led her on a tremendous journey she never expected. 

“When I checked out the clean eating hashtag [on Instagram], I felt like I had entered a whole new world. At the time, I was 29 years old and felt like I was missing something while other people had written books, had their own exhibitions, etc. And then I asked myself, ‘what should I do for my birthday?’ Reading about clean eating made me wonder and think that this was an interesting project I could do for myself, so this is the beginning of my relationship with food,” explained Dynna. 

She began traveling to Bali and took classes to deepen her knowledge of clean eating, but she didn’t keep what she learned to herself. Aside from sharing her journey on social media, Dynna began creating workshops about clean eating in 2014. And from 2015 to 2016, Dynna hosted 12 workshops in five cities: Jakarta, Bandung, Surabaya, Makassar, and Tangerang.

“It was a sweet memory, how food could take me around the city; I learned to become selfless from food. In the end, this process changed me,” she shared. “Growth is never easy, it is excruciating, but it is tempered with emotions. We have to feel negative emotions as well. Negative emotions are not taboo, crying, sadness, and anger. From there, we grow and are able to find ourselves.”

But her journey of finding herself, becoming the Dynna founder of Joongla that everyone knows today, is quite a long journey. In June 2020, when the pandemic hit, Dynna stepped into the FnB business for the first time. Creating a restaurant concept from scratch, working with the chef through the restaurant RnD, and many more. 

“Finally, seven days before our launch, we decided to change everything and create a beach in Bandung instead. The original concept combined forest and art, but we transformed it into a beach theme. With the pandemic in mind, we brought in sand to create a beach ambiance, and it became a huge viral hit. That experience taught me how to run a restaurant.” This first restaurant was only the start of her journey.

Dynna dreamed of creating a small dining space where the chef and the guests could talk in a relaxed ambiance, a more personal and intimate experience. And that is where Joongla started. 

After a year of research and development, Joongla officially opened on July 2nd, 2022. Located in Cihapit Market, Joongla is a pop-up dining experience that serves Indonesian specialties with modern packaging. The small pop-up dining went viral just weeks after its opening, and Dynna had never imagined how fast word of mouth spread. 

“I put my ideals into the details of what I want to experience in a restaurant, from the ambiance and the food. I poured my ideas into Joongla and was surprised by how people reacted to them,” she says, voice brimming with excitement recalling the first week of opening Joongla. 

Joongla is derived from the Spanish word Jungla which means jungle, as the center of life. Just as Indonesian gastronomy is like a jungle full of hidden treasures, Joongla aims to become an ecosystem that tells untold stories through a culinary experience beyond just eating. The pop-up dining experience is designed to stimulate all five senses and leave a lasting impression on the limbic system so that the story behind each dish, full of narrative chains, can be retold.

“I’m an ambitious person,” she admitted. Dynna realized she grew up in a supportive environment surrounded by mentors and good networks. She knew she had three privileges: knowledge, access, and network.

“At first, I thought it was selfish to enjoy these privileges alone. But with Joongla, I have a platform to share my knowledge, access, and network with other women. When I accidentally entered the F&B business.”

“It’s possible that there are many other women like the past me who are still unsure and lost. This is why at Joongla, I strive to pave the way for other women. From the management team to the chefs and programs, the goal is to empower women.” 

She believed that As a woman, her role is to create and contribute. “As women, we possess a superpower that often goes unrecognized. Our inherent compassion and love define us and drive us to give selflessly without expecting anything in return, making us special.”

Through her project with Joongla and Mun Clab, Dynna tried to share her stories and inspire others. She believes if all the women leaders share their experience and knowledge, it could greatly help younger women who are just starting their careers. “I want women in executive, owner, founder, and initiator positions to share their knowledge because we need many talents. Our stories can be a valuable experience that young talents can learn from.” 

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