Meet John Nazari: a recipe creator and promoter of local food producers in Ontario


Written by:

Spread the love

If you’re aware of local food producers and recipe creators in Ontario, Canada, you’ve probably come across the name John Nazari on the internet. Born in Iran in 1970, he has a remarkable story worth sharing with the world. He attended an international school until the 1978 revolution. He finished his schooling and moved to Canada because it was the only country at that time welcoming immigrants with an open embrace. But unfortunately, a country’s welcoming immigration policies don’t spare immigrants from the hardships they must face when moving to a new country. He is no stranger to these challenges.  

Regardless, John Nazari persevered through the obstacles, jumping over each hurdle to make a name for himself. He knew he had to work harder than others as an immigrant, and so he did. He worked hard and was employed by an extremely reputable company as an industrial engineer. His work ethic and drive would see him rise up the corporate ladder, eventually becoming a manager. Moreover, it would signal the start of his culinary journey because he was living alone and needed to feed himself. He only had two options: either eat out daily or learn to cook. 

While living alone prompted John to take cooking more seriously, he wasn’t new to the culinary world. The kitchen was the main hub in his family home growing up, where everyone would convene to spend time together. “I often did all my homework on the kitchen table as a kid. So I was naturally exposed to food and my mother’s cooking,” he recalls. 

At times, he would ask his mother for prep chores, and she would give him herbs to clean or vegetables to chop. Then, one day his world changed when his mother handed him a small knife and taught him how to clean and cut meat and poultry. It was a crucial moment in his life that turned cooking from a hobby into a passion. 

Despite his early exposure to and passion for the culinary world, John is mostly a self-taught cook. He did enroll in some cooking courses at George Brown College, but he taught himself most recipes through reading cookbooks and watching cooking shows. In addition, he also considers himself lucky enough to count some professional chefs and television celebrity judges as friends. They often advise him, and he uses their experiences and comments to learn. At the end of the day, the cooking expert considers himself fortunate because what he does truly excites and motivates him.

Considering his background, it doesn’t come as a surprise that, like most people from the Middle East, John is naturally a host. He loves having friends and family members over, and planning and executing multi-course meals is an excellent way to bond with his loved ones. One such event prompted him to create Nazari’s Touch. It’s a line of gourmet spice blends born during the pandemic. He was spending more time on Instagram during the pandemic and realized people had started neat little businesses online from the comfort of their homes. As a result, John Nazari researched how he could run a food-related venture from home without a commercial kitchen. 

Things finally clicked. He had invited friends and family members over for a party at his house. Starved for ideas, he decided to apply a unique twist to his signature Za’atar blend by serving it with strained yogurt as an appetizer. Almost no one knew what the product was, but the bowl was wiped clean, and John received raving reviews from everyone present. That was the start of his spice blend business. Nazari’s Touch has three blends currently available, with three more coming soon.