ILHAM ZOUGHI 

Founder and CEO


I grew up in Morocco in a French and Moroccan household enjoying wholesome, homemade meals on a daily basis. As a child I remember being surrounded by fresh foods, either at home or at the local market where I would accompany my mother. I developed a lifelong relationship with fresh, whole foods and a special appreciation for the local market vendors. For me these were memorable experiences that many years later shaped my own approach to feeding my family.

I have always been passionate about health and chose to study biology (BS in Biology and Food Industry and MS in Biotechnology, in France) and then business administration (MBA and MA, Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania). For the next 10 years, I put my passion and my training to work in the pharmaceutical industry. I also explored my growing interest in holistic health, studying Ayurveda and earning a license in Vinyasa yoga.

My son was born in 2011 and early on struggled with food intolerances and digestive issues. So, I intensely researched nutrition and its impact on children’s health and development. For a couple of years I focused all my energy on seeking out the best possible foods to nourish him while supporting and rebuilding his sensitive digestive system. My extensive research brought me back to my European roots and convinced me to follow the traditional cuisine principles that kept us healthy for thousands of years.

Today my son is thriving, and now more than ever I am passionate about foods and nutrition as the basis for health. My experience showed me that truly healthy, nutritious, and delicious food options for children are especially scarce nowadays. Duette is my response to this scarcity. I am committed to changing the nutritional landscape for children and their families in New York.

Laura.jpg

LAURA RODRIGUEZ

Partner & Culinary Director


I grew up in New York City, Puerto Rico, Michigan, and the Metropolitan D.C. Area. My family moved every few years, but one thing that remained constant was family dinner at the table every day. I strongly believe that these dinners have kept my family tightly knit through the years and instilled in me the value I place on delicious foods.

After graduating with a BA in Art History from the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, I spent most of my adult life studying cuisine formally at The French Culinary Institute and informally through long-term travel abroad in places like Ecuador, Peru, and most recently in Tulum, Mexico. With the goal of immersing myself in traditional food preparation, I’ve gained vast knowledge of regional cuisine, flavors, and techniques. 

In 2012, while pregnant with my first child, I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes. This affirmed for me the need for a constant, keen awareness of refined sugar in all its forms—particularly its pervasiveness in processed foods—and the importance of eating homemade foods with the freshest, most nutrient-dense ingredients available. 

Studying, travelling, successfully fighting for a healthy pregnancy and birth, those childhood family dinners, and the addition of my daughter to my own family have made high-quality food and dining with my whole family top priorities.

My mission is to create a personal experience in every encounter with food by tapping into a lifetime of experience cooking and dining with family and friends and to offer healthy, delicious, and even decadent meals to families who share similar standards but simply don’t have the time to get food to the table day in and day out.