For Homa Dashtaki, making yogurt by hand isn't just an artisanal pursuit—it's a tradition. In her native Iran, people rarely buy yogurt at the grocery store: "My dad made it at home, like most everyone else in the Persian community," says the 36-year-old, whose family moved to California in 1987. It was Dashtaki's dad, Goshtasb, a former sandwich shop owner, who inspired the White Moustache, the yogurt company the duo cofounded in 2010. (An illustration of his bushy facial hair is on every label.)

Sum It Up by Pat Summitt

While she now spends long hours in a Brooklyn kitchen, she used to spend her days in a corporate office as a finance lawyer. After being laid off in 2009, Dashtaki bounced between jobs, picking avocados on a farm and teaching yoga. Yearning for some father-daughter bonding, Dashtaki and her dad decided to make a few gallons of her childhood staple—and the White Moustache was born. Now the entrepreneur's workday involves heating vatfuls of milk. "The staff and I coddle every single batch and treat it like a living creature," Dashtaki says. "We call it 'putting it to bed' while it rests at night."

The White Moustache is now sold at dozens of gourmet shops in the New York City area, and foodies praise its rich yet light texture and unique ingredients like sour cherries, walnuts and beets. Of course, her dad checks in frequently. "He says with disappointment, 'Homa, you should really get more machines—ramp up production so we can go international and modernize. This tastes just like it did in the old country.' But I think that's the best criticism ever."


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