I often get asked as to why I love traveling so much. Well, what’s not to love about it especially when you are served a beef tenderloin with pepper sauce and steamed veggies, with a cute cup of pudding, while you’re up in the peaceful zone at 40,000 feet. Apart from the typical “touristy things” of posing with the Queen’s Guard or ensuring that perfectly positioned photograph of pinching the Eiffel Towers, the core reason of travelling is to experience new cultures and styles of living.
Being a food enthusiast, I experience these cultures through a human being’s basic skill of cooking. While sitting at a table and sharing a meal with so many new people I met only for a couple of minutes, interacting with them is quite the best way to learn about the country I am in, at least from a local’s perspective. Getting to know about the best sandwiches in the darkest alley, or the best Pizza shop that’s an hour drive from the city, is information you can only get from the people who live there. I strongly suggest avoiding the need to carry a notepad with you, but a decent camera (or your phone’s camera) is probably the best way to get your memory exercised.
I still remember the number of close friends I made just by cooking scrambled eggs every morning for new check-ins at the hostel I was staying at. And yes I strongly believe that Cesar Chavez’s saying, “If you really want to make a friend, go to someone’s house and eat with him… the people who give you their food give you” is applicable in every walk of life.
In a way, I guess, I saved all the touristy things (sightseeing, selfies and queuing up for Disneyworld) for when I am probably 50.
It all started with…Mom’s Lasagne. Constantly trying to enter the kitchen and help “give the stew a stir”, I developed my pallet and learnt how to play with flavors. It wasn’t long before I seared my first steak dinner with a spoonful of creamy mashed potatoes at home. Everyone went “Wow! You should become a chef!”
Despite my love for this profession, it was of best interest to graduate with a Mechanical Engineering degree. However, with the numerous comments I received after several bake sales in University, I solely wanted to pursue my passion for food, and found myself registering for a commercial food production course at ICCA Dubai, and from there they say, the rest is history.