An idea-weed has been sprouting about in my unkempt brain for a while now. Remember the last time I pulled out a weed for all to see? This is how that looked:
2 weeks later, the lone weed became a jungle. I started working on what is now Frying Pan Adventures, Dubai’s first food tourism company. Only time will tell whether this was a bright idea or not, but I will tell you that I get a lot of strange and questioning stares from management consultants and bankers who can’t fathom why I’d drop a lucrative salary to become a tour guide.
Close to 18 months now, having toured about 600 foodies, dragging my incredible sister and partner-in-crime @faridaA into the food pit, and without either of us taking a penny of a salary out of the start-up company, I don’t have the answer either.
What I do have is the constant, nagging drip of a restless feeling. What next? What now? God may have considering putting in ONE peaceful self-contented bone in my body, but then He promptly yanked it out at the last minute, leaving me with a lifetime of insomniac nights where I twist and turn over with that uneasy feeling. It's a self-inflicted form of Chinese water-torture, over and over again: I need to be doing more. Drip. What more can I be doing? Drip. More and more and more. DRIP!
So here’s the next idea to add to the existing food tours (which I would still continue doing of course). The idea might involve anyone from the UAE food community that wants to jump into the food pit with me, just like this:
- Everyone has at least one specific food at one specific restaurant that they are die-hard fans of. I don’t mean that you just like the dish, or that you’d merely recommend it to someone else. I mean that you’re willing to FIGHT for the dish. You and the dish are inseparable – and no place but that restaurant can make it just right. It tugs on your tummy strings like no other dish at no other restaurant can in the entire UAE. Say the shawarma at Al Mallah, or the butter chicken at Sind Punjab, or the Sukka at Canara, or the meatballs at Bentoya. You’ve eaten your chosen dish not once, not twice, but a hill-high number of times. And if you could scramble up to the top of that hill of edible experiences and do a Sound-of-Music like routine about why the world must, THEY MUST, try this dish or else their lives would never really come alive with the sound of foodgasmic ecstasy, hell you would.
- I ask YOU for what that dish is (using a form or an email address or whatever – let’s leave the boring logistics out of this brainwave for now). It’s got to be one at a place I’ve never tried, under 50 AED per head, and at a place that’s not obvious to the general UAE populace. This means that Ravi’s or Bu’Qtair – no matter how life-changing – stays at the foot of the foodgasmic hill.
- We (the humble me and I) select a dish a week for a weekly YouTube mini-episode where You, the Grand Slam Master of Eating The Sound-of-Foodgasm Dish will join me on web-air. You would reveal the dish to the universe and why it’s so awesome, how to order it (with any special requests that you throw in), how to find the restaurant, all that insider intel that someone would need to get the perfect order of this perfect dish. Together, we would do amazing things like spread foodie love and support hidden gems and create world peace and other such very, very amazing things.
- Every week, we would showcase one dish at one hidden restaurant, anywhere in the UAE. I get asked for food recommendations all the time in Emirates other than Dubai, and honestly I haven't a clue. So if you can call me to Umm Al Quwain for something crazy good, I’m game.
- Why would You and I do it? For the love of good food. For the love of random connections over good food. For the love of weeping happy sentimental tears over random connections over good food. For the love of shutting up that restless elf inside my head and trying to get some sleep dammit.
- We will try to raise sponsorship eventually so we can support the cost of the production and editing. Till then, I’ll just have to burn a deeper hole in my threadbare pocket.
I’m still not sure about this, it’s just a half-baked idea. So here’s the big question:
Go, or No Go?