There is nothing like taking the opportunity to spend some time eating with locals when you are travelling. And Laurie from takemecooking.com is on a mission to make it much easier to achieve.
Read on to find out how this site will help connect you with a local food buddy.
TakeMeCooking is the tool I dreamt about when I was travelling and struggling to find the perfect cooking experience for me. A few months ago, I quit my job and decided to work on a platform connecting travelling food enthusiasts and local passionate cooks anywhere in the world to cook and enjoy a meal together. I am convinced this is the best way to meet local people that are willing to share their culture and passion of local food.
This idea was born during a holiday I took for New Year’s Eve of 2016. I was staying with friends in the capital city, Stone Town. One day, as I was wandering around the narrow streets and admiring some beautiful typical Zanzibar wooden doors, I thought of researching a way to cook while in the city.
After some research on the Internet (TakeMeCooking didn’t exist then!), I found a woman that was available to show me the way cooking was done on the island.
The day after, I met her at my hostel and we went directly to the market to buy all the ingredients for the delicacies we were going to cook together (it was only the two of us): chicken, spices (grown on the Island), vegetables, sweet potatoes, coconut…
The market tour itself was amazing, with all those delicate and exotic flavours in the air (except in the butchers’ area). Stone Town has a small city centre, so we walked to a friend’s of my guide and we sat down on a mat on the floor of her patio.
The patio was really a traditional open air kitchen, which is quite normal in some places in Africa, charcoal cooking still being widely used.
Then, she explained what we were going to cook: chicken pilau, spinach in coconut milk, and a sweet potato dessert. We made everything from scratch, even the coconut milk, using a traditional grater. While we were cooking, children from the neighbourhood were observing us from the surrounding windows and eventually came closer to see what was going on.
This experience was truly astounding and unique. I felt lucky to have such an incredible time, one to one, with a woman from Zanzibar. Once the cooking was complete, we sat down in the living room and shared the food with the children and of course, it was delicious!
That is why, when I decided to visit Ethiopia in January 2017, I was determined to attend a cooking class in the capital, Addis Ababa. It made a lot of sense to me to learn more about Ethiopian cuisine as it had been one of my favourites ever since I discovered a delicious Ethiopian restaurant a few years ago in Paris .
Unfortunately, it wasn’t as easy as I had hoped and I only managed to attend a food tour. The tour consisted of trying several restaurants with each having a different specialty: raw meat, fish, vegetarian, fresh fruit juice, and the traditional coffee ceremony. It was a very nice tour, but I would have loved to cook and taste instead of only tasting different dishes.
I truly think cooking experiences offer the inescapable and total authenticity that people are now looking for when they travel (including me!). It’s a way to truly connect with a destination and its culture, in addition to being a fantastic way to spend time.
TakeMeCooking will launch in August 2017. If you love to cook and would like to try and host a cooking party, check this article that explains the few steps you can take.
You can follow us on Social Media and be informed of when we launch. And please get in touch, I’d love to have your insight about how cooking brings people together.
Do you have any experiences cooking and sharing a meal with locals on your travels? Or do you have an opinion on Laurie’s idea? Let us know by leaving a comment.