Eight years of connecting food enthusiasts
Since the last eight years, The Food Talk has built a community of food enthusiasts, bringing together owners and customers under one platform. "The goal of The Food Talk is to create a community of food lovers and the cornerstone has always been peer-to-peer learning," said Taskin Rahman, Founder of The Food Talk.
To celebrate their eighth year, The Food Talk arranged a live session entitled "Palate and Perceptions: The Evolution of International Cuisine in Bangladesh" on 7 July, 2021. This live discussion brought together food connoisseurs including perceptions of restaurateurs, reviewers, bloggers, and the media under the limelight.
The interactive session provided a holistic synopsis of the food industry, including discussions revolving around the altering culinary landscape, importance of food reviews, challenges in the restaurant industry, and consumer perceptions.
Farhan Quddus, having experienced the evolution of the food industry, hit viewers with nostalgia by describing the food scene in Dhaka from the '70s. While back then, options were limited and eating out was a rare treat, cafes and fast-food shops started popping up by the end of the decade.
"In the '80s, people started flying from abroad and brought along their cuisines too, such was the advent of the Korean cuisine. The '90s was a game-changer when food and entertainment were combined, and after the year 2000, people witnessed a complete revolution," he shared.
Having seen the evolution in food trends for a couple of decades, Raffat Binte Rashid, Editor of Star Lifestyle, The Daily Star, shared her valuable opinion regarding reviewing food.
"Back when we started two decades ago, the scenario was completely different when we would rate restaurants by stars based on some relevant criteria. However, now, reviews are often questionable due to some practical factors involved where authenticity is compromised," she informed.
Another speaker, Ali Arsalan, co-founder of Izumi, pointed out the most important parameters to ensure in order to successfully sustain in the restaurant business while maintaining quality, consistency, and authenticity. He mentions that sourcing high quality raw materials and skilled chefs combined with the constant desire to improve are key.
Nashra, Founder of Soi71, shared her journey where she chose to reintroduce Thai cuisine to Dhaka, by crafting a menu keeping health and taste in mind. "We support local people and produce as much as possible while strictly adhering to the authentic Thai palate, which enabled the transfer of skills and secrets to local chefs in the process," she mentioned.
Labib Tarafdar's brilliance is defined by going from one cart to 16 outlets within eight years, while serving the mass market in a highly competitive industry. Madchef and Cheez being his brainchild, Tarafdar points out the challenges faced while operating in the restaurant business, which include factors of price and people's perception.
In Dhaka, where food is synonymous to socialising, groups such as The Food Talk come into play to ensure better food experiences for people through honest reviews and exchange of knowledge, while building an amazing community of people with common interests.
By Fariha Amber