As a globetrotter, I’m always on the hunt for new experiences and new ways to see the best of what a destination has to offer. And if this new experience involves delicious local food, then I’m definitely sold!
So when the team behind cooking experience service, Take Me Cooking, got in touch with me, I was naturally intrigued. Upon looking into what their company does, I thought you all would be too. I mean, come on, who doesn’t love travel, food and culture combined into one?
Here to tell us all about this service, is none other than Take Me Cooking’s Founder, Laurie Vaquer…
1. Hi Laurie. Thanks for taking the time to speak with me. To start, could you tell us a bit about yourself and your background?
I am a French engineer and my first job was in Africa. I got the “expat bug” there and I’m still living abroad now, 5 years later. One year ago, I quit my job and decided to move to Argentina and to change jobs. At first, I wasn’t sure about what I wanted to do with my life, but I felt like a change and I had one idea in the back of my mind, a dream which had started in Zanzibar, one of my favorite destinations in Africa (more about that later). Apart from living abroad these past few years, I have been travelling a lot, discovering Africa and now South America. Being an entrepreneur allows me to travel much more than before and that’s one of the reasons why I quit my corporate job.
2. What does Take Me Cooking offer travellers from around the globe?
We offer another way to travel anywhere in the world. Because I believe all destinations are worth it when it comes to discovering local ingredients and the ways to cook them. But joining a cooking experience also allows you to meet amazing people who share their traditions. Our hosts are amazing cooks and they are also more than happy to share their culture with their guests.
3. What inspired you to launch Take Me Cooking?
It all started in Zanzibar. When I traveled there the second time, I lived an amazing experience, cooking with a great woman and it inspired me to have a cooking experience anywhere I’d travel. But it wasn’t as easy as I thought. This is how the idea for Take Me Cooking was born, even if I did not know it yet. One year later, when I traveled to Ethiopia, I was excited to have a similar cooking experience there, since Ethiopian food is one of my favourites. But I was very surprised to find out that there was nothing like the Zanzibar cooking experience available in Ethiopia. The idea for Take Me Cooking grew stronger after this trip to Ethiopia. And it became a reality after I met my co-founder in England, Matt. I couldn’t have built such a powerful platform without his help and the technical skills I didn’t have!
4. How can travellers book cooking experiences? And where do you currently operate?
Travellers can check our experiences on www.takemecooking.com and directly book the date they want. We’ll then send the host’s address to the guests and all that’s left to do is to meet and enjoy cooking together!
We are currently offering experiences in the following destinations:
- Zanzibar, Tanzania
- Belgrade, Serbia
- Tokyo, Japan
- Buenos Aires, Argentina
- Montevideo, Uruguay
- Los Angeles, USA
- Marrakesh, Morocco
In the next few weeks, we’ll welcome new hosts from:
- Sofia, Bulgaria
- Bogota, Colombia
- Cartagena, Colombia
- Paris, France
- Santiago, Chile
- Valparaiso, Chile
- Flores Island, Portugal
- Mexico City, Mexico
- Cordoba, Argentina
5. In all of the places you’ve travelled to, which was your best foodie experience?
I really enjoyed the food in Zanzibar, it was a great surprise. The ingredients are delicious (sweet potatoes, plantains, fresh spices). What’s particularly interesting to me is the blend of various food traditions from the populations who came to live on the island through the years: from the Portuguese Empire, to the Sultanate of Oman, to the British Empire most recently. Zanzibar was also one of the largest slave ports in the vast Indian Ocean slave trade.
6. If you could only eat one type of cuisine for the rest of your life, which would it be and why?
I love Italian food and its fresh ingredients. One of my favs: artichoke! Pasta is really different in Italia and I love it.
And now for a round of quick-fire questions:
What’s your dream destination and why?
I’ve been to a few destinations that were on my dream travel list. What’s next: San Diego, California! I’ve heard it’s amazing and I think I’m going to love the vibes there (going this fall).
Sweet or savoury?
Definitely savory! I try to eat as little refined sugar as I can.
Tea or coffee?
Coffee! But only out. I make tea at home, but I just love to go have a nice coffee at a nice café.
Best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
I cannot think of one specific piece of advice. But I’ve been reading a lot of personal development books and they definitely inspired me to change my life and take a chance as an entrepreneur. Reading is now part of my daily routine.
Thanks Laurie! We’ve loved getting to know you and Take Me Cooking better.
Be sure to check out their site for a cooking experience near you or for a future trip. This is such a cool and unique way to experience a new destination and I for one, can’t wait to try them out!
Like this? Think someone else will? Share it now!