A short description of you:
I am Dina, the food writer, developer, creator & founder behind Dine with Dina. A platform showcasing Omani/Zanzibari food through western inspired recipes. I also launched Dine with Dina Spices with a focus on single source origin products from Oman.
Your professional background
While I am not surrounding myself with food, I work for the Anglo-Omani Society, handling all the business & cultural communications between the two countries. The society is a non-profit with aim to promote, nurture and maintain the bilateral relationship between the two countries.
When & the reason you started your career/freelancing
I started Dine with Dina roughly 3 years ago with no specific notion of where I wanted to take it, all I knew was that I wanted to be surrounded by food and to feed people. It was about 2 years ago that I decided I wanted to focus and niche in on Omani & Zanzibari cuisine with a deeper look into my heritage which makes up Iran, Iraq & Bahrain too. I started sharing traditional recipes and then evolved into fusion dishes, taking Omani recipes and crossing them with western dishes. Shifting to this style of cooking helped me to introduce the recipes to more people, it helped people understand my cuisine and want to learn more. Now I toy between the two styles and make sure to bring a bit of culture and history with it too.
My whole aim has been to educate the world about Omani & Zanzibari cuisine, more so for them to learn about a unique and rich heritage that is not spoken about so much. In a world full of amazing cooks, recipes and produce, we can sometimes get lost and forget to appreciate where things originated from, and if I can educate just a percentage of those on our cuisine I will be happy.
Your proudest moment in your career
This is a hard one, every time something new happens I get excited and proud - each new project or article is a milestone. Me writing this is a proud moment, because someone recognised my work, liked it and wanted to support and be part of it. I would have to say the key moments are:
1. A brief 30 second segment on BBC's Health Check UK Show where I was mentioned as a 'one to watch'.
2. My first £1000 in sales that I made when launching my spices. I made it in under two weeks and I couldn't believe I was able to do that. That people wanted to buy my products.
3. Mt first ever supper club in 2019. I sold out the night and not a single person left anyting on their plate. People even asked for takeaways! The happiness on their faces is something I still think about.
Your most challenging project
Launching my spices has to be most challenging - it still is challenging, everyday is a rollercoaster with it. Learning the legal side, trying to perfect the branding, figuring out how to make the commerce function properly, sourcing products. It isn't easy and I don't think it gets easier. But I wouldn't change it for anything!
Your dream project would be
Omg MANY! Bu I would say to bring out my own cookbook with a major UK publisher. Launch Dine with Dina products in a UK supermarket and produce a Netflix show exploring Oman and then Zanzibar.
Your motto in life
Your unfair advantage is what makes you unique, it's what will bring you, your success. Don't forget it, cherish and nurture it.
What do you do on your free time
Cook and eat out, HA! I love to try new restaurants, when you cook so much, having someone cook for you is the dream! I would say that, and take holidays when we can!
You are inspired by
So many people and things. I am constantly inspired, it's what drives me to do more. Other people cooking, my travels, old people and their stories that they tell are my biggest inspirations. I love to listen to my grandparents tell me about their past. Even my mum. I almost turn their stories into recipes.
I am the worst person to ask this as I LOVE to spend money! But then maybe that makes me the best because I now make multiple incomes and save! So I would say:
1. If you go on holiday make sure you can pay for the holiday 2-3 times over, otherwise you can't really afford it. I went through a phase of travelling so much and suffering when I got back to reality because I over spent.
2. Save at least 10% of your pay check in a completely different account and forget about it.
3. Put all your money for bills in a different account when you get paid.
4. If you have things in your house that you haven't use for more than 6 months. Sell them, there is always a way to make extra cash!
5. If you work for yourself, PLEASE charge for your time and not just your service. I learnt this the hard way - some companies got some great bargains from me.
6. Lastly, if your client isn't trying to negotiate your price, it's probably time to put it up!
Connect with Dina Macki
Linkedin: Dina Macki - https://www.linkedin.com/in/dina-macki-795a1977/
Instagram: @dinewithdina - https://www.instagram.com/dinewithdina/