To witness this unity and altruism while the population faces the uncertainty of the future, leaves me feeling hopeful.
If there’s one thing I’ve missed during the London lockdown, it’s dining out.
Playing out the experience in my mind alone makes me itch for an outing. Getting glammed up, embracing your loved ones, contemplating cocktails only to order the same as your friends, dilated pupils studying the menu, and cheerily meaningful chats leading into the late hour. Now, that’s my kind of fantasy.
My ‘last supper' was at the beginning of March at Dishoom Shoreditch. Sipping our East India gimlets and savouring every mouthful of the tender and spicy chicken ruby, my friends and I were oblivious to the fact that this would be our last dinner outside of the house, for quite some time. I’m completely satisfied with my last supper choice, as I am with the decision of a karaoke bar afterwards.
I miss the days of being able to enjoy my favourite Southeast Asian cuisine at Pawpaw restaurant, back home in Brisbane, Australia. If I could jump onto their takeaway app right now, my order would include pad Thai, steamed bao, papaya salad, and probably a load more, because that’s what you do when you want something you can’t have. I want the whole lot. *snaps fingers*
Dishoom and Pawpaw. One is in London, the other in Brisbane. However, distance is the only thing separating the two restaurant Groups right now, as both businesses similarly tend to those in need during the coronavirus crisis.
I worked with Pawpaw and the Venzin Group before my move to London. I was the marketing and events lady who launched the Venzin magazine. Those of you who have a copy, I hope you’ve been making use of the recipes during this welcomed baking season! I’ve already made the peanut butter banana bread and snapper green curry. Dishoom has a cookery book too. If it’s Bombay comfort food you desire, you can try replicating the okra fries or lamb raan as I plan to.
Dishoom and Pawpaw have a few things in common:
They’re both family-owned businesses and have established themselves as highly-acclaimed restaurants, inspiring the hospitality world and beyond.
They’re my favourite restaurants not only because of their delectable South Asian fare and signature cocktail menus but because of their warm and genuine service, welcoming you through their doors like family.
Lastly on my list - and most relevant to the headline; though they have both had to inevitably limit their services, cut staff and lose revenue, Dishoom and Pawpaw are helping their communities during the current crisis by providing food to the people who are most vulnerable right now.
Supporting their staff and making use of an empty kitchen, the Pawpaw family have been cooking for the homeless, preparing hot meals for those in need. Partnering with food rescue organisation OzHarvest, Pawpaw has humbly invited those who can during this period, to donate to help cover the costs of food ingredients and to enable them to keep their chefs employed. You can read more about the campaign and donate here. #hereforhope
Dishoom has joined forces with leading UK hospitality groups in a campaign to make hot meals that are delivered to London hospitals for critical care staff, and with enough participants, this campaign will reach the nation to feed the NHS. You can read more about the campaign and donate here. #feedNHS
To witness this unity and altruism while the population faces the uncertainty of the future, leaves me feeling hopeful of a silver lining to this pandemic crisis. Hopeful of us learning something from those who may be suffering yet are still in good grace; grateful for what they have, and for what they can do to help others.
PS - If you've enjoyed this story, please feel free to share. We need to spread more positive news during this otherwise disheartening time.
LOVELY LONDON ONE DAY,
LOCKDOWN THE NEXT.
I moved to the UK moments before the coronavirus had
a serious emphasis. My timing never ceases to amaze me.
My dream was to work for big London corporates and to travel to countries in between. And then BOOM
(or rather, 'cough') - I'm faced with an indefinite pause on my job hunt and limited to walks to the local parks, as the nation goes into lockdown.
Have you ever had this thought: 'I know what I have to offer is unique and invaluable, but how can I express this authentically to others?'
It's one thing to promote a client's business, but when it comes to promoting my humble happy-to-work-behind-a-brand self, it’s proven incredibly daunting. In the past, I lacked the motivation to promote my freelance business because I was busy working on client projects, plus I was in full-time employment. Then along came COVID-19.
My freelance business was originally a side hustle to fund frivolous activities. Now turning into my only source of income, I needed to hustle my little heart out! This was the accidental push I needed, to effectively apply my skills in marketing and communications to grow an audience of my own (hey, you). So far, so good - I’m learning a lot. I find helping and connecting with people very fulfilling, particularly at present.
During this unprecedented time, I think about everyone else and how they’ve had to re-evaluate their lives and businesses. The core motivation behind everything I do in life is to make people feel good and to help them find motivation in their lives, i.e. a pep talk, a bad joke over good wine or on a more relevant note, training someone in a skill.
With this in mind, I questioned myself: 'using the skills I have, what can I offer to people that will be beneficial and motivational right now?'
The answer: easily-retained knowledge bombs - minus the boredom, of course, because they’ll be taught by the coolest teacher ever...
My curiosity (I'm a geek) has often found me avidly researching to further educate myself in marketing, content creation and various software. I’ve been fortunate in my career to be allowed and encouraged to learn a diverse range of skills. Now I feel ready to share my Jill-of-all-Trades knowledge with you.
As an optimist, I believe we can always turn adversities into growth opportunities. Even with my creative writing; the one quote I often remind myself of is 'turn your pain into poetry'. Now is the perfect time to hone in on new skills, setting up your business for future success.
I'll soon be sending out the occasional email to my subscribers. In the emails, I’ll be covering a range of tutorials in a condensed format. Lessons on how to set up your email marketing, write content, design, network, make espresso martinis - you know, the essentials, helping you to understand and produce great marketing content to grow your business. And if you can't be bothered adding more sh*t to your to-do list, well, just get me to do it.
My first email isn't too far away, so I welcome you to sign up below. I appreciate feedback and suggestions, so feel free to comment on this post or drop me a line here.
More blog posts are to come, so keep an eye out. I'll be sharing other stories of my life in lockdown here in London, some cool email marketing facts (I swear I was popular once), and loads more.
For now, adios!
(I'm also using this time to learn a language)
top: my London home. I feel so lucky to be living with three amazing and inspiring people. Doesn't feel like isolation here.
bottom: Regent's Park. One of many parks I can walk to during my daily hour of freedom.