Rinita, you're a co-founder of BonAppetour, which offers home dining opportunities to expats and travellers. Tell us a bit about the service and how you came to found it.
BonAppetour is a social platform helping people connect all around the world, through food! We have local chefs in over 80 cities around the world, who offer authentic local food and cultural activities, to share their culture and unique backgrounds with others.We started working on BonAppetour in 2012, after the idea came to us on a trip to Europe. My other co-founder, Inez and I were in Paris on Christmas Eve and all of the restaurants (except for the most expensive) were fully booked or closed. Hearing all the happy families in their homes, we thought, how nice would it be to join a Christmas dinner with a family here? At that point we realized that having meals with local people would be a great service to have when travelling to different places.
What does your day-to-day role entail?
On a daily basis, I do try to structure my role into the short-term and long-term goals for the company. Overseeing the marketing and PR departments, as well as managing the different agile projects that are happening. I also take a personal interest in talking to our hosts and guests regularly for feedback, new perspectives, and to just get to know the community.
Which countries and cuisines does BonAppetour cover?
I’m pleased to say BonAppetour is available on all continents! However, we have a stronger presence in Europe and Asia, but we are fast looking to expand our offerings in other major culinary hubs as well.
Are you an expat or frequent traveller yourself? What have been your main challenges when moving or travelling abroad?
I am a frequent traveler, especially since I’ve started BonAppetour, and apart from visiting over 20 countries around the world, I also lived for a while in Stockholm. I feel that as a traveler and expat the idea of feeling at “home” is something we tend to miss, and this is something that BonAppetour can really bring forth in people.
In your opinion, what is it about sharing culinary experiences that can bring people together so well?
Food is something that really brings people together, in a way that is beyond language or cultural barriers. It even serves as a great way to start conversations, as an icebreaker, gives people a reason to sit together at the same table and connect. As something that brings people together, people who were first strangers start sharing experiences and becoming friends – we love seeing this happen!
Do you have a personal favourite cuisine?
That’s a tough choice, but I have to say I personally really love Thai cuisine!
Finally, when you're not working, what do you like doing in your spare time?
Well, work is such a huge part of my life, but I do make it a point to indulge in some of my favourite activities. I enjoy swimming, reading and am a yoga enthusiast.
You can find out more and book your own local food experience at BonAppetour.com.