Welcome to ‘7 Ways To Pay It Forward’, 7 questions to individuals who are making a difference in the community. Each day we will feature a different initiative with details of how you too can get involved.
As always please do share with us any other initiatives you may know of and we can add them to our growing list which will be published on the seventh day.
Be safe, give back & stay connected!
Kenza & Patrick Jarjour, Founders at INKED
What used to be a thriving boutique restaurant in the heart of the cultural district of Dubai is now a community kitchen cooking up to 300 meals a day for vulnerable communities and front-line health workers in the city. Inked, run by husband and wife team, Kenza and Patrick Jarjour, is part of Alserkal’s Pay It Forward initiative and has been working with the UAE Food Bank and the DHA in order to distribute the meals to those in need.
INKED always had Sustainability as a priority ensuring a minimal waste policy, only ordering the exact amount of food required and being conscious of reducing their plastic, packaging and water consumption.
1/ Please can you tell me about your background, your business, when you started and why?
INKED is a creative food and events platform at Alserkal Avenue that we started four years ago. We have started this concept because we wanted to create experiences that are unique, that leave a mark, and where food is used as an artistic expression.
2/ Why did you decide to start the initiative, what has the response been like so far?
We decided to start this initiative as part of Alserkal Avenue’s Pay it Forward Programme; by waving 3 months of rent for their tenants, they have encouraged all of us to give back. Preparing meals for those in vulnerable situations was without a doubt what we wanted to do. The responses from our F&B partners, the community at Alserkal, and the community on a larger scale has been incredible.
3/ Please can you explain how it works i.e. give details about the mechanics, who can get involved, what you need, what is the aim of the initiative?
6 days a week for the past two weeks, we have been cooking well-balanced meals that are being distributed with the support of the UAE Food Bank and the DHA to people in need, as well as to the medical workers across several Dubai hospitals and clinics.
We started by using the resources we had and with the support of our F&B partners who provided ingredients and raw materials, we were able to prepare 100 meals per day. In order to keep this initiative going, we now need as much help as we can get. Today, we are asking people and organizations to lend us a helping hand by purchasing meals that we will prepare, and that will be distributed by our partners.
Each meal costs 25AED per person and can be purchased online at www.inked.ae. We have increased our capacity to 300 meals a day and we are determined to keep this initiative going for as long as we can sustain it.
4/ What is the expected outcome, do you have a figure/goal/time frame in mind?
We are able to cook 300 meals a day, 6 days a week, and we are hoping to continue doing so for as long as we can.
5/ What has been the biggest challenge for you during this time, as an individual and as a business owner?
As a business, the biggest challenge we faced was obviously the decision to close our operation. It was very hard on a personal level as people and employers to stay positive, and to figure out how to support our team members while thinking of ways to secure a possible future together as INKED. However, this initiative has given us a lot of hope and energy to continue doing what we love and to do it in a meaningful, community driven way.
6/ We talk about BC (life before COVID), what do you think life will be like AC (after COVID) personally and professionally?
It will be kinder and more responsible, that’s what we hope for and that’s definitely what we are looking to embody in the future AC.
7/ Can you tell me about some of the things you do in your daily life that are sustainable, what more can you do and has COVID made you think more sustainably?
Ever since we launched INKED, it has been a priority for us to introduce a minimal waste policy. We insist that our clients provide us with the exact number of people attending our dinners so that we can purchase accordingly and prevent food waste. We never keep stock except for dry goods and we always buy fresh. Plastic and packaging is also reduced as much as possible. We have joined the Drop It initiative since we’ve opened our business, and use filtered water and a sparkling water tap in our business and at home. Most importantly, we do our best to never throw away food.
Disclaimer: By promoting these initiatives Goumbook is not in any way profiting nor raising funds for any organisation, individual or company.
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