In the UAE, 29-year-old Dubai-based Indian expats Kimberly Dsouza and Denver Britto or ‘Kim and Den’ might be familiar faces. The couple from Mumbai and Mangalore respectively, have come a long way from being two people who love food to being full-time food bloggers in the city.
However, their journey isn’t just about posting pictures of food online. It involves experimenting, cooking, and trying out new cuisines. Even celebrity British Chef Gordon Ramsay has a role to play in it….
Where it all began
Alumnus of Our Own English High School in Dubai, Dsouza and Britto are childhood friends. After Dsouza moved back to Mumbai following tenth grade, Britto continued to pursue his education in the same school. While the two embarked on two different paths of life, fate disguised itself as a mobile application and brought them together during their college years.
“Den and I knew of each other as kids since we both went to the same school. However, oddly enough we got close when I moved to India for college. He added me on BBM (BlackBerry Messenger) back in 2011 and we instantly developed an attachment for each other. We used to sacrifice our sleep and talk for hours – sometimes until sunrise and somewhere in the middle of those conversations was when we realised that we had grown extremely fond of each other,” said Dsouza.
“During our initial late night conversations, we both realised how heavily our lives revolved around food. We both admired the same celebrity chefs and aspired to visit the same Michelin-starred restaurants around the world. In fact, the thought of us reuniting in Dubai and going on dinner dates to our favourite restaurants is what made long-distance bearable. It’s been nine years now since we’re together and we’ve eaten our way around the world. Sometimes we still look back at those days when two college kids had strongly manifested traveling for food and to finally live that life, feels like a dream.”
The love for food
“For the two of us, TV shows heavily impacted our food journey. We learned a lot about cuisines and food cultures around the world through food shows and cooking channels. In fact, this may sound very cheesy (pun intended) but we used to actually have virtual MasterChef Australia dates together where we’d tune in to new episodes of MasterChef every week and thoroughly discuss the episodes once we’re done,” said Britto.
With TV shows came celebrity chefs too, and British chef Gordon Ramsay plays a key role in their relationship. Growing up, Dsouza and Britto were ardent followers of the chef’s TV series and interviews. However, there was one dish of Ramsay’s that caught their eye – the Beef Wellington.
After years of trying to make it themselves, they finally got the opportunity to meet the chef in person and try out his creation two years ago. This not only fulfilled a dream, but also marked a milestone for them as a couple.
In addition to this, both Dsouza and Britto grew up in environments that always had food at the core of every gathering – be it an occasion or just a simple get-together among friends and family. This led them to set up WhereMyFoodAt – the food blog they are popularly known for in the UAE.
A cup of chai that changed everything
It was in the evening of May 24, 2014, when Britto and Dsouza were sipping a cup of chai or tea from a local eatery in their car that the idea of a food blog struck. They were known among their friends as ‘the couple that eats a lot’, so both Britto and Dsouza decided to use it to their advantage. “We were basically looking for ways to document our food journey since we were known as the couple that ‘eats a lot’ amongst our friends and family, and they always asked us for recommendations on where to eat. Initially, WhereMyFoodAt started out as a hobby for the two of us, however now, almost eight years later, it has become an occupation that’s taken us around the world,” said Britto.
“It definitely wasn’t something we had planned. We believe it was great timing – since we started blogging at a time where there were only a handful of us, and we believe that our maturity in the food blogging field helped set us apart from the rest.
“Apart from the fact that food resonated with us the most, we chose food because it’s something everyone relates to. When you want to celebrate a special occasion most people head to their favourite restaurant, when you’re feeling low and require a pick-me-up most people resort to comfort food. Food unites and connects people from generations to generations and is one of the greatest niches to specialise in,” added Dsouza.
The blog features all of the couple’s restaurant visits, masterclasses, hidden food gems in the UAE, homemade recipes and even a few food series. Britto works full-time as an aeronautical engineer, however he calls the blog his ‘second job’, whereas Dsouza works as a content creator for the blog across all social media channels, after leaving a job in banking.
84,000 followers and still counting
To start something completely different, especially in the UAE – where the competition is high – the couple did manage to retain their uniqueness. Today, they owe it all to the power of social media.
“We’re not going to lie; we were extremely nervous and slightly doubtful about WhereMyFoodAt making it through even a month. We were 22 years old, when we launched WhereMyFoodAt and had very little money, so every investment we made in terms of website development or photography equipment was made with a lot of anxiety and pressure. We were lucky to have each other during these initial stages of fear and doubt. We helped reassure each other that we’re in this together and the best for WhereMyFoodAt is yet to come,” said Britto.
All of their efforts proved worthy when their follower base increased over the eight years since they began. “We owe it all to our followers. They have been incredibly supportive throughout this journey and many of them have actually witnessed our growth - both in our personal and professional lives. We started WhereMyFoodAt as a couple who were together for two years and our followers were part of our journey ever since – from our engagement to our wedding, three years’ ago,” said Dsouza.
Like all journeys, theirs too, came with challenges. While their followers are their biggest motivators, there are days when the ‘online hate’ really gets to them. “When you exhibit your entire life on social media, you’re bound to be subjected to online negativity. We think that’s the one challenge we learned how to live with. I think we speak on behalf of all influencers and bloggers when we say there are always two sides to this journey - the love we receive from followers who genuinely support us, and the negativity we receive from ‘haters’. Our advice would always be to focus on the positive aspect of whatever we’re doing and just power through. We have no time to dwell on the negatives,” said Britto.
A global food brand
So, what’s next in store? “We want to make WhereMyFoodAt a global brand. In 2019, we travelled to nine countries trying to establish our mark as ‘Food Travelers’. The pandemic created a major delay in our plan but we’re optimistic we’ll go back to traveling around the world, again, soon,” concluded Dsouza.
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