Muscat: Dina Macki was born and raised in the UK and moved to London from Portsmouth to pursue her studies and anyone who is familiar with her Instagram posts and stories will find that she always promotes Omani cuisine and food. “I always promote Omani food but I can’t promote it and influence it without paying homage to its history and all the routes the cuisines have travelled too. Oman wouldn’t have had half the recipes they have if they didn’t mix and open their country to these rich cultures. “
Her roots are firmly based in Oman – her father is an Omani while her mother is a mixture of Omani, Zanzibari and Iranian. “Oman really is home for me so I try to be there at least twice a year but that can be a lot more, if things were happening.”
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Her passion for Omani food is because of her grandmother who was born in Zanzibar.
Her grandmother moved to the UK in the 1960s and settled with the Zanzibari/Omani community and she was always known as the person to go to for food. “She always made huge pots of biryani for everyone at Eid and did a lot of cooking for the Zanzibari Royal Family. When I got old enough to walk and talk I would watch her in the kitchen and she would toss me a bit of dough to play with and make my own. Omani food was always intertwined in these as my grandmother also lived in Oman and her mother was born in Muscat. During the last five or so years I have really dug deep during my visits to Oman to speak with people from different regions and understand what Omani food really is.
Dina’s family is close friends of the former Sultan of Zanzibar, Sir Jamshid bin Abdullah who moved to Oman recently.
Heritage and culture
“I was born and bred in Portsmouth, which basically was the Zanzibari hub in the UK since the 60s. It was where the last Sultan of Zanzibar spent his whole life till he recently left to retire in Oman. I went to University in London at Regents University London and actually studied Fashion Marketing. My heritage and culture inspire me, without which I wouldn’t have amazing stories to tell and food to share.”
Although Dina is yet to open a restaurant or an eatery, her food is very popular among her friends and family circles. She also hosts supper clubs which are basically pop up events held at different venues where she takes over the kitchen and restaurant and bring in her family to help cook up a menu.
“This has been such an amazing way for me to introduce Omani food and culture to the UK. I have found this the best way to introduce and inspire Oman. Pre-covid I had one planned in Muscat to showcase the theme, ‘Omani food meets west.’ I was going to be hosting one in Dubai as well as in New York.”
Dina’s rock has always been her mother who motivates her. “Unlike most Arab parents she was always telling me to do what I love, to do something different and pushing me to be the most epic version of myself – I remember at an early age her always telling me to do something online. It made no sense then, but now looking back she saw the future of social media before anyone else did. She is the Mark Zuckerberg of my life.”