THE COM­MU­NITY-LED CULI­NARY CLUB

Good (UAE) - - THE GOOD LIFE - inked.ae

Hus­band and wife team Kenza and Patrick Jar­jour are the brains be­hind Alserkal Av­enue’s Inked, a pop-up din­ing club that hosts ex­per­i­men­tal food evenings. How did you get started in the food in­dus­try?

Kenza: Of­fi­cially, when I was get­ting my MBA in hos­pi­tal­ity man­age­ment at ESSEC Busi­ness school in Paris. Unof­fi­cially, food has al­ways been a part of my life and my child­hood. Kids have crayons, paint and play-doh to ex­press their cre­ation and cu­rios­ity, I had food and in­gre­di­ents. I al­ways found a joy in the never-end­ing pos­si­bil­i­ties of food.

Patrick: Inked is my first ven­ture in the food in­dus­try – my pas­sion and ex­pe­ri­ence be­long in events and it’s the com­bi­na­tion of both our strengths that made Inked hap­pen.

How did the idea for Inked come about?

It started when we were 15 years old, at school. We dreamt we would one day have a restau­rant to­gether and, as the years went by, we both sep­a­rately re­alised that what we wanted was to build some­thing that would com­bine both our pas­sions, events and food.

In a crowded mar­ket, what con­vinced you that there was space for Inked?

The mar­ket may be crowded but there was a big Inked shaped hole in the in­dus­try. There was no such space of­fer­ing cre­ative and free style col­lab­o­ra­tion and ex­per­i­men­ta­tion. We be­lieve it’s a sec­tor that wasn’t tapped into from a food per­spec­tive.

What are you aim­ing to achieve and what would you like to do next?

K: To de­velop food-led con­cepts or work on projects that have a mean­ing or a story to tell. This is how we want to ex­press our­selves and is ac­tu­ally where the name Inked comes from – the mark­ing of a mo­ment in or­der to leave a mean­ing­ful mem­ory, a per­ma­nent re­minder of what ac­tu­ally is a tem­po­rary ex­pe­ri­ence.

P: We have cre­ated Inked be­cause we wanted to en­gage the com­mu­nity with al­ter­na­tive food ex­pe­ri­ences, but also to be a stopover for peo­ple from abroad to ex­pe­ri­ence Dubai and the re­gion. It is im­por­tant for us to show that a lot can be de­vel­oped here and we want to po­si­tion Inked, as a space where cre­ation, col­lab­o­ra­tion and shar­ing can oc­cur.

How im­por­tant is sus­tain­abil­ity and lo­cal­ity to what you do?

It is fun­da­men­tal for us as it should be for ev­ery­one else in the food in­dus­try. We live in a time where be­ing sus­tain­able is not a fash­ion any­more, it is a ne­ces­sity. We’re work­ing on a strict min­i­mal waste pol­icy. All of our din­ners are counted and we cater for the ex­act num­ber of guests that have booked in or­der to avoid left­overs. We are also part of the Drop It cam­paign, a Goum­book ini­tia­tive de­signed to unite in­di­vid­u­als and the lo­cal busi­ness com­mu­nity in say­ing no to plastic bot­tles. In­stead, we use clean fil­ter wa­ter served in glass bot­tles.

What has the re­ac­tion been to the con­cept?

K: Great! Peo­ple come in­trigued and leave cu­ri­ous to find out what we have planed next.

P: We love to see that guests who had an Inked ex­pe­ri­ence want to come book for the next event, know­ing that it will be dif­fer­ent.

You also cre­ated Alserkal’s Good Vibes Mar­ket. How im­por­tant has the area’s com­mu­nity, and your in­stinct for col­lab­o­ra­tion, been to what you do?

We chose Alserkal Av­enue as the compass for both our con­cepts be­cause we fun­da­men­tally share the same val­ues, a strong sense of au­then­tic­ity and the love for col­lab­o­ra­tion and in­ter­ac­tion be­tween dif­fer­ent cre­ative minds. Alserkal Av­enue has a strong com­mu­nal drive that is ev­i­dent in its de­sign as well as its cho­sen ten­ants. Es­sen­tially, it is a love of cre­ation and of the arts that brought the Alserkal Av­enue team to­gether, and we be­lieve that’s what makes us a great ad­di­tion to their fam­ily, and theirs a great place for us to make a home.

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