On the 29th of March a group of like-minded change makers and food enthusiasts gathered in Amsterdam to help Moe Al-Masri kick-start his social venture.
Ever since Moe arrived in the Netherlands he has been actively involved with many social initiatives like Takecarebnb and Rederij Lampedusa (and he still is). A few months ago he reached out to the Tafel van 7 because he felt it was time to start his own project. Moe wants to turn the traditional Syrian bite Kebbe into the new bitterbal to connect the Dutch and the Syrian people over food. Let’s make it happen!
To familiarise as many people as possible with Kebbe, Moe wants to introduce his food to restaurants, bars and pubs. The group advices him unanimously to team up. Olivia Andiel from project ‘Good Food’ kicks off the evening with some great advice: ‘Don’t try to do everything yourself. Look for partners and collaborate!’ Sander Uitdehaag, the head chef at Pakhuis de Zwijger, immediately makes Moe an offer: ‘You’re welcome to come to Pakhuis. We can organize an evening around your food!’ Other possible partners that are named are the Youth Food Movement, Kitchen Republics, Mezrab and the Ceuvel. Moe has some coffee-drinking to do…
Listen to your customers
Secondly, Moe should take the preferences of his customers at heart. For the dinner Moe has cooked two different types of Kebbe: the traditional one with meat and a vegan one. The latter turns out to be a great success. 'As a vegetarian I would say: focus on the vegetarian and vegan options. That way, the food becomes accessible to everyone', Alinda de Vries from Dreamocracy advices. In addition, everyone is missing a dip. Take note Moe!
According to web and marketing specialist Ali Altrash being unique is one of the key factors of success: 'Experiment! Make Kebbe with seasonal vegetables, vegan Kebbe, try different dips. Everything that makes you stand out will work.'
Tell the story behind the food
When we touch upon the storytelling aspect of Moe’s social business, everyone visibly gets excited. 'Make sure people know where the food comes from and how the ingredients are grown', says Wendy Springer, program maker at Pakhuis de Zwijger. Raoul de Vries, online community manager at MaatschapWij, adds: 'Focus on the origin of the recipes and make it as personal as possible. You can even have Syrian people explain about the food in the restaurants itself, like a sommelier.' Roos Weyers, who’s studying Arabic Language and Culture, agrees with him: 'Make sure everyone finds out about Kebbe and the story behind it. Go to festivals and organise tastings!'
Moe likes to think and dream big. Whereas as an entrepreneur this can come in handy, it can also be tricky, especially at first. The group advices him to start off small whilst never losing sight of his ambitions. Marit Schakel, organic farmer and chairman of the Youth Food Movement Amsterdam, explains: 'In the beginning, it’s important to have a clear focus. Start small and scale up your best practices after a while.'
Do you also have an idea for a social venture or initiative that you’d like to discuss during a Tafel van 7? Let us know and we’ll help you kick-start your idea!
- Community Building