Move over Rachel Ray, Ansam is here. Taking the online world by storm, this Kuwaiti cooking sensation that broke through on her blog and has her own Facebook group dedicated to recipes, has a great regional following. Khaleejesque got together with this Internet-famed Chef, and whipped up the following interview; it may not be edible but it’s worthwhile.
Khaleejesque Team: How did you break out into the online world with "Ansam's Kitchen"?
Ansam: It was through Facebook and my personal blog(http://ansam518.wordpress.com/). I saw Facebook as "THE" medium to deliver my love of food and cooking to other users and in turn created “Ansam's Kitchen” Facebook group. I invited my family and friends, who in return invited their contacts and the list kept on growing! Some joined after reading my blog related posts about “Ansam’s Kitchen”, others by watching me on TV (when I guest-starred on the “Sabah AlWatan” TV-Show on the Kuwaiti Al-Watan TV Channel) while some would just clicked on the group, checked it out and ended up joining.
KT: Is cooking something you were trained in, or is it just a hobby?
A: Total hobby! I would love to take classes though.
KT: How did this hobby start?
A: Back in time when I was only a child I would roam around the kitchen with my sisters. We would do the simple cake in box recipes or simple desserts as well as trying to create our own recipes; sometimes they were good, other times not so edible! The cook went crazy but my parents never stopped us; they saw this as a passion and so included a private kitchen, which overlooked a terrace in our new house just for us girls. This time we told the cook that it’s our territory and was off limits.
KT: Do you ever think of pursuing this hobby further and taking "Ansam's Kitchen" to another level and publishing books?
A: Yes! That’s for sure. I am gathering up my recipes and taking pictures like crazy to create a book on a whole new dimension (sorry it's a surprise); and also have a restaurant someday that will have a set menu, but be flexible and interactive as well.
KT: How big is your following? What's the feedback you've been getting?
A: I have over 1,000 members on my Facebook group, and a lot of readers on my blog. I also have some silent followers who I send out the recipes to by email since they aren't into Facebook and blogging…
About the feedback, it's hilarious. I even posted about it on my blog. It's like I am either ruining someones diet or making someones day. I get a lot of "my mom loves your group, but she’s not into Facebook that much." I also have some followers sending me pictures of the dishes they made using my recipe and as a way of encouraging them, I post them in the group's album! I love it… it keeps me going! I enjoy all of it, the good, bad, and the ugly!
KT: Why did you decide to break out into Facebook and not through a blog?
A: I actually use both! To each its own audience and to each its own flavor!
Images: Ansam's Kitchen