This week we sit with Stasha Toncev, founder of Dubai’s award-winning Balkan bistro, 21 Grams. Hailed in the media, Stasha’s restaurant was praised as “charming” and “brain melting” by The Financial Times supplement, How To Spend It, and Bill Addison, the Los Angeles Times’ celebrated food critic. In a heart-to-heart with Hashem, Stasha opened up about her childhood in Socialist Yugoslavia; her daring move to Dubai with 200 Euros in her pocket and the struggles of launching her restaurant business as a woman of Balkan descent—a double whammy in her view. Stasha and Hashem also talk openly about the importance of mental health for entrepreneurs and the struggles and personal sacrifices Stasha braved for her business.
Hashem catches up with Mohamad Orfali, TV celebrity chef extraordinaire, restaurateur and co-founder of the award winning Orfali Bros restaurant in Dubai.
Mounir shares snippets of his journey since 2017 when he was approached by Indonesian tech unicorn Gojek, then being struck by the pandemic in 2020 and what it meant for Halan’s growth.
Since our first episode with Nadia, her well received debut memoir Chronicles of a Cairo Bookseller has been published in several languages and Nadia is now preparing for her second narrative structure—but in a faster paced, post-lockdown world.