By Gennadiy Belotserkovskiy & Sofia Mashovets
Standing firmly among Lithuania’s most successful startups, PlateCulture connects people who love cooking & hosting dinners with those who enjoy authentic home cooked meals. Such dinners help local chefs build friendships through sharing food and culture, while also earning some cash. For participants, PlateCulture events present an amazing opportunity to get a taste of an authentic cuisine sprinkled with insights into the daily life and culture no tour guide can offer. As PlateCulture puts it, they literally fit the entire world in the kitchen.
Reda Stare, the native Lithuanian, the founder and the driving force behind PlateCulture, tells about her business of taking curious foodies ‘off the eaten track’.
…on how PlateCulture was born
PlateCulture was born from my personal experiences when I had an opportunity to travel in India and Southeast Asia for a year. My first PlateCulture episode was in Kerala when I was invited for a traditional dinner. Our host cooked amazing South Indian dishes, which I haven‘t tried over my entire two months in India. It was one of those amazing evenings when you get to taste the best food and see all the amazing culture from the inside.
I started PlateCulture wishing to offer this unique experience to more people – both tourists and locals. The challenge was to bring it online, give it a shape and tell more people that if they have passion for cooking, love hosting people and sharing intercultural experiences, we will help them transform their dinners into PlateCulture events.
…on PlateCulture geography
I believe it works great in Southeast Asia; people here are really friendly and really proud of their food, but I do not see why this concept shouldn’t work elsewhere. It makes me happy to see that PlateCulture concept is spreading globally, well beyond Southeast Asia. We have dinners happening everywhere, even in New York and Lima.
…on getting Cook Islands (no pun intended) on the PlateCulture map
We actively look for chefs in our focus markets but we also issue global press releases and we were very surprised when our message reached even the Cook Islands. I think this is really symbolic – we’re going global.
…on her favorite places
There are two cities I am in love with: Bangkok and Hong Kong. I love how vibrant, alive and happening they are.
…on her favorite foods
I can’t really pick anything in particular for the biggest joy is indulging in a variety of dishes and different flavors. That is why I eat, or at least try to taste everything. But if I had to pick one cuisine it would be Vietnamese.
…on being a PlateCulture chef
When I lived in Kuala Lumpur I tried hosting a PlateCulture dinner and absolutely loved it. I cooked traditional Lithuanian dishes and truly felt the power of sharing. My guests really enjoyed saltibarsciai which is a soup made with cold sour-ish milk and beetroots. It is really refreshing in hot weather.
…on looking past stereotypes
I really don’t care for stereotypes. I believe that people all around the world share the same feelings. They want to love and be loved. I just hope that more and more people will look for similarities and not for differences. This would help all of us.
…on what makes PlateCulture popular
People are looking for unique food-related encounters while exploring new interesting places. PlateCulture is where those unique adventures never cease. Whether you want to meet other foodies, break bread with friendly locals and fellow travelers, or exchange cultural experiences, there’s always something new and exciting waiting at that table. When we started, expats were the early adopters but now we have engaged many locals who want to open their hearts and kitchens. I believe this is a great sign for PlateCulture that the concept is there to stay.
…on her travel essentials
Passport, phone and a smile
…on building and managing a global team
For us, the most essential thing is to focus on one common task, share responsibilities and believe in one common bigger purpose.
…on running a startup from the beach
Just do it! Nothing is impossible if you really want it! But you have to understand that every situation has its pros and cons. Working under a palm tree is relaxing and tempting but it could get a bit lonely too. And watch out for falling coconuts!
…a message to herself 5 years ago
Just keep doing what you are doing and be happy!
Learn more about PlateCulture to see how you can share food, discover new cultures and build friendships from all over the world.