A sneak peak into my professional journey so far
“Meet your neighbours, listen to their stories, most importantly, share food."– Anubhav Sapra
The cogent relationship that I have with food has come from the concept of sharing it. I was born in Muzaffarpur in Bihar and grew up in a neighbourhood with residents from myriad cultures. We were all very connected. If a special dish was made at our home or theirs, we would share portions with each other. Every single day, my mother used to pack food in Dabbas (Indian style tiffin boxes) which were sent to our neighbours. The best feeling was when those tiffin boxes were returned. I eagerly waited for that moment, as they were never empty.
The only time I think I have not been able to muster up a palate for food is when I was in college in Delhi. Hostel meals are infamous for their insipid taste. The most indulgent of the dishes like kheer would turn out to be watery. That is when I set out to explore the lanes of Delhi for affordable street food. By 2011, I had a job and a new life in this big city. I also had a hobby. It was to roam around the city looking for the best street food and blog about it.
Here is a timeline of how it the journey progressed after that:
In 2011, I organized my maiden food walk through a Facebook event. To my utter excitement, thirty food enthusiasts had joined me to discover some of the gems of Paharganj. It wasn’t a tour per se but we all bonded over one common topic that was food. It was such a fun and enriching event that more such explorations followed soon.
I changed my blog’s name from Street Food Of Delhi to Delhi Food Walks. Slowly, it gained recognition among people especially the explorers. They visited my blogs and got interested in such guided tours. I began to get discerning people willing to get an immersive taste of Delhi's street food. That's how the food walks began and back then I was leading them all by myself.
My first media recognition happened in 2014 when I received an email from the South Asian Correspondent of Spiegel Online (a German magazine) who later joined me on a food walk. She wrote about the food walk and overnight my life changed. Since then many National and International publications like The Hindu, Indian Express, The New York Times, Conde Nast Traveler, The National Geographic etc. have covered my work.
I curated my first food festival, Zaika-e-Delhi, in 2015. Since then, we were a part of The Rekhta Foundation's annual festival for three consecutive years. For this we had collaborated with the best street food vendors from the city. We also provided a platform to chefs/cooks specializing in traditional cuisines, enabling them to serve a slice of their culture to the discerning audience.
Street food vendors are the lifeline of a local food scenario especially in a big city like Delhi. But their hard work hasn't been duly recognized in terms of laurels. So in 2018, I organized the Indian Street Food Awards in Delhi to honour these unsung masters who have been spreading joys through their food. It was the first of its kind in India. I also took it as an opportunity to promote hygienic street food practices so that more number of people can relish the dishes I have come to love.
After 6 years of food explorations from far and near, in 2018 we decided to launch ourselves on YouTube to share my overwhelming food experiences with the foodie community out there. Our first official tour for YouTube happened across Odisha. Since then it has been a rewarding journey so far. The immense love and support from our brilliant community encourages us to do better.
In the middle of the Pandemic, we received two coveted recognitions from the Outlook Responsible Tourism Team. The first one was for our #standwithstreetfoodvendors campaign that was undertaken to support the street food vendors who have been badly hit by the pandemic, while the second one was for our constant efforts to make meaningful communication between people and the food vendors and entrepreneurs through initiatives like talks series, virtual food experiences, weekly food exploration videos and sustained social media engagements.
Three years after launching our YouTube channel, we reached the One Million subscribers milestone in 2021. It was an euphoric moment for us. We are grateful and overjoyed at the fact that our stories resonates with so many of you out there. This has infused us with huge enthusiasm to bring you more such immersive and fascinating stories of people, food and culture from different parts of the globe.
My podcast The Anubhav Sapra Show on Spotify is an extension of my dream to gather and share food stories with people from miscellaneous backgrounds. It enriches you with myriad and intriguing perspectives, insights and personal thoughts on different aspects of food. It follows a conversational format where anyone willing to know more about the food and beyond is dearly welcome.
Won the Food Blogger Of The Year award at Food Connoisseurs India Awards, 2021 organized by Industry Live and supported by the National Restaurants Association of India. The recognition acknowledges the street and regional food explorations that we document through our weekly YouTube episodes. Inspired by the motto of 'connecting people, food and culture' we wish to continue our journey with more vigour and reach out to more and more individuals because for us bonding over food is the most wholesome experience.
Deeply honoured to receive the 'Food Blogger' Award at Swadesh Tourism Conclave held in Delhi from Honourable Minister of Tourism, Goa, Mr. Rohan Khaunte and Editor-in-Chief of APN News Ms. Rajshri Rai. To see your endeavours striking a chord with masses is something that is intensely inspiring and heartwarming.