AZ Entrepreneur Eyes Local
Farm To Table Synergy
Arizona Food Enthusiast Roza Ferdowsmakan Aims To Make Fresh And Delicious Meals Accessible To Everyone With bites. — Her New App
By Stephanie Sparer
Modern Times Magazine
July 3, 2017— Roza Ferdowsmakan has an energy that pulls you in, so much so that when we sit down for our interview at Lux, a locally-owned coffee shop in midtown, I forget to pick up my coffee until about 40 minutes in.
She feels bad. “That’s my fault,” she said.
Ferdowsmakan actually does feel bad. She’s passionate about food. So passionate, in fact, that she started an app called bites., set to launch in Phoenix in beta in July. bites. connects communities to local chefs and farms so that anyone, regardless of socio-economic status, can have a local farm-to-table meal.
“Most people cannot afford something like this, so I want inclusion,” Ferdowsmakan said. “Especially since we have such a fragmented society. The community will drive [this app and new way of eating] forward.”
In the future, perhaps quinoa and locally-sourced ingredients won’t be a luxury only to be had by Gwyneth Paltrow. The bites. app will allow anyone to connect with a personal chef — be it an enthusiastic home-cook, culinary student, or pro-chef — and order an exceptional meal made from ingredients found on local farms around the state, so every morsel of the meal is the freshest it can be.
“This is my mission,” she said, going on to explain that the chefs on bites. will be sourcing ingredients sometimes even from their own backyards. “It will connect people to their location and teach them how to eat more in-season.”
Ferdowsmakan’s love of fresh food came to her around age 13 when, while working on her uncle’s farm, she was given a chance to see not only how food is grown, but to experiment with eating. “Experimental eating is so important,” she said, noting it broadens horizons and cultural understandings (which in turn can make people more tolerant and open and kind).
Nowadays, most 13-year-olds are happy to Snapchat whilst eating Easy Mac, but as a teen Ferdowsmakan sat down at the table with homemade quiche and an open mind. With one bite she was instantly transformed into a food enthusiast, and a compassionate one at that. “I’m interested in how we treat the Earth and food quality,” she said. “I want to make where I live a better place.”
Chefs and farms on bites. will have profiles with information such as available cuisines, pricing, skill set, and later, reviews, that users can search in order to begin their culinary journey. To make sure they have the right chef match, users can even chat with the professional right in the app. Then the good stuff happens; the chef you choose will cook a delicious meal right in your home (or bring it to your doorstep, if you desire). But Ferdowsmakan insists having food professionally prepared in your home is half the fun.
“This provides an holistic experience. You get to see the dynamic and drama — the full experience of seeing a chef carry out art in your own home. You just don’t get that in a restaurant.”
Roza Ferdowsmakan isn’t a chef. In fact, she’s a poet and a lawyer. But her love of food and community is the driving force for bites. She’s done much of the behind-the-scenes work herself, including design, and is just excited to see how bites. can change the landscape of our community, figuratively and literally.
“When you eat out of season, you get a shell of the vegetables and fruits because they are picked too early — before photosynthesis — so their full nutritional content is gone, and so is their flavor,” Ferdowsmakan explained, using knowledge from her time studying horticulture on her uncle’s farm. “Plus, you’re damaging the Earth when you do that. There’s a huge global footprint. We could, and should, grow and eat in-season. Eating watermelon in winter makes no sense. You disrupt everything.”
Ferdowsmakan is a huge believer in local farms, chefs, and food, but bites. isn’t a commercial engagement, she stressed. This is just real people who want to connect with other people who love fresh, local food. The app is also free to use, you just pay the chef. “This is really a movement and the app is a tool to push that movement forward,” she said. “I want [eating healthy and fresh] to be the norm. It shouldn’t be a perk. It should be a part of your everyday life.”
Bites. is out in beta in July 2017 and will expand nationally October 2017. For more information visit http://www.bites.mobi/.
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