If you live in Doha then there is NO way you haven’t seen & recognize the very famous Mama Baba Ganoush from one of the I Love Qatar‘s videos. If you haven’t seen Mama Baba Ganoush on social media, you must have read Kim Wyatt‘s articles in either Doha Family Magazine or Time Out Doha or Qatar Happening. Yep, that’s one person- Kim Wyatt, also known as Mama Baba Ganoush, doing soooo much amazing work!
Kim is an Award-winning food & travel writer, editor, content creator and a mother of 2 lovely boys. Not only this but she also is the co-director of Wa’hab, which is a startup that aims and works to reduce food wastage in Qatar by connecting those who have surplus food to those who are in need of food. Wa’hab did a couple of food drives this Ramadan and Kim invited me to one where a number of volunteers helped pack and distribute food/iftar to the labourers – a very heartwarming experience indeed.
I had such a wonderful time meeting her and chatting with her. It’s hard to find genuine people in this filtered world of social media and Kim is one of those genuine souls. She is an absolute gem of a person – a real woman that I truly admire! And that’s one of the reasons why I love this section of my blog so much because I get to meet amazing women like Kim.
So let’s get to what Kim had to say to my questions.
Q: Tell us something about yourself? Who is Kim Wyatt in real life?
Kim: I’m an Aussie expat, wife and mother with two young sons aged 8 and 11 years. I’m the host of my own online food and travel show at www.iloveqatar.net and write about food for magazine publications. I am a co-director of the award-winning sustainable social enterprise Wa’hab – a company that aims to reduce, reuse and recycle food wastage in Qatar.
I started my career as a photographer’s assistant and worked mainly with magazine and advertising photographers. I learnt the basics of the photography trade and then moved into other areas of media such as film/TV and then magazine publishing as a Photo Editor where I organized and directed photoshoots for celebrities. I’ve been fortunate enough to have worked in London, Sydney and The Bahamas creating photoshoots.
I’ve also worked in the catering industry as a cook and waitress and studied food skills at technical college.
Q: – What inspired you to become a food writer? Tell us how you became Mama Baba Ganoush and how you came up with such a brilliant name?
Kim: Photography is my true passion and that’s how I stumbled into food photography. Initially, I started my Instagram account @mama_baba_ganoush as a way of sharing my own photographs of food and travel. Initially, it was a way for me to express my own creativity as I’d been a full-time mum for a few years. Then I became the Food Editor for a local fashion/celebrity magazine and my work took off and became super busy with projects. Never in a million years did I dream that I would be doing what I’m doing now!
The name Mama Baba Ganoush is straight from my own life. I wanted a name that truly reflected who I am. When my boys were very little I used to call them ‘baba’ and when I arrived in the Middle East the name progressed to ‘baba ganoush’ because I wanted to give it a Middle Eastern feeling since we were living in Qatar. I had no idea that Baba meant father in Arabic. When thinking of a name for my social media I wanted something that was catchy. It naturally progressed to Mama Baba Ganoush as I wanted to show that I’m a mother living in the Middle East.
Q: What if you are invited for a food/hotel review and you do not like the food/service at all! What do you do in a situation like that?
Kim: This is a really difficult situation and I know that many people have very strong views about the subject. I’ve worked in the food & beverage industry and I’ve seen how much work is involved behind the scenes. It’s a highly competitive industry. In Qatar word gets out quickly. My own personal perspective is this – I’ve always been very apprehensive about dishing out on the industry because I would much rather speak to the management directly and voice my concerns. I’ve only aired my dissatisfaction once in all the time I’ve written about the industry in Qatar. Eating out can be so subjective – what tastes great to me may not necessarily taste great to you. We all have different levels of expectations. I have my own set of expectations when I eat at a restaurant because of my industry background. Sometimes it really pains me when I see bad reviews of restaurants because sometimes a chef or the service staff may be having a bad day and it’s reflected in the meal or service. But it doesn’t mean that the restaurant is the worst on the planet.
Q: For a food blogger to meet and interview Gordon Ramsay must have been something! Tell us about your experience and how did that feel?
Kim: I couldn’t sleep for the whole week leading up to the interview with Gordon Ramsay! I was a nervous wreck! I’ve interviewed other world-famous chefs and I always feel the same. Gordon was an absolute professional. So charming and quietly spoken. Total contrast to his TV image. I always feel star struck when I met chefs of Gordon’s calibre but in every case, they are always great to work with and very generous and humble.
Q: You are doing so much other than your food blogging. I love watching your ILQ videos. Tell us more about that gig of yours.
Kim: I used to go to a lot of food events and I always bumped into Darren from the ILQ team. We had a great rapport and I discussed starting a food show with him and fortunately, he loved the idea! Now Darren is my videographer, editor and producer. We work on ideas together and come up with content. He’s absolutely brilliant to work with. To me, creative projects are all about collaboration and sharing ideas.
Since the age of 8 years, I always wanted my own food show. I used to practice in my kitchen at home – “Hello ladies and gentlemen, today I’m going to show you how to boil an egg!” as cheesy as it sounds, it’s been my dream come true. I’m also very lucky that the CEO of ILQ – Khalifa Al Haroon gave me the opportunity to work there. He really is a super talented visionary and entrepreneur.
Q: Another project of yours that I really personally admire is your association with Wahab. Tell us more about that.
Kim: Wa’hab aims to reduce the carbon footprint from food wastage in Qatar. With the World Cup 2022 just around the corner, Qatar is aiming to create more sustainable businesses and programs to reflect environmental responsibility. I’m a co-director of Wa’hab and was invited to join the team by the co-founders in 2016. We’ve been working hard to set up the company and have recently won funding from the Qatar Business Incubation Centre (QBIC) to develop our idea. Part of our mission is to redirect all the surplus food back to people in need and to create organic compost for the local agricultural sector. We’re very excited about the future of Wa’hab and have some great collaborations coming up.
Q: You’re are a mum of two boys – what is your biggest challenge as a mum. Your advice to other mums?
Kim: I have lots of challenges as a mum! Life is not perfect and it’s taken me a long time to stop trying to be a perfect mum. I think mums put a lot of pressure on themselves to do everything right. I think that’s been one of my biggest challenges – to try to drop the ‘perfection’ attitude. Women are faced with so many images of being the perfect wife and/or mother – it’s so unrealistic. Some days are great and some are bad. My advice to other mums is to have a good support network of friends and/or family that can accept you totally for who you are and make you feel loved no matter what!
Q: Can you walk us through a typical day for you?
Kim: A typical day starts at 5.30am when I drag myself out of bed to make my son’s lunches for school. At this time of the day, I am unable to put two words together. I have never been a morning person. Then I’ll drop them to school and return home at 7.15am for my morning ritual of coffee and a green smoothie followed by a big bowl of gluten free oats, almond milk, almond butter and fruit. I then check emails and start my day. Most days I have meetings to attend so I do a lot of driving around Doha. Then I’ll get back home and do some writing and create content for my projects. I pick up my boys in the afternoon from school and try to spend time with them if I don’t have any deadlines. Then I cook dinner early – around 5pm. It’s usually something fresh and really easy to prepare such as chicken stir fry or spaghetti Bolognese for my boys. Then I check social media to see what’s going on in the world and go to sleep around 11pm.
Q. What is a skill that you’d like to learn and why?
Kim: There are so many things I’d like to learn! I have a whole list including yoga, Arabic, meditation, car racing and flying a plane! Hopefully one day I’ll get around to learning one of them.
Q: Any advice for newbie bloggers and people generally on social media?
Kim: My advice to newbies on social media is this – do something that you’re passionate about. Find a special niche and be authentic – the public craves credibility and truth. Also, try create your own original content – this is especially important in Qatar where the social media market is becoming saturated and homogenized. Lastly – believe in yourself and your abilities.
Q: What’s next for Mama Baba Ganoush?
Kim: I have lots coming up so watch this space!
TV show/Movie: Anything food related. Plus The Kardashians.
Book/Novel: Unfortunately I don’t have the time to read books or novels unless it’s a cookbook!
High Street store: Definitely Zara! Best high street store on the planet.
Designer: I’ve recently discovered the Qatari designers Maqdeem. Their clothing is gorgeous.
Activity with family: Anything to do with water such as swimming or dhow rides. This year we hope to try kayaking and paddle boarding
Travel Destination: Sri Lanka
Coffee shop: Flat White
Fine Dining Restaurant: Nobu, Zengo, Morimoto, The Raw Bar, IDAM
Family Friendly Restaurant: My boys love The Cheesecake Factory
Blog – Diary of a PMP Mom! ( haha best answer EVER Kim! 🙂)
Thank you Kim, for taking the time out for doing this for my blog.
You can follow Kim on her Instagram account: @mama_baba_ganoush
or catch her fun Youtube videos on I Love Qatar