With the auspicious occasion of Ramadan underway, Toastmasters clubs across the GCC region are embracing the spirit of the season by incorporating culinary delights into their meetings and events. A recent experience left me profoundly impressed and inspired to share the delightful connection between food and Toastmasters.
I was cordially invited to a division prize distribution event with Iftar in Dubai via WhatsApp, replete with the option to select a vegetarian or non-vegetarian culinary delight for the Iftar meal. As I stepped into the venue, I was greeted by the alluring aroma of traditional Emirati snacks, including crispy samosas, delectable medhu wadas (a South Indian fried snack), and the ever-popular kadak chai (strong tea). The diverse array of gastronomic offerings by various clubs in Dubai truly exemplifies the rich culinary influences of the region.
This brought to mind the sumptuous fare served during Toastmasters meetings in Dubai. Many clubs go above and beyond, offering a plethora of snacks to cater to various dietary preferences, including both vegetarian and non-vegetarian options. I always find it a delight to relish these delectable treats while engaging in conversations with fellow Toastmasters, creating a warm and welcoming ambience that fosters networking and building meaningful connections.
The Arabic clubs in Dubai take hospitality to new heights with their exquisite traditional Arabic dishes and fast foods. I never pass up an invitation from our Arabic clubs. From tantalizing shawarmas to aromatic kahwa (Arabic coffee) and chai, the Arabic clubs leave no stone unturned in providing a culinary extravaganza to their esteemed members and guests. The food not only enhances the enjoyment of the meeting but also serves as a gateway for me to delve deeper into the local culture and traditions.
What intrigues me the most is the unique concept practised by Toastmasters clubs in Malaysia. Malaysia holds a special place in my heart, and in Malaysian Toastmasters clubs, members are encouraged to showcase their culinary prowess by preparing a dish at home and bringing it to the club, where we commence the meeting with a lavish dinner. It’s a heart-warming experience to witness members of diverse ethnicities coming together and sharing their homemade delicacies, creating a sense of community and camaraderie among the members. The act of washing our own plates after dinner, before starting the meeting, further reinforces the values of responsibility and respect for others.
Food in our Toastmasters meetings transcends mere sustenance. It presents an opportunity for members to connect on a personal level, share their cultural heritage, and foster a sense of community and belonging. It serves as a reminder that Toastmasters is not solely about honing public speaking and leadership skills, but also about embracing diversity, building meaningful relationships, and appreciating the richness of different cultures.
As a dedicated Toastmaster, I have come to realize that food is not just a necessity, but also a catalyst for building bonds and creating cherished memories. It is a testament to the inclusive and welcoming nature of Toastmasters, where members from diverse backgrounds come together to learn, grow, and celebrate their differences.
So, the next time you attend a Toastmasters meeting or event, take a moment to relish the delectable fare, appreciate the effort put into its preparation, and revel in the joy of sharing a meal with your esteemed fellow Toastmasters. After all, good food and good company make for an unforgettable and truly enriching Toastmasters experience.
As my wise grandmother always used to say, “The fondest memories are made when gathered around the table.” Bon appétit and happy Toast mastering!