Bicultural from birth, from a Northern Indian father and a mother from the south of India, Aashi Vel was immersed in a mixture of flavors at an early age, and as such, developed a strong “taste” for gastronomy early in life. She remembers many meals spent with her family where everyone wondered what they would eat the following night. Through her travels, Aashi was able to discover many culinary cultures, but it is her mother’s dishes that remain and will always remain engraved in her memory and taste buds.
Passionate about travel and gastronomy, each stay abroad is an opportunity for Aashi to discover new flavors and exchange with the locals. During a stay in Mexico in 2011, Aashi noticed that places dedicated to food were catering to tourists. One day, totally by chance, she saw a woman cooking a dish. Aashi then decided to go talk with her to find out a little more about Mexican cuisine. There the idea of creating Traveling Spoon was born. The company’s objective is to allow tourists to live unique and authentic experiences and to promote exchanges with locals through gastronomy. After earning an MBA at Berkeley University, Aashi and her friend Steph Lawrence, who is also passionate about travel and gastronomy, decided to make Traveling Spoon a reality. Since 2013, the company has grown well and is now present in 200 cities and 65 countries!
Always desiring to exchange and share her passion for cooking, it was during her participation in Food Travel Talk TV that Aashi discovered the WFTA. She would then be invited to share her experience through one of the many podcasts that the association likes to organize. For 3-4 years now, Aashi has even co-hosted these interviews. She loves to interact with guests, and this is a real source of inspiration for her. Sometime later, Aashi joined the Board of Directors and participated in the strategic decisions as well as the objectives and orientations of the association.
For Aashi, being part of the Association has been very beneficial for her business. It has allowed her to gain visibility, but she especially retains the many exchanges with members from all over the world. This helps her understand the current and future trends in gastronomy tourism, to make strategic decisions, and to adapt Traveling Spoon’s offering to different countries and cultures. On a more personal level, she especially likes to interact with people who share the same passion for gastronomy!
For many years, gastronomy has taken an increasingly important place in our travels. The existence of associations like the WFTA is essential for destinations, Aashi tells us. Indeed, the association makes it possible to connect geographically and culturally distant people who all share the same passion. The association also carries out numerous studies on the state of gastronomy tourism in the world which allows having an overview of the industry, trends, etc. Through the Culinary Capitals program offered by the WFTA, each destination can have a better perception of its culinary riches, thus allowing the development of attractive strategies and offers.
While the Coronavirus crisis has strongly impacted our industry, it has also been an opportunity to review our offerings. Travelers have changed their consumption habits and new demands are emerging. From now on, the search for experience and authenticity is paramount. Gastronomy appears as a central element in the understanding of various cultures. The term “gastrodiplomacy” takes on its full meaning since it is really a linking of different cultures through gastronomy. Covid has also created a new need to return to the essentials, namely, to spend time with family and friends. The trips will probably be longer, with a need to take your time.
Are you a food-loving traveler? What will be your next destination? Do not hesitate to contact Traveling Spoon to help you choose the destination.
Do you want to develop your destination through gastronomy? Join us, we will be happy to help you with your projects!