"Nothing Makes Me Happier Than a Good Satisfying Plate of Food." - Joel Josekutty

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1. Tell us about your background and journey?

I'm Joel Josekutty. I recently completed my bachelor's in Civil engineering from CUSAT. Food is something which I absolutely love. Nothing makes me happier than a good satisfying plate of food.

If you ask me how my journey started, then I'll have to go back to my childhood days when my parents used to take me out every weekend to try out different restaurants. We would go out shopping, to the movies, to parks but the only thing I really cared about was the food that came after all that.

"That beautiful little plate of happiness was my most satisfying moment of the week."

As I grew older I fell more and more in love with food. Food just became an addiction that I could never get over with. From 10th standard (2014) till now every single day I eat at least one meal from a restaurant. I know that sounds crazy but it's true. That's how much I adore good food.

As soon as I completed my first year in college I went on a trip to Varkala with my friends. I clicked some pictures of the dishes I had for dinner and send it to a few of my friends. 

One of my mates asked me - "Joel you eat around a lot. I know how much you love food, so why don't you start a food blog so that you can share the love you have for food with a wider audience?" That's where the idea of bitemeup_foodvoyage began.

We have over 20k followers now on Instagram. It's been a beautiful journey and one which I have thoroughly enjoyed.

2. Which is your favorite cuisine and dish?

When it comes to favorite cuisine our traditional Kerala cuisine always tops my list.

"Our very own porotta and beef, biriyani, puttu, pork, idiyappam, thattukada style chicken fry, kappa biriyani" are my absolute favorites. I also love Pan Asian, Indo-Chinese, and Arabic cuisine. 

I love these cuisines in particular because of the magic they create with their indigenous spices. Pad thai, Nasi goreng, Mandhi, Madghut, Shawarmas, Chilli pork, etc are some of my favorites dishes.

3. Should food blogging be just a passion or can it become a regular career?

Food blogging for me is a passion. It's a platform for me to share with my audience the food I love.

But there are other people like Trevor James (The Food Ranger), Mark Weins (Migrationology) and Ebin Jose (food and travel by Ebin Jose) from Kerala who have taken up this as a career and is doing extremely well.

So it basically depends on what you want to do with the content you make. It can be a passion for some and a profession for many others.

4. Which restaurants/food joints(any) would you recommend to food lovers?

Food joints that I'll recommend, well Paragon is my go-to place for Kerala cuisine. Zaatar for Arabic cuisine. Al taaza and Haji Ibrahim for Shawarmas. Vellakanthari and Periyar for some cheap and delicious seafood. 

B for biriyani(Fort Kochi) and Rahmaniya (Maradu) for some delicious Kochi style biryani. Asian Kitchen by Tokyo Bay, Fort Kochi for some delicious pan Asian cuisine. Ashraf ikkas milk sarbath, Cusat for the best milk sarbath in the whole wide world.

My favorite restaurant for BBQ's is 12 to 12 BBQ Kottayam. They also have an outlet in Panampilly Nagar and kakkanad. Such an underrated place. Their barbeques are super delicious. Also, try out their Pakistani biriyani if you ever pay a visit. I used to drive from Kochi to Kottayam to have their barbeques. 

5. What makes you appreciate a particular dish or a restaurant and talk about it on your blog?

Any dish which feeds my soul, any dish that can put a smile on my face deserves to go on my blog. Food is Happiness!

6. Is there a dish you particularly associate yourself with?

A plate of Puttu, Idappam, chicken fry, bullseye, and a hot cup of black tea. That's my happy plate.

I can't end this interview without mentioning - "Ashraf Ikkas Milk Sarbath (Cusat)"- This is my favorite drink in the whole wide world. I've been a regular customer for years now, Ikkas consistency and quality has always amazed me. 

I used to drench all my feelings down with this drink. Whether I was happy or if I was going through a tough time then this has always been my go-to place. This Milk Sarbath ( I call it my "MS") has been an integral part of my life. So this is one drink which I will highly recommend.

- Joel Josekutty

- Interviewed By: Amruta Liz Binoy

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