So despite leaving my job in November, explaining to everyone that no I wasn’t going to another job, I was going to be unemployed and try to follow my dreams – which was met by admiration, envy and disbelief in equal measure I hit a snag (of sorts). I was offered a short term job role in Dubai to continue working in advertising. So with the prospect of tax free pay, beaches and avoiding the English winter  I decided to head into the Desert for a few months.

It’s certainly been an adventure and has filled me with a plethora of food and coffee ideas. Dubai doesn’t really have a local food from what I can gather, like the place itself it is a hotchpotch of different cultures colliding. You can get some authentic Lebanese, the best Curry I have tried outside of India or Tooting – and a Mac and Cheese Burger from the Cheesecake factory. It kind of has it all.

I will bring 2 things back from my experience, firstly the belief that anything is achievable. I mean if they can turn a muslim country in the middle of the dessert into one of the craziest most raucous, party places on earth, then anything is possible right?

Secondly it has really been the influence on the Lebanon on this part of the world and in particular the Lebanese food. From simple Meze’s of Tabouleh full of fresh parsley and mint and lemon juice (which will be at every BBQ at the Tibbits household this summer) to  the highly addictive Vine Leaves stuffed with rice and herbs, hummus (obviously) Baba Ganoush with Lebanese flat breads. It is exquisite. Working with Lebanese and Syrians has also means I have tried some of the more local dishes they cook, such as Rice and Peas (Riz U Bizella) to Lentils served with Onions and Yoghurt (with a name I cant even try and pronounce. It is simple, comforting and hearty.

This simple, fresh, vibrant and most of all exceptionally delicious food will be at the centre of whatever type of coffee shop it is that I set up.