F*Type is a series featuring womxn in DC who are up to amazing things so we can redefine the female stereotype and build an inspiring community. We want to hear from bad*ss womxn who are entrepreneurs, thought leaders, change makers, mothers, and more.
This post features Anela Malik, a local foodie and blogger highlighting amazing food and experiences, primarily from minority and people of color chefs, restaurateurs, and foodies.
Where are you from?
Hawaii originally. But I've lived in DC off and on since I went to grad school here about 6 years ago.
What is your background (education, training, life experiences)?
I studied the Middle East, Arabic, and Politics for my masters degree. However during university and grad school I also worked in restaurants. Little did I know then I was just nurturing the little foodie inside me.
How long have you been in the DMV?
Off and on for six years.
What Feed the Malik all about?
Feed the Malik exists to highlight unique, diverse, incredible food and travel experiences. I focus on the work of minorities, women, immigrants, etc... In doing so I try to spark conversation on pressing political issues related to the service industry such as: lack of diverse representation in management roles, the low price ceiling for "ethnic" foods, appropriation of traditional foods and experiences by non-traditional communities for profit. As a general rule I don't chase trends. Though trends may produce a great photo they don't teach us anything and often ignore the people behind the food and products we consume. I also travel abroad extensively, and I keep this focus when abroad. I try to teach people about new foods and new cultures rather than just show them pretty pictures.
What's the story behind getting to this position or creating this organization?
I was looking for bloggers to follow when I was living in Amman, Jordan. I wanted to find an authentic voice, a place to get good tips and insight into the local industry, and a place to find great food. I had a hard time finding it frankly. Many blogs only focused on very expensive Western restaurants and trendy items like brightly colored ice creams and over the top desserts. So I started Feed the Malik to push myself to get out of my comfortable Western expat bubble and go find unique experiences for myself!
Do you have a role model or mentor?
Mark Wiens. Through his food and travel channel I ALWAYS learn something, from the ingredients in a foreign dish or about a new place. He will travel anywhere and eat anything, and the breadth of locales and foods on his channel always inspires me to explore further outside my comfort zone.
Tell us one piece of advice you’d give a fellow woman who wants to be in your position.
Find your tribe and stick with them. Though they may work in different sectors or live halfway around the world, it's amazing how far we can go with a group of people who we respect, admire, love, and can lean on.
What advice would you give 18 year old you?
Don't be so afraid of failure. It's never as bad as you think it will be.
How do you balance work + wellness?
Balance is incredibly hard. I try to have a no shame attitude towards wellness. If and when I mess up or don't workout or overschedule myself to the point of stress, I try to calmly take stock of what happened and adjust accordingly. Beating myself up over it won't help and will in fact often discourage me further.
Do you have a favorite fitness class or way to exercise?
I love to lift weights while listening to a LOUD, hype playlist.
What's your go-to meal on a busy day?
Honestly Vegetable and Butcher. As a food writer I eat out ALOT. While I am a fiend for indulgences, especially fried foods, I find myself growing tired of heavy restaurant meals that leave me exhausted afterwards. I reach for V&B when I need something delicious that I know will make me feel good.
One food you can't live without?
How do you unwind after a stressful day?
I bake! Working on a loaf of bread is therapeutic. There's nothing like seeing what my own hands can make from just a few simple ingredients.
Favorite thing to do in DC on the weekend?
I usually try to spend at least a couple hours on the weekend doing nothing with my husband and our cats. This is the best therapy.
If you're celebrating over dinner, what DC restaurant are you at?
This may be the hardest question for me, as I have about ten favorites. But I'm probably at Kith & Kin at the Wharf. What a phenomenal, creative project showcasing outstanding food and service. Most people associate Caribbean or African food with carryout, but who says that Fine Dining is only reserved for Italian, French or Spanish cuisines?
What's the best thing about living in DC?
DC has such a diverse population. Because of that, there is insanely good food from all over the world, as when people migrate they bring their food with them as part of their culture.
If you want to submit an inspiration to the F*Type series - please email firstname.lastname@example.org.