I'm on a mission to showcase a side of Iran that never makes the headlines. Armed with just a notepad and a bottle of pomegranate molasses, I want to travel through Iran asking a cross-section of Iranians to share their favourite recipes with me.
From my 77 year old grandmother who lives on a rice farm near the Caspian Sea to 22 year old hip hop stars in Tehran, I'll be gathering recipes from fishermen and farmers, teachers and tradesmen, carpet makers and cab drivers.
Whilst cooking together, I'll ask people I meet to share the stories behind the food that they love. These portraits and accompanying images will form the backbone of the cookbook and documentary.
Stretch fundraising targets
To give this project the best possible Kickstart, it would be great to hit the following stretch fundraising goals. The more I raise, the more I'll be able to invest in the project and increase its impact.
£10,500 Will enable me to travel more extensively in Iran with a photographer. The wider the range of portraits, stories, images and recipes that we gather, the stronger impact the project will have.
£11,500 Will enable me to create a beautiful website to support the marketing of the project.
£15,000 Would enable me to hold a photography exhibition of images collected from the project.
Ask the average person in the West what they think of Iran and chances are they'll mention bombs, nukes, war. And that's just if you get them on a good day.
Quite frankly, I'm over this.
As someone who has unique access to Iranian culture I'd like to show you a different side of Iran. A side that entices you with its delicious and sophisticated cuisine; that takes your breath away with its dramatic landscapes of desert, tropical forests and snow-capped mountains; that touches your soul through the poetry of Rumi and Hafez and dazzles you with its intricate, beautiful architecture.
At a time of increased international tensions between Iran and the West, this project will share a side of Iran that never makes the headlines, challenge stereotypes and give a voice to a people rarely seen or hear in the Western media. In doing so, it will guide readers on a fascinating journey into the hearts (and stomachs) of Iranians today.
Iranian food is the stuff of fairy tales: velvety pistachio soups, saffron-infused steamed rice dishes and sumptuous slow-cooked stews. It is a cuisine known for its abundant use of fresh green herbs, unusual combinations of fruits such as dates, plums and quinces with meat or fish and delicate flavourings such as saffron, dried limes, su'mac and orange blossom. Signature dishes include:
- Fesenjoon - Chicken poached in a rich creamy sauce of ground walnuts and pomegranate molasses.
- Mirzeh Ghasemi - Smokey roasted aubergines, gently fried with plum tomatoes, garlic, turmeric, eggs and olive oil.
- Shirin Polo - Buttery steamed rice jewelled with carrots, orange peel, pistachios and saffron.
The way Kickstarter works is that if I don't reach my fundraising target bu the time the campaign ends, I won't get any of the funds. Its all or nothing and every penny counts, bringing this project one step closer to life.
The money raised will fund
- The making of a documentary pilot, filmed in Iran, to pitch to production companies
- The collection of recipes and portraits for sample chapters of the cookbook
- A professional photographer to capture images inside Iran
- An editor to review the material
- Recipe testing
- Project administration (posting rewards and travels costs etc).
Ok, I'm sold. What do I do now?
Every penny counts, so any contribution you make will bring me one step closer to making my dream project a reality.
I am open to creative collaborations too, so if you want to get involved, get in touch.
I hope that together we can co-create a beautiful project that will share a delicious slice of contemporary Iran, at this most significant moment in time.
Massive thank you to Elisa Kriezis from Ton Ton Films for the wonderful Kickstarter video. For more on her work visit www.tontonfilms.com
Risks and challenges
The main risks and challenges I face for this project relate to filming and taking pictures within Iran where such activities can be restricted. I am committed to showcasing the positive side of this country and will be approaching this challenge with sensitivity and transparency at all times. I am confident that by launching the project on kickstarter - where the aims and objectives of the project are clear - the risks involved will be reduced.
The next challenge will be to find a publisher or production company with the vision to take the project forward. I have chosen the dual strategy of creating sample material in print and film formats to maximise my chances of success.
Above all, I am determined to work hard to make this project a reality. I passionately believe there is a story of a people, a country and a cuisine that needs to be told.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)