When Michelle Lambros moved to Kuwait she left behind a quaint and personally fulfilling food and beverage store in south Florida. Her store, filled with gourmet products, was always swarming with customers, and large festivals attracted a clientele who appreciated good quality, and were always willing to try something new. When she arrived in Kuwait she was impressed by the quality of the cuisine in the restaurant industry, and thought the country was missing an official food festival.
She approached Caroline Rosinski, a fellow parent at her children’s school, The English School Kuwait, with the idea to create an annual food festival. The event would be big, with major chefs, leading restaurants, entertainment for children. She was right on board.
“We were so impressed with Qout and Shakshooka, and it showed us the country is really ready for what we have in mind,” said Rosinski. “We wanted to bring a major city festival to Kuwait, and we wanted it to be a big deal… all about food.”
Kuwait became home for Rosinski 22 years ago when she moved here after university to start her short lived career in education, which soon emerged into retail banking and marketing. She married her husband in 1998, and has made his country her home. Always a foodie, she even once tried boiled locusts, despite her husband’s warnings! “They taste like gritty chickpeas, in case you’re wondering.” She had experience in customer service, marketing, sales training, news editing and is on the board of governors at The English School Kuwait. Her partnership with Lambros meant they could open a legitimate company, Q8 Productions, and put into motion the grand plans they had discussed.
The company, established in March 2014, aimed to keep the city’s culture, signature cuisine and local talent in mind. The ladies incorporated Lambros’ seven years of experience with such festivals in Florida, to their business plan. Now just months away from the big event the ladies have been hard at work filling booths, gaining sponsors and booking chefs. The event will host some of the biggest restaurant names in Kuwait, along with celebrity chef demonstrations. Fans of Reza Mahammad will have a chance to see the Spice Prince in person! Not to mention regional chefs from the popular food channel Fatafeat.
Q8 Food Festival promises to be an exciting event. The ladies have already received so much positive response and can sense the excitement from participants. The Kuwait foodies and entrepreneurs have been a pleasant surprise, and the women admire the dedication in Kuwait to good food.
“People here care about good ingredients and quality ingredients,” said Rosinski. “The minute a place starts to slack on the quality, they shut them down.”
For the ladies of Q8 Productions, the main goal is to create strong-knit communities, and encourage engagement. The Q8 Food Festival, a conglomerate of restaurateurs, culinary professionals and the most important participant, you the foodie, is a way to connect the eclectic culinary community in Kuwait. Their second site LivinQ8.com is an expat e-newsletter and website that targets expat news and information specifically targeted to expat’s lifestyles and interests.
“As a new expat here four or five years ago there was nowhere to go to find out the best restaurants to go to, travel tips, etc” said Lambros. “We really wanted to create a resource for the expat. So it’s giving a helping hand to expats so they can get out and be a part of the community they are in now.”
What started as a small idea has become a huge project for the pioneering women. Articles posted on LivinQ8.com are sourced from expats around the country who are doing food reviews, travel reviews and event announcements. They provide links for groups based on sports and hobbies that a newcomer could join. The classified section provides a marketplace for those looking to buy or sell used goods. The website is perfect for finding all the necessities you need in your life when you first arrive.