LikeMind creates cultural bonds over regional food tastings.
It all began with a bunch of friends from school, looking for opportunities to work together, meet like-minded people, and spend time with those they were most happy around. In 2015, they came together to give life to an idea that has been simmering on the back burner for years. LikeMind was thus born, and with technology at hand, they built a platform that helps people meet friends and make new ones, over a meal, around a guitar or a favourite sport. Core members, Apratim Buragohain, Monika Manchanda, and Caroline Mendez talk about this fascinating journey that brings people together with love for food as the main catalyst.
How does LikeMind work?
The idea behind it is to get together with people with shared interests. We began with the one thing that universally binds us all — food. Our food events have a host who will create, from scratch, a delectable menu that is representative of a cuisine. The event will be open to a specific number of people who will get together at the host’s home, share a meal, chat about the food, and share experiences. For a guest and a user it’s very simple and intuitive, pick one of the experiences listed on the website, and apply. The application then goes to the host for approval.
Can you tell us about one or two meals that have been hosted so far?
We have hosted a Syrian Christian meal from Kerala with Tresa Francis of Travancore Tasties. For starters, people bonded over beef cutlets. For mains, there was chicken stew, mutton korma, appams, ghee rice and more. A diverse group of people came together that evening discussing food, the city in general, how corporate life becomes boring beyond a point, and so on. The conversations are rarely predictable. We already have seven more events up on the website with cuisines ranging from Parsi to Palakkad Iyer, an organic Tamil Brahmin lunch with an introduction to yoga nidra, a X-mas special dinner, a Mudaliar meal in a gorgeous Chettinad style house with a storyteller par excellence, a Coorg meal that will transport you to the land of Kodavas, and a brilliant Andhra meal put together by a single guy who loves to host, and this is just the tip of the iceberg.
Are you being particular about the kind of people who sign up, and is there a fee involved?
Currently all the hosts are handpicked, and the events are curated. We bring tremendous value to our hosts through engaging an experienced food consulting team. The menu is designed in a manner that highlights the cuisine and the strengths of our host to the fullest. We want our guests to go back home satiated both in terms of food and conversations. There are no charges for a host to join our platform. And guests can book limited seats available at a pre-determined price. One can even plan a private event with a host of his/her choice. We help in planning that.
Apart from it being a fun exercise, would you also say that LikeMind helps to bring cultures together?
Absolutely. Bonding together over shared interests comes naturally to us as human beings, and we tend to associate with likeminded people. Our circle of friends felt the same need too. We had to work hard to get together and enjoy the things we used to as a group.
We also sought to make new friends and realised that there are so many out there who would like to connect over shared interests as well; all that was lacking were some great opportunities. We think it’s a great medium to introduce people to the cultures of the country one might not often travel to, and to build a bond that goes beyond living in the same city.
— Priyadarshini Nandy